“I started looking at food and was like, ‘I’m just not in the mood.’ It’s like going to the grocery store when you’re full. You just don’t want the same things. Food wasn’t that thrilling for me,” John Legend's wife tells PEOPLE. “That was one of the first times I knew something was wrong.”
At the time, shortly after giving birth to her daughter Luna, now 2, she was developing recipes for her second cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More, the follow up to her 2016 New York Times bestseller Cravings. Uncharacteristically, the work was something she began to dread.
“When I wasn’t feeling great, being in the kitchen was like torture. It felt like such a job, and you want to be excited when you’re in the kitchen,” she says. “I cook because I love food and I love to eat. It makes me happy to serve people. And when you aren’t feeling that way, it was like torture.”
Even simple tasks like leaving the house were difficult. “I’d ask people who came inside why they were wet. Was it raining? How would I know—I had every shade closed,” she wrote in an essay for Glamour. “Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. There was a lot of spontaneous crying.”
But with a diagnosis came relief. She was prescribed an antidepressant and sought help from a therapist. (Teigen told CBS Sunday Morning she believes she avoided PPD the second time by eating her placenta after giving birth to Miles, 4 months.) As she recovered, her energy—and her appetite—slowly returned to normal.
“When Chrissy is living her best life food is a huge part of it,” says Adeena Sussman, Teigen’s coauthor, who moved in with the couple while working on Cravings and Cravings 2. “It was great to see her pick that love of food back up and just run with it when she was feeling better.”
Returning to the kitchen, Teigen says, “was like riding a bike. It was like nothing ever happened.” And the end result and adorable family photos—is exactly how she imagined it.
“I’m so happy we didn’t rush into this book,” she says. “And I’m so grateful to everyone around me for supporting being able to pause until we were able to put out the best possible Cravings.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site PEOPLE.