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.:)

Friday, 18 December 2015

The Branches of Recovery: Fear Foods

Now, I am going to make a big statement here and you may or may not believe me, but anyway, here goes!! ;) That being, I actually don't have many fear foods. I used to, of course; in fact, I had alot. The period of my life before I started fighting for my recovery (prior to May 2014), my list of banned or forbidden foods was as lengthy as my mam's shopping list at Christmas time. I usually pretended to not like a certain food so that I would never be expected to eat it, and this usually worked as up to that point, people had always regarded me as a fussy eater, and the general consensus was that everyone else would eat that, but emmy won't touch it, as she doesn't like it and she's picky. But I am not a fussy eater, to be honest. I dislike red meat, offal and such like, and my love of animals has always made my relationship with any kind of meat a bit offish, and I am not a huge lover of cream, fruit juice, certain kinds of cake, watercress, fennel, or gravy. Off the top of my head, they are the foods I don't particularly like. But apart from that, really, I am not so selective as many might have perceived.

However, following that day whihch will forever be engraved in my mind, back in May, a year and a half ago...when I made that crucial and life-changing decision, to give myself to recovery. Since that day, I made a conscious effort to incorporate a more varied range of foods into my diet. And I openly acknowledged to myself thaat there was, indeed, many foods which I - or should that be, ED  - had purposely banned me from eating, but which secretly, I did not dislike. And overall, my endeavors were successful. I always think the best thing to come out my exertions here...was discovering my love for two foods which I nowadays simply could NOT live without...those being, of course, CHEESE and PEANUT BUTTER. I absolutely adore both of these, and it seems so strange to me now to think that at one time, I did not eat them, at all: I denied myself of them, as I did of many other foods.

But there remain - particularly since my relapse - certain foods which I know, if I was 100 % honest with myself, I purposely avoid or feign dislike of , but which, in reality, I do not dislike or find unappealing. Together, they constitute my fear food list, which I am going to share with you now.

Fear Food List...

  • Savoury tarts like cheese and onion tart...I had these in the hospital and enjoyed them alot, but since then I haven't touched them. We had a buffet a few Saturdays ago for dinner and among all of the other tempting foods set out on the table was a cheese and onion quiche mam had got from tesco. But of course...I didnt have any. So next time, I am realy hoping I will have the courage to do just that. And I will be able to make my own ones then too!! ;)
  • Croissants: wouldn't be a massive fan of them, but there is something mouthwatering about the smell of them, and there have been a few times when I have made these at home and have been tempted to sample one of them, but of course was put off by ED once more. 
  • you know, I am a true chocaholic in every sense of the word..let's just say I am probably one of those people with sweet teeth as opposed to a sweet tooth. ;) so in all honesty, crisps aren't really my thing particularly, but yet, I know deep down I don't dislike them, either, and that it is more ED talking to me when I say to others "oh I dont like crisps, no thank you" on being offered one out of a bowl or a packet.  
  • Chips..I dont know, if they are a proper fear food, as I have eaten them in the past. But I guess I do avoid them, in a way, and I know for a fact that it's not a dislike thing as I think there is something really scrummy about a crispy, salty potato chip.
  • Muesli/Alpen..I love muesli and used to eat it hospital however I unfortunately happened to overhear other patients talking about muesli in a really negative way (we won't go into detail!! :( ) that beame etched in my mind and I have avpided it ever since. Which is stupid, as muesli/granola is not unhealthy and there are no such things as "bad" foods, etc. I know all that. As usual, ED has latched onto justone small tiny little thing and has augmented it into something vast ad terrifying. This has affected my consumption of granola and muesli bars too and I want to change this :'( I really do as I love those sort of things and they make such yummy snacks. 
  • Mashed potatoes, cauliflower cheese. Crepes. Cheese puffs (or wotsits, I think they used to be called? ;) ) and bread with cheese baked on the inside. There are other random things, but these are the ones which are coming to mind now. 
And I know we are on the subject of fear foods, but as you can see from above, this is an area which I don't really have any major issues with. Of course, I think it would be important and good for me to conquer these few fear foods, and that really would be equatable to shaking a fist in Ed's face. But in addition to this, I think that it would be equally important for me to resolve the related issue of certain meals, food combinations, and such as...
  • There are certain lunches which I know that I genuinely love, but which I still have not managed to eat or make for myself. These being things like baked beans on toast, poached or a soft boiled egg on toast, a baked potatoe with cheese and a salad...things which I did have back in my hospital days, but which, since my relapse, i have not touched.
  • Certain snacks with my hot you already know, I have had success in this area as far as scones are concerned. My next objective is to have hot choc and a lovely toasted hot cross bun this week.
  • There are certain meals that I still find very difficult and avoid if I can. Spaghetti bolognaise, fish gratin, fajitas, to name a few. So I need to tackle these in the same way I intend on taking on my lunch challenges. 
  • One thing I absolutely love as a snack, or for part of breakfast...bagels!! Wholemeal, seeded or multigrain, I adore these lovable ring shaped breads, so soft and fluffy on the inside, while still maintaining that distinctive and irresitable chewiness which is part and parcel of their charm. And toasted with spread and peanut butter..? *hearththrob!!* but again, something else that I have been avoiding
  • I love Miller rice (especially the strawberry ones...yummm ;) ) but again, since leaving the hospital...I've studiously avoided them :( and a Miller Rice would be a perfect snack for me to have when i'm on the go or at college or whatever.  
So they are my two wee lists. Not massively long, or anything: but that does not mean by any score whatsoever that it is not something that I need to address. So I think, the approach to take whenever you are planning on tackling your fear food list, is to be persistent and consistent, BUT don't try to take on too much at once!! because then you end up just getting overwhelmed and burnt out.

In recovery, as with many other things in life, it's usually better to take things one little step at a time. Just like getting back onto your meal plan - reintroduce things gradually, rather than causing yourself alot of stress and anxiety by trying to take on everything in the course of one day. Slowly, but surely - you have to persevere and make SURE that you do actually do it!! It's al too easy to fall into the trap, of saying to yourself, yes, tomorrow I will eat that fear food and then tomorrow comes and yep, you're there in the kitchen, the particular food ion question is there in the shelf...but yet you hear that little voice saying, ahh, no, actually, I don't feel ready to face that fear today... Always, always always keep in mind your objectives:stick to your plan, give everything that you have into keeping your goals, and don't let the Voice deter you from growing and nourishing YOUR recovery, starting right here, right now. 

So anyway, I suppose it might be realistic enough for me, to try and tackle two or three of the above in one week(or do you think this is too easy/hard...any comments/feedback greatly appreciated!!) ) and incorporate my efforts into my weekly goals accordingly. So, for this week, I plan to:
  • MAKE HOMEMADE GRANOLA (stilll haven[t got round to doing it..ahh!! :o) and have it for breakfast one day with warm milk AND my toast afterwards of course.
  • On Christmas Eve we will be having cauliflower cheese so I will have the chance to test myself here too.
  • And this weekend have either a scone or a hot cross bun as a snack with hot choc. :) 

Face your fears... <3 xxx


  1. Thanks for your inspiration! It is so important to find out the reason for your fears, to be honest to yourself and to overcome the anxiety that destroys your life. It is so hard, especially if it comes to being honest about the meal size and not to cheat.
    But I will do the same as you: my best to speak against ED, be stronger and always focus on my goals, forget what I did wrong and see the progress I have already made.
    Thanks for being such a motivational role model.
    Love and hugs, Maria

  2. <3 oh hun thank you so so much <3 please keep trying dear, I am so so proud of you for being so brave and perseverant. Don't ever let the past hold you back, or fear of the future, focus on the here and now hun, what you can do today to defy ED and its stupid rules!
    We can take these steps together hun, I am always by your side :* xxxxxxxxxx