Relationships with food are complicated, and definitely unique to every individual. I would describe my relationship with food as… holy. When I am in a slump, whether that’s depression, anxiety, stress, or just a busy/bad/weird day, my self care looks like finding the energy to make myself a tasty and intentional meal. Slicing herbs and grinding fresh pepper and stirring with my favorite wooden spoon feel like… like writing a love letter to myself. These actions feel like proof that I love myself, and as though I am telling myself that I am worthy of being cared for, that I deserve the nourishment, joy, and effort that goes into preparing (and eating) a really lovely meal.
I can be an emotional eater, I have been known to overeat on occasion, and this does complicate this relationship, but these abuses don’t alter the foundation. Food is magic. Food is a language. Food is one of the only things that every single person on this planet has in common with one another. Food is, in my book, the most important thing (tied with your relationship with yourself and your relationships with others–both of which also are often related to food).
The point is, I capital L Love food. Now, I am definitely not one for diets. I do try to eat as unprocessed as I can, and I try to buy mostly organic. I eat a lot of vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. I believe that nourishing your body with healthy food is crucial to everything, and should be a priority. BUT. I also believe that nourishing your soul is just as important. And sometimes that means a crusty loaf of bread and olive oil for dinner, or chicken nuggets from the drive through at 10pm in your pajamas (or after a night of drinking), or ice cream for breakfast. Not allowing for flexibility in what I eat would suck the life out of me. And that brings me to today.
I have recently begun adhering to the Whole30 diet (on the recommendation of a doctor) as I try to gain clarity on some potential food sensitivities. The idea is that I cut out all potential irritants for 30 days, and then slowly reintroduce things and see how they make me feel. This means dairy, grains, legumes/soy, sugar, alcohol, baked goods, or any kind of msg/sulfite/carrageenan. I am also cutting out all nightshades for a suspected sensitivity, so that means no peppers, tomatoes, or potatoes. So for the last 6 days, it’s been eggs, chicken, vegetables, and salad, (only 24 days left, but who’s counting?). Full disclosure, I have cried twice, longing for the crunch of a piece of buttered toast, or the soft sugary gooeyness of a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven. Both times my partner has laughed uproariously at my suffering. Whatever.
Something that is interesting though, is how this has further expanded what I thought I knew about my relationship with food. The first few paragraphs I wrote were indicative of my feelings before starting this diet, but now, not being able to eat the things that nourish my soul (I can’t even put cheese on my salads, people) I feel even more sure of the role that food plays in my daily life. The last 6 days have left me feeling sad, unmotivated, empty, and ungrounded. Pretty much the opposite of how I should feel after 6 days of eating salad. I could be wrong, but this makes me feel that the daily love letters I wrote myself in making meals that nourished my body and my soul were way better for me overall than eating a strict diet.
Honestly who knows? This stuff is all a mystery to me, and all I know is that food is central to my existence, or as my mom said to me on the phone to me today, food is my “raison d’être”. This diet will hopefully illuminate new ways for me to be kind to my body, but when it’s over, you can count on me going hard on a batch of chocolate chip cookies, because its important to be kind to your soul too.
Thanks for being here,