How This Blogger Is Using Food To Heal From Grief (And Starting A Movement In The Process)
When Lindsay Ostrom announced her pregnancy, her audience was jubilant. One of the most popular food bloggers, the founder of Pinch of Yum had garnered millions of readers and followers for her decadent, nourishing food and the candid way she shares her Midwestern life, from her doting husband and business partner, Bjork, and adorable pup, Sage, to the humanitarian work she moved to the Philippines for.
In October, when she shared a smiling picture of her, Bjork, and a sonogram, her readers filled the comments with messages and love and excitement. In December, she shared the baby's gender—a boy!—and mirror selfies of her now quite visible bump. In late December, a new post appeared on her site: "An Urgent Baby Update." In it, she shared how a regular scheduled doctor's visit had revealed that her body was trying to go into labor—and it was too early for the baby to be viable. "If I deliver within the next few days, his chances of surviving at all, much less without major lifetime health complications, are extremely low," she wrote. "This is not how we want to be experiencing pregnancy and birth and newborn life, and it's jarring and hard. We're letting go of what now seems like such a dream for a "normal" pregnancy and a "normal" baby and embracing what's happening right here in front of us. But forward is the only way. So one day, one hour, one minute at a time."
On January 9, a new post appeared on her Instagram feed.
She stopped posting for a while then, save for a series addressing her son directly. Many (myself included) wondered how she would—how she could—go back to posting taco skillet dinners and sweet potato casseroles after what she'd been through. And then she introduced her new series: Feeding a Broken Heart.
"In the days and weeks after our son Afton passed away, I found myself unable to eat. How do you eat when you have a broken heart? Your body practically forgets," she wrote. "Exactly one day after being home from the hospital, friends started showing up at our house with food. ONE DAY. This food was a lifeline. These acts of love put warm, sustaining food in front of me, and that food tethered me to real life. It was through soup, cookies, salads, and little cheesy homemade pizza rolls that I was able to find my way again, both physically and emotionally."
She then introduced the concept of Feeding a Broken Heart. "It would be such an honor to Afton’s memory to have you, the food lovers, show up and share food with the people in your lives who are hurting," she wrote. The rules?
- Think of someone who has a broken heart.
- Make them one of these recipes. Or if you don't live close, mail them a restaurant or meal delivery gift card. Snail mail them a chocolate bar. No rules here—just lots of love.
- Show us what you're doing by using the hashtag #feedingabrokenheart.
And, she added, "if the broken heart is yours, you can make some of this food for yourself. That totally counts."
And people heeded her call to action, and the call to heal—and spread healing—through the immense comfort of food. On the hashtag #feedingabrokenheart, there are stories of sudden deaths, of cancer, of love lost, self-flagellation, and self-forgiveness. There are stories that will make you laugh, and stories that will make you cry, and, of course, there is food. We know food can heal a body—we talk about it all the time here on mbg—but these stories are proof that food can heal a soul. Below, a few that touched us. Check out #feedingabrokenheart for the rest of the posts.
Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.