. food with feeling .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on October 8, 2012

Hi friends, happy Monday! And happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! :D

Between yesterday’s turkey dinner, and another on the agenda for tonight, I think I’ll be digesting turkey and roast potatoes for the next week and a half. Yesssss, it’s definitely been a good one. And I’m happy to report that my stomach hasn’t lost it’s ability to always find extra room for dessert. It seems like no matter how full I am after dinner, show me a piece of cake and my stomach will find somewhere to put it…

Mom’s buttery plum cake.

I have to say that one of the things I love most about going over to my parents’ place for the holidays is the delicious smell that hits my nose as soon as I walk through the door. Not only does it make my mouth water in anticipation for the meal ahead, but an immediate warmth washes over me as my mind becomes flooded with memories of holidays past.

There’s no denying that food is a huge part of the holidays. Could you imagine Thanksgiving without a turkey dinner? Halloween without the candy? Christmas without the cookies? I couldn’t. I mean sure, there’s a whole lot more to the holidays than wearing stretchy pants and stuffing your face with delicious food, but take away the food and you take away some of the good feelings and memories as well – at least from my own personal experience.

Holidays were an absolute nightmare for me when I was in the depths of my ED. Between constantly trying to come up with clever ways to avoid eating, compulsively burning of what little I did eat, and bitterly watching everyone around me enjoy the abundance of good food, the only part of holidays I enjoyed was their end. Not surprisingly, my memories from those events are less than great, and I’m pretty sure that anyone who’s had to face the holidays with an ED, or even when trying to adhere to a diet, would say the same thing.

Whether we like it or not, it’s impossible to sever emotion from food. We use it to celebrate…

… we use it to show our love…

Mom requested that I bring over a batch of my fig and date oatmeal bars and I was more than happy to oblige – there’s nothing I love more than seeing my loved ones enjoy something that I made for them.

… and we form many of our memories around it. Just think about how the thought or scent of certain foods can send waves of nostalgia over you and create a picture in your mind that’s clearer than any photograph… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… food is marvelous; it’s one of life’s simple pleasure that we should never deny ourselves.

. – . – . – .

What are some foods that evoke strong feelings and memories for you?
Have you ever had your holidays ruined because of issues related to food? 

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lisa fine October 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Happy Thanksgiving! Sounds like you’ve had a really festive and healthy holiday.

Lots of my mom’s cooking evokes strong emotions for me. We always eat lots of traditional Jewish foods for the holidays, so the smells of kasha varnishkes (roasted buckwheat with bowtie noodles), brisket, kugel (noodle pudding), and challah bread all make me feel warm and homey.

On another note, thanks for the suggestion to read “My Name is Asher Lev”. I started it this weekend, and love it.

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2 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Glad you like it! It’s one of my favorites :)

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3 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles October 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Ugh, holidays when I had my ED were the absolute worst. I’d spend the weekend before the event stressing out, I’d try to minimize my intake during the actual event, and then I’d spend weeks afterwards eating even less to “make up” for my “indulgences”. That is NOT how a holiday is supposed to be!

I ate a lot over the weekend – including tons of dessert. But you know what? It was delicious and I don’t regret a thing. Holidays definitely revolve around food/the big meal, so why not just enjoy it?
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4 kris October 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Happy Thanksgiving!!! that smell you were describing, the one that hits your nose when you walk through the doors is one of the smells i associate with the beginning of the holidays. pure bliss : ) I’m glad to see you had a great holiday!!
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5 Miss Polkadot October 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Happ Thanksgiving, Amanda!

The meals and foods that evoke the strongest emotions for me are those I used to enjoy during my childhood. Even if they were simply foods – why have I been craving my mum’s in-a-hurry dish of curry rice mixed with cream cheese and peas lately? – they gave me greatest comfort.

My most hostile feelings towards food are linked to the things I used to live off during the worst periods of my ED.

Oh, the holidays … I can’t remember the last time I fully enjoyed Christmas but I strongly intend to let myself enjoy it this year. At least one of the three days of celebration – I want to finally enjoy m Grandma’s special cookies again. Who knows how much more often I’ll get the change to have them?
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6 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I’m going to hold you to that ;) Christmas is too beautiful a time to be making yourself unhappy because of food… especially when Grandma’s cookies are involved!

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7 Miss Polkadot October 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

Definitely do so :). I think it’s easier to follow through with your intentions if telling somebody about it who makes you feel accountable. Aaaah, looking forward to those cookies already now!
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8 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate October 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Swooning over that turkey! It’s my favorite part of the meal :)
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9 Aimee October 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Hope you had a great holiday! I love holiday time – especially Thanksgiving and Christmas at my parent’s house. My mom loves to decorate the house and cook our holiday favorites. I used to dread the holidays when I was suffering with Ed but now absolutely love them and only wish I could go back to all those holidays I missed out on. Some of my favorite holiday treats: mom’s pumpkin bread, roast turkey at thanksgiving.

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10 Tessa @ Amazing Asset October 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Yay for such a nice Thanksgiving, all of the food looks stunning… that cake your mom contributed, oh my word :) Holidays still are a bit tough for me to be honest, mostly because I feel like everyone is watching me.. to make sure I am indeed eating. Or they are making sure they are cooking something that “Tessa” feels okay to eat. I know that is coming from a very nice and loving place, but I still don’t want the attention put on me and my effed up eating past on holidays!
It’s gotten better each year though, and I am looking forward to the upcoming family times :)
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11 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 8, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Yeah I hated it when people would kind of single me out because of my past ED behaviors, but I think the best thing to do at that point is just shrug it off and not give any attention to it yourself. If others see you acting at ease, they’ll become more at ease as well.

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12 Alexandra October 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm

WHOA that plum cake and turkey look AWESOME! So glad your holiday was wonderful, Amanda!!
Man, you’re making me wish it was Thanksgiving here already!!!! I just love the atmosphere of family, good food, football and memories that comes along with the holiday :)
I used to be the exact same as you around the holidays during the depths of my ED– it just sucked. Almost like the ED was making me an insanely selfish person that just cared about myself/my food intake rather than enjoying the company of loved ones and happiness. It’s safe to say that b*tch ain’t invited this year!!!! :D
Have a wonderful night my friend!
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13 lindsay October 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm

food is love! we should focus on the the smells, the family, the love that it brings. It’s a whole new kind of nourishment, ya know?
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14 Irina @ Chocolatea Time October 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Happy Thanksgiving!!! I totally forgot that it was Thanksgiving in Canada, but I think I subconsciously knew because I ate stuffing and butternut squash soup. All your food looks so delicious (as usual)! Buttery plum cake? Umm recipe time! On a more serious note, food really does form strong connections to our past and present. I know a lot of Russian dishes and common spices/herbs (dill was a biggie) elicited very strong emotions in me – the more I missed Russia the stronger the memories came on! I think that’s what makes food so special. It has a magical way of connecting us to our past and truly keeping us whole.
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15 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 9, 2012 at 8:32 am

Polish dishes have the same effect on me :) It would honestly be hard to imagine holidays without traditional food… they just wouldn’t feel the same!

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16 Nicole October 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Girl, that plum cake reminded me that you and I share Polish blood :D Love it. My mom makes one just like that! And I know what you mean, that holidays are so much more than *just* the food. But thanks to EDs, when you suffer with one, it becomes SOLELY about the food — how much to eat, what to avoid, when to eat, grappling with fitting exercise into a schedule that’s supposed to be filled with relaxation and family…. it’s so sad. Definitely not worth living like that again! Once was enough!

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17 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I swear, Polish desserts make me happy like nothing else… even though they usually don’t even involve chocolate. My mom makes this crazy ‘sharlotka’ that makes me weak in the knees. Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? I die…

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18 Nicole October 8, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Ahhh, yes, szarlotki!!! If you’ve been to Poland though, I’m sure you’d agree that somehow the same recipes taste better there ;) Jeez, even the candies and chocolates do! We import those during the holidays as much as we can since we don’t have any Polish stores around.

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19 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

Yeah they definitely taste a whole lot better over there. But we’re lucky to actually have a few Polish stores around here, so we get all the desserts and baking supplies… not the same, but at least a little bit closer :D

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20 Ellie@Fit for the Soul October 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm

yayyy what a joy to see you (and many other people) being able to actually enjoy the holidays, enjoy the family company, enjoy the good eats….I’m so glad you had a blast! :D And omgness….would your mom want to share the plum recipe?! haha, I’ve never tried that but it looks crazy. in a yummy way.
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21 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I’ll definitely ask her about it! It’s an old Polish recipe, so some of the measurements are a bit strange and require a food scale, but I can do my best to convert them.

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22 Lisa October 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Happy Thanksgiving love! It sounds like you had an absolutely awesome time with the family!
I definitely relate to the anxiety I faced around holiday times, I created so much stress that I could actually make myself sick because I just got so anxious about it. I’m glad those times have for the most part passed and that I can eat with my family without worrying about the fact that its the “wrong time”. There are only a few holidays during the year we can surround ourselves with family and good food, so we should celebrate that!
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23 Sara @ Nourish and Flourish October 8, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing a peek of your holiday with us; I really enjoy learning about other families’ traditions. :) The nerd in me is going to come out with this question, but what does a typical Canadian Thanksgiving look like? Besides the turkey, I’m curious if the other “traditional” foods are the same as those we enjoy in the U.S.? (Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin pie seem to be the essentials, then every family has unique traditions as well). :) Your mom’s plum cake looks delicious, as do your fig and date oatmeal bars! I’ll be checking out that recipe once I’m finished babbling here. ;)

No food warms my soul more than my grandma’s apple pie. It’s just the best. I’m so grateful that she taught me her crust secrets, because even though she’s no longer with us during the holidays, her memory lives on through that pie. I wish I could say I do it as well as she did, but it’s a work in progress, and it seems like my attempts get a little better each year.

Thanksgiving and Christmas have been my two favorite holidays for as long as I can remember. I love the warmth that being around friends and family provides; I love the traditions; I love the aromas; and I most definitely LOVE the food. It makes me sad to think about the tremendous anxiety I used to feel on those days, but I’m so grateful that I’m now able to enjoy those special traditions again, guilt free. :)
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24 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 9, 2012 at 9:17 am

To be honest, I really have no idea what typical Canadian Thanksgiving looks like because my family usually ends up eating more traditional Polish foods around the holidays than anything else. I do know that mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin are all pretty standard around here too, though.

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25 Laura Agar Wilson (@keephealthstyle) October 9, 2012 at 12:53 am

Happy thanksgiving! I really could not agree more with you on this. Food is not just fuel but its a pleasure in this life that should be enjoyed! In fact I believe that it feeds your soul as well as your body. Its just about finding a balance that works for people as individuals. I can’t wait for gingerbread at Christmas – oh and lots of cheese. I missed that last year when I was vegan and I can’t wait to have a more food abundant christmas this year!

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26 Natasha October 9, 2012 at 2:38 am

I totally agree that holidays were the worst when I was in my ED – everyone knew I had an issue, but nobody said anything, but I allowed myself to eat to appease my family members!
Last Christmas I was sooo hungry on Christmas and the days leading up to it – literally eating next to nothing all day and feeling faint and angry, and then after a few days I had like a massive breakdown and ate a whole bunch of cookies and treats and felt so sick because I had deprived myself of food for so many days. It definitely made the Holiday season less about love and family, and more about food and thinness, which is just wrong.

This year will be different – I plan on embracing the holiday season and enjoying myself with treats! Obviously within reason, though. There is no reason to avoid ALL holiday food, but there is also no reason to stuff myself silly!

PS the plum dessert thing looks amazing!!!!!
xoxo
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27 Khushboo October 9, 2012 at 2:40 am

This post makes me want to eat my screen…so much deliciousness! Suddenly the chicken & peanut butter sweet potatoes I am currently eating don’t seem as exciting! I totally know what you mean food issues ruining the holidays! It kills me to think the amount of times I used to get anxious about what I would eat or how I’d be able to justify eating so many calories in one sitting. Food alone, i can’t believe how focused I was on food- I mean I still love (and thoroughly enjoy) holiday food (or any kind for that matter) but there is more to life than just eating such as basking in the company of friends & family.
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28 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

After all the turkey and desserts I’ve eaten over the weekend, chicken and [almond] butter sweet potatoes are actually sounding pretty darn good…

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29 Katie October 9, 2012 at 5:53 am

Hi love!

All the food looks marvelous, YUM! I am so happy you had a great thanksgiving!

Pasta, spaghetti specifically, will always remind me of my mom! Growing up we always had pasta Sundays in our house!
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30 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 9, 2012 at 6:26 am

I’m glad you had a good Thanksgiving! It looks like you enjoyed lots of good food. :D I agree that the food is a huge part of the holidays for me too. But I definitely had a tough time with it during my ED. I tried to limit my “indulging” to only one day, so I would never allow myself to enjoy the Christmas cookies my mom baked during the week before Christmas or the leftover pumpkin pie after. It really took away from the joy of the holidays!
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31 Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness October 9, 2012 at 7:34 am

Great post! I’m so happy to hear you were able to enjoy yourself this Thanksgiving and not get hung up on fears over food! Everything looks so delicious and sounds like you had a truly marvelous time!
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32 Shannon October 9, 2012 at 7:38 am

The holidays have been one of the things I love most about recovery! During recovery and during the illness they were the worst. A time of fights and over emotionalness on my part and my family. But now we enjoy it! We enjoy the food, but it is really about so much more. There is nothing like the smell of Thanksgiving dinner, but there is also nothing like going out for a movie on Christmas and spending time away from the food and kitchen!
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33 Danielle October 9, 2012 at 8:40 am

OMG that turkey looks delicious! I can remember Christmas 2 years ago vividly. It was my FIRST christmas dinner I actually enjoyed and didn’t feel guilty about. It was such a relieve to finally enjoy my food without feeling like crap. I’m so glad you enjoyed thanksgiving!
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34 Missy October 9, 2012 at 9:44 am

my mom’s spinach casserole is just….it’s like momma love in a dish. i love it so much. yet – I have not been able to eat it for many years. i am afraid I will binge on it — and i have before so it’s no stretch. i feel that this year i will be in a better place so that I can eat the food “with” emotion — and yet not emotionally eat. if that makes sense.

food HAS to be emotional. it just is….but it’s bad when the food is causing you emotional discomfort. then emotional eating is in control.
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35 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie October 9, 2012 at 11:14 am

This post is making me excited for Thanksgiving…and it’s still over a month away! The holiday season has definitely been a struggle for me in years past. I think my biggest struggle was trying to ignore the judgement I felt
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36 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie October 9, 2012 at 11:17 am

This post is making me excited for Thanksgiving…and it’s still over a month away! The holiday season has definitely been a struggle for me in years past. I think my biggest struggle was trying to ignore the judgement I felt others were putting on me. One Thanksgiving my grandpa and his friend visited us and it was my first holiday season in recovery. His friend was so focused on food and body issues and I felt incredibly uncomfortable during the entire visit because I felt so judged and I was just trying to discover what normal eating was again. Thankfully I feel much better about the upcoming holidays this year and I’m trying not to focus too much on the food while also not totally ignoring it!
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37 Kat October 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

HAPPY TURKEY DAY MY LOVE :)
Yes holidays and food are still a struggle at times for me, simply because my family does NOT eat healthy, so if I want healthy options I need to bring my own. And its not that I dont want to eat the food they provide, because I do, I just have to pick and chose. Like eat good at dinner, so fo dessert I can have that huge piece of cake Im wanting. I try NOT to focus on the food, and to focus on family and the blessings we have, but when my tummy is full and Im sitting there, that ED demon def starts to kick in. Sometimes I can beat it back and other times I cant. Either way though, Im ALWAYS excited about the holidays. I wont let the ED take THAT away from me!
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38 HollieisFueledByLOLZ October 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Seriously-I saw the first picture on my blog reader and I was like oh my stars that looks so good! I try to not focus on food as much at holiday’s but it’s normally pretty difficult!
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39 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile October 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Your Thanksgiving food looks absolutely delicious! I’m glad you had a great time with your family :D I usually enjoy everything on the holidays. It is definitely a time to be celebrated and to have a few glasses of wine with some amazing food ;)
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40 Jemma October 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

Hope you had a lovely thanks giving! I think this post is spot on! Food should be enjoyed and savored as well as being a necessity if life. I’m all about full fat these days too, so much more enjoyable. :)

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