My Super Sweet Recovery Book

Author: Nicola Davis

Date Of Publication: 20/03/2018

Recovery is, as anyone who has had or been close to someone who has had an eating disorder will tell you, a fraught and extensive battle. It is, therefore, vital to make sure there is as little stress as possible when it comes to eating or preparing food, so as to reduce the anxiety of the sufferer.

An eating disorder recovery cookbook is still relatively untrodden ground and I wasn’t sure about the concept initially, but Super Sweet Recovery Cookbook provides a variety of simple recipes for three meals a day plus snacks. The recipes themselves consist of minimal ingredients, all fresh and natural, and don’t require too much effort on the cook’s behalf. In addition to this, there are variations on every recipe so that the cook can choose whether to go for the dish as it comes, an “easier” version for when they find it too hard, or an experimental version for when they’re more confident. This means the reader can make the meal as comfortable as possible and is the core strength of the book.

However, recovery is different for each sufferer, and, recipes aside, Super Sweet Recovery Cookbook may not be to everyone’s taste. The book itself is clearly marketed at a young and “girly” audience as it is adorned with pink, hearts and distraction advice such as “make a friendship bracelet” and “paint your nails”. Whilst this isn't bad it's narrow and only appears to target the stereotype of an anorexia sufferer, which means the book doesn’t have as far a reach as it could. However, those who fall within the demographic will surely be caught up in Davis’s enthusiasm and upbeat writing.

There are some diet buzz-words which I was disappointed to see in a recovery book, particularly the use of "guilt-free". I’m sure the author’s intention is to grapple with the guilt a sufferer feels, but some readers may feel it falls within "diet culture" and I personally believe recovery is about trying to deal with guilt, not placate it. Additionally, the author briefly discusses her body dysmorphia and points out she isn't fat and is actually thinner than the average girl her age. I am a keen advocate of body acceptance being a key part of recovery, rather than the "you're not actually fat" mentality, as it can lead to body shaming for those who recover but aren't thin (like myself). However, different recoveries mean different ways of thinking, and some people may find this mentality helpful.

Overall, the recipes alone are genderless, ageless and can help take away the stress of mealtimes during recovery. With recipes such as poached eggs, stuffed mushrooms, quinoa salad and apple cake, there really is something for everyone. The limited demographic may mean it doesn’t connect with all readers in a way it could have, but those who fall within the intended audience will be caught up in Davis’s infectiously positive writing style and may find the book helpful in their recovery.

Rebecca Wojturska 

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