I love living in San Francisco because it is the healthiest city in the world by a lot of standards. People here really value access to nutritionists, CSAs, whole organic foods, etc.
I, however, have a problem for which resource availability is not the only answer - I am a trauma survivor.
I know what you’re thinking, and, No, my trauma experience was not directly related to food. In fact, the food was the really good thing that was provided to me during the trauma - and, to me, it was an opportunity for relief from the trauma. As a result, I subconsciously associated the experience of having food given to me with the relief from indescribable pain and fear.
Fast forward to today - now I’m 30 years old with approx 10 years of therapy under my belt and I am working hard (with a great mental health team!) to teach my brain and my body that I can feel safe and okay without having to be served food. It’s been a really tough struggle. I’ve been working on this for about 2 years - since I first realized it was a thing.
When you can’t afford a personal chef, you have pretty limited options for meeting the need of having someone serve you a plate of cooked food. The obvious choice is the one I’ve been using for many years: restaurants.
Of course, there could be a whole discussion around why the other ways to meet this need (relatives, boyfriends, friends, other services, etc) are not going to work well but, for now, just take my word for it that the trauma association makes that odd.
As we all know, restaurant food is rather unhealthy. Even if you go to a great place, it’s still typically filled with butter, salt, and sugar. Also, it’s expensive, which sucks. Of course, there are times when I enjoy a quality restaurant meal, but for me, with this emotional component, it has become more of a compulsion - a way to cope. And as I enter the same diner for the 100th time, I am not salivating. Rather, I am wishing I could get off this hamster wheel but feeling shamefully powerless to do so.
I work in tech and a buddy of mine told me about it. He said, “Amy, I feel like it’s the best nutrition I’ve had in a long time.” And, you know, he is one of those coders who doesn’t judge me for eating out all the time because he does the same thing when he’s head-down in a project. I don’t think he’s noticed yet that I’m constantly in that mode.
In any case, I was intrigued and signed up for a subscription.
I have found that this association is A LOT easier to work on with Soylent in the picture. It’s slow progress - baby steps - one day at a time - all of that, but what I’m finding is that I can replace a handed-to-me meal with one bottle so effortlessly that I am able to deal with the reactions that come up without getting so overwhelmed.
There’s also something beautifully non-triggering about the simplicity. I just drink a bottle. Nothing more. Yes, it was delivered to me, but it’s not a replacement for human kindness, it’s not a crutch that’s helping me cope with a memory of a lack of human kindness. It’s like this whole weird world is opening up where waitstaff are not required to make me feel okay anymore. I’m not beholden to the restaurant business! I’m not feeling like an elitist person who can’t touch a kitchen - cooking is becoming less and less associated with my fear of missing out on a precious opportunity to feel safe. With the support of my team, I’m carefully planning ways to encourage feeling safe when I skip a handed-to-me meal. We are attempting to reduce my dependence and build pathways in my brain that look to other avenues to meet the same need for safety.
My point really is that - a person’s relationship to food can include seemingly unrelated issues. Soylent has reduced the complexity for me and is helping me achieve improvement in a situation that I thought was hopeless.
Thanks for reading.