Archive for July 16, 2019

Part 1: How Culture can Influence Eating, Eating Disorders, and Recovery

Indian Food and Gathering

Bhakti Doroodian is an independently licensed marriage and family therapist who currently works for The Emily Program as a Clinical Manager and DBT Therapist.  Her background includes treating individuals, couples, and families with a wide variety of mental health and family dynamic concerns.  Her passion for eating disorders surfaced as she noticed the detrimental effects of it on not just the individual, but on the family system as a whole.  She hopes to continue educating clients on the importance of health, wellness, and body acceptance in all forms.   

Food equals love.  This was a concept I learned early on when my grandmother would secretly give me all of my favorite treats before dinner.  When I would fall sick, my mother would make me eat bitter melon for dinner followed by a tall glass of ginger-turmeric milk to nurse me back to health.  After my grandparents passed away, friends and distant relatives brought my family many of our favorite dishes to comfort and support us through a painful time in our lives.  Although I was born and raised in California, my relationship with food was largely influenced by my South Asian roots.  Every summer, my sister and I would pack up our most precious belongings, and head to India to spend our break with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.  While our cousins would fantasize about a life in the United States with the education opportunities, fast cars, and fashion models, my sister and I relished in the simplicity of living in India, even if it was only for a few short months.  

Every day, hand-in-hand, my grandmother and I would walk to the market to see what produce was available for that day’s dinner.  There was no refrigerator, pantry, or grocery store where we could store the essentials.  Instead, our variety was 100% dependent upon what was in season or available that day and whether or not we could afford the farmers’ ever-changing price for produce.  Options were limited so rarely did we choose our meals based on our mood or cravings. Rather, the focus was on counting our blessings and eating nutrient-dense meals to have energy for the day’s work.

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