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Cooking Hurts My Eating Disorder Recovery—Here’s Why

Editor’s Note: This essay discusses eating disorders and eating disorder recovery. Please take care of yourself if those topics could be triggering.


“What should we do for dinner tomorrow night?” my mom asks across the kitchen table, our mouths still full with tonight’s meal. “I could make mushroom risotto, or what about that miso pork meatballs recipe from the New York Times cooking app?” Her voice is drowned out by the roaring waves of anxiety sloshing around my stomach. I’m exhausted from stressing about today’s food and already there’s tomorrow’s to contend with. 

I’ve had an eating disorder or been in recovery from one for almost half of my life. It’s been more than seven years since I’ve succumbed to the need to feel empty; but as anyone in recovery will tell you, there’s no such thing as a finish line, just the desire to keep going. 

In many ways, the roots of my healing are solidly planted. I’m no longer afraid to feel full, and engage in your standard three-meals-a-day behavior. I don’t panic if my food plans zag without warning, or go hungry instead of eating foods outside my comfort zone when it’s the only option. If

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