Homegrown Satisfaction

By: Rachel Schultz

As a person who is many years into eating disorder recovery, I still have a number of hang-ups around food. It is getting easier and easier to challenge eating disorder thoughts when they pop up, but they do indeed pop up on occasion. Unfortunately, there is no exception to this during a pandemic.

Thankfully for those of us in North Carolina, we are having an absolutely beautiful and mild spring. The stay-at-home order that has been in effect for many weeks does not prevent us from going outside and enjoying the sunshine. I have taken full advantage of this by spending an unusual amount of time in my garden.

I hardly have a green thumb, but I do have lots of time on my hands right now to nurture my plants, and it shows. I’ve caught myself more than once just standing and admiring the fruits of my labor. It’s so satisfying to see my hard work pay off in such a concrete way: what was once a seed is now a thriving, blossoming plant!

I’ve found my edible plants to be even more rewarding than the beautiful flowers. I enjoy harvesting them and finding recipes to use them. So far, I’ve made lemon rosemary shortbread cookies, caprese salad, mint juleps, garlic and rosemary skillet bread, basil pesto and parmesan pasta, lemon balm tea, lavender lemon bars, and spicy basil chicken. My vegetables aren’t ripe yet, but the herbs have clearly given me plenty to work with.

As I took a big bite skillet bread the other night, I noticed how many thoughts I was not having.  I wasn’t thinking “I really shouldn’t eat this,” “Alright, this is my last piece, and then I need to stop,” or “Why can’t you control yourself?” I wasn’t comparing the amount of food I’d eaten to the amount that my partner had eaten. In fact, the only critical thoughts I’d had during this meal was “I could have used a little more garlic.” The main thing I thought was simply “Yum, this is really good, and I made it from scratch!” I felt so much pride.

Experiencing food in such an uncomplicated and positive way feels so refreshing to me after years of negative self-talk around food. It gives me something to continue to strive for and reminds me that there are so many more pleasant ways to spend my time than being critical of myself—for instance, finding something to make with all of this basil!