Tara Kemp is a mental health coach and researcher. And, delightfully, she's a very “both/and” kind of person.
In our conversation about the root causes of disordered eating, she acknowledges both the inner and the outer dynamics. Our environments are full of junk food. And our hearts and souls crave connection and joy.
As we discussed approaches to making food choices, she emphasized the value of external knowledge and inner wisdom.
And when we compared models of healing, she valued equally taking physical action to change internal states, and addressing internal issues to change behaviors.
Tara previously appeared on Plant Yourself in August 2017, when she shared her personal story of recovering from disordered eating through self-love and education. Fast forward nearly four years, and she is now helping other women heal their own relationships with food.
She's also upending conventional knowledge about a thorny topic: the intersection of eating disorders and vegan diets. Without evidence, there's a belief in the clinical treatment community that veganism is one more expression of disordered eating. Which means that for a long time, you couldn't adhere to a vegan diet if you attended a residential recovery program.
Tara, along with Adam Sud, is conducting research on whether plant-based diets reinforce patterns of addiction or can help to break them. More to come…
Her big message: our relationship with food is a symptom of our relationship with life. If we're not finding joy, meaning, connection, and spiritual fulfillment, we'll use a substance or behavior or thought pattern to cope with that lack.
To heal ourselves, we can't just find the “right” diet and stick to it. Or achieve a body that we're proud to show off at the beach.
Instead, she reminds us, we can use food and our relationship with it to reassert our care of our own bodies and souls. To act toward ourselves with compassion. To explore our food choices with curiosity and respect.
Tara on Instagram: @tarakemp_
Tara on Plant Yourself August 2017
Adam Sud on Plant Yourself May 2017
You CAN Change Other People!
Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.
What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.
Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.
Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight
Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.
It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂
This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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