My Relationship with Food

Think about some of your favorite celebrations. About important family moments. About seeking comfort. About catching up with friends.

For me, food is something that is a constant thread in each of these thought patterns. It may sound silly, but there’s something about a home cooked meal, a special night at your favorite restaurant or simply chatting and munching around the kitchen table that means so much. It’s more than just something that tastes good, it’s the memories that come with.

It’s Aunt Terry’s famous cake at weddings. It’s our “last supper” of grilled steaks, buttery corn on the cob, salad, baked potatoes and homemade apple crisp before my siblings and I would all head back to school. It’s the Lebanese fosulya that I make in the dead of winter when I miss home. It’s the wine and cheese or the popcorn and M&Ms for a girls’ night in.

Although food plays such a role in many memorable life moments, it can also be the source of guilt or lack of self-confidence for me. The feeling of being overly full after a delicious meal can often leave me more focused on how I regret taking that second helping than on the flavors of the dish or how nice it was to eat with friends of family. My self-image is constantly wavering, and for as much as I love food, it honestly plays a big part in these back and forth feelings.

This January, I wanted to try something that would kick start a year of being healthy and intentional in every regard. From unplugging from technology and staying active to maintaining a healthy diet and getting more rest, I want to really take care of myself this year. So to start things off, I jumped all in and decided to do Whole 30 throughout the month of January.

If you haven’t heard of Whole 30, let me break it down:

    • Whole 30 is a 30-day health and wellness challenge.


    • You’re not supposed to weigh yourself or measure yourself – it’s about how you feel.


    • The intent is to better understand your relationship with food and how it affects your body.


    • For the next 30 days, you’re supposed to eat purely whole foods and eliminate sugar.


    • To follow the rules, you cannot eat the following:
      • Grains (pasta, bread, oatmeal, etc.)
      • Dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk, etc.)
      • Beans (black beans, chili beans, pinto beans, etc.)
      • Sugar (no added sugar in anything – only natural sugar is allowed)
      • This also means no alcohol for 30 days – just putting that out there.


  • Essentially you can eat all the fruits, vegetables and meat you want, and you improvise with the rest.


Not going to lie, this month has been tough. The first couple weeks I was hungry, cranky and tired. I was really questioning why I was doing this because I just didn’t feel good like I hoped I would. But right around Day 11, suddenly things started to turn around. I felt so energetic, well rested and happy. I wasn’t bloated, didn’t feel overly full, was eating in moderation and feeling satisfied. Plus, I noticed my clothes starting to fit better and that I felt more fit and confident than I have in awhile.

The food I was eating not only made me feel good, but it tasted good. I discovered so many new recipes and started making meal prepping a habit. Sweet potatoes, avocados, eggs, cauliflower rice, hot sauce and shredded chicken have been go-to staples for me throughout the last few weeks. It really is amazing how delicious a meat and veggie diet can be when you get a little creative. And sometimes kind of fun!

This month I’ve still been able to have people over for dinner, eat delicious meals and indulge from time to time without a feeling of the guilt of overdoing it. I’ve started to see how food, though a definite centerpiece in a lot of aspects of my life, is meant to nourish and fulfill us, not make us feel less than.

The last few weeks of Whole 30 have helped me understand what my body needs, how it will react to different foods and that it’s fine treat yourself here and there as long as you don’t go overboard.

Whole 30 is definitely not sustainable for a long period of time. I see no problem with eating oatmeal for breakfast, yogurt for a snack or having an occasional glass of wine, all of which are against the rules of Whole 30. What is sustainable, however, is having a better understanding of what you’re eating, what you’re putting in your body and how it impacts your wellbeing.

I’ve learned the importance of reading food labels and ingredients before buying something at the grocery store. I’ve learned that while cheese is delicious, your meals are often just as delicious without it. I’ve learned that you can work out all you want, but until you start focusing on the food you’re eating, you won’t see a change. I learned that the most colorful meals are often the most nutritious and mouthwatering.

I’ve learned that, when done right, food can all at once explode with flavor and help create lasting memories while also giving you energy, making you feel rested and leaving you healthy and happy.




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