You’ve probably noticed the blog content has shifted a bit lately; and now I want to explain why. If you only read one thing I write this year, I hope it’s this.
I’ve had a weird past couple of months. I’ve questioned a lot of things. Is all of this what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? What do I actually enjoy? What is my purpose? What am I promoting? Who was I when this all started? And who have I become?
I, like a lot of bloggers, started this space as a passion project. I loved to write and I loved to eat, so I combined the two and made a blog about it. I didn’t start it with the hopes of it becoming a business. It just kind of…did. While that may seem ideal, the obvious end goal for anyone that starts a blog, it’s truly not. When your passion becomes your career, when your financial well being depends on the very thing that tugs at your heart strings, it will be forever changed.
In short, I feel like somewhere along the way I lost some meaning in all of this. Do I not get the same satisfaction I used to by posting a recipe? Sometimes I feel like I’m just checking off a box. I could write about my deep dark thoughts on so many different things that you’d probably love to hear my perspective on, but turning to recipes is more familiar. More calculated.
It has become somewhat routine. Like oh shit, it’s Sunday and I haven’t written any posts for the week and all I want to do is eat pancakes and not write about them.
I function, I thrive, on meaning in my work. I live my passion every day. When I don’t feel inspired, I can’t write. I won’t write. If I get home late from work and don’t feel like blogging, I don’t. That’s not inspired me and you don’t want to read words from un-inspired me. That’s who built this beautiful space and I won’t settle for less.
That doesn’t mean I’m only writing when I’m super happy. That’s not real life. For example, I feel super inspired right now but perhaps not as positive as I usually feel. I’m feeling those feelings and I’m very ok sharing them with you today.
I read in Big Magic recently about grabbing on to creativity as it comes to you. You never know when it’s coming, but you know when it hits you. It hit me hard last week and that’s what engendered this post. I was eating some ice cream when it suddenly dawned on me that I had to tell you this realization. The inspiration melted all over me and I haven’t stopped typing since.
I’m the kind of person that’s always looking for the next thing. I want to live a life of creativity, joy, anticipation, and excitement. It’s no surprise that after over five years I’m feeling a bit lost. And lost is the best way to describe how I’ve been feeling in more parts of my life than one. I need new meaning. I need to be re-inspired.
Let’s rewind for a second and reflect on the loss of purpose. I feel like 2016 was the year of hyper-focusing on healthy eating. I watched so many women fall madly and deeply in love with healthy food like I did five years ago but something was different. They took it a step too far. They went from health conscious to health obsessed. There were orthorexia red flags everywhere. People in my very profession, dietitians, people in school for nutrition, people blogging the healthy recipes you make at home, were emailing me asking for help with their eating disorders.
Who am I? What have we become? Did I fuel this problem? Are these social networks a platform for disordered eating? Do I even want to eat this way? Are we as “healthy living bloggers” perpetuating orthorexia? Is my blog fueling the fire?
Davida asked me on her podcast last week if I thought we were part of the problem, if we were perpetuating the healthy eating obsession. I replied without hesitation, “yes.”
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t visualized writing a post about the end for the blog. Is that weird? I love Hummusapien more than anything but it’s like this guilty pleasure thought of not having to deal with this health bubble I’m in anymore. Not having to keep up with Jones’ on social media, or keep up with anyone for that matter. Not having to endure the daily scroll through three billion perfectly arranged smoothie bowls with a quarter of a crushed granola bar and a weirdly perfect fanned strawberry. I feel a lot of pressure. I feel it every day. I feel that it has changed me, and maybe you, in some of the best ways and maybe even a couple of the worst.
I’m not trying to blame anyone’s eating disorder on myself or you or someone else. There’s no blame to be had here. It’s a devastating disease. These issues are complicated are multi-faceted. I know we all started healthy living blogs with the best intentions to inspire everyone around us.
We loved food and wanted to personify our passions. Now some the people that started back when I did sometimes feel…over it. Maybe we don’t want to be called “food bloggers.” We have things in our lives we actually care about way more than what we’re having for lunch. We have all evolved. It’s a natural part of life. I’m not who I was in college and I’m not now who I will be in ten years. The content on our blogs and social media is starting to shift. We may have contributed to an epidemic of obsessive healthy eating, but we sure as hell aren’t going to watch it crash and burn.
You know when you’re younger and you see a famous person on a magazine cover and think, “Wow, she’s so pretty!” Nothing less, nothing more. There’s no judgement, bitterness or jealousy. It’s like a toddler eating his or her lunch and simply stopping when he or she is full. It’s easy and intuitive and not riddled with anxiety and decisions. That’s how the blog and social media world used to be to me.
It was all very innocent. I was just posting recipes that less than a hundred people read. I was just excited about eating plants and preventing disease. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into—the good or the bad. It’s funny looking back to 2013 when I wrote Life Lessons: On Beer and Kale, in 2014 when I wrote On Being Too Healthy, and later that year when I wrote On Being Human. The spark was always inside me, but I feel like I couldn’t eloquently express what I was trying to say to everyone until now.
Years passed, views increased, and all the while I started noticing how many people were suffering from the obsession that we as bloggers and influencers accidentally helped proliferate. I watched the people behind large accounts unfold their stories with disordered eating. From the outside, I’m sure I seemed totally health obsessed, too.
Now I’m watching as young girls, young me’s and young you’s, turn their passion for health into an obsession. Into an illness. Into a third cup of oats with PB2 on top for breakfast and toast for lunch. They can’t remember what hunger feels like because everything is a number. How did we get here? Are we, am I, part of the problem? And more importantly, how can we all contribute to the solution?
“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow, if we let them. And we help them in return. Well I don’t know if I believe that’s true, but I know I’m who I am today because I knew you.”
As I wrote this I was listening to my favorite Wicked songs “For Good” and “Defying Gravity” and I felt like I was listening to my brain sing its thoughts. “Something has changed within me. Something is not the same. I’m through playing by the rules of someone else’s game. It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap.”
I really feel like you all and this blog came into my life for a reason. I know I’ve grown in wild and wonderful ways because of it. It has taught me, it has changed me, so much. Hell, it’s a gigantic part of who I am. “Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? I do believe that I’ve been changed for the better.”
I said it before and I’ll say it again: I know we all had the best intentions. We still do. But I recognize the positive and negative influence we’ve had, the intentional and the accidental. So I’m here to be part of the solution. I’ve found newfound meaning in working with people that are struggling with the issues I keep talking about. I’m here to undo any unintentional damage that was done, on behalf of this entire community. On behalf of the tens of thousands of credentialed health professionals and self-identified health “experts” who have no idea they’ve done anything wrong by posting little salads with dressing on the side, we are sorry. We are sorry if we painted an unrealistic picture of unattainable, unhealthy health.
For the times you thought lunch meant kale salads and breakfast meant lean green smoothies. For the times you thought you didn’t deserve dessert. For the times you felt proud for going to bed hungry. For the times you thought, “she ate that, so I should, too.” I’m here to undo it. We’re here to undo it.
I want to prove that anyone and everyone can find so much joy in eating, plant-based or not. And for the record, I do not believe that plant-based diets have to be restricting if it’s for the right reasons. More on that in another post. Even though I never suffered personally from an eating disorder, immersing myself in intuitive eating education (thanks Kylie and Robyn!) and working with clients who are struggling has unleashed in me this invigorating new sense of purpose, passion and freedom. It’s that inspiration you can physically feel. When I don’t feel like working out, I don’t. And I don’t think twice about it. When I want ice cream or donuts, I eat what I want and I stop when I’m satisfied. Everyone deserves to know how incredible that feels.
I feel like I was lost and now I’m found. I finally feel at peace.
Let’s make 2017 our year. Let’s make the over-obsession with healthy eating uncool. This is the year of self love, of joy, of confidence. Of donuts.
“Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
* * *
Photography: Photo 243