Sophie De Arment
Location: New York
What are the biggest changes you've noticed since eating more WFPB?
My name is Sophie. I am 24 years old. I love to knit, whitewater kayak, hike, and do math research. And I am in recovery from an eating disorder.
When I was 15 I started having severe panic attacks. Often in the middle of a class, sleep, or in the car, my throat would close in overwhelming nausea; my hands would shake; my legs would refuse to hold me. The entirely physical experience was both confusing and dispiriting. But with the help of my doctor and a supportive family, I learned to understand much of it and how to control it.
My freshman year of college was panic attack free! Unfortunately, addressing anxieties by suppressing mere symptoms causes the anxiety to rear its ugly head elsewhere. During an intense internship doing far-off research in number theory, I dropped over 20 pounds without even realizing it. I remember being eager to rigorously control my food intake, but not actually wanting to lose weight. I was not really overweight to begin with, so the number was a hammer against the strength and wellbeing that I count on to pursue adventure.
My family knocked the realization of what change my body had gone through into me, and with that awareness, my body rebelled. I was terribly constipated, my panic attacks returned, and quantities of food over snack-size made my stomach ache. This physical and emotional period led me to fear food. I became obsessed with how and what I was eating, carefully portioning and constantly questing whether I was eating too much or too little.
Finally, when X-rays showed low bone density in my back due to not having a period for two years and my resting heart rate was down to the low 40s, my family pushed me to go to an inpatient treatment center for eating disorders. During my three months in full-time care, I finally started learning how to be truly mindful of my emotions and consider ways to honor my body. I finished college strong and on a recovering path.
I will always hear the voice of my eating disorder when I see food. But through embracing that vulnerability, I have found the strength to constantly act in opposition to it. The lynchpin that makes the opposition concretely possible is my WFPB relationship with food.
Finding the WFPB lifestyle has literally saved my life, because it kicks micromanagement in the ass. It encourages me to eat according to feeling, not thinking. It makes my body strong and sing with wellbeing every day. It makes me FEEL my effulgence. When food looks that colorful, tastes that delicious, makes my poop regular-like, and makes my stomach feel truly satisfied, how can ED stand a chance? That is the change in me. A strong body and an ED voice that is no longer a threat.
What do you know now about food and eating that you wish you knew a long time ago?
I wish I knew that striving for complete control over everything and trying to earn my own respect by feeling powerful is not the way to be healthy and content. The most power comes from embracing your vulnerability. I struggle sometimes to keep eating the foods that make me feel my best. That's OKAY. Also, it is good to know now that respecting the Earth with my food choices also generates a lot of happiness.
Is it safe to say that changing your diet has changed your life?
What role has Molly played in where you are now?
I was already mostly on the WFPB train when I found Molly, but she really put the ka-POW in my plant-based journey. I kind of kept my food choices under wraps from most people because I am very sensitive to the way assholes and even non-assholes scoff at the idea of not eating meat.
Food is so personal. That is why it's rude to point at someone else's plate and the "family dinner" is so central to our First World culture. Since vegetarianism/veganism is "restrictive", close friends and family worry that my eating WFPB is a possible outlet for ED behaviors (p.s. I eat a WAY more varied diet than any of them and my dinner plate tends to be bigger because PLANT VOLUME WOAH).
Molly made plants cool. She made me feel like I can come out of the closet and say "I LOVE PLANTS!" And she introduced me to a whole community of people who feel the same way. AND she introduced me to my favorite kitchen tool besides my blender, the freakin-fantastic Instant Pot.
I plan to live a long time.