I wanted to write this post as a response to several posts that I was seeing that were bashing the Whole 30's post on food freedom. I would say I had a mixed response when I did my Whole 30. Physically, I felt amazing. My acid reflux went away, my blood sugar stabilized, my mood, hormones, etc all became regular. Weight fell off of me without me having to do much. I felt like my body was full of inflammation before and then, all of a sudden it wasn't.
Until you feel like you are choking all day, every day...it is probably difficult to understand the freedom you feel when you can breathe again. But the Whole 30 gave me that.
Soon after I finished, however, my eating disorder also came back. I soon was trying to have "Whole 30 days" and "Non-Whole 30 days" (binge) days. Because I felt restricted all the time, when I did give myself permission..I would binge eat. This hadn't been a problem since I got help for my eating disorder several years ago.
All of a sudden, I was in the midst of the stress of planning a wedding, planning a move to Florida, and no capability of actually being able to manage any eating disorder.
Two months ago, it got so bad that I decided to get help. I started working with an excellent eating disorder dietician who helped me immensely. We worked on intuitive eating and listening to my body. I felt like I had the freedom to make decisions based on what I was hungry for rather than a list of "Yes" and "No" foods. I ate chocolate daily and even had some dairy products. Because I was eating at the exact amount my body was asking for, I didn't gain or lose weight.
Unfortunately, almost from day 1, I also started having the choking feeling again. I started having what I have deemed "acid headaches," feeling like my acid reflux had gotten so bad it had gone into the brain. I mentioned this to the dietician and I had to start writing down my symptoms and where they came from.
Two months later, where do we find ourselves? Right back at the Whole 30.
You see, I ate gluten for seven years after getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I didn't completely give it up until about four years ago. This did some serious damage to my digestive system. Soon after, dairy became an intolerance. What I have now found out is that soy has also followed suit.
I sit here after having done all of this permissive eating work, grateful for the Whole 30. This is a plan that I can follow without having acid reflux, or choking problems, or headaches. This is a plan that happens to have tons of blogs and cookbooks dedicated to it so that I can find recipes anywhere. This is also a plan where I get to eat delicious clean meats, eggs, vegetables, all different colors of fruits, and both regular and sweet potatoes.
Was my eating disorder the Whole 30's fault? I don't think so. I think it's that I hadn't fully put coping mechanisms in place to handle large amounts of stress. So food and binging seemed like the most viable option.
Now I feel like I am in a good place. Because of the work completed with the Dietician, I know that when something is truly worth it (which most things aren't), I may have something off the Whole 30 plan.
Also for those of you who don't have food intolerance's or allergies, more power to you. I think it's great if you can figure out a wonderful balance to try all the foods that are out there. I think if Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or Veganism (Just don't be a mean Vegan:) is working for you, then you should do that.
But I am not able to enjoy all the foods. I have severe physical, mental, and emotionally difficulties because of some of the foods I put into my body. Because of that, I am grateful for a program that allows me to be my best self and also enjoy many different kinds of foods.
That is what food freedom means to me.
These are what I'm using for snacks these days. Tastes excellent and no digestion disruption!