What do you EAT? This is a very common question to me. I work for Whole30, am a Whole30 Certified Coach, and have done multiple Whole30 rounds, as well as being a recovering sugar addict…what does my plate (we are talking mostly day to day here, not special occasions or vacations) look like? But really what people are trying to find the answer to, is “What should my plate look like?”
There is no RIGHT answer to this. I love that Whole30 acknowledges that there is no one size fits all to nutrition. Only you can create the best plan for you – and that will probably be a dynamic beast still.
To help you in this journey – here is some insight to where I personally have landed. My nutrition is most similar to the Paleo diet – one that still leaves out grains, dairy, refined (white) sugar. I leave those out not because I have to fit in a “Paleo box” but because they are negatively impacting on my health and I feel my best when I do.
But here are some specific changes that I am happy with and things to consider as your find your Food Freedom landing place:
Do you still follow all the Whole30 Guidelines?
Short answer = No.
Long answer =
- I don’t mind if there is a minimal amount of added sugar in my meat (no added sugars on Whole30). This opens up lots more options that are less expensive and more available than the sugar-free Whole30 meats. I also don’t mind if there is the same minimal amount of sugar in my organic ketchup or dressings. I don’t use ketchup often any more (used to be my favorite!), and would rather use my date mustard because I love it. But, it’s helpful breathing room if I am out to eat.
- When I go out to eat not on a Whole30, I don’t ask what oil they cooked my meat in or worry about sauces unless they have dairy in them, because that’s a rough food group for me.
- I am open to commercially made chips (usually plantain) and fries. They still easily become food without breaks, so I don’t eat them regularly but don’t specifically avoid them anymore.
- Sometimes I chew sugar-free gum, though I am sure that ones’ not the best and don’t do it nearly as much as I used to.
BUT I still base almost every meal around palm-sized serving of protein, plate full of veggies, and a healthy fat (the Whole30 meal template, you can see more on that here).
As a recovering sugar addict, how often do you eat sugar?
- Please note, I used to have to moderate this very closely. If I felt my sugar dragon roaring/out of control, I would make sure there was ZERO temptations in my house. I multiple times got my kids, husband, and besties involved to help me as accountability buddies. Healing was a long road, you can read more about that here. Where I am at today is very different than two years ago when I was deeply struggling with my sugar addiction.
- I bake. I enjoy making Paleo waffles, pancakes, muffins, bread, and desserts for my family. That one can be a slippery slope for this recovering sugar addict (and you can absolutely gain weight/lose health while eating “paleo” if you get to caught up in Paleo baked goods). I actually had to swear off baking for a year while my relationship with sugar healed. But now it’s something I can enjoy and not feel out of control – which is food freedom! I used to wonder if I would be able to make a batch of cookies and eat just one. I’m so thrilled to say now I can, but again – it took a lot of conscious work to get there (see blog post linked above).
- Now that I have a healthy relationship with sweets, I don’t set certain parameters on how often I have treats. I try to avoid white refined sugar as much as possible, as it makes me mean/moody and my skin breakout. But, I probably have something sweet a few times a week, usually homemade. I sit down and eat them mindfully, usually with a glass of almond milk, and enjoy the heck out of them. For me, that’s a win and a long ways from mindlessly hovering over cookie dough or shame-fully sneaking them when my kids/hubby weren’t looking.
Do you regularly include non-Whole30 foods?
- Dairy isn’t worth it for me, period. It causes crazy amounts of breakouts and I struggled for two years with adult acne. No thank you. Gluten also isn’t worth it for me, it makes me depressed/unmotivated, mean, and crazy sleepy.
- I *could* include more non-gluten grains or legumes (not inflammatory for me personally) and sometimes I do, especially on vacation – hummus, corn taco shells, the occasional piece of gluten-free bread. But, it’s not a daily thing and my reason is this: I only need so much food. If I include those items, I am eating less of something else, usually vegetables. And vegetables are my superfood. I love them and I love the way I feel eating them. So, on the whole I would rather just have my veggies. (And I NEVER thought I would be saying that!)
What YOUR Food Freedom Plate looks like
Want other examples of what Food Freedom looks like? Check out this post from Whole Mamas Club team, Stephanie and Chelsea and this post from Melissa Hartwig Urban.
Again, this will be very hard to navigate if you haven’t done a proper reintroduction, read more why here. I encourage you to write it out – what do you want your Food Freedom to look like? If you woke up tomorrow having that positive relationship with food, what would it look like in your day and on your plate?
Finally, if you are struggling with your relationship with food and you haven’t read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig Urban…it’s a must!