I can't sit still.
My mind is racing.
My palms are sweaty and gross.
I'm short of breath.
My hands are getting shakier by the second.
I'm eating red meat today for the first time is years (my culinary buddies should be proud!).
I haven't always been a vegetarian. I grew up on a meat n' potatoes diet. Shortly after starting culinary school, however, I became much better educated on the inhumane ways animals are raised to keep up with the massive demands for meat. It's disgusting. One of my classmates played a video in class and I remember actually crying... Ha! The very next day I was a vegetarian.
Looking back now, I can see that eliminating an entire food group at the beginning of culinary school probably wasn't the smartest decision I've ever made. I was cutting myself short of the experience at hand. At the time, my brain had become so twisted that I didn't even realize that it was eating disorder related. But, as I'm regaining health and my brain is actually functioning again, I realize that eliminating meat was one of many things that my eating disorder took from my life. It was one less thing I had to worry about eating.
Since starting treatment in Toledo, I have been challenged multiple times a day with some pretty crazy foods. After graduating culinary school, I was completely disgusted with the food selection here. The food snob in me was down right pissed. Everything I have eaten here comes out of a box. I'm eating frozen meals, pizza rolls, Little Debbie's, candy bars, chips, ice cream, pop tarts, you name it. Everything is processed, overloaded with salt, or drenched in high fructose corn syrup. I don't even consider most of this stuff real food for goodness sakes!
I have slowly been able to reintroduce chicken back into my diet over the past few weeks and I have found that I actually kind of enjoy it. Every time I sit down to another meal, I am faced with an opportunity. I can choose to face my fears and actually enjoy food again or run from it and rely on anti-anxiety meds to get me through... Like I did the first time I had to eat zebra cakes! :)
As simple as it might sound, each spoonful of food is a mini victory for me. I'm doing things every single day that I had lost hope in. They have even given me a packet of Nerds for breakfast and I survived!
Today is a big and scary day for me - I'm facing my fear of red meat. I have come such a long way, so why stop now? I'm excited to regain one more (simple, yet delicious) thing my eating disorder has taken from me. I can already hear my culinary buddies cheering me on and giving me a warm welcome back to the "Dark Side."