Daily Manna: Navigating Food Freedom

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, and I always get great feedback from doing them! So I thought I’d let you all know what a day in the life has been looking like lately, especially as I navigate intuitive eating and food freedom.

I am currently 25 weeks pregnant with baby girl #2, and it’s been a crazy pregnancy to say the least! Thank God everything is going well with baby and I, but the pregnancy is just flying by! I am still trying to savor the moments, feel the baby move around, and thank God daily for the life He is growing inside of me!

This day started out like any other, with my morning routine! I am SUPER passionate about my morning routine and spending time with Jesus first thing, before I do anything else. I woke up, brewed some coffee (yes, in a Christmas mug) and settled down to my journaling and Bible study. Mornings are some of the sweetest times and I cherish them every day!

IMG_0962.jpg

After my coffee and Jesus time, I did a 30 minute leg workout. It was lifting + some (modified for me) HIIT at the end. It was such a good workout! I then went live for my Nourished & Free community members and chatted all about MINDSET. Friends, mindset is everything when it comes to well, everything. There is a reason God says that we are transformed by the renewing of our MINDS!

After my video for my clients, I got ready and got Emma ready for the day. I have been craving oatmeal lately, but for months I wasn’t allowing myself to have any because #carbs. BUT, now that I am in a healthier place of food freedom (you can watch this video where I go into all the nitty gritty details) I decided to whip up some warm, comforting oats. I cooked the oats with water and chia seeds, then topped with 1/2 a banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, and stevia. DELICIOUS!

IMG_0963.jpg

I dropped off Emma at daycare, then headed into work. I had a busy morning, but snacks included veggies and nuts! I then had to run some errands for work at Walmart and had an overall frustrating experience there with not only the staff, but the customers too. I left feeling so grumpy, which I hate. I am usually a happy person, so when I get upset or moody, it makes me upset! But, we all have our days. I got to my second clinic for the day around lunch time, and my coworker and I went on a short walk before settling down to eat our food. The sunlight + having a nourishing lunch of chicken, broccoli, rice, and a side of avocado that I forgot to include in the picture, was just what I needed!

IMG_0964.jpg
IMG_0965.jpg
IMG_0972.JPG

I meal prepped this chicken verde in the instant pot at the beginning of the week, along with the rice. The roasted broccoli took 20 minutes from frozen to deliciously roasted, and voila! We had lunch ready to go for today. It really doesn’t have to be complicated to plan and prepare your meals!

IMAGE.JPG

I had a mini honeycrisp apple in the afternoon, but my cravings were screaming to have a cheddar-y snack. I knew that we had some cheddar + caramel popcorn at home, so I waited till I got home, took a relaxing shower (my hubby picked up Emma from school so I got some time to myself) and then I had some popcorn while cooking turkey meat for dinner! 

IMAGE.JPG

This was so huge for me. I had a craving, but I didn’t haphazardly stop somewhere on the way home and shovel food into my mouth. I didn’t eat in secret or hide the evidence. I had a craving, listened to it in a calm way, enjoyed my food, and then proceeded with life! I finished cooking the turkey meat and made a huge taco salad, because that’s what my body was craving in that moment!

IMG_0998.JPG

Its been so interesting navigating this freedom after almost 2 years of following a tight restrictive plan. After dinner we bathed Emma, played with her a bit, and put her down to sleep!

Before we went to bed, my husband and I had brownies with ice cream as I’ve been needing a bedtime snack to not wake up starving (oh pregnancy). 

IMAGE.JPG

This was the best nightcap and then I zonked out at 8:30 like the grandma I am.

 

Thanks for reading along! And remember, what a day of food freedom and eating nourished and free looks like for me is different than what it may look like for you! We are all different, which is why it’s important to know how to best nourish your body and what works best for you! 

4 Steps towards Food Freedom

Finding food freedom while still trying to live a healthy lifestyle is a delicate balance of nourishing your body with whole, nutrient-rich foods, but also allowing yourself to eat treats, sweets, and other foods that may not be as nourishing to your body, but more nourishing to your mind and soul. A couple of years ago, I developed a style of eating that truly made me feel nourished AND free. I had never felt so free in my food choices, but so healthy at the same time. Unfortunately, this past year, I got sucked back into diet culture, food rules, and found myself in a whirlwind of anxiety and confusion when it came to my food choices. God shook me out of it pretty abruptly and brought me back to a place of freedom with food that I am forever grateful for. My anxiety has been at an all-time low, while feeling the healthiest I have ever felt! I want to bring this nourished and free concept to you all, which is why I started my Nourished & Free community where I counsel and educate clients in a private group and show them ways to develop health habits, not restrict, and find their sweet spot of feeling nourished and free in their own healthy living journey!

FullSizeRender.jpg

If you have a similar story to me and you are sick of the diet, restrict, binge cycle that seems to plague most of us, read on. Here are my four basic steps to starting on your journey with food freedom. I hope they help and inspire you!

Let go of the diet rules, the good and bad foods, or any other labels you’ve put on yourself.

The best way to get started on your journey is to let go of your mental list of “good” or “bad” foods. Yes, some foods have more health benefits than others, and some foods will be more nourishing to your body, but no ONE food or one food experience is going to make or break your health. The stress caused by confusing food decisions will cause more damage to your health than the slice of pizza or side of fries! Unless you have a diagnosed allergy or celiac disease or a food that really affects your health poorly (and that’s not just in your head, more on that later), the best first step towards food freedom is to allow all foods into your lifestyle.

Find a healthy form of movement you enjoy.

The next step would be to find a form of exercise or movement you enjoy. The only way I can get up so early in the morning to workout is because I actually look forward to my morning routine. Remember, our bodies were MADE to move, so we can all find a form of movement that we enjoy. Try out your local yoga or barre studio, join a gym, get some home workouts, or start training for a race. Whatever it is, I truly believe that we can all find a form of movement that we can enjoy a few times a week. I also think it is important to note that exercise alone does not cause weight loss, so we have to find other motivations to workout and move our bodies. Use exercise as self-care, to decrease your anxiety, and to increase your energy and motivation for a day. This will help you stick to a workout routine for reasons other than to see the number on the scale go down.

Add vegetables to your meals and snacks as often as you can.

Vegetables are nutritional powerhouses because of a myriad of reasons. They are full of fiber and water, which help fill you up during your meal. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which help protect your body against disease and energize you. They also can be prepared in SO many ways that there is no excuse anymore to not eat your veggies! I love to add veggies in wherever I can. You can add them to omelets in the morning, snack on carrots or cucumbers at work, always add a side salad to your lunch, and roast up some of your favorite vegetables for dinner. This way, you still feel like you are eating a lot of food (any other volume eaters out there?) but you are also nourishing your body with whole, nutrient-rich foods.

IMG_0610.JPG

Learn food freedom by incorporating some of your favorite foods and evaluating how they make you FEEL.

Lastly, the best way to start living out food freedom is to start incorporating some “forbidden” foods into your day, and then evaluate how you really feel. Does dairy really cause you to breakout? Does bread really cause you to bloat? A lot of these symptoms are caused by other factors such as stress, lack of sleep, etc. Did you know stress can actually make you feel blaoted too? I started testing this out a few weeks ago and its changed my entire mindset. For example, I decided to start enjoying the free food that work offered, and I realized that I was just as sleepy in the afternoon after having my homemade, paleo free lunch vs. the pizza and salad that work provided. Maybe I was just tired in the afternoon because I am PREGNANT, and not necessarily because of gluten, sugar, etc. While I do believe there is a time and place to make nutritional recommendations and changes based on symptoms, I found that I was overanalyzing every food decision I made and thinking all of my symptoms (anxiety, sleepless nights, a breakout) had to do with the food I was eating. I reality, there is SO much more to health than just our food choices. Sleep, stress, activity levels, financial issues, a life event….ALL of these factors play a role in how you feel as well. I don’t want to undervalue your symptoms, because trust me, they feel very real, and I’ve been there not too long ago. But if you want to experience true freedom with food, know that research is very blurry when it comes to food sensitivities, and there is no real way to prove that a certain food is causing an issue for you because most of us are also under stress, feel sleep deprived, and have other factors contributing to our symptoms. Become an investigator of your own body, and evaluate non-food stressors as well that could be impacting your health.

I hope these simple tips can get you started in your own food freedom journey. Know that life is worth living, and is about so much more than your food rules or what you do or do not eat. You do not have to live in two extremes: being deprived one week and then binging the next. There can be true freedom when it comes to nourishing your body, and if you want to dive into that further, I highly recommend you joining my Nourished & Free community!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Move your body, eat some delicious food, and love on/be present with those around you!

 

IMG_0606.JPG