Looking for Freedom
Today is the first day of practicing my Food Freedom plan following my Whole30 and subsequent food reintroduction period. To review, for 30 days I only ate meat, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds while avoiding common inflammatory foods: gluten, dairy, legumes, added sugar and sweeteners, alcohol and gluten-free grains/baked goods. For the 14 days following, I slowly reintroduced foods in those categories while going back to eating Whole30 in between reintroduction days.
Think that sounds crazy? Placing patients on elimination diets to identify food allergies is standard practice in the medical world. The fact is – the food you put in your body makes a difference in every aspect of how your body and mind function. If you eat nothing but processed foods, like most Americans, your body is going to be imflammed and you won’t feel your best. You may experience such symptoms as headaches, congestion, anxiety, depression, irratibility, hormone imbalance, ezcema and digestve problems. You may also develop serious diseases from this inflammation.
Now on to my Food Freedom Plan. It will serve as a guide for the foods I should eat daily that I know work best for my body and mind while also allowing indulgences of not-so-healthy foods in a mindful way (i.e., for special occasions). That’s where the freedom part comes in. No one wants to – or should – restrict their food 365 days a year. That’s not sustainable. Who wants to miss out on enjoying those special occasions such as your favorite cake your mom bakes for your birthday?!? It’s not as easy as it sounds, though! Especially for people like me who have a history of food restriction.
My Food Freedom Plan
Below is my Food Freedom Plan, based on my own observations from my Whole30 experience and my preferences: (Your Food Freedom Plan may look very different.)
- Eat Whole30 (with a couple exceptions) Monday through Friday
- Meat, veg, fruit, nuts and seeds only. I now know that my body feels its best when I eat real, whole foods.
- Work on “no snacking” with the exception of a morning pre-workout snack. (Working out fasted can cause an increase in my anxiety.)
- Focus on more healthy fats and less starchy carbohydrates. During my Whole30, I did rely on Larabars and more fruit. But I know from past experiences, my brain works its very best on a higher healthy fats and lower carb diet.
- i am allowing fat bombs. Eating Evolved Keto Cups and Phat Fudge are my personal favorites. Phat Fudge is now available on Amazon! They are packed with healthy fats and are sugar free, and especially tasty with my morning decaf coffee or hot tea.
- I REALLY missed my Smoothie King Lean 1 chocolate protein shakes during the Whole30. Not only are they tasty, they’re dairy-free and they didn’t seem to bother me during reintroduction. For my Food Freedom Plan, I am allowing myself one a week on Fridays as my breakfast, plus a scoop of peanut butter. I did not experience any negative reactions to legumes during introduction but I also realized that eating peanut butter regularly isn’t a big deal for me.
- Eat Paleo-ish Saturday and Sunday
- Meat, veg, fruit, nuts and seeds as the basis to my meals.
- I will eat non-gluten grains and baked goods but won’t be going crazy regularly so as to not awaken my Sugar Dragons.
- Natural sweeteners (e.g., maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar) are ok but in minimal amounts to not awaken the Sugar Dragons (again)
- May add dairy-free cheese and yogurt.
- Foods I can eat on special occasions only (e.g., dates with my husband, holidays). [Note to self: feeling stressed DOES NOT count as a special occasion]:
- Alcohol. Normally my go-to when stressed, especially after work. The fact is, though, I usually don’t like how I feel after I drink alcohol. I would actually seriously consider stopping alcohol permanently but I’m just not there yet.
- Gluten. On my gluten reintroduction day, I indulged in my favorite food: deep dish pizza. It was so delicious but soon after I ate it, my stomach was extremely bloated and heart burn ensued. I’ve gotten so used to gluten-free products, I really am fine with only having gluten on very special occasions.
- Dairy. This is the one food category I wasn’t sure about. Before Whole30, I ate dairy fairly regularly, mostly cheese. I’ve always loved cheese but wondered if it was causing my random acne. It was.
- Never Worth It Foods:
- Artificial sweeteners and processed natural sweeteners – While I’ve known for many years that artificial sweeteners cause adverse reactions for me, I’ve discovered that more processed natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit give me the same reaction: severe headache, heartburn and digestive distress. That pain is never worth it for me.
While I live my Food Freedom Plan, I will continue to pay attention to how I react to the foods I eat. I will make adjustments as needed. For example, if my Smoothie King Dragon starts to get out of control again, I will need to stop them until I feel I have that dragon under control. If I get too far away from my plan, I can do a reset, which can be a full Whole30 or a shorter timeframe like 7 days of strict Whole30 eating.
For more information on Whole30 including reintroduction and food freedom, check out the Whole30 site.
Follow me on Instagram (@katewilliamshealth) for my daily cooking and food shenanigans.
Have a great week, lovelies!