I had an epiphany last week while preparing dinner for my husband and me. As you may or may not know, I have been in recovery for disordered eating and exercise bulimia for several years. Obesity runs in my family, and it is something I have struggled with since I was about 17 years old to varying degrees. As a result, I have a difficult relationship with food and what healthy eating looks like. As I have worked on healing this relationship, I discovered Intuitive Eating and Health and Every Size, which has helped me immensely. For years, I have known that eating is an act of love and that meals should be prepared lovingly in an almost ceremonial way. This perspective is also rooted in Ayurveda. However, I never really took the time to explore that for myself in-depth. Of course, I enjoy eating sometimes, and I enjoy cooking. My husband and I are excellent cooks, but there is a difference between cooking and preparing a meal with love.
Last week my husband suggested that we try making Chicken Wonton Soup. Looking to mix things up, I agreed. We found a recipe online, acquired the necessary ingredients, and I was looking forward to giving it a whirl. I had not previously done anything quite so bold before in the realm of Asian cuisine. Wonton wrappers? Freshly grated ginger? Oyster Sauce? White pepper powder? Some of these ingredients were new to me.
As I started making the chicken wontons, I realized how much love I felt during this process. Although somewhat tedious, I was thrilled by the process of creating this meal. It was, dare I say, fun to make. I found myself so grateful that I had the skills to figure it out and the ability to make this beautiful dinner for us. My husband took over when it came to browning the wontons (our choice) and making the soup, and that was a wonderful bonding experience. We often cook together, but this meal felt like a more intentional as we created dinner. The whole meal was surrounded by love. It was awesome. I realized that this is what people mean when they say eating should be an act of love, from start to finish. The remainder of the meal was just delightful, and it came together seamlessly. I recognize that this is not the norm for every meal, and some meals will be thrown together with leftovers or takeout, and that is okay as well, but it is essential to connect with the act of eating in this way. With so much craziness and frightening news these days, it was nice to have this cooking adventure, which seemed to suspend the insanity of 2020.
Moving forward, this is an integral part of my healing journey with food. It’s no longer about weight, but rather how I feel and really taking the time to listen to my body and feed it lovingly.
For those interested in the recipe, you can find it here. We did make adjustments to the recipe based on personal preference, such as cooking the wonton stuffing first to brown the meat. We browned the wontons and ate them mostly on the side with the soup. However, we did put some through the soup as well. Both ways were delicious. Also, we loaded the soup with more veggies because why not? We added carrots, onion, broccoli, and snap peas. Oh, and we added a little jasmine rice to the soup as well. We are definitely looking forward to making it again.
Do you have experience with eating as an act of love that you would like to share? Please comment below.
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