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Jamie Truppi Discusses ‘Clean Food, Messy Life’
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Monday, May 15, 2023
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Jamie Truppi knows first-hand about the value of food to heal the body, serve the environment and help one achieve their physical best. That’s why she went back to school to become a nutritionist.

And she will incorporate some of her findings into a free talk open to the public at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at PeakFit, 141 N. Main St. in Hailey.

But her rigid obsession with food also played a darker role in her life—hence the name of her new memoir, “Clean Food, Messy Life: A Food Lover’s Conscious Journey Back to Self.” The book is available at Iconoclast Books in Hailey and Rasberry’s in Ketchum.

“It’s really a story about how my fixations on eating certain types of food challenged friends and relatives but also brought me to an improved self,” said Truppi.

Growing up in a big Italian family in Boise, Truppi spent her formative years eating pasta smothered with homemade tomato sauce. Even her mother, who grew up eating Idaho country food in Bruneau, learned to make pasta the way her husband’s mother made it.

During summers at the family’s Sulphur Creek Ranch in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Truppi plucked feathers from the grouse hunters brought to the ranch and collected huckleberries by the bucketful as her family cooked day-in and day-out for guests.

Like so many teenagers she went through a vegetarian phase during high school. Then, when she moved to Reno, she reverted to fast food because she was so busy.

Food came into focus for her during one Sun Valley Wellness Festival when a medical intuitive told her that she was lactose intolerant and couldn’t digest dairy well.

“She encouraged me to give up dairy for a few weeks and, as I did, I started to get in touch with myself. I realized how destructive the partying I’d been doing was. I lost 10 pounds in three weeks around the middle. And I had more energy than I dreamed possible,” recounted Truppi.

“I didn’t realize how sick, how inflamed I was, until all of a sudden I felt well,” she added. “I began realizing that what I ate affected my life. I decided: Game on! Let’s see what else happens.”

Truppi began questioning everything around her, a practice that encouraged her to incorporate more trail work into her life. But, as she did, she began developing uncompromising views on food that consumed her even as she tried to various diets on for size ranging from dairy free to meat free to vegan to pasture-raised.

She recoiled at the food she saw parents buying their kids at the snack bar during hockey games. She found herself in a psychological tug of war with her future in-laws as she insisted on certain foods in family dinners.

When she accompanied friends on a wine tasting rip to Walla Walla, she took elk meat so everyone would be on the same page, then blew up when she learned they’d mixed pork in because the elk was too lean.

Quick to spout her indignation at what others were eating, she ostracized many of those around her even as she judged them. And she was turned off by their response.

“Rather than ask, ‘What made you choose this way of eating?’ I’d get the eye roll,” she said. “People wanted to debate me, make me feel wrong. I finally realized it was really about their food choices that made them do that.”

She began spending enormous amounts of her time in supermarkets reading food labels.

“Every time I purchased food, I had to review whether that food met my vegan standards, whether I needed to investigate the food for preservatives. Everything was a question, and that can make you crazy,” she said.

“Being a vegan in Portland was the most challenging. Every time we went to a restaurant, everything had to revolve around me. Now I realize it should have been: ’We’re going here. You choose if you want to come.’ ”

The book is candid. It is also fun for Wood River Valley residents to read because it refers to people places and institutions in the valley stretching back a couple decades, including the upscale Evergreen Restaurant.

Truppi’s early adherence to a restrictive diet impacted her relationship with her husband and her children, eventually playing a big role in her eventual divorce.

But, having said the wrong things about food for so long, Truppi now tries to say all the helpful things in her practice. Her intent is to help others shift even just one habit,

“I hope this book helps people ask the question: Why am I doing what I’m doing, whether food related or not? Is this thing I’m doing serving me? If it is, how do I cultivate it even more? What would happen if I tried this?”

She hopes that the fact that it’s about food makes it more accessible.

“I could’ve written this from my yoga lens—how yoga can be a crutch and/or a good thing. But everyone eats and not every one does yoga. So, everyone has a food story.”

And, while she doesn’t now expect everyone to acquiesce to her way of thinking, she hopes she will at least inspire others to consider their food through a different lens than the one they’ve been viewing it.

“Food values are not something people talk about. They talk about family values, being strong for grand kids, but it tends not to be about food even though food plays a huge role in our lives.”

GLEAN FROM JAMIE

Jamie Truppi will discuss ways people can better their physical and emotional health with food and other things during a free presentation at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at PeakFit in Hailey. The talk is part of PeakFit’s ongoing series showing people how they can up their game.

 

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