I just finished Melissa Hartwig’s new book Food Freedom Forever. I have been dabbling in the Whole30 community for almost 2 years now. I first came upon the program when I was pregnant with my daughter and I immediately declared to my husband that I wanted to do a Whole30 someday (after I was done with pregnancy) because the whole premise of the Whole30 program really resonated with me. Eating more whole food, hopefully feeling better, having more energy, and being more intentional about what we ate so our bodies can function optimally- it all sounded good to me.
Since that day we have done a Whole30, and changed our diet quite a bit, but it has been a really difficult transition and process. Food holds memories, we gather around food and build friendships, and going out to eat on a Friday night is such a luxury. All of those things are great, but the food options I have come to find are not always aligned with the way I want to fuel my body, and that can be difficult.
Sometimes I wish I weren’t, but to be completely honest I am absolutely fascinated with the science surrounding food. I am constantly reading in a hope to find some absolute truth about food, and what foods will make our bodies function optimally. I know pain, sickness, and general physical decline are a part of this mortal life. So many people struggle with physical limitations in this life. But when it comes to trying to take care of my generally healthy body I want more. I don’t want to be as tired, I want to have more energy and less pain. More than anything I want food freedom-to eat well so I can live well.
I also want to teach my daughter about food and nutrition and exercise in a way that helps her combat all the worldly talk about being thin. I want her to eat and exercise so her body is strong and capable, and I want the same for myself.
My husband and I recently sat down and wrote some intentions for our lives, the values we have about different parts of our life (physical, spiritual, family, etc.) These intentions are meant to guide us when we are faced with various circumstances. Our intention surrounding food and exercise is to eat for nutrition, move for strength and develop a healthy relationship with food and exercise.
In those three simple phrases we can take on any food or exercise related circumstance. For instance if we are out on vacation and we pass by a donut place we might instantly want a donut. Eating a donut is not going to be nutritious, that is pretty obvious, but we also want to develop a healthy relationship with food, so we think about whether it is worth it to indulge. Do we want the donut just because it is there, if this is the case, maybe we don’t need it. Is it something we actually like, because to be honest donuts are not my favorite thing-so maybe I should pass. But if it is super special and delicious, then I want to eat the donut guilt free and enjoy it. It’s intentional eating and it’s food freedom.
And that is why I really like the book Food Freedom Forever, and the Whole30 in general. It really resonates with me that we need to shift our eating to more real food, and when life hands us our mom’s cinnamon rolls, we focus on eating them with pleasure and attach zero guilt to that experience because we are enjoying it fully. On the other hand when life hands us a dum dum sucker, maybe we should pass, because it is just not that special and is not adding to our overall well-being in another way, especially at the doctors office when they hand one to my child and it just makes a huge sticky mess.
I am still trying to figure out food. I am not perfect but I am really trying to figure out what is best for me and I am really trying to be intentional.