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Discover God’s Perfectly Balanced Plan for Your Body and Soul
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Nourish is not another health or diet book; the message of this book is unique as it addresses all three aspects of health: spirit, soul, and body. The practical and spiritual tools provided in this book are what sets it apart from the rest of its kind. Too many people give up on their journey to health because they have a plan that addresses only the physical aspect of health. However, this book encourages the reader to first pursue health at a heart level, bringing lasting change that comes from the inside out.
In this book, you will discover how the health of your soul is the foundation to your overall health. Katie shares how to renew your mind and study God’s word, which will change the perspective on how you see yourself, making loving yourself (and your body) possible.
You will learn how to replace lies with the truth and shift your focus from what the world says to what God’s Word says. In addition to the spiritual truths, you will learn how to nourish your body with clean eating foods and get practical tools that make healthy living enjoyable and maintainable.
Nourish will provide you with encouragement and practical knowledge for living a healthy lifestyle, in addition to providing a balance of spiritual and physical nourishment. This book will inspire you to get healthy from the inside out.
BEAUTY FOR ASHES
It was the summer of 1998. I was fourteen years old when my dad came to my two sisters and me and informed us that we would be moving from the only home we had ever known, in suburban Michigan, to a small town in Wisconsin. My dad worked as an administrator for a small health-care agency that was experiencing layoffs, forcing him to find a new job.
This kind of news would be shocking to any teenager, but even more so to a shy fourteen-year-old about to enter her first year of high school. My parents sat us down and told us that we would have just a few weeks to say goodbye to the only home, school, and friends we had ever known.
A New Beginning
After just a few weeks, we packed our suitcases and family of five into our minivan and began the eight-hour ride to a small rental we would soon call home. Tears were shed from the moment we left our home in Troy, Michigan (population 70,000), until we pulled into our new hometown, Shawano, Wisconsin (population 7,000).
I will never forget the scene as we pulled into the driveway of our small, unfurnished rental home. The surrounding area had a skate park, one gas station, and a small convenience store. This was a huge difference from being within walking distance of one of Michigan’s largest malls, multiple grocery stores, and every chain store imaginable. As you can imagine, all these changes meant quite the culture shock for my teen sisters and me.
A Single Lie Breeds Destruction
After what had seemed to be the longest summer of my life, the start of the new school year finally approached. I remember walking into the high school with sweaty palms, making my way down the endless hallway to find my locker. I headed to my first classes of the day and sat quietly in the back. Suddenly the lunch bell rang, and I realized I had survived the morning only to have the real nerves kick in.
Lunch period was always nerve racking for me on the first day of school, but it was taken to a whole new level when I was the new kid. I remember walking through the noisy lunchroom, slowly wandering past the first table… and the next, anxiously wondering where I should set down my lunch tray. I spotted a table that seemed to be open, so I made my way over.
As I was walking toward the table, a boy I recognized from one of my classes started to walk toward me. When he approached me, he handed me a folded piece of paper and said, “This is for you.” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect… Was the note from him or one of his friends? Was he going to ask me a question, or could it be possible that he had a crush on me? It seemed hundreds of questions raced through my mind as I unfolded the paper.
I nervously opened the folds, only to expose a grotesque image of an overweight female with disproportionate body parts. Immediately the boy started laughing, and said, “Just in case you didn’t know, this is what you look like.” Just as soon as he spoke those words, he turned and ran back to the table where his friends sat laughing.
In a state of shock and embarrassment, I dropped the paper, threw down my lunch tray, and ran to the bathroom, where I locked myself in a stall and cried for what seemed like an eternity. I was humiliated and I didn’t see how I could ever leave the bathroom, much less return to the lunchroom.
It was at that moment that I went from being carefree about my appearance to being hyperaware of how my body looked. Although giving me that drawing was most likely nothing more than a cruel joke to those young men, I can look back and perceive it as something much deeper. I can now see how this single event was set up by the enemy to steal my innocence and identity by planting a lie in my mind.
Although I had grown up in a Christian home, and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior at an early age, the revelation of who I was in Christ had not yet been revealed to me. This left me open to the lies of the enemy, most of which were specifically targeted at my identity. This single lie, when fostered and meditated on, eventually took root in my life, leading me down a road of eating disorders that lasted the majority of my teen years.
A Desperate Attempt to Obtain Control
Soon after that lunch event, I convinced myself I had to lose weight, and fast, despite the fact that I was at a healthy weight at the time. It was almost as if I went overnight from being carefree about food to trying every diet and weight-loss trick. Within a few weeks I went from three healthy meals a day to a granola bar for breakfast, a dry turkey sandwich for lunch, and a few bites of food at dinner—just so my mom wouldn’t catch on to my new eating habits.
I continued to cut back on the little food I was eating with each passing week. And as my food consumption gradually decreased, so did my appetite and weight. My clothes got looser, and I felt empowered, knowing my plan was working.
With the weight loss came a sense of control. I believed that my changing body would protect me from the rejection I had experienced in that lunchroom. I convinced myself that if I could maintain a state of “perfection” in the way I looked, I would always be accepted and loved by those around me.
One single lie that I had received planted a seed in the soil of my heart. Left to itself, it grew and spread like the weed it was, resulting in a series of lies that played over and over inside my head. The problem was that I didn’t know I was believing a lie, or that I was harming myself and my body. At that time I was completely and utterly deceived. It would never have crossed my mind that I was heading down the road of an eating disorder in the form of anorexia nervosa.
Time for an Intervention
I wasn’t the only one who noticed I’d lost a substantial amount of weight. I tried to hide my behavior from my mom, but it wasn’t long before she became aware that something was wrong. When I asked my mom to recount the day she became suspicious of an eating disorder, she replied that she remembers it perfectly: “It was an early winter day and we had decided to go clothes shopping for the coming season. When I came into the dressing room to check how a pair of jeans fit on you, I lifted your shirt to check the fit of the waistband. I recall seeing your ribs and hip bones protruding from your dwindling frame, and at that moment I knew something was terribly wrong. I walked out of the dressing room, silently shocked to see how much weight you had lost. I began to wonder how it happened without me knowing it. How had you gone from a beautiful, healthy teenager to an insecure young woman who was hiding something behind her malnourished body?”
Looking back, my mom recalls noticing that I was eating a little less at dinner. Yet I had managed to convince her I was eating more at school, which explained why I wasn’t as hungry in the evening. Despite my efforts to hide my behavior, she had a hard realization of the truth when she saw my bony body in the dressing room that day.
In the weeks to follow, I remember my mom bringing up my eating habits in subtle ways. Her tactics didn’t get very far, though, because, as is common with teenagers, I became very defensive. After many failed attempts to expose the truth, my mom eventually got my dad involved. I could tell my parents were getting serious when they forced me to step on the scale. I weighed a mere eighty-five pounds. It was then they decided I needed professional help.
Days later, my mom and dad took me to our family physician, who clearly didn’t specialize in eating disorders: he joked about how I could stand to eat a few hamburgers and needed to gain some weight, then sent me on my way. My parents’ next line of defense was to have me see a Christian counselor, which I was not in favor of. I remember thinking to myself, I will not share the private details of my life with a stranger! So I sat on her couch defiantly, responding with one-word answers or not at all. As you can imagine, these appointments didn’t last very long, and eventually the counselor told my parents that I would have to come back when I was ready to share. My parents hesitantly brought me home from that appointment and decided to start doing the one thing they knew to do: pray.
A Promise of Hope
As winter turned to spring, I started to take walks down a path near our Wisconsin home. These walks started off as an effort to burn additional calories, but I could sense that something deeper was taking place in my heart as the trees began to bud and eventually blossom.
It was on one of those walks that I noticed a butterfly swirling and twirling around me, almost as if it were following me. This wasn’t such a big deal; however, the next day, that very same butterfly came and met me on my walk again. It happened again and again, day after day, until suddenly I started to think, What if this butterfly is a sign from God? What if He is using it to try to tell me something?
If there was any chance at all that this butterfly could be a sign from God, I knew I couldn’t ignore it. So I went home and began to do as much research as I could about butterflies. During my search I also asked God to show me in His Word if there was any reference to what He was trying to show me through these butterflies.
As I began to flip through the pages of my Bible, one Scripture stood out to me that paired perfectly with my newfound knowledge of butterflies. That verse was Romans 12:2: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” As I read this passage, the word transform seemed to jump off the page, as it was one of the words that described the transition from a caterpillar to a butterfly. I wrote this Scripture down in my journal and tucked it away in my heart, not knowing exactly what it meant yet, but knowing that it was a part of God’s promise to me.
A New Chapter
Just a few months into the summer my dad got word that a job in Michigan had opened up, just about an hour from where I’d grown up. He asked the rest of the family if we were open to the idea of moving back to Michigan. We were all so excited at the thought of moving back home, he didn’t waste any time and quickly took the job interview. Just a few days later my dad got word that he got the job. And so we found ourselves packing boxes all over again, just two short years after our move to Wisconsin.
Our move back to Michigan brought us to a quaint town called Saline. The culture of Saline fell somewhere between the big city we’d grown up in and the rural farmlands of Wisconsin. Needless to say, it didn’t take long to feel like home! I knew things would be different in Saline when my first day of school brought a handful of new friends, as well as an invitation to sit with some of them at lunch. Within a few weeks, I felt as if I fit in for the first time in years!
With the approach of the fall season came Saline’s homecoming. Being that I was still one of the new girls at the school, I was ecstatic when I was invited by a group of friends to attend the homecoming dance. At that dance one of my friends introduced me to a boy named Sean, and we quickly hit it off. We hit it off so well, in fact, that I spent the rest of the night talking to Sean rather than dancing with my friends. At the end of the night, Sean and I agreed that we should exchange phone numbers, knowing we could talk for hours.
Sean called me the very next day, and we spent close to three hours on the phone. Although we had just met, it felt as if we had known each other forever. At the end of the conversation, Sean asked me if I would like to go on a date, and I replied nervously, “Yes.” (Little did I know at the time that I was saying yes to a date with my future husband!) Sean and I started officially dating when we were just sixteen, and it didn’t take long for us to become best friends and high school sweethearts.
Disorder Takes on a Different Form
It was such a relief to feel that I was finally in a place I could call home. It wasn’t long before my peace within began to reflect outwardly. I soon began to gain weight steadily, which put my parents at ease. They took my increasing weight as a sign that all was well at last.
Everything seemed to be going right in my life at that time, and I truly felt that I was on cloud nine! I had a steady boyfriend and a great group of girlfriends, and I was doing well in school. My emotions were at an all-time high, and my eating habits soon began to match my enjoyment. The only problem was that I had no proper knowledge of nutrition, and it didn’t take long for the pounds to creep back on… and then some.
My expanding waistline brought back feelings of anxiety as I became increasingly aware of my body yet again. I began to feel a sense of panic. It seemed I was losing control. Looking back, I now see how dangerous this mind-set was. I have come to learn that when we do anything out of fear, we give the enemy an open door to our lives.
I began to look for methods for losing weight; and sure enough, the enemy made sure that I found one. One evening as I was alone watching a Lifetime movie, I found the “solution” I was looking for.
In the movie a bunch of girls were having a slumber party, and were snacking on some junk food. During the sleepover, two of the girls were discussing their fear of getting fat; to which one of them said, “You can eat whatever you want without gaining weight. All you have to do is throw up after eating.” She then proceeded to explain how to self-induce vomiting.
This scene painted a somewhat glamorous picture of bulimia in my mind, but to be honest, I was scared to actually try it. That is, until the fear of gaining more weight superseded the fear of this grotesque action.
I will never forget the first time I self-induced vomiting. I had just come home from school and found a pan of brownies sitting on the stove. I took one look at those brownies and thought, Instead of eating just one, why not enjoy the whole pan and then get rid of it shortly after? I called out for my mom and sisters to make sure I had the house to myself. Sure enough, no one else was home.
I decided that it was safe to follow through with my plan, so I went ahead and ate the entire pan of brownies; I barely took a moment to catch my breath, much less actually taste them. Just as quickly as I had eaten the brownies, I ran to the bathroom to get rid of them. I remember feeling mostly numb during the binge/purge cycle, and also a bit excited about how “easy” it was to get rid of the calories I had just consumed. This was my first step down the road to bulimia—lasting a total of two years. In those years my weight fluctuated (if anything I gained weight as a result of my binges), and I ate normal meals throughout the day, so it was easy to keep my actions a secret. Or so I thought.
I’m Finally Free
I celebrated my eighteenth birthday with dinner and an ice cream cake, as was the tradition in my family. After indulging in a large slice of cake, I sneaked away to the bathroom to purge. To my surprise, when I opened the door to the bathroom, my younger sister, Emily, was waiting for me. She asked to talk to me privately in her bedroom. As I walked into Emily’s room, I saw my older sister, Sarah, sitting on the bed. My heart started racing. I knew my sisters were sitting me down for a serious talk.
I sat on the bed and watched tears begin to run down my sisters’ faces as they proceeded to share their hearts with me. “We know what you have been doing,” Sarah said.
“What do you mean?” I replied nervously, the blood rushing to my face and my palms starting to sweat.
“We know what you have been doing in the bathroom. And we are scared you’ll hurt yourself if you keep this up,” Emily mumbled amid her tears.
Just as quickly as she said those words, tears started streaming down my face. I was exposed—my secrets revealed. I felt incredibly ashamed. My shame lasted for only a brief moment, however, because my sisters’ next words were, “Let’s pray.” With those words we joined hands and prayed together a prayer that was one of the most memorable and powerful of my life. My sisters took turns praying over my heart, mind, and body, asking God to restore, heal, and set me free in these areas. I also repented for the years I had neglected and abused my body, and made a dedication of my health to the Lord that evening.
With a single prayer I knew God had done a work in my heart, and I would never be the same. I could feel God breaking chains that had me bound for years. I felt the guilt and shame run off me as if I were taking a refreshing shower. God’s presence filled that room. Within an instant I perceived that I had been supernaturally delivered from any and all desires to binge, purge, or restrict food from myself. That night I was shaken to the core, not only emotionally (from seeing my sisters so brokenhearted for me), but also spiritually as my Savior, Jesus Christ, redeemed me from my sin.
After this profound experience, I quickly learned that when we call out to Jesus for deliverance, He instantly washes our sins away, and sets us free from the chains that had us bound. From there our minds still need to be renewed and restored, which can be a process. In my case, I had spent years entertaining destructive thoughts in relation to my body and food, and although I was freed of my outward actions, I still had to be healed on the inside. I wasn’t quite sure how to go about this, but I knew that God was the author of my healing and that He would be faithful to finish the work He had started in me.
My Search for Healing Begins
My search for inner healing began the very next day as I lay on my bed and cried out to the Lord. I asked Him to show me how to change my way of thinking and heal the wounds in my heart. I grabbed my Bible off the nightstand, hoping to find the answer I had been looking for. To my surprise I opened my Bible directly to Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” In that moment I was confronted yet again with the word transform, which confirmed that it was the key to my healing.
I desperately needed a transformation on the inside, and this Scripture provided a road map for getting there. It stated that if I wanted lasting change, I would have to make the choice to be different from the rest of this world and dig into God’s Word like never before. The discovery of Romans 12:2 was so simple, yet it was profound enough to change my destiny. From that moment on, I got serious about God’s Word, studying it every chance I got.
I began nursing school just a few months later at a campus near my house. I was so hungry for the Word of God that I found myself listening to an audio version of the Bible in my car during my commute to school. I would bring my Bible to school, reading it in between classes and during my break. As I prayed and spent time with the Lord, the entrance of God’s Word brought light where there had been darkness, and His truth began to expose the lies.
As I progressed through nursing school, I developed a whole new appreciation for the human body. My eyes were opened to what a gift our bodies are, and I realized how vital it is that we care for them properly. In doing so we are not only thinking about our health, we are also thanking God for the precious temple He has given us! This revelation, in combination with God’s Word, brought forth a total renewal of my mind and heart.
In addition to my being changed on the inside, God started to do a powerful transformation on the outside. This change began when I got in the kitchen and started cooking. I started to learn to make healthier versions of foods I had once enjoyed. Unlike those who learn to cook from a person close to them, I like to think that God was the one Who taught me how to cook. I believe He inspired me to get into the kitchen and gave me the wisdom and ability to create recipes. Looking back, I see that this was an essential part of my healing while I formed a new, healthy relationship with food. Within a few months of my spending time in the kitchen, God had exchanged my fears and need for control for a sense of freedom, balance, and true enjoyment when it came to food.
Little by little I started seeing change emerge in my heart, and it was then that God brought back the image of the butterfly to my mind. I remember reading about caterpillars and how they make their transformation inside the cocoon. After the process is complete, a beautiful butterfly emerges. God brought the revelation of the butterfly full circle as my own transformation took place. He revealed to me that as with the caterpillar, it was in the secret place where I would spend quiet time with Him that my transformation would occur. Before I knew it, I had gone from an earthbound caterpillar to a butterfly that could soar above the cares and the troubles of this world—all because of the time I spent in God’s presence, which renewed and restored me from the inside out.
After graduating from nursing school, I went on to marry my high school sweetheart, Sean, at the age of twenty-four. After graduating from Eastern Michigan University, I got my first job as a labor and delivery nurse, which had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. One of my favorite things about being a L&D nurse was that I had the opportunity to work one-on-one with women. This allowed me to get to know my patients personally, which opened the door for many teaching opportunities. I quickly found that one of my favorite things to teach women was how nutrition would affect their recovery after having a baby.
I would come home from work on countless days and share my excitement with Sean about what I had been able to teach my patients. Since Sean was a graphic designer, he encouraged me to start a website where I could share my nutrition tips, recipes, and also what God had taught me over the years about how to care for our bodies. I thought that sounded like a great idea, and just as quickly as I agreed, he was off to create a website for me! Just a few days later, my sister, my husband, and I were discussing what to name the website. Collectively we came up with the name Dashing Dish, and the website was born!
Within just six months of launching the website, I was getting more feedback than I could have imagined about how Dashing Dish was changing people’s lives! I started to realize the great responsibility God had given me with this website and that it was meant to share much more than just recipes. I felt the Lord prompting me to share about the freedom and joy that could be found only in Him, and to teach women how to find their true beauty in exchange for the ashes of their life. After a few years I came to a place where I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God was calling me to step into Dashing Dish full-time, as both a ministry and a business.
- "We featured Katie in Connect Faith magazine as part of our faith-based food bloggers series in 2016. She was such a delight to work with, and our readers not only loved her recipe for healthy strawberry muffins, but commented how inspiring her blog and faith were to them."—Kelsey Ogletree, editor-in-chief, Connect Faith
- "Katie's honest, fresh, and well-rounded approach to health shines in this book! A peek into her own life gives you that 'I've been there too' feeling, which is so helpful in reading a book about such personal issues. The practical tips and recipes she gives in each chapter rounds out the solid spiritual truths she focuses on. This book will be one not just for you but one you'll find passing on to others."—Clare Smith, blogger, speaker, trainer
- "Katie's raw vulnerability in sharing her story is a powerful testimony of God capturing a woman's heart and transforming her completely. Her story is relatable and inspiring, guaranteed to encourage and nourish those who read it." —Jennifer Smith, author of The Unveiled Wife and Wife After God
- "We are all so hungry for authentic faith, and that's what NOURISH provides. Katie's raw transparency transforms us, pointing us to the power of the living, breathing, active Word of God. Draw deeply on the truth found in these pages. Discover health for your body, mind, and soul that you knew was out there, but is now at your very finger tips."—Eileen Wilder, bestselling author of The Brave Body Method
- "Katie Farrell has gifted us with both an encouraging pep talk and a powerful tool tucked away in the pages of NOURISH. Full of relatable real-life stories and laced with relevant scriptures, this practical book beautifully unearths the intrinsic connection between the body, soul, and spirit and gives us useful advice for tending to all three of them in a way that glorifies God."—Karen Ehman, Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and New York Times best-selling author of Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It and When to Say Nothing at All and Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World, wife and mother of three
- "NOURISH is a powerful resource of truth in action. Katie does a beautiful job of moving from a Biblical foundation to practical application. You will be blessed by her transparency, her wisdom, and of course, her recipes. I can't wait to watch God use this book!"—Michelle Myers, founder of She Works His Way and Cross Training Couture
- "In a culture that leaves us starving for more, Katie's Farrell's latest book, NOURISH, is true to its title. Every chapter and every word leaves your soul satisfied and I truly believe it is Katie's most authentic piece of work. Starting with her own struggle with identity and a draining eating disorder, there is no doubt her guidance and encouragement in the following chapters are rooted in empathetic love. She has found the secret to achieving self-acceptance, believing completely in God's word, and she walks you through unleashing its power in your life. This book is for every woman (and man) in every shape and size. The information is spiritually rich and so practical you can apply it that day... not to mention the delicious recipes at the end of every chapter. Katie is kind and her words are patient. If you are looking for lasting change in your walk with wellness, pick up this book and be nourished."—Leslee Owen, television producer
- "As someone with my own personal journey with food addiction and a subsequent weight loss journey, I found the recipes in NOURISH to be healthy and satisfying but even more so Katie's words are satisfying to the heart! Katie strikes the perfect balance of spiritual insight, practical advice for growing in one's faith and encouragement for all of us on a journey to better health and well-being in our lives. I found NOURISH to be true nourishment for my soul!"—Heather Patterson, co-author of Life in Season and At the Picket Fence
- "As a model and fitness expert for more than a decade I know all too well about body image issues and unhealthy relationships with food. As a Christian, it certainly hasn't escaped me that the very magazines I am featured in and on perpetuate an ideal that many women feel burdened to achieve. With NOURISH, Katie encourages us all to dive into God's Word and discover His truths for our lives. Having wrestled with food and body image issues, being both overweight and underweight, Katie shares her personal testimony of how her relationship with God freed her from the burden to meet the ideals of the world and she lovingly shares with an open heart how you and I can do that in our own lives. She offers scripture, questions to ponder, prayers and recipes throughout the book like a best friend who is right there with you, lifting you up out of the trenches. If you've ever struggled or know someone who has struggled with self-worth and feels like their only value is wrapped up in their appearance, pick up this book and let Katie help remind you how uniquely created and deeply treasured you truly are."—Jamie Eason Middleton, fitness expert, cover model, author, and co-creator of Lean Body for Her
- "NOURISH is a balanced and loving guide for your journey towards a healthier, fitter, more whole you. It's filled with sound spiritual wisdom as well as practical tips to accompany you on your journey towards greater health and freedom."'—Allie Marie Smith, author, founder and director of Wonderfully Made
- 'NOURISH propels the reader toward a lifestyle of freedom through the balance of spiritual and physical health. Full of Scripture-based tips, reminders and yummy recipes, you'll close the book feeling you've breathed a breath of fresh air."—Danielle Chambers, worship leader, songwriter, and creator of The Front Porch blog
- "From beginning to end, Katie stuns us with a Savior, a faithful Father, and Redeemer who stands ready and waiting to lead His children into places of freedom and rest. As you read through her own personal journey, you will find yourself looking beyond what this fading world has to offer and in its place a greater vision for seeing all of life, from food to fitness, as an opportunity to worship and enjoy Jesus!
- On Sale
- Sep 24, 2019
- Page Count
- 208 pages