My Sourdough Story
The art of sourdough and baking with wild yeast has grown so much lately. It makes me so happy to see so many souls desire a deeper connection with the food we eat and the way we nourish our families. I started baking sourdough about 5 years ago; I’ve shared starter with many women all over the country and have witnessed the magic of connection through sharing recipes and methods with each other, and most importantly cheering each other on.
Before I knew Sourdough
My journey began when I was ready to embrace food and my body after a decade of food restriction and orthorexia. I struggled to just make it through one hour without stressing over what I ate, or obsessing over what my next meal would be. Like many women, I struggled to feel worthy and empowered in my own skin. I put all my value in my body and longed for constant words of affirmation from clients. As a personal trainer, I was able to disguise my obsession as a healthy lifestyle. But deep down I knew I was living a lie. I felt completely and utterly trapped in a viscous guilt and shame cycle. I was entering my late 20's and I realized I was tirelessly holding on to an image, an armor and tools that may have kept me feeling warm and safe when I was young, but did not serve me now. I knew the obsessive behavior, and wanting to control my body was my desire to control life. I saw the path before me and I knew what my soul was asking of me; to surrender to life, to question my fear, and to embrace every ounce of myself.
The journey was slow, and required therapy, which I recommend to anyone struggling. I also want you to know that this issue is collective and you are not alone. As women we are literally trained to not feel good enough and I'm calling bull shit and I ask that you do the same. Once you begin to question why you feel unworthy, you start to get angry at all the lies you invested in, then the fun begins. You start to accept your body for what it is, what it does and the vast possibilities of what you can do with it.
When I felt ready to explore intuitive eating, literally the idea simply listening to your gut and honoring cravings, I decided that all foods were welcome in our home and bad foods or cheat meals did not exist. The only power food holds over you, is the one you give it. Everyone has that one food that looms over them, the one that they constantly say, "Oh I could never eat that!" Mine? Bread. Shocking, I know. My gut always had a harder time digesting commercial bread, so I decided to give sourdough a try. I can't talk about this without giving credit and some major love to my husband, Taylor. He was actually the one who suggested we give start baking sourdough. He knew I was scared so he was right there with me; reading the books and buying the materials, baking and eating our bread together.
The 'togetherness' is was made this sacred. I began to feel how food held more than nutrients and calories, it held the power for story, for love, laughter and connection. I was now eating the same foods that gave me so much anxieties, in a new way; with relaxation and wonder. I didn't realize until later that I was casting the same intentions with my life. I was quickly learning that sourdough was not meant to be rushed; unlike the courtesy I allowed myself in my day to day, it required time, patience and nurturing.
A Bridge to the Past
Every time I needed to mix the dough for 10 minutes, I forced myself to surrender to time. When I read old books from the library about prairie women doing extra folds in the winter to create more structure and rise in their loaves, I would do the same and feel this intense connection with them; almost guiding me and cheering me on. Letting go of needing to "look small", "be small" allowed me the freedom to gain knowledge, experience, deep, inner growth, and eventually the ability to get pregnant and grow a healthy baby boy. Eventually I would bake these same recipes with my baby on my hip. I would hear the tender, strong voices of these women; wise teachers of past, now confirming uncertainties I would ask silently in the kitchen in front of the warm stove, and comforting the grief I was feeling amidst the common isolation that motherhood brings.
As women, and as mothers, we share a common ancestry and bond and sourdough is the bridge that connects us. It's basic recipe of flour, water, salt and wild yeast are unchanged and ancient. Each method tells a story of perseverance and strength; especially the old books if you can find them. Every woman I have ever read from or met has come to sourdough to try a new way of feeding themselves, their family and most definitely their soul.
Accepting My Body Meant Accepting My Life
It's harder in some ways to make your own food; but the evolution that takes place is unchanging. You begin to look at your life and what you deem important and begin to nurture it in a way you never have. I began to see that my body size was not important or remarkable in anyway, and any need for control to feel safe was now insignificant, or at least recognized as untrue. Tending to my family, my heart and soul, my loved ones, past traditions, the land, and creating a beautiful space for people to connect, heal and thrive; that's my legacy.
More than Food
Sourdough was the tool for me to accept my body, accept my life, share my voice, and surrender to the unknown. By embracing a food I was once afraid of, I took all the power away from food and society I was letting it have, and started writing my own story. For our family and those we break bread with, sourdough tells a story of love and connection and nourishes us in a way I never imagined.
Let your food tell a story.