Label My Food But Not My Eating Habits

10561050_791848284179682_1045842075_n In the last couple years, food labeling has been prominent in my work with Whole Foods Market. Last year, we launched Will Vote for Food in support of the GMO-labeling bill in Washington state, and again this year we continue the fight in Oregon for the customer’s right to know. Working with Whole Foods Market has elevated how I look and choose the foods I consume. When you look at products on the shelves today, beyond knowing if your food is organic or fat-free, you’re bombarded with diet labels such as gluten-free, vegan, paleo or dairy-free. These labels on food raise the question: what do my eating habits say I am?

26 days ago I embarked on a challenge based on the paleo diet named Whole30. Whole30 stresses the importance of eating whole foods with no grains, no alcohol, no added sugar, etc. After I started focusing on what I could eat (steak, salmon, avocado, watermelon!) over what I could not, the challenge was really no challenge at all. But after 16 days in, I found myself needing variety in my breakfast over the daily scrambled eggs with sautéed vegetables. So, I dished up clean pancakes with egg, banana and cinnamon. All ingredients were compliant within Whole30, but a fellow ‘paleo dieter' showed they did not agree by leaving one small comment "#Swypo :)." Swypo is a term used during Whole30 when you’re enjoying junk food in a healthy form, which by their own theory, doesn’t change eating habits. My past eating habits admittedly were to turn to a gluten free bagel (that's healthier, right?) or go all out with a croissant. I was frustrated by the comment as it led to discouragement over encouragement.

Back in July, Jordan Younger, a popular vegan food blogger of The Blonde Vegan, announced she was moving away from the vegan lifestyle. "Food was not enjoyable anymore,” said Jordan. "I was spending the entire day obsessing about eating only vegetables, green juices, fruits and occasionally nuts and grains.” With the announcement of her decision to transition came anger from the community that once rallied behind her. Her recent blog post, a month after the announcement addressed the question “You were vegan, now you’re not, so… What do you eat now?” Jordan addressed many of the exact same thoughts I had when I was put down for enjoying a healthy meal that felt right for my own body.

In doing this Whole30 challenge, I have learned that my dinner is fuel and keeps me satisfied until bedtime. I’ve learned that the sugar craving I once felt necessary to satisfy can be diminished with a few cubes of watermelon. As The Blonde Vegan shared, "If you let yourself live your life, eat the foods you crave and the foods that you know make you feel good, you are doing something very, veryyyy special that I wasn’t allowing myself to do for a long time. You know what that is? TRUSTING YOURSELF. " So please, keep labeling my food and giving me the option to decide what I'll consume but don't ask me to label my eating habits because I'm busy listening to my own body.

Any questions on my Whole30 journey or have an amazing recipe to share? Tweet me @brookeandersen.