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Carrots and Food Freedom

Wash. Peel. Chop. Steam. I’ve had this ritual with carrots - for a long time the carrot was my only ‘safe’ vegetable. I would go to New Leaf (a nearby grocery store that closed last February, a loss that I’m still mourning) and hand pick each carrot - bigger ones so that I’d have fewer to peel, and absolutely no cracks. I guess you could say that I’m particular about my carrots. My routine goes like this: I place my white cutting board along the left side of my sink. I rinse my carrots and line them up horizontally with the fat ends on the right because if you peel the skinny ends first there’s less to hold on to when you go to peel the fat end. I line them up, chop off the pointy ends, spin them around, and chop off the fat ends. I chop them in thirds, then in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again, creating 4 spears per segment. The fat-end spears go into the steamer basket first because I figure they will need more steam to soften and it’s hotter on the bottom I think... I’ve never actually tested this theory, but it makes sense in my head.

This routine, and the carrots themselves, represent safety and security for me. It was really the only time I was able to feel calm around food. I can never adequately describe the mind f*&# that was SIBO. You’re afraid of snakes? Fairly easy to avoid. You’re afraid of flying? Drive (or stay home) instead. You’re afraid of food? Yeah…. Good luck with that.

I was down to 93 pounds (I’m 5’-1”), I had horrible acid reflux and overwhelming, anxious feelings just thinking about food or restaurants or other people eating. It felt like my entire digestive tract was on fire - eating was the LAST thing I wanted to do. Obviously I knew I had to eat, but I was so afraid. When worried family members urged me to try the only solution I was offered, a Proton Pump Inhibitor, I finally agreed. It helped a little. I hated the idea of being on any medication and I just knew I had to figure out what the heck was going on inside my body. I had two small children who needed their mama back, and a husband who needed his wife back.

Soon I will sit down and tell you the WHOLE story (it’s reeeeaaallly long), but for now I want to get back to my beloved carrots and Food Freedom. If you’ve been anywhere in this world and connected to the internet at all then you are likely familiar with The Whole30Ⓡ program, a real food reset that millions of people have tried. It’s a seriously amazing program with incredible resources that you can experience for free online. I recently read co-founder Melissa Hartwig’s newest book Food Freedom Forever. She had me at the Author’s Note, for sure, but when she suggests cuddling with your cutting board because she finds chopping vegetable to be meditative, I felt like we were soul sisters! Note: I don’t have the book in front of me because I had to return it to the library {another awesome FREE resource} so don’t quote me, but that was the basic gist - you need to find ways to de-stress that work for you. For me it was carrots. For you in may be a hike in the mountains or a warm bath… maybe both! Either way, find something that you enjoy and DO IT. Open your calendar app (or your old school paper version) and find TWO places this week where you can enter “self-care.”

P.S. Food Freedom Forever may be my personal salvation and it deserves it’s own post. I will add it to my to-do list, but in the meantime you should definitely check it out!

Comment below with your top self-care choices and share your thoughts!

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