Hannah Howard is a writer and food expert who has spent her career in the food industry serving, bartending, cooking on a line, flipping giant wheels of cheese, managing restaurants, and now writing about food. She is the author of two memoirs, Feast: True Love In and Out of the Kitchen and Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family.
In this episode of Peace Meal, Hannah tells us about her complex relationship with food, describing how she once feared her own appetite. Food had been the center point of her career–her professional passion–and also a source of anxiety as she struggled silently with an eating disorder. Hannah describes how sharing her story in recovery has not only connected her to others with similar experiences, but also allowed food to be a source of joy and passion once again. In addition, she discusses the “good” and “bad” labels often applied to food and encourages everyone to approach eating with self-compassion and kindness. She reflects on her experiences of pregnancy in recovery, naming how she set boundaries at the doctor’s office and strives to set a good example for her children. Recovery is a process, one Hannah says she is still learning.
- How a career in the food industry could be especially complicated for those with an eating disorder
- How sharing your recovery story can help you find other people who know what you’re going through
- How to handle unwanted (and uncalled for) comments about our body, appearance, and food choices
- How we can improve how our children’s view their bodies by setting a good example ourselves
- How food can be a point of connection and culture
In Hannah’s words:
- On her once-complicated relationship with food: “For so long, my food relationship has been characterized by, on the one hand, some really positive stuff, some passion, and celebration, and the love for food. On the other hand [was] this other darker, harder side.”
- On appreciating her body during pregnancy: “Our bodies are pretty amazing machineries. You know, even if we are not feeling great, our bodies do so much for us…I spent all this time being so hard on my body and so mean to my body, and here it is, bringing a person into the world.”
- On recovery: “Give yourself some patience, give yourself some time, and I really do believe that if it’s possible for me, it’s possible for anyone.”
You can purchase Hannah’s memoirs, Feast: True Love In and Out of the Kitchen and Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family, on Amazon and Bookshop. Follow Hannah on Instagram (@hannahmhoward) and on Twitter (@hannahhoward).
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