I’ve been on this journey for a long time – since October 2015, to be exact. I’ve done so many rounds of Whole30 that I’ve sort of lost track (9 or 10?) and I’ve had really solid periods of time living in Food Freedom.
My last round was in January/February of this year and since then I’ve been living a Food Freedom that’s been really close to Whole30 (adding in occasional sugar and some Whole30 no-no’s like plantain chips.) But to be honest, I haven’t had many situations over the past few months with possible “worth it” moments so it’s been pretty easy to stick to my comfortable Whole30-style eating. I don’t go out to eat much and I’ve stayed away from alcohol for more than five months – not because I am depriving myself but because it just hasn’t felt like it serves me.
Last weekend was the first chance I’ve had in a while to truly flex my Food Freedom muscles. I went to New Hampshire for the night to visit my fellow Whole30 Certified Coach and awesome friend Jen Woods Maloney. Driving up to New Hampshire by myself (I had nearly 24 hours off of MOM DUTY!) was a big deal for me as I do not like to drive but I
knew it would be worth it…and it was!
Here’s how I approached my big night away in Food Freedom:
- On Saturday morning, before I left, I made sure to get in one of my Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD workouts. I had to put my daughter in front of Netflix while I did it but I knew that moving my body, doing a little yoga, and getting my sweat on would help me stay as calm as possible during the drive and as I thought about my food choices. Movement is KEY for me – it sets the stage to allow me to be my best self in whatever I do.
- I packed Whole30 compliant snacks with me for the car and ended up snacking on a few handfuls of raw cashews as I drove deep into the hills of New Hampshire.
- When I got to Jen’s house, we had a little snack before dinner. We enjoyed carrots with guacamole and Kite Hill dairy-free cream cheese spread. I also had an orange. I didn’t want to go into dinner starving or already eating junky foods. I had never had the Kite Hill spread before – and it was awesome. It’s compliant but should be used with caution, especially if you have a complicated relationship with cheese. (I do not so it was fine for me to have some and then we put it away.)
- At dinner, I made my biggest Food Freedom decision to date in 2019! I had my first glass of wine this year! I went through the Food Freedom questions in my head – Was it worth it? Would it mess me up? Did I really want it? Was there something else I could have instead? Would it add to my overall experience? I decided that it was worth it, this was a special occasion, if I was careful it would not mess me up, and that I did want it. I also knew I did not have to drive and I did not have to wake up to a 6-year-old the next morning. All of my boxes were checked! So, I ordered ONE glass of white wine and I enjoyed the heck out of it with my dinner.
- For dinner, I stuck to dishes that were Whole30-ish – obviously, I have no idea of the exact ingredients in each dish but I chose things that were familiar. I had bluefish pate with red onions and housemade potato chips as an appetizer, and scallops with asparagus, crispy potatoes, and tomato jam for my main dish. The food was delicious. I took home some of each which became my dinner the next night. It felt good to enjoy – but stop when I was ready. I also snuck two French Fries from Jen’s plate and those were worth it was well!
- I had no desire for dessert so that was easy to pass on – I was totally satisfied with my wine, my food, and the overall experience.
- Since I had not had wine in so many months, I took a preemptive approach to any side effects. I made sure to drink a lot of water that night and I did take some Ibuprofen – just in case of any inflammation. I also got to bed shortly after we got home and slept like a baby!!
- The next morning, I woke up feeling good! After coffee, Jen took me for a hike in nearby Laconia. The uphill was challenging at times and we were rewarded with a gorgeous view. As always, it felt great to move and I am lucky to have friends who have the same priorities that I do!
- Post-hike, we met up with two other Whole30 Coaches and friends (Amanda Alley
and Dolly Sengsavang) for breakfast at a local spot. I chose poached eggs, bacon, steamed spinach, sweet potato hash, and more coffee with BYO-nutpods and collagen peptides! My dish came with gluten-free toast, which I never have, but I decided to try one square of it. It was good but I didn’t need more. I left the rest of my toast on the plate. It didn’t seem worth it to me.
- Before I hit the road, I loaded up on some of the tasty Whole30 food Amanda and Dolly had brought to enjoy by Jen’s pool. (This mama had to get back to soccer practice!) I packed up some buffalo chicken dip and Dolly’s famous tostones and some spinach and artichoke dip that Amanda had made. I was excited to enjoy this Whole30 compliant food back at home – I knew it would help me over the next few meals after being away. I also had plans for some easy meal prep when I returned
home so I would be set up for success as I returned to my “regularly scheduled program” of eating. I made it home – back to my daughter and to real life. I was happy to have been away and feel recharged for a new week.
I am proud of myself for being a little flexible with my food and putting my Food Freedom skills into practice. Nothing “messed me up” and I did not let the wine or the meals out turn into “all-or-nothing” free-for-alls. I enjoyed and moved on. As a reformed dieter and former binge eater, it’s been a long road to get here but I’ve been doing the work. To me, this is what life – and Food Freedom – is all about.