Teresa Shields Parker on Are You Letting Your Food Addiction Write Your Life Story?

(Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash)

What story is your life writing? What kind of legacy are you building every day? I didn’t ever think about this until my mother and grandmother died within seven months of each other in 1992 and 1993. Being the oldest grandchild on my mother’s side of the family, I suddenly found myself identified as the one to carry on the family traditions.

Family Traditions

Those traditions included bringing the family together around recipes that had been in our family for years. We had a habit of getting together often and feasting nonstop. It had been our habit for as long as I could remember. Now, that duty fell to me.

My first inkling of this was when I inherited all of my mother’s and grandmother’s recipe boxes and recipe books. My great-grandmother’s recipes and books were also in the mix. Not only did everyone want copies of these, but also every time we got together I felt obligated to make something they would have made.

This was before I was intent on going on my weight loss lifestyle change journey. Still, it felt like a huge burden to carry. It was also the year I turned 40. All of a sudden I felt very, very old. The matriarchs in our family always set the tone. What tone was I going to set for our family?

‘Grandma’s Kitchen Cookbook’

Even though at that time I wasn’t fully embracing my need for habit change, I did realize I needed to lose weight, and the family recipes were not helping. They are all high in sugar and carbohydrates. However, not wanting to hog all the family recipes, I decided I would make a cookbook that included the favorites people were asking for.

Since my daughter was 2 when my mother passed and barely 3 when grandma passed, I decided to add stories about the great women in my family. I included pictures of them, which I also inherited or discovered along the way.

Over the course of several years, Grandma’s Kitchen Cookbook was born. I also included poems I had written, sayings and advice they gave. I did this before Amazon KDP made it easy to self-publish books.

However, as a newspaper publisher, I did know how to design pages. So I put together the cookbook that I had quick-printed and spiral bound. I guess you could say I made a book before it was easy to make books. I gave it away as gifts to my family and sold it at cost to those who wanted extra copies.

Change Was Coming

The copy I have says the first printing was in 2000, but I do think it was much earlier than that. By 2000, though, I knew I had to make changes in how I ate because a cardiac surgeon had told me in 1999 that I only had five years to live if I didn’t lose weight.

I weighed 430 pounds at that time, but I hadn’t yet embraced the fact that I needed to give up sugar for good. I still thought I could eat a little and be OK. I hadn’t figured out that I was a sugar and comfort-food addict.

By around 2009 that fact had hit me full-on. I began my lifestyle change journey in earnest, giving up sugar and gluten. In the final analysis, by 2013, I had lost over 250 pounds. One day, it dawned on me that there was probably not a recipe in that cookbook that I could cook and eat.

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SOURCE: Charisma News