At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I can't, and won't, eat that...facing fear foods.

To some people, the idea of actually being afraid or scared of food, or the act of eating in itself, is a ridiculous one. How, they might ask, could a human being be possibly be frightened of food? Food is something to be enjoyed, to be looked forward to, as well as a basic necessity, of course. There might even be some people out there who think of those who are frightened of food as just plain silly, or stupid.
But fear of food is one of the main symptons of an eating disorder...and it was definitely something which I experienced myself when I was sick. Of eating...and of food, though of certain foods in particular. As I've mentioned before, I "convinced" myself in my head that I did not like these specific foods, and that I could not eat them. I felt secure then in the knowledge that if my Mam enquired why I hadn't eaten the cheesey bit off the top of lasagne, or if I went to McDonalds with friends and everyone got chips where as I just sat there with nothing...I could say, with apparent certainty, that "oh...well, you see I don't really like that, anyway...". And, ninety percent of the time...this claim was NOT true. It was just an excuse on my part so I could get away with not eating foods which in my head were unavoidably linked with weight gain or were high in calories, fat, sugar, or whatever.
For example...a big one was cheese. Now as a child, I never liked cheese. I remember watching my favourite children's cartoon, the timeless Tom and Jerry, with a sort of perplexed air - why, oh why, was Jerry willing to put his little life at risk all for the sake of obtaining a hunk of cheese from Tom's pantry? I always thought that the holey yelllow cheeses looked ever so appealing, but I always disappointed myself the few times I tasted it for myself. But as we asll know, out taste buds do change overtime. And so when I developed the ED it was probably many years since I had even tried cheese again - but of course, I was thoroughly unwilling to try sampling cheese ever again. I've never liked cheese, and cheese is very high in fat, I, there is no way I am going to eat that.
Chips, too, I refused to eat.  And I can honestly say - now that I'm no longer sick and am recovering from the E.D. ...I can honestly say that I never have had any genuine disliking for chips. Sure I love chips: most people do; and those tempting smells wafting from the chippers on a Saturday night affects me in much the same way as it does everybody else - it really does make your mouth water, doesn't it? But when I was sick, chips were a big no-no. If we ever had them at home, I would always try and have something instead - perhaps a tiny baked potato, a waffle, or something like that. 
There were many other things, too, which in reality, I liked, or had never even tried before but had firmly told myself that I did not like and that there was no way I was going to be eating them. Dressings for salad, mayonnaise, eggs, sauces, tuna....the list goes on and on. But now I can happily - and proudly - say that the majority of these foods I do eat now. Some of these, even, I would go as far to say that I have discovered that I do really enjoy eating them. 
I say "proud" because actually facing the fears implanted in me by my E.D and eating foods which, for years, i had always regarded with anxiety and feigned dislike was certainly not easy. That voice in my head was always saying to me: If you eat it and admit you like's going to be expected of you to eat it, you will gain weight! Your disguise will be blown! DON'T eat it!!" But I succeeded in ignoring those voices. It was yet another step up for me; a step up to recovery and healthy attitudes towards food. I can now happily pop a couple of slices of bread under the grill to make a toastie...a cheese toastie, at that...what could possibly be more scrummy than a warm cheese and tomato toastie for lunch? I can now, without any guilt or ED-type anxiety, make my own salad dressings to drizzle over salad.  And as a cook and a baker I know very well there are literally so many, many different types of food out there which I may or may not have tried...and I feel completely free and happy to be more adventurous in both my cooking and my food choices...without screwing myself up worrying over calories, fat content, or anything like that anymore. The world of cooking and baking is one hell of a big one...and I can't wait to get out there and explore it for myself. ;) 

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