Finding A Balanced Relationship With Food, Living with Lyme, & “Impromptu Impulse Eating”
Hello loves, happy Tuesday! I just got back to LA from a lovely weekend in Ojai with my husband, reminiscing on our wedding there just three short months ago and truly unplugging and just being together. It was so magical.
It was one of the best trips we’ve ever had actually because we were just so grateful to be together in a place that is so special to us. Despite some unfortunate Lyme symptoms I was experiencing most of the weekend, the trip was still one of my favorites for so many reasons. It’s been a big few months for us both with work, and it was so good to just put our relationship back in the front seat and realize/remember love is all that matters.
If you ever find yourself in Ojai, definitely go to the Hip Vegan for salads and the best veggie burger you’ll ever have (even my dad says it’s better than In n’ Out – BIG DEAL), Food Harmonics for more delicious healthy food, The Farmer & The Cook, and Sage for a delicious dinner in their pretty courtyard. And obviously we are in love with the Ojai Valley Inn so if you can stay there or at least pop by the property for dinner one night or to check out the spa, you’ll be living in a dream.
Sooo beyond that, the topic of this post is about something quite personal to me that I believe a lot of us deal with, which is finding a balanced relationship with food. As I have mentioned before, finding the SOS-free (salt oil sugar free) and plant based way of life has given me true food freedom because it is a way of eating that makes me feel amazing, good and energized rather than hurting my stomach or body in any way – which is the only diet/lifestyle I can speak of that has made me feel that way EVER.
And before you feel any kind of way about this SOS-free plant based life, keep a few things in mind: I was born with severe stomach problems. I never once felt comfortable in my body after eating until I found the plant based way of life when I was a teenager. Then, after being diagnosed with Lyme/mold/co-infections in 2018 and being covered in head to toe hives, this diet saved me. Most days it gives me the ability to get out of bed and have my joints/stomach not be in searing pain — for me and people like me (which is so many!) it is a GODSEND.
It also gives me energy, which is so welcome after so many years in bed dealing with horrific Lyme symptoms. So, as always, no judgment. I don’t judge anyone for the way they eat and I expect the same in return. 🙂
When I am home in LA in my routine, everything feels great. I go to the farmer’s market every Sunday and stock up on so many things I love, make yummy meals, juices, smoothies, soups, and desserts all week, head to restaurants with friends where I have found the perfect things to order that don’t mess with how I feel, etc.
Impromptu Impulse Eating //
But occasionally, either when my stress/anxiety rears up or when I am traveling for long periods of time and away from my routine, I do something that Jonathan (my husband) has named “Impromptu Impulse Eating” a.k.a “I.I.E.” It’s a THING, you guys. And I am willing to bet I am not the only one who does it! Especially among those of us who are healing from chronic illness and have found a way of life that works for us that is not always the easiest to maintain while traveling/being out.
So here’s how I.I.E. goes down… we will be out at a restaurant and Jonathan will order a delicious veggie burger that probably isn’t gluten-free, soy-free, etc. and definitely has lots of salt and oil. And I will be eating my yummy, healing meal whatever it may be that works for my body, and something will come over me where I tell myself, “I feel great, I’m not sick anymore, and I want to be able to eat what he’s eating.” And of course being a sweet husband and not wanting to piss off his wife (did I mention I hate being told what to do?), he’s not going to say NO…
And I don’t mean that I want to order what he’s ordered, I just mean I want a few bites. And a few bites is fine!! But those few bites then turn into a few more bites of something else that doesn’t agree with me, and then dessert of course and then the same thing again the next day because what the heck. This usually continues, and then each meal or day builds upon each other and next thing I know a week has passed and I feel like complete shit because I am not doing what I know feels good.
And each and every time I do it, it’s just a bite or two. Very impulsive. And impromptu. He nicknamed it that because it’s not thought out. It’s not like I have thought out a whole rational plan of ordering the veggie burger because I really want it and it’s worth it to me however it may make me feel — it’s more like I am testing the universe and my body, like “what can I get away with today?” mostly just because I am rebellious and am feeling impulsive.
I wrote about this in my recent ebook, but this is what I call self-sabotage. In A Course in Miracles, it is said that we self-sabotage because we are absolutely terrified of our own greatness. I get this on a deep level. I think that feeling good, and especially feeling really good absolutely scares the shit out of me, because I am so used to feeling terrible. Even before my health broke down in late 2017, I had been experiencing lifelong stomach issues and strange body sensitivities. I had never known what it was like to just straight up feel good.
And by the way, I.I.E. can also happen at home! Jonathan makes these delicious No Evil sausages with Siete tortillas and vegan cheese (the recipe is actually in my ebook, for a fun non-SOS-free option) and again, something will come over me where I’m like F my health, who cares, I should be able to do whatever I want.
I am a rebel. I was born this way! It’s hard for me to do what I feel I’m “supposed” to do, which is why 99% of the time I CHOOSE to eat this way because it’s a joy for me. It’s a joy to feel good and I truly love the food. But of course there is that other 1% that just… wants to be like everybody else? Wishes I wasn’t sick? Wishes I could just throw caution to the wind and do whatever the hell I wanted with food and with everything else?
But then I come back to — this is my body. I do not need to compare myself to everyone else. I do not need to feel bad for myself, because the illness and the struggles that I have faced are part of my journey to get me where I need to go, on my soul’s eternal path.
I promised Jonathan I would write about I.I.E. today for a few reasons. One, because I know I am not the only one who experiences it and I hope this story will help people. But two, to get to the bottom of why I do it. And now that I am writing about it (I have always thought best through writing), I see — I am scared of feeling good. Feeling good comes with an immense amount of power. When I feel good, I am able to create, use my brain, work, make plans, travel, exercise, LIVE LIFE.
It sounds amazing in theory. But it is a little scary when you haven’t had the ability to do all of those things in so long. And if you’re like me, the power to do all of those things is overwhelming. I get SO EXCITED about creating and doing things so I do, do, do, create, create, create, live, live, live to the max until I wipe myself out. And also I.I.E. definitely comes from that rebellion I have deep inside, that younger Jordan who still wants to say, “Screw it, I’ll do what I WANT.”
But what I really want is to feel good. What I really want is to be kind to my body. I don’t want to punish my poor body and make myself feel even worse than I already do. If you’re reading this and you’re not sure of what Lyme disease and co-infections feel like… I will explain. Right now, my whole body is in searing pain from head to toe. Noteworthy places that are screaming in pain are my jaw (it is perpetually on fire), my lower back, my hands, and my shoulders/neck. I am laying down by the way so it’s not like I am sitting at a desk. My brain is foggy and I am fighting off a severe headache right now that I have had for about 24 hours. My eyes feel fuzzy and even though I haven’t had caffeine in days my heart is racing as if I had just chugged a large cold brew.
Of all things that feel fine right now, my stomach feels great. And it’s because I woke up and had a large glass of warm lemon water, followed by a celery juice, followed by some papaya and banana sliced up. Yesterday I was so kind to myself and made the SOS-free meals my body loves, and have also started a Medical Medium liver cleanse (similar to how I already eat) that I have been intuitively called to.
Some days I feel far better than this, some days I feel far worse. Lyme is kind of a crap shoot. I don’t have a lot of control over how I feel. But the way I eat, and the power of the mind, yoga and being kind to my body, resting and not comparing myself to others — these are all huge factors in my healing. Huge. They may not be a miracle pill but they’re a huge piece of the puzzle.
Committing to Feeling Good //
My ultimate goal is to feel good every day. I am done with the self-sabotage. And if you’ve read my ebook or other pieces I have written lately, then you know — I no longer identify with having had an eating disorder when I was younger. I don’t believe that ever suited me. I was struggling with Lyme, co-infections, and extreme body pain and food sensitivity that I was simply trying to manage with food. What I didn’t know at that time was that I had a few things wrong (but who didn’t at 22?), and I have learned so much since then… but I am so glad to have so much more support now. From my Lyme doctor, so many other Lyme warriors, my family, my husband, myself — so much has changed.
So yes, I.I.E. is a struggle. I think it comes from a lifelong sensitive stomach – where in many situations I would be reminded by people (my dad especially – love you daddy) not to eat the greasy food that was going to make me feel sick. But back then I didn’t have the tools and I didn’t get it. I just wanted to be like everyone else. So I would do it just to show people/myself that I refused to be put in a box. It also comes from being rebellious to what makes me feel good, and also from just being exhausted by the sheer magnitude of this disease. It’s okay to just be exhausted sometimes, and not make the best decisions, but that’s why the whole “impromptu” and “impulse” thing comes into it because it’s not thought out.
I am so committed to feeling better, and I can get on upward swings where I do feel better for months on end. So that is what I am working toward. And I hope that me sharing this intimate piece of my journey can help or inspire you in some way. I am an open book and I share just about everything with you guys, but it can be hard to share things about food and eating because there is SO MUCH judgment on the internet when it comes to these things. So please if you feel compelled to judge, remember that you have not walked in my shoes. Lyme is a battle I hope many will never have to face.
But honestly, it feels good to write about it. And get it out. It feels right. And I hope it will help some of you reading. 🙂 If it does, please share below. We are all in this healing journey together. XO