YOU and Food with Danielle Walker

Episode 01

Hey listener—we’re glad you’re here. Because you listen to this show, we’re gonna take a guess that this podcast might be a little respite for you from the busy-ness of life. A place to find community and shared experiences. Some much needed YOU time. So, because we care about you, we at For the Love want to promote that time and take it to the next level with some ideas and thoughts about how to take better care of YOU (and not just with the time you steal away while driving or cleaning while listening to this show). So to get you started on some much needed ways to take care of you, we’re proud to be kicking off a brand new series, For the Love of YOU. And the first thing we’re looking at is how food factors into how we take care of ourselves. Not diets, not regimens, not meal planning–but simply a call to take a closer look at what we put into our bodies and how it impacts each of us uniquely. Danielle Walker, the wonderful author and self trained chef who has graced the ears of our listeners in our first FTL of Food series, has first hand experience with living in a body that can be vulnerable to certain kinds of foods and the ingredients in them. After being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, Danielle faced confusion and wildly varying advice about how to treat the problem, but by eventually removing foods and adding others to see where the issues were, she was able to see her body begin to heal. Her example (though unique to her—every body is different) has impacted thousands of people who’ve struggled with their own conditions to take the time to find out how certain foods impact their wellness. And in case you think that this is a lesson in deprivation or sad, flavorless diets, Danielle has done the good work of experimenting with recipes that remove some of the problem ingredients for many people while retaining the flavors and satisfaction we get from eating the things we like.

Episode Transcript

Hey, everybody, Jen Hatmaker here. Welcome to the For the Love podcast. I’m so delighted to host you today. So, guys, right now, we are in a series called For the Love of You. And this felt like the right waters to steer the ship into right now and not in the way of let’s talk about me and myself more, more like what does it mean to be healthy? What does it mean to prioritize your mental health and your emotional health and your physical health?

And what do those best practices look like? And how can we make choices for our lives right now that are going to enable us to thrive and to flourish, so that our relationships also can, so that we’re who we’re meant to be inside of the important roles that we play in the lives of our kids, and our marriages, and in our friendships, and families. And so, that’s what this series is all about. Caring for ourselves and all the ways with food, with drink, with friends, with family, with relational health, with alone time, all of it.

Because we know that taking care of our jobs, and our families, and our commitments, and our calendars is so encompassing that generally the last person we make an appointment with is ourselves. That’s just true. I think the willingness to neglect our bodies, our intuition, our minds, and hearts and souls for the sake of efficiency or productivity or what we would even consider to be selflessness because we’re prioritizing everybody else, it has some pretty catastrophic results.

It can be relationally damaging, obviously. It can be physically damaging to our own bodies. It can harm our capacity to innovate and dream, and it’s real. This is a real thing. So taking care of our hearts and souls and minds is important. I don’t know if you are following along this summer, but I had decided having just emerged from a year where I just came out pretty battered and bruised. In the summer, I made this outrageous choice to go to Maine for three weeks, mostly by myself.

I have some friends come up in pockets, and some kids come up in pockets, but I was mainly there by myself without a real clear agenda. My agenda was to find something beautiful and heal and slow down. I burn hot and I run hot. And so, I wanted the pace to really grind down. I wanted to just see what that would do. And when I tell you that the way I felt my heart expand in those weeks, it taught me a lot.

It is my choice to be open hearted toward people. It’s my choice to prioritize sleep. It is my choice to prioritize what I’m eating and how I’m experiencing the world around me. That can happen right here. And those are the lessons that Maine gave me. And the way that I left feeling just so nurtured has been instructive for me ever since. And so, speaking of feeding ourselves, with this episode, we really wanted to look closely at what I think is an enormous element of the self-love puzzle that is either overlooked or overcomplicated, to be honest with you, which is our relationship with food.

Food, man, it’s been so demonized and so wrung out and mischaracterized and abused. I mean, we could all just fill a million pages on the damaging messaging we have heard around food, and what’s good, and what’s bad, and what’s off limits, and how we use it to reward and punish ourselves. I mean, we are just in such a food spiral. 

I think we can do better here. I think we can decide to resist all these companies constantly telling us that we have to eat this but not that in order to hit some weird goal. At this intersection I’m learning to listen to my body. I’m learning to listen to what she wants, what she needs, what makes me feel nourished, even what makes me feel happy, really, and sincerely. And it’s a new relationship with my body and thus my body’s relationship with food.

And I’m leaning into it in a different way. So, I think let’s really tune in and listen. What is it that makes my body feel good? What is it that makes my body maybe react poorly, and then I spend the whole next day feeling miserable, right? That matters, too. Our bodies have something to tell us if we can learn to listen. So, I think finding that mind-body connection is so important.

It’s a wonderful guide and can open up a whole new world for us in regards to how to feed ourselves well in a world that’s so overly saturated with the next new thing. Or this culture of deprivation just so we can look a certain way that is completely dysfunctional, right? So, to help us walk through how we can feed our bodies uniquely, tune into what we personally need as we are very uniquely made and then thus nourish ourselves with a lot of delight, a lot of delicious food, we have returning to the show for a second time, the absolutely wonderful Danielle Walker, my friend.

So, a lot of you know Danielle. She’s not just my friend, but a friend to our community for years. But let me refresh you with her story. She was not just struggling with her health, she was in trouble. She was in hospitals and came pretty close to losing her life, and had not correlated her health to what it was she was eating.

She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and thus having gone through all these medical interventions, finally turned to food to see if there was something there, some change, some levers to be pulled around food that might help her body to heal. And spoiler alert, it did and almost instantly. So, we’re going to talk about that because this went from being just a part of her day to a whole life. Danielle has now built a beautiful, powerful career around this conversation. She started with a blog called Against All Grain. It’s not called that anymore.

But she has helped people across the world now create healthy but delicious foods that don’t feel restrictive at all, even if their health requires a restricted diet like hers does. So, just from a high level, her recipes are entirely grain-free and then consequently gluten-free. Free of refined sugars, very low on dairy. She’s such a wonderful leader and guide. There’s no shame here, like eat this way or else. And she’s quick to say, and she and I will talk about this, that this is her body.

She has had to figure this out uniquely for how her body responds to the food, and you will be different. But in her experience, she’s going to guide you through what she has learned. And so, this is powerful for any of us who have ever struggled with our relationship with food, who have ever used food to help our bodies heal from the inside out. Isn’t that a beautiful concept? Who wonders if there might be a better way to counteract the aches, the pains, the headaches, the bloatedness, these daily symptoms we’ve maybe just decided to live with.

I wonder if there might be another way. So, listen, she’s got all the receipts, every single receipt. She knows what she is talking about. This is her world. This is her life. This is her career. This is her voice in the world. And I absolutely love her and so will you. So, happy, happy, happy day for me to get to welcome back to the show my friend, Danielle Walker.


Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode


Food Saved Me: My Journey of Finding Health and Hope Through the Power of Food
 Danielle Walker 


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