How I Turned Food from a Weapon for Self-destruction into a Tool for Self-empowerment

What do smell-blindness, binge eating disorder, and body dysmorphia have in common? 

 

Me. 

 

This is the weird story about how I turned food from one of my biggest sources of pain into one of my most important and valuable real-world tangible superpowers. 

 

It’s one of many journeys from pain to power I’ve been on. 

 

And it begins in a dark place.

 

With someone’s attempt to take their own life when I was a teenager. 

But this isn’t a sad story. It’s a modern fairy-tale. 

It’s a story about creative self-empowerment. About self-care in unconventional ways. About an experience of food beyond the obvious. About how I invented the concept about transformation engineering and created a 12-step customizable playbook for self-empowerment, which can be applied to any challenge (aka shit storm) you go through in life. 

 

I didn’t expect to write this story at this point. I thought my deep passion for food was extinguished after I went through an extended period of suicidal depression in 2021. But apparently not. 

 

My friend Ellen inspired me to start writing again with an invitation to a website with writing prompts. So, this happened as a result. It turns out I still care deeply and passionately about food. Because my relationship with it is still challenging and at the same time remarkably enriching and empowering. So, I decided to share my journey of turning food from something that made me feel powerless into something, which allows me to empower thousands of people around the globe. 

WTF is Transformation Engineering?!

I am a transformation engineer. 

 

I help people re-sculpt their identity, re-design their reality, and re-write their story. 

 
I am a trained journalist, multimedia storyteller, mental health educator, creative junkie, and overall extremely weird and multidimensional person. I am a human octopus. 
 
I’m weird as fuck. And this is my superpower. 

It's not a bug. It's a feature.

I’m 33. I’ve dealt with more shit in my life than most people don’t their entire life. 

I’ve lived with a severe, identity-shattering binge eating disorder since 2015 when one of the most important people in my life tried to take his own life.
 

By 2012 I was a junk food addict with seven years of brutal overeating experience behind my back. I was hardcore. I overate almost every night. I had severe trauma, was single, lived alone, and struggled with major depression nobody knew about. So, I ate. A lot. Of shit. I couldn’t stop. 

I just kept going. Because it was delicious. Because it was the only way my body knew to experience pleasure. So, food was not just fuel. It was everything. So, I couldn’t stop. 

 
But because I felt fat, ugly, disgusting and thought that no decent man would ever want to sleep with me unless I am skinny, I swang to the other extreme like a human pendulum and started living on 700 calories a day for months. My food came liquid. I made myself creamy soups. Usually from zucchini, broccoli, and in the winter – pumpkin, celery, and beetroot. So many red flags nobody could see. 
 
I ate no protein. I thought I was healthy. So, so bad.
 
I lost weight. A lot. Looked hotter and hotter. Dudes started being interested in me. People around me celebrated my self-destructive eating habits. But I knew this was wrong. I felt like a hypocrite. I wanted to do this right. 
 
So, I reverse-engineered the process and started from the basics. I taught myself how to cook. But following recipes felt absolutely horrendous. It was limiting, suffocating, and just plain boring. 
 

I didn’t want to cook. I wanted to create. So, I started inventing my own recipes on the fly. I would cook something new every time I entered the kitchen. I became a dish engineer. Designer? Architect? I have no clue. But I was neither a chef, nor a cook. I was at the intersection of an artist, scientist, and engineer. 

What?!

I learned about ingredients and started experimenting. The kitchen was my creative lab. My playground. The full pallette of local natural Ingredients in Bulgaria was what I used as art supplies. Or LEGO pieces. Call them as you wish. 

I built my own structures every time I cooked. I prepared 3-course meals for 2 people in 45 minutes and made breakfast pancakes in 15. I hacked healthy eating and made it fun through creative cooking. I explored every healthy ingredient I could get my hands on and came up with multiple alternatives to the shit that attracted me in junk food. My brain became an ingredient library. I could quote you 18 alternatives to white sugar, 14 alternatives to white flour, 7 alternatives to butter. 

 
And then came the really sexy part. 
 

Color. Texture. Shapes and lines. I started making edible art. 

My plates were delicious, nutritious, and healthy as fuck. I put all my savings into getting certified as a Mind Body Eating coach by the institute for the psychology of eating in Colorado, USA. 

I turned a food blog into a social enterprise, which got me on a TEDx stage and in the Forbes 30 under 30 list in Bulgaria for 2019. I was hired by the most prestigious school in Bulgaria to lead a 3-month workshop for children 7 to 12 years old from 8 countries on the topic of Food & Fun. I was hired by companies such as Fox International, VMware, and Pizza Hut to lead for their employees immersive experiences and workshops around food both online and offline. 

 
A decade later I still don’t have it all figured out. Food is still not an easy area for me. But this isn’t a bug, it’s a feature! This challenging relationship has sent me on a quest to dance with demons most people never meet. And I’ve come across amazing discoveries on my journey through the world of food, which I have been sharing with people online and offline since 2013. 
 
I have turned my Pain into Power. My challenging relationship with food has been an opportunity in disguise to turn it into a superpower and use it in ways that most people don’t even know about. 
 
My relationship with food has been on a healing journey since 2015. I’ve managed to turn it from an enemy into a friend. It became the foundation of a social enterprise I founded, whivh changed the lives of thousands of people on many continents. I was hired by companies, such as Philips, DM, and Alpro to design, record, photograph, and write articles about recipes I created with their products. I was on all Bulgarian national media outlets talking about eating disorders and the sustainable version of healthy eating. I was invited to have full seasons of my own cooking show on one of the main national media TV channels and the biggest book publisher in the country offered me a book deal. I wrote a playbook for creating your own recipes from scratch, which won the equivalent of the Food Oscars in 2019.
 
Over the last decade I’ve transformed food into my superpower. And I keep learning every day, so I can help myself and others even better. 
 
I’ve taught thousands of people how to invent their own unique healthy recipes on the fly with the ingredients they perceive as healthy. I’ve taught hundreds of people to meditate through making edible art. And after the pandemic wiped out my social enterprise overnight and dried up all my income streams, I pivoted again and invented an immersive online experience, which enabled people on multiple continents to come together on a metaphorical virtual playground and connect with  loved ones across the world through a choose-your-own adventure type of online experience called Edible Connections. An experience where you use your favorite ingredients as art supplies, the white plate as your canvas, and food as the language of communication for all virtual players around the world. 
 
This is why I call myself a transformation engineer. I help people change their relationship with food by using their creativity. Food is not my only playground. But it’s one of the most important ones. 
 
And I’d love for you to come and join me. 
 
Wanna play? 
 

Creative Cooking for Impatient People (On-demand 1-hour Course | Live Session)
Edible Art for Mindful Eating (On-demand 1-hour Course | Live Session)
Edible Connections (On-demand 1-hour Course | Live Session)
 
Small group coaching 
One-on-one coaching 
Online & Offline Experiences & Workshops 

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