July 3, 2018: I've been struggling since then with a decision. Should I, or should I not keep my health journey private. Typically I put my cards on the table but this has been different. I grow, cook and teach other people about food for a living. Have you ever heard the saying, "Never trust a skinny cook"? This has been on my mind.
A bit of background is helpful here. I have struggled most of my life with my weight. I've always loved food. Exercise, not so much. Between 1995 and 2000 were the healthiest years of my adult life. I was recently married and pre-babies. I was working in the restaurant industry, but wasn't working super late nights. I was starting to garden and life was pretty fun. Fast forward 20 years and an easy 100 pounds later: I knew I needed to make some changes.
Looking back its easy to see how I stacked the deck against myself (sorry for taking this card analogy all the way). I bought a restaurant in 2001, promptly required major back surgery and followed that up with two beautiful babies in three years. The baby weight never left and the rigors of restaurant and bar life took hold. It was rare that I ate dinner before 10 p.m., I never went to be prior to 2 a.m. and those babies, well let's just say that I rarely slept more that 5-6 hours. My husband also worked in the industry and we found our struggles multiplied by two. Oh, and the stress. For those of you who haven't worked in the hospitality industry and skip Gordon Ramsay on TV, restaurant work is stressful. Kitchen folk work hard and play hard. All these pieces came together for me in a nasty way.
Over the years I'd tried just about every diet out there with little success. I sold my restaurant in March of 2018 and after a few months of decompressing and enjoying circadian rhythms, I was ready to get to the root of the problem: Why was my relationship with food so toxic? I certainly had the technical skills to create healthy dishes that didn't skimp on the delish. Yet, I didn't. So I started a journey last summer. I spent almost 8 months in a medically supervised weight-loss program in preparation for gastric bypass surgery. Yes, I know. That's pretty drastic. What I learned over the course of eight months was that I needed to do a ton of "mind work" about food. (If you need resources on this topic- drop me a line as I've got mad suggestions.)
That work has been done and I finally felt prepared for surgery at the end of February. I'm pleased that I decided to add this powerful tool to my arsenal. I'm having great success with my weight goals, but the best part is that I can love food in a healthy way again. I was truly conflicted about ditching the livelihood that has been so good to me & felt as though I'd be some sort of culinary Judas. Not so. I'm striking a balance.
Why am I sharing all this? First, I think many of us battle issues with food and I wanted to be transparent about my own challenges. Food addiction is a crazy thing. No other addicts in the world HAVE to indulge in their obsession to live, except those with food addictions. Everyone has to eat to live and this makes a food struggle unique.
I also want to be clear that I'm much more cognizant of nutritional value than I have ever been. Always a proponent of whole foods and growing what we eat, I will present a subtle shift in my work that stresses health. I often share Pro Tips with my recipes and you will start to see some Bari Life Hacks for those on a @bariatricjourney. I pinkie-promise that every recipe I share will still be a triumph.
For those who use my Private Cheffing, I will be working with clients to address and accommodate dietary challenges. Collaborating with your doctors, allergists, trainers and homeopathic consultants is becoming a focus. More on those home services will be added in the upcoming days.
#privatechefindy #gethealthy #eatfreshcookfresh
Elizabeth Morse cooks professionally, is an Advanced Master Gardener and lover of all things local.