Kathryn’s Story

I love food. The aroma of fresh basil. The sweet tang of a Meyer lemon. The frenetic beauty of a morning at the farmer’s market. Food is about nourishment, connection and enjoyment. As passionate as I am about the art of cuisine, my relationship with food has not always been so simple. For much of my life, I turned to food as a comfort. I would consume potato chips or ice cream or pizza (my ‘discomfort foods’) as a way to mask whatever painful feelings I held about events and circumstances in my life. It was my best friend and my worst enemy, because the solace I found in those foods was short-lived. The tastes would fade, but the feelings – and the harmful results of weight gain and poor body image – would remain. Over the years, I would fall in and out of infatuation with various deprivation diets, but never enjoyed long-term success.

Sadly, it would take a devastating family event to finally force me to come face to face with my own distorted beliefs about food. A few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For those of you who have lived through a similar circumstance, I am sure you will understand when I say it is difficult to express that time in words. But as painful as it was, I was also given an extraordinary gift. I took a sabbatical from my career and assumed the role of caretaker, supporting my parents and taking over the responsibilities of food shopping, meal planning, and cooking. Throughout my life, my mother shared with me her love of food and her belief that cooking for others is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. During the last few months of her life, I finally understood the truth of what she had shared with me so many times. When she could no longer cook for herself I assumed her place in our family kitchen, creating meals that offered some comfort and enjoyment for her – and for me, a way to express my unending gratitude for a lifetime of love and friendship.

brussle sproutWith that valuable lesson and the help of a professional food coach, I was able to address the myriad issues surrounding my relationship with food. I realized that my principal aim in dieting had long been to present an improved outer image to others, but had little to do with taking care of myself. I understood that health – and healthy eating – is a pursuit that deserves my best efforts on a daily basis. And I began to seek out healthy, flavorful recipes, relishing the discovery of new tastes and ingredients that I found truly enjoyable.

After years of seeing a diet as something to “go on and off,” I had finally learned the skills necessary to truly care for my health and well-being. I found that I favored real foods, that even a simple side dish of sautéed brussel sprouts splashed with lemon and dusted with authentic Parmesan cheese could offer comfort and nourishment without a sense of guilt or deprivation. These lessons took time to learn but now that I have, I cannot imagine living any other way. I love feeling strong and healthy – and the opportunity I have today to share this life-changing passion with my FoodWise Northwest clients.