I think everyone has their comfort foods. Foods they know they can always go to, and foods they know are “safe”. But what makes a specific food item safe? Some people will cook with butter, but won’t go near ice cream. Will eat sandwiches, cereal, and muffins, but won’t eat pasta. I see people obsess over calories and fat grams, but don’t pay attention to their sugar intake or how highly processed the item is. What makes one more important than the other? The point is everyone also has their fear foods. Most are the foods that are high in fat and calories. But the fact is, in moderation of any food should be able to be consumed.
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Especially after being diagnosed with my ED and reading and sharing my experiences with others, I’ve come to realize everyone has their comfort foods and everyone has their fear foods. Whether the fear be the typical chips, candy bars, ice cream, pasta, and other common “fatty, unhealthy foods” or maybe its vegetables, beans, or dairy.
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I know looking back and looking at my current situation, I definitely have my comfort foods. I absolutely have to have yogurt, nut butters, cereal, cottage cheese, oatmeal and my Ezekial sprouted grain bread in the house at all times. As soon as one of these gets even halfway gone, I run to the store to get a back up. They are my comfort foods, foods I know I like and I know will satisfy me. There are also foods that I still fear. Pasta, greasy pizza, real cheese, full fat dairy and dining in restaurants. The list really goes on. And last week at my nutritionist appointment, what did she tell me I need to do? Eat my fear foods. I need to realize that one meal of mac and cheese, two or even three pieces of pizza will not make me gain 10 pounds overnight. My body will balance it out. If we eat too much one day, our bodies will naturally tell us how much we need the next. Our body’s are so much smarter than we give it credit for. We need to stop focusing on one day and realize we have 365 days to even out, and we will. Now if you indulge every single day, then that is a different story, but most of us do not.
So I was given a list. A list of fear foods. And the scary part. I was required to eat them all. So I wanted to share with you some of the foods my nutritionist wanted me to eat, and how I felt after I ate them.
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The first on my list was sweet potatoes. Now these were put on my list mainly because I thought I might have an allergy to them, and I had been avoiding potatoes in general. My nutritionist wanted me to give them another shot.
i decided only to have half the potato just in case i was going to get sick. i didn't yay! i've never really had a fear of sweet potatoes as their nutrients are better than regular potatoes. so maybe my fear food really should have been a white potato. but baby steps for now.
i had the potato plain, the last few times i had beans along with it, and i'm thinking the combination might have been the problem. my body is still playing catch up, so it might not have been able to handle all that fiber. silly fiber.
Fear food number one. Conquered.
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Next on my list. Mac and Cheese
matt really wanted me to eat his velveeta mac and cheese with him, but i'm sorry, i still try to avoid the highly processed foods, so he was kind enough to get me my favorite. baby steps.
This one was hard. Now it’s not really the whole pasta fear, although pasta was one thing I did avoid, but I have to document everything I eat and when I ask my nutritionist how I count it on my daily goals, it’s a bit scary to see how much “it takes up” Also since nothing really seems to keep me full, I still have those thoughts “I’m eating all these calories/carbs and what if I need to eat more an hour later?” I know this is my ED talking, but knowing that does not make the thoughts go away. That’s the thing I always hated about boxed meals. You can see the calories, and there’s a serving size, so do I only eat 1 cup? But I’m not full, should I go back for seconds?
yes. i ate it out of a coffee mug.
I’ve never been a huge mac and cheese person, so I can’t say this will make a repeating appearance on my menu, but I definitely feel accomplished for eating it, because like I said, there was a lot of anxiety. I suppose that is the whole point of this, to over come fears/anxiety and know that one serving (or two) is not going to alter my body overnight.
Oh to be a kid again when mac and cheese was looked at as just mac and cheese and not looked at as 200 calories/per serving.
Fear food number 2. Conquered. (kind of)
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Next fear food. Mashed Potatoes.
I feel like I kind of cheated on this one. We had an old box of instant mashed potatoes so I just used those.
My nutritionist said I could use instant, so I guess it’s ok, but I feel like the instant are a bit safer considering I didn’t use butter.
i should have probably indulged and got the pre-made Betty Crocker ones (those use to be a favorite) but again baby steps.
Let’s just say I failed miserably at making instant mashed potatoes. I guess I put too much liquid in, they were kind of soupy. So I ended making an upside down vegetarian shepherd’s pie out of it. It was still pretty tasty, despite the liquid pool at the bottom!
soupy mashed potatoes, mixed veggies, topped with soy crumbles
I added some vegan gravy post-pictures and that made a big difference. I love gravy. Not going to lie.
it actually turned out quite tasty, but again since i really didn't use a fatty mashed potato i feel like i kind of cheated on this one.
That is one thing I’ve noticed myself doing through out my recovery. Yes I have accepted that I need to eat more, and I do, I listen to my body and every time I feel that twinge of hunger, I will eat, but I feel like I am not committing 100% to the type of foods I need to eat. I will eat more, but I still keep most of my foods “safe”. I’m getting almost all my protein and fats from nut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese with the occasional tempeh, tofu or soy product. Especially lately with all my ruts, it’s gotten a bit worse. I wonder why I snack so much when my protein for the day came from greek yogurt.
I really really long for the day when these thoughts are gone. When eating will just be eating. When I can go grocery shopping and not compare calories with 5 of the same products and choose the one that has 10 less per serving. Because 10 calories really matters. Seriously?
It’s real easy to type all that out, but acting on it is a different story.
Fear food #3. Conquered. (again kind of)
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And last but not least, my last fear food on my list was lasagna, ravioli or tortellini. Now I knew there were plenty of lasagna recipes out there, ones I could modify to make as healthy and as little calories as I wanted, even noodle less recipes, but I actually wanted to indulge in this one. I choose tortellini. An old favorite that Matt and I use to frequently have. Why not right? That is the point of this exercise.
i was actually kind of excited to get to eat these. i say get to eat these like i wasn't allowed to before, but that's the way i thought. again the whole packaged food deal just really bothered me, but i am slowly learning to get over that and just to enjoy my food.
Since I felt like I cheated on some of my other fear foods I indulged in this one. Which I had mixed emotions about. While I was eating, I was happy. Like I said, we use to eat these all the time and I really enjoyed them, but after I was done eating, the thoughts of “did I eat too much” “what if I’m hungry in an hour” kicked in. I am really really looking forward to when these thoughts are gone.
served with a side of oven roasted veggies in a tomato basil pasta sauce.
I enjoyed every single bite of this meal.
Fear food #4 conquered. This one for real!
So that was my list and I am actually very proud of myself for doing them all. Oh how eager I am to please my nutritionist. Now we just have to wait and see if these foods will make re-occurring appearances on my menu.
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What are you comfort foods?
What are your fear foods?
Have you overcome any of them?