I made this zucchini and garlic scape farro with some leftover squash ends
from zucchini blossoms.
You obviously don’t need to use these little baby squashes,
simply grate about 1 & 1/2 cups of zucchini instead.
This makes a delicious lunch for two, or a lunch and leftovers for the next day.
This is a TRIGGER WARNING
for anyone who has had experiences with an eating disorder or disordered habits.
I’ve been contemplating how to write about this for a few weeks, letting the words simmer as I find the best ways to approach the subject. I’ve always been the leader of my generation in my family. My mom is the first-born and as a result, I’m the first-born of my generation by about 9 years. The pressure has always been on both my mom and myself to be role models, to be the pillars of strength and as my mom has sturdily endured through all the storms and inclement weather, I’ve tried my best to hold up this expectation in my family.
In the last year, I have failed. And I’m coming to terms with it, I’m addressing my weaknesses and I’m working through them.
Amongst smaller failures like not doing my taxes on time or letting my cleaning habits slide a bit, the biggest failure I had was letting my emotions get the better of me. I let my emotions distract me from being productive, from being healthy, and worst of all, I let my emotions keep me from eating.
Just over a month ago, I broke off a fixture in my life and something inside me snapped. I lost control over everything and as I have recently discovered, I have issues when it comes to losing control. As a result, I turned inwards and redirected this need for control unto myself. I couldn’t control all the things happening outside of my life, but I could control my body. I could control my food intake. And I did in the worst possible way.
I just stopped eating. I would wake up in the morning and drink a glass of water, and start to work. I recently got a standing desk to break out of the sedentary lifestyle, so I felt energized about this new good habit. I would work on the computer, standing throughout the day and just not think about eating. I’d ignore the low grumble in my stomach and lavish in how flat my stomach felt without any food in it. I’d walk around, feeling slender yet hollow, drinking water anytime I felt a pang of hunger and distracted myself.
Around 3 pm each day, my body finally cried out for food and I’d reluctantly make a small meal and nibble at it, barely finishing it because I simply had no appetite. My fridge was bare yet I dreaded going to the grocery store and get surrounded by beautiful ingredients I wanted to turn into meals but had no desire to eat.
I started to notice this pattern and I knew that something was wrong. I knew I was being irresponsible and unhealthy. I’m so aware of disordered patterns and eating habits because there are so many other food bloggers out there who let their need for control take over their life. I knew if I kept going I’d only hurt myself more, yet I kept doing it.
I started to lose weight, and my family noticed:
“Did you lose weight? You look good.”
“You lost some belly! Good for you.”
I relished in the way my shirts fit be better, how my shoulders jutted out a bit more, my waist was slimmer, my legs more slender. I felt good about my body for the first time in a long time, but I knew I wasn’t doing it the right way. I felt light-headed. I felt weak. I felt like an empty shell that could barely fit into my clothes anymore because they just started to fall off. But these words of encouragement of how I was look good and making decisions for the better just made me feel like maybe it was okay.
At one point, I was feeling so incredibly foolish and stupid, I told my best friends what I was doing. They couldn’t believe if at first, knowing how much I loved food and how well I knew that this wasn’t healthy. I reassured them that I knew I should stop, but I didn’t know how. It sounds so silly. Of course I knew how, but I couldn’t do it. My friends surrounded me and coaxed me into eating at our favourite restaurants, and I really noticed how little I could stomach.
I’ve always been a hearty eater. As a food blogger, I love food. I don’t know any other way. I love the luxury of different textures and flavours, I love colours and sharing food with others. But somehow, I had such an aversion to food I could barely even eat a single cucumber avocado roll. I sat across from Janelle one night and struggled through, piece by piece until all six pieces of this measly roll was gone. It took me half an hour and I was so angry at myself for letting it get this bad. I was a mess.
I started to take pictures of the food I was eating to send to my friends.
A picture of half a banh mi sandwich — “Goal: Eat this all!”
A bowl of my miso glass noodle soup — “I didn’t finish it but I ate most of it”
Anytime I felt this pang of hunger, I knew I couldn’t eat a full meal, but I decided to find something to snack on. I worked my way though a small box of dates over the week, eating two small meals a day instead of one, and still drinking lots of water. I started to feel more energized but I didn’t want to put the weight back on, so I started to do yoga. Just a little bit a day until I got my strength back. But I could see the body I wanted and I didn’t want to lose it.
I think the thing that saved me was having my cousin here. Every year, my teenage cousin stays with me for a few weeks and I take her around Toronto, feed her my blog experiments, and just hang out. I knew I couldn’t let her see this side of me, I knew I had to set a healthy example of loving your body and taking care of yourself. When she came, I would eat a small meal along side each of her regular sized ones until my body could stomach eating regularly again. Three weeks later, she’s gone and I feel healthy again. I’ve been doing regular exercise but I’ve been eating regularly to fuel my body and let itself heal and repair the muscles I’ve built.
Now that she’s gone, I’m scared I’ll fall back into this pattern. I know I’m in control. I know what I need to do to be healthy, but there’s still this voice in the back of my head, telling me to ignore the hunger. And that scares me.
- 1 cup farro, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (I used the smaller grater)
- 4 garlic scapes, chopped finely
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- In a small pot, bring water to a rolling boil and add farro. Add a pinch of salt and cover, lowering to a simmer and let cook for 25 minutes. Stir to fluff and taste test, if you like it softer, cook for longer, if you like a bite, remove from heat and let stand.
- In a pan, cook zucchini in olive oil and let some of the liquid cook off from the zucchini, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add garlic scapes and stir to cook for another minute or two.
- Add farro, nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine and cook until extra liquid has cooked off and everything is heated through.