Let me give you a few reasons why.
Reason 1)I almost set my apartment building on fire this winter when I was making chili and left the ingredients boiling on high while I went to Target for an hour. I returned home to smoke alarms and other occupants evacuating.
Reason 2)This isn’t my first kitchen fire. I’m ashamed to say it’s not even my 5th or 6th. I’m an experienced oven arsonist.
Reason 3) Here’s some of my recent work with a pop tart.
As you can see, cooking isn’t in my skill set. Our pots and pans are a hodgepodge of misfits. We purchased our current frying pan at Sam’s Club while we were waiting on a new set of tires. I think I have two of my mother in law’s clear pyrex dishes she sent home with us full of delicious food. You know that southern tradition- never return an empty dish? Yeah… (Sorry, Emmy!)
The rest are twelve year old wedding gifts so crusty from over a decade of mishaps and explosions that it’s a wonder we still use them. In fact, I was recently trying to brown ground turkey and realized the meat was full of metal. The metallic surface of the pan literally disintegrated and filled our meat with shrapnel. More alarming is that my first thought was, “Am I going to have to cook something else? Surely metal can’t make you that sick, right??”
I am a second generation don’t-cook-er. My mom didn’t/doesn’t cook and I have proudly carried on the family tradition. So how did someone with my culinary resume decide to begin Whole30? Two things. I’d become desperate, and I’d also recently befriended a chef.
When I say I’d become desperate, I’m speaking to both my physical and mental health. Before starting Whole30 I was exhausted 24 hours a day. When awake, I was complaining about fatigue. If I was asleep, it wasn’t without tossing and turning and bouts of insomnia. (If you’re even tired when you’re sleeping, there’s a problem.) Also my Diet Coke “situation” was rapidly progressing.(translation-I was taking in anywhere from 30-70 ounces of Diet Coke a day. A DAY!!) I was consistently anxious and was back to battling moderate to severe depression.
But the main reason I agreed to this seemingly nonsensical regimen is from a phrase I read on the Whole30 cookbook. The byline reads “The 30 Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom.” Food freedom. Those two words rolled around and around in my head, appealing yet utterly elusive. I haven’t had lasting freedom from (or with!) food since I was in early high school. I’ve had moments, even seasons of freedom, but I always fall back into a cycle of chaos. Or rigidity. Or one of the other many disordered habits I’ve developed along the way.
And to be honest, God has been talking to me about my food issues for some time now. This past year, I’ve lost count of how many times he’s dropped Whole30 in my path. One thing I’ve learned about God and his nature is that he never forces something on you. He will invite you in to a work he wants to do, but until you decide to say yes, he simply waits. So we began this dance where he would move in and ask if I was ready for healing with food issues. Then I’d practically shove my fingers in my years and begin to yell “na na na na na na” which translated as “NO WAY!” and I’d white knuckle my way through a few more weeks of restriction and then over indulgence and ultimately shame and self loathing. He'd ask again, I'd refuse. And on and on. However, in the past two months, every time I’d go to him with a question about depression or pain in my body, all I would hear back was “Are you ready for freedom?” In my experience, when God gets to a place that he responds to multiple questions with the same answer… it’s time to take him seriously.
So when Kristen (my chef friend) texted me one afternoon, “You and I are going to do Whole30 together. We start Tuesday, so get ready!”, I said yes. Truthfully, I’d secretly been wanting to do it for months and months, but didn’t think I could possibly pull it off. In fact, I’d already read the book and purchased the cook book. Unfortunately I know what to do with a cook book about as much as I know how to wield a ninja star. Kristen assured me that I’d be just fine and she’d hold my hand along the way. “But will you cook for me?” I worried. She just smiled and shook her head in a “you can DO this” sort of way.
I’m going to try and use the next few posts to keep you posted on my journey. I’m pretty sure this goes without saying but I have ZERO medical training (aside from several summers binging on Dr. Phil reruns in college) so you shouldn’t take this as sound medical advice. It’s simply my personal experience. I’d love to hear if/how this resonates with you and your story! Thanks for being here. Here's the book I mention above!
photo credit livehappy dot com