As someone that struggles with decisiveness, picking something to eat is already a daunting task. When I factor in the whole act of cooking that follows deciding what to eat, I get overwhelmed. So many options and possibilities and yet so many times I've allowed myself to sit with the feeling of hunger. Infinite choices and more often than not I choose the worst one: nothing. So this article will serve as the beginning of my creation of a new tool for those moments of decision paralysis that keep me from my next meal. I will be posting recipes that I enjoy, as well as some of the health benefits of the ingredients to help set positive intentions for the body, and create peace for the mind.
It's hard to take care of yourself when you never properly learned how to. I never really had a good example to look to when it came to balancing care for my mental, physical and spiritual health. And that's not meant to be too harsh on my parents who grew up in broken homes during a generation that had an extremely poor understanding of mental health; that balance is difficult to find and a privilege to have the opportunity to seek.
I experienced so much in my youth that pushed me to grow up so fast, leaving me with very few memories of it all. I grew up in Redondo Beach, a little beach suburb in Los Angeles, subjecting me to the powerful force that is the LA beauty standard. I had an early introduction to substances, and took a liking to them quickly. I was in middle school when social media began to brainwash me, and just a few years later, substances began to alter my mind as well. I started speeding through life, bouncing from one chaotic event to the next, never slowing down to envision a future beyond graduating from college. I think there's a part of me that never thought I would finish; something would happen that would make it impossible; I would fail. But miraculously, after a tumultuous four years, I graduated and have reached a point in my life where I've finally felt comfortable slowing down and learning how to live.
If you read last week's article, or even just the title, you know that I am struggling with an ED relapse. Like I said, I am still learning how to live. But, as promised, I will share my experience as I try to recenter and continue to heal. I cooked something that wasn't toast for the first time in like a week, using the remains of the groceries I had from my trip to the store two weeks ago. I was not very optimistic, but surprised myself with a super delicious batch of kimchi fried rice. Fried rice is an awesome meal to cook because you can use whatever vegetables and proteins you have on hand, make use of all of your leftover rice and spice up however you will enjoy it.
I started with some ingredients from the Allium (onion) family and chopped up a small white onion, a shallot and a few cloves of garlic. Onions are high in nutrients, including vitamins B, C and potassium. I also tossed in some carrots, which are high in calcium, vitamin K and vitamin A. My favorite ingredient in this photo has to be the oyster mushrooms. Mushrooms have so many health benefits, including being high in Niacin, a nutrient believed to enhance brain function and prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
I added a couple breakfast sausage patties that I crumbled up. Not the healthiest source of it, but there's some vitamin B and protein in there, not to mention it's delicious. Not everything has to be perfectly healthy, I'm just outlining some nutritional benefits to help reframe eating as a positive experience that offers benefits to your body. This is just a reminder that eating can make you feel good, even after years of suffering in your relationship with food. That relationship, like every relationship, takes work, but it's a worthy investment to invest that time and energy into yourself.
Here comes the kimchi!!This delicious, fermented, spicy cabbage is packed with probiotics, nutrients and flavor. At this point I also added my leftover rice, soy sauce, and gochujang (a Korean fermented chili paste that boosts metabolism, burns fat and adds both spicy flavor and Vitamin C to the dish). Another variation could include pineapple and yellow curry powder instead of gochujang and kimchi! (If you make that version I recommend adding cashews to the stir-fry and topping with cilantro at the end).
This is the very important fried egg step. Move all the fried rice to the sides of your wok or pan, leaving a hole in the center to crack as many eggs as you want. Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they provide all 9 amino acids that our body needs. Other nutrients include vitamin D and B12.
Once the eggs have mostly cooked through, you can scramble them into the fried rice and just leave on heat for another minute or two before serving.
Topped with furikake, more gochujang a little bit of Kewpie mayo. I always like to top whatever dish I make with a little something to add flavor. Little details and indulgences add up in building your self-worth, whereas restrictive eating has always felt like punishment, declining my self-worth each time I don't allow myself to enjoy eating.
This fried rice will hopefully be the first installment of a fun little photo-menu series, and I hope you'll join me in practicing cooking and eating intentionally. If you have any recipes that have helped you feel good when you were going through it, feel free to share them on the website Forum!