They say that old habits die hard, especially old eating habits, but things only truly die when you completely forget about them.

We forget about the coldness and brutality of winter when we are exposed to the beautiful, blossoming life that spring always brings. Why do we tend to forget about the darkness once we are exposed to the light? Put more simply, what I mean to express is that memories possess the power to reincarnate the existence of things that have left the earth. We cannot forget to remember; otherwise, we have lost all potential to blossom from the seed of our adversities. And so, this brings me to my letter, a letter to my old eating habits:

Danielle Orie

 To my "Old Eating Habits,"

I will never be able to completely clear you from my mind nor give you an official goodbye. I still think of you often, but at least now, it is through a different lens. And, I apologize if this comes off harsh and critical, but I only mean to acknowledge my reasoning behind the inevitable end of our unhealthy relationship.

First and foremost, you demanded a dominant presence in my life. You took up my mind, everyday - perhaps even every hour at some points which I regret to admit. Like an obsessive addiction, you were intoxicating - my drug and I needed my fix, but it had to be on your terms.

You were very specific in your instructions. I spent countless minutes counting calories, planning meals far too in advance, and ensuring every food group in your correct proportion made their way to my plate. 

You masked my resistance as strength of will and determination to uphold “clean” eating, but all it really was, if you boiled down to it, was neurotic behavior. I was literally insane, or at least it felt like it. I thought I was doing it right, superior and in control, and in that sense you were my security blanket. If I followed your rules, I could trust I was being safe.

Looks are not everything in a relationship, but you definitely cared about your appearance in ours. It was not necessarily aesthetics or color for us, nor shape nor size, showcase nor placement; but rather, what mattered most for us was the label. Hours spent on end in grocery shops, scrutinizing labels and telling myself “no.” Going back and forth, back and forth again just to reexamine or second guess myself.

Palm oil. Nope. Eating palm oil was indirectly contributes to the deforestation currently going on in the Amazonian rainforest.

Cane sugar? Another no-no. Such sugar was a reminder of the millions and thousands of Native Americans and African Americans forced on sugar plantations and subjugated to cruel, oppressive treatment. To eat cane sugar, would be to condone such discriminatory practices.

Chocolate. Not unless it was fair trade chocolate and above 72% cacao content so that I could receive the “full” health benefits while simultaneously feeling like I was contributing to making someone’s life more equally just.

Processed or packaged. Only in minimal amounts and limited to ingredients whose name I could pronounce or understand. Essentially, this obviously meant only “whole” foods.

Butters or oils. Only extra virgin olive, avocado, walnut, or ghee and in sparring amounts - meaning no more than half a tablespoon. 

Meat, dairy, and eggs. By far the most anxiety producing of them all. I could never tell how they got to their respective packages or cartons because I was not working with the animals themselves. As an athlete, I was compelled by it being the easiest and most accessible form of complete protein (meaning all essential amino acids), but I limited their consumption, nonetheless.

Sugars and dessert. I did not only avoid them, but feared them. Their place on my plate was extremely limited; it did not matter whether they were natural sugars or added. Eating sugar was yielding to temptation. The next day resulted in some sort of “fast” or “punishment” to absolve myself for my sins.

Chips or soda. Forget about it.

Do you know how many times I questioned my morals and values on account of you? 

You were overbearing and overprotective, and it is now I realize that such a relationship would have entailed a life of isolation. Food is meant to be shared. Perhaps not necessarily the food itself (especially with someone as defensive over their own food as myself), but at least the experience of surrounding oneself with friends at meals and the act of eating.

You did not grant me this, and in part, it was my own fault. I was embarrassed for the way these habits made me into something less than human. They made me into a machine - fuel for a robot.

Eating is supposed to be the sustenance for life, a source of vitality and energy. Instead it was my source of control, and it is now that I am letting you go.

You will control me no longer.

I am free.

Yours truly,


Danielle Orie