Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Yin and Yang of food

To say that I am a good cook is an exaggeration. I can cook, and occasionally enjoy the process, but when I'm hungry I want to eat. It doesn't have to be ultra flavorsome or special, it simply needs to satisfy that nagging pain in my stomach, the emptiness that sends my mind all fuzzy.

The beautiful thing about cooking and food is, that you can shar the pleasure and deliciousness with friends, as it was for me last night, when a wonderful friend, Linde, came over and cooked for me. Not only did she cook simple wholesome food, she opened my eyes to the glory of foood and the true meaning of -Fueling your Body-.

My relationship with food has been a rather testing affair over the past 10 years. Living as an Anorexic greatly obscured my views on food. Iwas living in a world where food was a lethal enemy trying to sculpt me into an ugly being, distorting my physicality. In reality the image my mind created was distorted. Every meal I HAD to eat was met with great anxiety.
I feared being around food that was being cooked because I was convinced it would leach into my skin and cause me to get fat.
I feared eating the food because I could feel how its poison (fat) was flowing through every part of my body, latching itself on to me.
I feared the aftermath of eating. The mental punishment; hours of calculations, weighing, exercise and panic as I witnessed my stomach swell to an unhumanly size, leaving me unable to move with shame.

It all started innocently, with the idea to try and lose a kilo or two so I could see if I could manipulate my body into the shape I desired. I made mild changes to my diet and exercise, ate a little less (without excluding food) and exercised a little more (I was already a very active kid). It didn't take long until I saw the first kilo drop. I liked the scales reassurance, but I didn't like that I didn't see a physical difference. There was only one way forward -  lose more weight.

I'm still not sure what image I was chasing. Maybe I wasn't chasing an image, rather seeking approval and validation. Maybe I wasn't seeking approval and validation from others, rather from myself. Maybe I wanted to reflect perfection and beauty. Maybe I was in search of myself, but got even more lost in that search.

My eating became more controlled and compulsively calculated. Everyday would be the same routine - wakeup do 100 pushups, 100 crunches and 1000 skips (same would be repeated at night). I would continue with breakfast by cutting an apple into 40 pieces, eat one piece, have a minute break before I ate the next slice. It took me 1hr20mins to eat the damn thing. I would maky my way to school preparing for the teasing comments of other kids because of my fragile physique. 'What are they talking about', I would think, 'I'm just being concious about my health and appearance'. I would go home at lunch trying to figure out how I could eat as little as possible without stirring mum's attention. Then I had to punish myself for eating by exercising for hours until my mind was fuzzy, my vision hazy and my body drained of every drop of energy. Then I would face dinner, mostly alone... At 6pm on the dot, just me and a yoghurt, no one watching me other than Anorexia.

Food was my enemy, Anorexia was my friend. She only wanted the best for me, or so I thought.

I hit rockbottom at 31kg, which is when I got admitted to hospital and my fight to gain back my life began.
In the process of gaining back the control for my life I met my great Love - RUNNING. Over time, I learnt that I needed fuel to reciprocate the love running was giving me. I slowly began to trust in the food I chose to eat, allowing my physique to gain shape, and my body to heal from the ordeal and my mind to find peace.
As my running has grown stronger over the last year, or so, so has my freedom as I let go of the control over food. Ironically I started fuelling the tank with whatever I desired, even food that would have been Tabu not all that long ago.

As Linde and I were sitting and enjoying the flavorsome feast of Tempeh, homemade Hommus and a devine Carrot Salad, Linde began to talk about food and its effects on the body. I was completely drawn into her words as she passionately spoke about the Yin and Yang of food. Yin (female) being food that is good for you, mild in flavor, yet wholesome and nourishing. Yang (male) being aggressive food, strong in flavor and often processed, the type of food that isn't so favorable for the engine.
As I ate, I could feel the explosion of flavor in my mouth, how the goodness of what we were devouring was reviving me from the inside and how light and energized I felt afterward. I felt satisfied.

Being healthy doesn't mean you need to be thin and lean, it doesn't mean you can't carry an extra few Kg's. Being healthy is conciousness of your WHOLE being. Respecting your body and striving to nurture it as best as you can.

You only have ONE body!!

Enjoy x

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