Teen Author Starts New Blog on Eating Disorders with her Mom

Julia Tannenbaum, author of Changing Ways and now Breaking Free, launched a new blog Nourish with one of her moms Katherine Wilson on July 6, 2020. Nourish as the subtitle states is about balance through food. Julia, who is recovering from an eating disorder, was inspired to share her stories of hope and healing along with the recipes her mom, Katherine, made her while she was refeeding. Nourish blog is wholesome healthy recipes to support people recovering from eating disorders.

Throughout Julia’s illness and recovery, Katherine stayed at home to give Julia 100 percent of caregiving. Wilson, who holds an MBA, is vegetarian and an avid gardener and composter.

“Being a good cook, I fed her to beat her disease,” said Wilson. “Eating disorders are more than about food. Food is intense in everyone’s life. If you have an eating disorder, all logic goes out the window. It’s a brain disease and it is frightening, making food the enemy. Food is medicine. We had to teach Julia to learn how to enjoy food approaching food in a gentle way.”

It was a gradual journey to get Tannenbaum to a place of recovery. “I’m lucky to have a support system,” said Tannenbaum. “as well as access to foods that I’m comfortable with and a schedule/routine.”

The blog has information about exchanges and could also be useful for diabetics and athletes. Wilson altered recipes based on what Tannenbaum needed at the time.  The pair intend to write the blog for a year and see what comes from it. They are hoping for a book deal—which would be a book of insights and recipes into feeding eating disorders.

“Going through mental illness was horrible but it gave me the gift of helping me be more understanding of others,” said Tannenbaum.

Exchanges are tools for planning and calculating individualized meal plans introduced by the American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Exchanges are a type of food that falls into one of six food groups: starches, proteins, fats, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Tannenbaum was introduced to them while in treatment for her eating disorder. On their blog, the pair plan to cover exchanges.

Tannenbaum is currently working on the trilogy of her first two books, which you can find out more about on the Nourish site as well. You can read Nourish at http://thenourishcookbook.com. Find Nourish on Instagram at thenourishcookbook; facebook thenourishcookbook; and twitter thenourishcb.

 

Changing Ways the novel Shows More of the Recovery from Mental Illness and Less of the Illness, Written by a Teen with Lived Experience

 

Since eighth grade, 18-year-old, Julia Tannenbaum, of West Hartford, CT, has been writing. But a few years into high school, she found herself in a real dark place…struggling with mental illness.

“I had no way to articulate my thoughts and emotions,” she said. “My feelings felt repressed inside.”

In and out of school, in various treatment facilities both inpatient and outpatient, she often spent three to four hours a day writing poetry, journals, fiction to express herself.

However, once in long-term recovery, at age 17, she was visiting a friend in California where she used to live when she had an idea.

“I wanted to write a book in fiction about my experiences with mental illness,” she said.

The plot of the book, Changing Ways, is a 16-year-old girl spirals into mental illness travels the road to recovery with help from friends and family and people she meets along the way. One third of the book is Grace’s recovery.

She had read a lot of fiction and nonfiction about other’s experiences with mental illness and found it very triggering, stuck in the illness, and not relevant to her own struggles. So she decided to write the book as a work of autobiographical fiction to help decrease the stigma about getting help for mental illness and show recovery rather than focus all the time on illness.

“The misrepresentation of mental illness and the triggers of literature about these topics inspired me to write my book,” said Tannenbaum.

Changing Ways the novel, was born. She started writing in the middle of the story and wrote the beginning last.

“The beginning is the hardest part because you have to hook people,” she said.

Her battle with mental illness which included depression, anxiety and an eating disorder started in seventh grade when she felt insecure and had social anxiety. She got into self-harm. She was eventually taken out of school and placed in an Intensive Outpatient Treatment program. When discharged, it was a slow upward battle. High School brought more hospitalizations.

“My illness became my identity,” she said. “I eventually became sick of living half life. Writing was the only thing keeping me going.”

At 15-years-old, she committed to recovery, and today has three years of recovery from her mental illness.

“This book thing is incredible. In my bad moments, I take a minute to remind myself where I am now,” she said.

Several members of the local media have done stories on her novel and she has reached out to many local libraries to do book talks. Changing Ways has sold so far 250 copies since September 2 when the book came out. She gave her first book talk at Book Club Bookstore in South Windsor. She has one coming up on November 3 at the West Hartford Library main branch at 3p.m. Her teachers are both surprised and impressed she wrote a book and so are her peers.

Tannenbaum lives with her two moms an younger teenage brother.

“My moms are the reason I am alive today. They’re supportive and my biggest fans,” she said. “I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for me.”

Despite being self-published and self-taught, Tannenbaum has found success with her first book. The first chapter reads conversationally and true to life. Tannenbaum proves she is a gifted author and plans to study writing in college. Her top choices are Emerson and Weslyan.

“I want this story to be told, to reach a lot of people,” she said.

“The book ends with room for more,” she said. That’s why she’s working on a sequel following Grace, the main character, as her recovery progresses.

Tannenbaum practices self-care by allowing herself certain times of the day to take a break and just relax. She has four cats, whom she calls her therapy pets. She likes puzzles and games and Netflix, and she does yoga. She loves listening to music too, 90s style and early 00s is her brand.

An Amazon link to Changing Ways is here. You can buy it in paperback or for Kindle. You can contact Julia on social: Twitter @julia_tann, Instagram @julia.tannenbaum, Facebook writerjuliatannenbaum. She even developed her own web site at www.wackywriter.com.