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.
Zucchini and Garlic Scape Farro
- 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.
Thank you for sharing this recipe and your story. Please care for yourself. There is only ONE YOU! :) Happy thoughts sent your way.
My sister and myself went through what you described at different times. My sister got so ill and was in the hospital for a long time. My Mother had to spoon feed her for months.
Again….. PLEASE care about/for yourself.
Lisa Le says
I’m so sorry you and your sister went through that. I’m definitely healing and healthier than I was a month ago. I have the unshakeable support from friends and loved ones, and wonderful readers like you. Thank you for commenting. <3
Holly Waterfall says
Lisa!! so many hugs. girl, you know I’ve been there. I used food, or the lack there of, as a form of control for so many years. yet when it came down to it, i wasn’t in control at all… food was.
I’m so proud of you for realizing this is an issue for you – i just hope that you’re able to stay on the healthy path now that your cousin has left. just know that i’m here – all day every day. let me know if you need anything or feel yourself slip. you got this, Lisa. you are strong. Thank you for sharing your story. xoxoxo
Lisa Le says
Thank you, Holly <3 I'll be going through and reading your older posts for when I need some inspiration for finding strength. Thank you for being there and thank you for reading.
Bless your heart! You poor thing! =( I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food for years and it’s led me to weigh 100 lbs more than I did in high school. I had several friends in school with problems with bulimia, anorexia, and binging. People sometimes try to act like they have the solution to everyone else’s problems. Good luck dear! I wish you well.
Lisa Le says
Thank you, Beverly. I hope you continue to find the strength to be healthy and do what you need to be happy and love yourself.
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
Oh Lisa I’m so happy you shared this, so brave and so relatable! I have had so many of those same thoughts and habits myself, it just creeps up on you disguised as something good, as amazing will power. I’m so happy for you that you realized it so quickly and are working to make changes! Breaking the habits can be so hard, I’m working on that myself. I admire you so much for being so honest with yourself and all of us, you can keep up the good habits by yourself I know it! Best of luck to you <3 Natalie
Lisa Le says
Thank you for your support, Natalie. It makes me so sad that anyone ever goes through this. It’s such an isolating feeling, and it’s so conflicting in this day an age where weight loss and self-control with food is so highly regarded.
I think one of the things that makes psychological issues so scary is that, from the outside, they seem so irrational that it’s easy to tell yourself that it would never happen to you because you know better. And then suddenly you realize that it *has* happened to you. Maybe it snuck up on you, or maybe you saw it coming but still couldn’t stop it, but either way, it’s a sobering realization. Gives you a whole new appreciation for other people’s struggles, though. I’m sorry that you’re going through this, but I’m glad to hear that you can see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, and I wish you luck and strength in continuing to reach for it.
Lisa Le says
That is so, so, so true. That’s exactly how I felt. Thanks Brenda. It definitely has shed light on what my friends have gone through with their own EDs, and how important it is to be aware of what you say to other people about their appearance.
Katie @ Produce On Parade says
Sending you massive hugs from up North! You are such a strong and lovely lady. It’s hard when we feel out of control, taking the opportunity to rigidly control any other part of our lives that we possibly can. What else can we control besides what is put into our bodies? Even that is questionable though (I frequently get shamed for not eating breakfast or having just a banana for lunch…). I know you’ll pull through this. It won’t be immediate and it won’t be easy, but of course you know that. Take solace in knowing that you are a wonderful person and stronger than you realize. Lots of love and I’m always here to talk! <3
Lisa Le says
Thanks Katie <3
Lisa, you are one of the bravest bloggers on the web. Your honesty is forever appreciated.
As someone who dealt with an eating disorder for years, I know what you are feeling. Friends are important. Listening to yourself is important. Pushing every day is important. You will find your way. I am sure.
Lisa Le says
Thanks Taylor <3
Sarah | Well and Full says
Thank you for sharing your story so candidly with us. I’m sending you all the love that can possibly sent virtually through a comment <3 I don't know all that much about disordered eating, and I don't want to offer any advice that would be well-intentioned but potentially detrimental. So I'm just sending a huge hug your way <3 <3
Lisa Le says
Thanks again for reading, Sarah. Hugs right back atcha <3