I haven’t written much about eating disorders lately, but this particular topic has been on my mind lately.
When I was in treatment, I was one of the youngest ones there. I was 20 at the time, and there was a woman there who was 56. I kept coming to group meetings at my treatment center that year after my discharge and I recall seeing a woman in her 70’s.
I hate that people assume eating disorders are a teenage or twenty-something type of problem. In fact, I feel like some people develop the disorder as they age.
Let’s examine a few cases:
Mommy-rexia: I feel like after a woman get pregnant and had her kids, shes super vulnerable to fall down the eating disordered spiral. Lets face it, you gain weight when your pregnant. Your SUPPOSED to! But if your used to being a twig your whole life, the sudden “fatness” can scare you all the way down to become a stroller pushing skeleton. Or, you are so used to eating what you did when you were pregnant that you find yourself unable to stop. Its so sad how many moms I see that desperately need help but dont get it, suffering in silence. They are often in denial, putting their kids ahead of them all the time. But the fail to realize that they are harming their children in not properly nourishing themselves.
Midlife Crisis: The kids are old by now, they might move out to college, and all of a sudden, you have all this extra time on your hands. And lets not forget the faltering marriages, stagnant careers, and the wrinkles and “sagging” that often strike in midlife. So in en effort to “get your mind off it” you go on a diet, join a gym, lose five pounds, then five more, and before you know it, your a walking stick figure.
Elderly Eating: Prune juice mocking aside, I am constantly noticing “elderly eating issues”. There are many reasons for this: A loss of independence or ability to care for themselves, coupled with the death of spouses, family and friends, could leave them feeling isolated and lacking control over their lives. Undiagnosed depression, unresolved issues from their past, and stress-related triggers from retirement, such as adjusting to a lower income level. An eating disorder can also be a form of attention seeking, a way to protest restrictions placed on an older person by their family or care facility, or a challenge of limited family visits. Again, its very sad and I hope the elderly suffering learn to let go of their attachment to their eating issues so they can live it up while they can.
So whats the solution? There isn’t one. Come to think of it, its a lot like cancer. You can treat it and put it in “remission” but sometimes it will rear its ugly head again later in life….sigh….
How do you think your eating style has evolved as you got older (even if you have never has eating issues)?
And it seems like its been forever and a year since I posted a recipe! So here’s a good one!
- 1-2lbs if stew meat (depending on how many people you are serving, if your serving for four, I’d say 3lbs is a safe bet)
- 1 small/medium onion thinly sliced
- 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
- 3 tbs cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cup Trader Joes Harvest Grain Blend (a blend of Israeli couscous, orzo, Baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. And they even sell it on amazon!)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bottle good quality dry red wine (or more stock)
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 orange zest removed in 3 (1-inch) strips
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups beef/chicken stock
- 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
Preheat a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat with the oil.
While the pan is heating, arrange the flour on a large dish. Thoroughly brown all of the beef cubes on all sides. Once all the meat has been browned remove it to a plate and reserve.
Add the wine to the pan and bring up to a simmer while you scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon being sure to loosen up all those tasty bits. Once the wine has gotten hot add the browned meat, thyme, smashed garlic, orange zest strip, freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste, bay leaves and beef stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the liquids start to thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 hours.
After 2 hours add sliced carrots, onions, and 1 1/2 cup of the Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, until the vegetables and and grains are tender.