Dear Anne –
Yesterday I finished the Whole30. I probably mentioned doing the program during one of our Facetime sessions, alas, i think you were still on the baby food then.
Im glad you’re off the baby and “slurp-only” food and more importantly that this freak incident is now behind you and was solvable by today’s doctors, science and tech research. You told me you went through some trying times and a lot of pain. I saw you push through that pain. The swelling, the aches, pains, tiredness and even loneliness. You handled it well and you deserve better in health and work.
When I read your letter, I thought it was quite ironic how much you wanted good, nutritious food and there I was embarking on the Whole30. It is my focus to redefine my relationship with food, so I can view food (the good and the bad) as a prescription for better health. It is a process – one that may never have an ending (sadly).
For the past week Ive been adding in the foods I cut out for three to four weeks. (I did start adding food items back in earlier. Im pretty darn clean in terms of not eating much processed and “fast” food.)
July 1 I added back bread and I was waiting to do this for one week! I was so excited that I either couldn’t sleep the night before because bread was heading back into my life or because of the excruciating heat sweltering in my non-air conditioned Manhattan studio. I think it was the latter because before the Whole30, I never ate copious amounts of bread (and subsequently rice, pasta, flour). It just wasn’t a thing that called my name. Chocolate, though, chocolate calls my name or did rather…but more on overcoming that in a later post.
The morning of July 1 came and I had my “bread” plan.
Go to the bakery and get a fresh loaf, maybe two.
Slice it up and pair it with (on different slices) ghee, avocado and a spread that I made of sardines, capers and spicy red pepper flakes.
This meal had been pre-planned with plan of action, time calculations (opening of bakery) and a shopping list.
Anne, when I woke up on July 1, I could not have cared less about the bread! I still of course bought it and ate it because I needed to know if and how my body reacted to it.
I bought one loaf – not two. I couldn’t find the baguettes because they were not displayed next to all the the loaves behind the counter, so by the time I walked out the door with my Cabernet Rustica, I saw the baguettes I really would have like to have. I spent $5 on that Cabernet Rustica loaf and I thought about how the day before I spent $4.50 on three packages of frozen veggies and have bought pounds of veggies in Chinatown (way cheaper there) for $5.
Bottom line was that delaying immediate gratification helps with mindfulness, clarity and perspective. I had changed my mindset and was pretty darn happy about it. I was now purely doing this for the challenge and research to figure out what foods affect my body differently. I’ve been gaining self-knowledge and awareness about my body and its inner-workings. Looking back on the month of June, I had to make a lot of sacrifices: two work happy hours, my birthday, my brother’s birthday, Father’s Day, nights out and other events that had pizza, junk and sugar. It became easier as the month went on and as long as I was there and present that is what makes or breaks me having a good time, not the food. Food is less of a crutch and I was able to just get over feeling awkward and just start talking to people at some of the non-family/friends events I attended.
I will continue to add more foods back into my diet to see if I want to keep them in long term, not at all or for special occasions. I learned that my biggest issue is, like many, overeating and using food to temporarily knock away boredom or procrastinate even longer.
I love food. I don’t have to tell you or convince you after this Whole30 experiment, but after your surgery and my Whole30 I know we believe that benefits of food and what it can do for individuals and situations. Of course I want to experiment in the kitchen still. I still love bringing people together over food, i just need to do it in moderation or else there is no appreciation of what “breaking bread” can really do for the you, me and the world.