Recently I said to my husband: “I’m really good at a lot of things. There are a lot of things I do really well, but when it comes to food, I’m the worst. This is the hardest thing about being an adult.” It’s true. I can pay the bills on a regular basis. I can pay off my car eight months before the loan is up (*happy dance*)! I can keep two four-legged creatures alive; I can even keep my four nieces alive (with the help of my mom and brother). I can manage a house and keep a job. I can turn old clothing into beautiful quilts. I can create a running plan and stick to it. I can take a group of 40+ youth and adults to Kentucky for a week that involves power tools and lots of sweat and get everyone home safe and sound, for goodness sake! I can do hard things!
But, when it comes to grocery shopping or meal planning or prepping for the week or making a meal that consists of more than taco meat and shells… well, I feel like a failure.
The problem is I have told myself for years that I can’t cook. I’ve not only told myself, but those around me that I can’t cook. And, once I start telling a story for awhile, it begins to become truth. However, I think I’ve been telling myself the wrong story.
I can cook. Brad found some recipes that he wanted to try. We went to the store with a list of what we needed. On Monday, when it was time to start dinner, I prepped everything. I made a marinade, cut the meat and set it aside for twenty minutes. That meat and marinade was the base of a really good dinner that we both enjoyed. Brad cooked the meat and made the rice, so after eating I said, “Thanks for making dinner!” He quickly pointed out that I did the hardest part.
We made a meal together the next night too. There was enough leftover that I had a tasty lunch for the next two days. I felt accomplished. I felt proud. I felt like a real adult!
After lots of internet research, conversations with friends and my doctor and some soul searching, I’ve decided to follow the Whole30 plan for March. My doctor mentioned it to me over a year ago, but I dismissed the suggestion because I knew it would be too hard. I knew it would require a lot of effort from me and I didn’t want to do it. But, I’m tired of not feeling well. I’m tired of constant stomach pain. I’m tired of not knowing what will bother me. So, I’m taking control over this situation. And, I’m actually really excited about it!
Last Saturday I decided to see what a Whole30 breakfast might taste like. I cut up a sweet potato and put it in a pan on the stove. While that was cooking, I cut up an avocado. Once the potatoes were almost ready, I added two eggs to the pan. I threw it all on a plate and oh my, it was delicious! I knew then that I can make this work for 30 days.
Unlike other people in my family, I don’t need a lot of variety or flavors to enjoy my food. I’ve been eating oatmeal and a banana for breakfast for months…maybe over a year now. And I’m fine with it. I don’t get bored. Although I do enjoy good tasting food, I really do eat to fuel myself. I’m less concerned about taste and more concerned about feeling full, not getting a headache and most importantly, avoiding the hangry stage! I guess you could say that food, for me, is a means to an end, not an end itself.
Which is why, I don’t think Whole30 will be challenging for me in terms of what I will cut out of my diet. I think my challenge will be picking meals, making a list, going to the grocery store, prepping food for the week and committing to that each week. I need to have quick meals ready to go, because there are some nights I don’t feel like cooking. Or, if Brad isn’t home, I need something easy to make since I’m less motivated to cook when I’m alone.
Don’t get me wrong — I love grains and dairy and sugar (I haven’t been drinking much alcohol lately, so that won’t be hard). But more than I love those things, I love feeling good! I’m excited about the possibility of knowing what my trigger foods are. I’m excited about the possibility of not worrying about how my stomach will respond. I also realize it may not just be food-related — IBS issues can also stem from stress, so I have more to explore around that.
In the last five days I have created or help create three meals I’ve never made before. That’s a new story to tell. That’s a TRUE story. I want to keep telling that story. I want to be proud of what I create in the kitchen. I want to be proud of what I create for my body.
And, maybe at the end of 30 days, I’ll feel like a real adult. Maybe.