The Cookbook That Helps People Recovering From Eating Disorders

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If you’ve never lived with an eating disorder, you might not realize just how food becomes a central part of life for people with anorexia, bulimia, or another eating disorder. But, as Francesca Baker explained to PEOPLE, food is a large part of life and a frequent conversation point for people with eating disorders.

“Patients suffering from eating disorders often wished they felt comfortable eating certain foods and missed the connection with friends and family,” Baker says. “We laughed how we spoke so much of food, and knew so many meals that we should make a recipe book. It was an idea that a few months later I picked up and ran with.”

And run with it, she did. Baker used these conversations as inspiration for her new book, Eating & Living: Recipes for Recovery, with the help of others who have experienced eating disorders.

“It’s a mix of those in recovery, those recovered, professionals in the sphere and people who have seen others in the journey,” she says. “It’s been great to get support from people all around the world who have reached out and shared their recipes.”

It might be easy to call Eating & Living a cookbook. It features lively pictures of assortments of food and simple-to-prepare recipes. But, it also has much more. The book also contains a meal planner and nutritional information.

“The necessity of shopping, planning, cooking and eating that comes with turning eating from a disordered experience to one more ordinary is crucial, and the book aims to play a role in helping individuals conquer those obstacles,” she told Broadly.

Most importantly, every recipe is paired with personal stories from the contributor’s own experiences with food and eating disorders alongside each recipe.

“Hearing how people have been in some dark and difficult places but overcome them is always inspiring,” she says. “It’s also a good reminder that food, as anxiety-provoking as it can be at times, is ultimately an enjoyable part of life that not only fuels the body, but fosters connection.”

The book is first and foremost aimed at those recovering from eating disorders or seeking encouragement to seek recovery, however. Baker says anyone will be able to enjoy the recipes.

“The meals are all balanced and tasty, and can be eaten and shared with everyone,” she says. “I don’t want it to be that people with eating disorders have to have special food or something different – the idea is ‘normality.’ “

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