The most important cookbook released this year.

 

This is a very special cookbook.

The brainchild of UK writer Francesca Baker, Eating and Living: Recipes For Recovery has been written especially for those recovering from an eating disorder — by someone who has successfully done so herself.

Francesca, of And So She Thinks fame, suffered from an eating disorder and found herself in an inpatient facility talking with other patients.

It was here that she decided she wanted to create a cookbook that could teach those suffering from eating disorders, to learn to love their food again.

Advertisement Image via Instagram: @andsoshethinks

"Quite often, people really love food and really miss food, especially when your body starves. We were talking quite a lot about food because you have to eat six times a day," she said in an interview with Elle magazine.

"You're kind of [thinking] 'I really miss this.' And, we found ourselves talking about the things we really liked and wanted to be able to cook again."

From here, Francesca begun to crowd-source recipes from fellow survivors or carers, taking to Twitter and her inpatient connections for contributions.

Is anorexia genetic? (Post continues after video)

The result is far from your ordinary cookbook -- interwoven around the recipes are personal anecdotes, stories from the contributors, and real life coping mechanisms.

There are tips for grocery shopping, for example, "guiding readers to take a break in a non-food aisle to remove oneself from stimulation that's triggering a meltdown, or to avoid supermarkets and go local so you're not overwhelmed by choices."

The recipe book also preaches a strong message of balance: that there is no such thing as "good" food, or "bad" food, just everything in moderation.

One of Francesca's favourite recipes is a seemingly simple one, with a slightly more complex background.

"Cheese on Toast" was submitted by Tabitha Farrar, author of  Love Fat. Farrar suffered from anorexia for 10 years and had deemed cheese on toast off limits as she refused to eat gluten or fats.

"I think it's a real kind of testament to having to face your fears," Baker says of Farrar's cheese on toast, "You can't just go 'Oh I wish [an eating disorder] would just go away.' You have to stand and go 'Yes, I'm going to take action'."

Francesca Baker (Image via Instagram)

Farrar writes in the recipe: "There is no guilt, only happiness when I eat this, and that is why it nurtures me."

Food, for those recovering from eating disorders, presents a paradox of emotion in the early days of recovery, and Francesca kindly leads the way through the uncertainty with a book that is equal parts therapist, big sister, and friend.

All proceeds from Eating and Living: Recipes For Recovery are dedicated to the UK eating disorder charity Beat.

"[Food] won't always be an anxiety-provoking thing," says Francesca, saying that her cookbook is all about "connecting with people and remembering that food is actually really fun, as challenging a thing it can be."

You can shop it online, here.

 

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