I got an email this week with the subject line, "Orthorexia."
I stared at the word for a while before I opened it, just kind of thinking. I glanced at the "from" line and my mind reverted back to that lively red-headed girl that bounced into Alchemy a couple years ago. I vividly remembered her enthusiasm and innocence and hunger for so much more than I knew then.
My heart felt heavy and I considered not opening it. I knew what it would say but I didn't want it to be real yet. It was one of several in my inbox from young (and old) women giving life and validity to their past and present.
I was surprised and not surprised. I knew I had an issue, but I could never put a name to it. I didn't make myself throw up, and I didn't eat 500 calories a day. Then, [the doctor] began describing the symptoms of an eating disorder. I think that's when I began crying and simultaneously laughing at the obviousness of what I had. Constantly cold, losing hair, no periods, writing down food plans, reading cook books constantly, baking for others but not eating what I made.
I read emails like this slowly, drinking every word like strong coffee. I breathe deeply and wonder how I ended up here, reading these emails about not getting periods. And how you ended up here, writing them.
I know my love for food, nutrition, and writing comes from this inner craving to help people. To make a real impact. To have a purpose rooted in integrity. And in 2017, I came back to those roots hard. Before then, I too was a little lost.
I grew more this year than any other year in my life. But not in the ways you might expect. When I say "I grew," I mean me. Sometimes we forget the difference. This isn't my business talking.
I worked on my soul this year. I drank coffee at least 355 out of 365 days. I bought a house. I ate more cheese. I drank more wine. I listened. I surrounded myself with the kind of people who'd think to ask me how I'm doing on a Tuesday and who didn't make me feel like the better friend. I planned less. I slept in more. I hurt my back. I visited the mountains. I posted Instagram stories in my glasses without a bra on. I helped build Alchemy 2's menu around good food for all people. I debated giving up social media and asked myself what I wanted to do with my life.
And if you're wondering, yes, Hummusapien did well in 2017. In fact, in was the best year yet. I'm insanely grateful that what started as a diary of poorly photographed recipes back in 2011 is now a six figure business.
So what's planned for 2018? I'm not entirely sure.
I know that I will be changing nothing about my diet in January. It will be caffeinated and not overly green and not underly sweet. It will be equal parts salads and smoothies and donuts and pizza. It will taste and feel yummy, like every other month. Because it's just another month.
Other than Alchemy 2, I don't know what else is on deck. I kind of like that uncertainty for a change. I have no goals set for 2018. I don't want to control it. I want to just be.
I started Hummusapien six and a half years ago because I love to write. So if and when blogs become uncool and I have to become a You Tuber or recipe video producer to remain relevant, I can assure you that I won't. I'm already noticing Instagram taking precedence over the blog when it comes to working with brands and as great as Insta can be, it's not my home and not where I want to spend all my time.
I'm at an interesting place. I feel so much peace from using this space as a platform for change, for encouraging others to rethink "healthy eating" and diet culture and micromanaging body size. I'm glad I can share my past as a lesson for your future. I want to make you feel cozy in your own skin and at home in this space. I want to share gingerbread with you and feel confident that you'll leave with a full heart and a happy belly.
I hope your relationship with food continues to blossom as you do---as we do. I hope you know that behind every confident, intuitive human there's struggle, anxiety, and doubt. I hope you remember that in a digital age where comparison is most certainly capable of robbing joy at every corner, you're doing just fine. I hope you're intentional about the people you spend the most time with this year and that they make you better.
But most of all, I hope that in 2018 you strive to progress and stray from perfection. Sending hugs and best wishes in the New Year!