Do Recipes Serve You on Your Bright Line Eating Journey?

This a question that I have spent quite a bit of time worrying about as a person who provides recipes to self proclaimed food addicts. Some of you have asked me about my thoughts on Susan’s stance on recipes and food neutrality, and whether that’s a point of tension.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing potential collaboration opportunities with Susan and the BLE team, and yes, it’s been a tricky and nuanced subject. In her vlog this week, Susan explains why she isn’t willing to endorse an official BLE cookbook. I believe that her stance comes from the culture of FA (which is where Susan learned the tools of BLE) and also from her lived experience as someone whose food freedom is compromised by even the slightest food excitement.

But as the popularity of my blog shows, not everyone has this same lived experience or perspective, and many Bright Line Eaters (myself included) are successfully able to incorporate recipes into their plan.

At the end of the day, I take comfort in the idea that everyone is self responsible. Ultimately, whether or not recipes serve you in your journey is something you have to figure out for yourself.

I appreciate too that in the very same vlog, Susan also acknowledges the potential differences for mid-rangers such as myself (I’m a 7 on the susceptibility scale). She says that for many people like herself who are high on the scale the goal of this way of eating is food neutrality, or as she put it, keeping your food in black and white so that you can live your life in full color. I don’t connect with this statement at all. In fact, I pretty strongly reject it. But I also can see how this mentality could be useful for someone whose suffering with food has been much worse than my own.

Because I really can keep my food in color AND can life my life in color too. And I want to. If you CAN, then why on earth wouldn’t you? It just isn’t true for me that focusing on my food sometimes detracts from the quality and fullness of my life in other areas. I guess I am one of the lucky ones that really can keep a foot happily in both worlds and live in a body that I’m happy and healthy in.

I appreciate her addressing this because sometimes I feel like I am doing Bright Line Eating “wrong” because I do let my food be fun and sexy sometimes.

But I have a different history with food than Susan. My food was not abusive to me in the way that she describes. She makes an analogy of her relationship to food as an abusive relationship (with food as the abuser), and that she wants nothing to do with food anymore.

But food didn’t abuse me. It manipulated me, and made me feel powerless at times. But through Bright Line Eating I became empowered with the tools to regain control over my food. These tools helped me eliminate the manipulative parts of that old relationship, and to repair it. And at the end of the day I am glad to say that food and I are still good friends.

This has not been everyone’s experience, and I am sure that Susan’s experience is much more common in the BLE community, and in the food-addiction recovery community at large.

What about you?

Are recipes making your life brighter and more vibrant, or are they preventing your from living your life in full color?

I’d love to hear about your experiences in relation to this vlog topic. Leave a comment!

P.S. Here’s a link to the susceptibility scale if you are new to the idea of Bright Line Eating!

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  1. Diane Brisse

    I feel like you do Katie, even though I am a 10 on the susceptibility scale. I have learned that if I don’t feel like doing BLE anymore (I am on maintenance) it helps me get recommitted if I eat different foods in different ways. So I really appreciate your recipes and enjoy trying them. It hasn’t triggered me at all so I hope you don’t change anything!! Thank you!

  2. I’m a 7 on the scale as well. For me and my history of weight gain, it was more like “ignorance is bliss.” I just did not pay any attention to what I was consuming. BLE had me focus. What an idea!

  3. I was a 6 on the scale, and cannot tolerate my food being black and white. I must have color. I appreciate food bloggers that promote healthy menus. I avoid ones that use boxed items or unhealthy foods. I think your blog is fantastic and you are definitely providing a much needed service for people like me. Thank you!

  4. I’m like you.. I have found the middle ground and it works for me! I am able to be both a foodie (I post my meals on instagram) and BLE-follower and I feel like I’ve won the lottery. But… I’m an 8 on the SS and have never been a binger or addicted to other substances. My missing piece was weighing & measuring food and just basically following the 4 main Brightlines. I’m not thin yet but definitely happier and free.

  5. Thank you for this post, I saw and listened to Susan and understand where she is coming from. I’m also a 10 on the susceptibility scale and find it doesn’t take much to tip me over to over indulging in sugar/flour foods. I enjoy having your recipes to look over and think about and make as I’m not a very creative cook and hesitate to try new spices or veggies with out guidance. I also suffer from other stomach/bowel issues and sometimes just don’t know what to cook. So thank you for your posts. sincerely Phyllis.

  6. The recipes absolutely add fun and deliciousness to my Bright Line journey! I know I can stick to it long term because of the wonderful work you have done to add enjoyment and variety to this way of life! Really can’t thank you enough!

  7. I love the variety of food options recipes provide . Early on (for the first few months), I needed the basic, single ingredient foods: beans, salad, nuts, and apple. This kept me focused and made it easy to know what to eat. However, the longer I ate BLE, the more I needed variety and combinations to keep me motivated and interested in eating on BLE. Eating food combinations (recipes) also feels more normal in social situations, as well. Thank you for your recipes!

  8. My experience (and I’m really, really old) is that what food means to you is heavily influenced by many factors: history, local cultural values and immediate experience(s), and health to name a few. I had a friend who had major weight when young and she allowed food to rule her life forever after. She had a definite idea of what she “should & would” eat for the day and if that did not happen, she allowed it to wreck her entire day. I did a little exercise after I did the Susceptibility test and reverse engineered it. I took the times when I was eating consistency with my actual dietary needs and examined their environment to come up with what did work for me. I see no harm in having attractive, appropriate, tasty, visually-appealing meals. Only a masochist would want that. I think the needs of the BLE group members are meals that meet the guidelines–meals that are not difficult, costly or time-consuming to prepare and which hit-the-spot in the taste department. Your creations do that so just keep on keeping on.

  9. Your recipes have been a wonderful introduction to plant based eating the BLE way. Without them I would fall into a boring, monotonous meat, vegetable, salad meal planning that would be difficult to maintain. I know because that is what has happened in the past. It has lead to failure in the past. I am a 9 on the susceptibility scale but must have something interesting and tasty to keep me going. It does not trigger, it encourages me. You have made it so easy by figuring out the amount t s and servings. Thank you !

  10. I’m with you, Katie! I love your recipes, and I love not having to do the math myself with other recipes! I need variety and color in my food, or I tend to get bored, which might lead to veering off my lines. Thank you so much, and keep ’em coming!

  11. Thanx for your post Katie, I, too am a 10+++++ on the Susceptibility Scale and understand Susan wholeheartedly – it’s like she is talking to me. I need black and white and love your recipes to have something fun and different to eat. I enjoy food and enjoy cooking!

  12. Katie while I am a ten I really appreciate your recipes because after 7 months I was tired of always eating the same things and needed to learn more about spices. I have found both in your recipes and thank you for all you share!

  13. Katie, I love your recipes for variety! I am not Plant based, but I love using yours for a variety in my BLE journey! I started following you in January when I first learned of BLE. Keep up the great work, those who are triggered will not stay with you, but the rest of us will! I am a 6. Hugs from cool Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy, & thank you❣

  14. Katie,

    I love your recipes! I am fairly new to BLE–just finishing Week 3. My biggest problem is grazing…I love to graze :(. So BLE is giving me tools to deal with that. My biggest trigger is if food is boring…then I want to create something interesting. You are helping me with the tools to cook interesting, BLE-compliant food, without thinking about it too hard. I can create BLE meals on my own, but when I want new ideas it is way safer for me to browse your cookbook & blogs that to end up in a foodie site that has lots of NMF ingredients on it.

    I just downloaded the BLE Cookbook yesterday, and it really is guidelines rather than inspiration.

    Your material (and photos!) are inspiring–it helps me be confident that I can continue my journey to a Right Sized Body and maintain that, all while enjoying food.

  15. I am a 10, but I dont feel abused by food. A binge for me is a piece or two of cake, not a whole cake. I think there are different degrees of 10’s. For me, your recipes are delicious and I look forward to enjoying them each day. I bought 3 of your cookbooks…1 for my daughter and two for me, for when I wear out the first!

  16. I’m a 10 plus plus. When I was in weight loss I was more black and white around my food. Now, dancing in maintenance, I find that I like some color in my food. I love your recipes!

  17. I am thankful for your site. I’m an 8 on the SS. If foods aren’t feeling “fresh” I can’t choke them down. I’d rather starve than put them in my mouth. This then leads to binging because I’m hungry. I have to make my food new and interesting to stay on track. I monthly go through my favorite instagram and food websites and cookbooks to keep my food interesting. I also have a rotation of recipes I like, but can’t eat to often or I won’t eat them. I’m so thankful I’m not alone in this. Keep those recipes coming. 🙂

  18. I find being abused by food a very interesting concept, food is not animated. Therefore our perspective drives our beliefs about food;
    is it a gift to nourish us? Or something here to harm us? How have we generated hostility for the gifts from the Earth? Your beautiful recipes honor food, which in turn honors the body & the Earth.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experience so generously.

    Do recipes help? I think in the beginning, we should keep our food super, super simple. As we go on, many of us find recipes very helpful, The ones who don’t can just ignore them!

    I do BLE – it is saved my life – AND some of the offerings are a little strange in my eyes. One of them is a “bonus” cookbook by a plant-based expert whose recipes are ofte quite difficult to make BLE-compliant. Your recipes are really easy to adapt to BLE … and depending on which program you are on (weightloss, maintenance, men, women), many of your recipes can just be followed exactly. Easy Peasy!

    I wish that the BLE Boot Camp Resources Archives including links to your work and to the other person’s work … I think it is a big mistake to include her book as a “bonus” – and will tell the team that at some point or other!

  20. I am beyond a 10 on the susceptibility scale. My top weight was 370 lbs. Do you recipes help me? My answer is a resounding “YES”!! I never cooked before because I didn’t have the patience to wait for my food. I needed instant gratification. I lived on fast foods and whatever I could throw into the microwave. So you are a blessing to me. I’m learning to cook (I’m still terrible at it but pull off a good meal once in a while) and you are the best guide in the world, simple and I don’t have to adjust the recipes to fit my food plan. I have lost 90 lbs. in the last year. I beg of you, Katie, don’t stop. You are part of my lifeline. Bless you.

  21. I am having to come to terms with the fact that recipes are harming my BLE journey. I resisted this realization for much too long. I choose to be free from swirling around in the time-sucking pursuit of recipes. ❤️

  22. YES recipes in general – and YOURS especially are lifesavers for me. My husband and I enjoyed your Chia pudding this morning! I am a10, yet boredom with meal options puts me into a joyless headspace in which I will grab anything, eat mindlessly and eventually binge – and give up. I agree with those who say we can still enjoy the gift of food, without crossing a line into addictive behavior. All eating is NOT the same and I trust that I’m learning a completely new way to eat – that is NOT restrictive. Even with no S/F you demonstrate with every creation that we’re left with a universe of foods to enjoy! I’ve released a total of 40-plus pounds. Your recipes and your blog kept me on track because they’re easy to follow, interesting (you are SO creative with food combinations) and are precisely planned for weight loss or maintenance (I’m close – not quite there). I think it will be key for me to watch for any obsessive thoughts about food (or anything!) yet I can honestly say I would not still be eating in this clean, delicious, healthy way if it weren’t for this blog and the way you’ve so generously shared with all of us. Thank you – you have given so many the gift of health by teaching us how to eat deliciously healthy – and how to have more plant-based meals! I just saw that your cookbook is done! Congratulations – I can’t wait to get my copy.

  23. Hi Katie – I’m a bit late on this, but I just listened to SPT vlog. I am a 10 on the susceptibility scale. I found and used your recipes the first week of my 14 day challenge. I would not make it if I just had plain protein and veggies. I LOVE LOVE your recipes and the joy of completely a fun project fulfills me much more that the actual eating. It’s the fun of the making it and measuring it just right that I look forward to. And knowing that I have something new and exciting to make/try keeps me on this journey. I’m on day 92 and still have at least that many more to go before I hit goal weight. I’m off to order your cookbook. As much to support you as to have. LOVE your recipes and the sweet energy you exude. Thank YOU!

  24. I also feel that sometimes, not all of the time, we need to change things a bit and be a bit more creative with food. Recipes to me are that opportunity to not only nourish my body, but my creative side as well. And, let’s face it, using abstinent ingredients for me is not a trigger, but a reinforcement of the longevity of this program. Most of the time I do keep it very simple, but for those times where I want to have something a little different, it is nice to know that Katie’s Bright Kitchen is there to support us. I am also a 7 on the scale, so maybe I am not such a hard core food addict, and with structure like this, I can keep to the bright lines without a worry. Thank you Katie.

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