If you've done WILDFIT® before, you probably guessed... The answer is NO. But the difference is that I considered that to be an experiment and not something I may want to repeat. Or not! Let me explain...
Once we finish The 90 Day WILDFIT® Challenge and start "living WILDFIT®", we learn even more about ourselves, and what works (or not) for us. It is true that we are all one species - "The Homo Sapiens", but the human body is so complex and we all have traits that make us very unique. Some of us might be more sensitive to certain things, than others. And some of the things that your body "tolerated" before, without a manifesting alarm (even if they were creating some unease inside), can actually trigger a sound alarm, after a long period without it. And this is why I am quite careful when I want to make an experiment - because I know I may end up experiencing some less desirable symptoms. But it's also very interesting because I recognize that this is a way of learning more about my body - how it reacts to certain foods, and the true motive/hunger behind my food choices.
In WILDFIT® we learn more about the different types of Human hunger - in fact, there are 6 clear ones (did you know that?). One of them is very dear to me... I recognize that "Variety hunger" impacts my food choices in a big way. So I try to create alternative ways of cooking certain things, or to even experiment with new ingredients, for the sake of it! And as a Portuguese living in New York, a lot of times I crave fish and seafood that tastes the same as in my country - which is not easy to find because the secret of it, is... The freshness! So when I go back home, I indulge in all the seafood I can have there - which is great as it fits in my WILDFIT® essentials. The problem starts when some of those fish and seafood dishes are cooked with rice or potatoes. Which I have listed as a "rarely" or as "below my freedom line" food category - meaning that I have no desire to eat it anymore.
Southern Portugal cooked seafood
So I ended up experimenting with a few "pastéis de bacalhau" (cod pastries). Knowing that I didn't want to eat many, as I didn't know the effect of what the regular potato could have in my body. Luckily, when my mother was cooking, I could eat other traditional dishes that used to include potato, as she uses sweet potato, instead. She does this, not because she did WILDFIT®, but because she has noticed how potato doesn't sit well with her.
Bottom line, I only had 2 - 3 "pastéis de bacalhau" and because I didn't have many, I was ok. Does that mean that I will bring this back into my food choices? Not really... I am fine with not having it, or by only having 2 - 3 once a year when I go back. Instead, give me grilled sardines... I prefer those so much more and they are such a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids!
Grilled Sardines with sea salt
Then, my mother asked me how I felt about eating rice, as my favorite dish cooked by her is a "stuffed squid with rice". Not only she makes it the best, but I also don't know for how many more years I'll have it made by her. So for me, this was an easy decision - I had it! Again, I wouldn't have it regularly, but rice has its own place in my food choices and it's on my rarely list.
My mom's special dinner with my favorite dish
Seafood rice - another traditional dish in Portugal
Having received visits from NY for the first time, they wanted to try many of the traditional cakes and desserts. In South Portugal, our desserts include almonds, carob, oranges, and sweet soft eggs. And refined sugar, of course. Plus the traditional "pastel de nata" (also known as Portuguese tarts), in which dairy is their main ingredient. Here, I had no internal dialogue since both dairy and refined sugars are below my freedom line. .. The reason why I put them there is that:
1- dairy was the culprit for my sinuses infection.
2- refined sugars foods wake up my "sugar monster" twice as much, and some of these easily become cascade foods for me.
So what to do?...
A bakery window with "pastéis de nata"
I ended up trying some of the desserts they ordered, but I never ordered one for myself or wanted to have more of it. I also tried one of my friend's leftovers of one "pastel de nata" (and they are pretty small as they are)... Now, some people that I know might think that I don't want to have these foods because I'm restricting myself, or because I am afraid of gaining weight, but it's really none of that. My willpower could only last so much... When I see these, I have no desire to eat them because I know how much this used to affect my health, and I don't want to go back to that place. I now identify with the person who has better energy and that's how I choose to live. Many people, who have never tried a full elimination diet, think this is impossible to achieve, so they end up resigning to the "fact" that it will never go away. But since I know it works, I am again... very careful when I experiment with certain foods. In fact, my weight is never the same! But the difference is that now it doesn't increase to the levels of before. I keep having natural cycles of rebuilding and releasing weight, without changing size. My bone density has never been this good and I know I still have to work on my body strength, but the point is - I am heading in the right direction... For my health.
Now, I know of many people who pay good attention to their diets, but when it comes to these types of foods, they end up not resisting them, if it's in front of them. So let me ask you - is that food freedom? Not able to resisting food?... I know they haven't done the work of knowing their food timeline and most live in a "calory in/calory out" mentality. They are not having certain foods "because they can't"... Until the day they see it and "can't resist" not to have it! They are unaware of how strong their "sugar monster" is, when it uses arguments like - "who knows what tomorrow may bring? I might not be here so I'd better have it today". I mean it's not their fault. And I have no judgment when I say this because that was totally me!
But this is how our society is shaping us today! And listen to that "food devil" talk! Not knowing what tomorrow may bring? We live in some of the safest times of humanity (except for this pandemic, which in a way is making more people rethinking their eating habits too). But in reality, we live in an abundant world - the food will still be there tomorrow. We no longer depend on having to hunt and gather to survive - we only need to go to a store and buy food. And this is a big part of the problem, as today there are more empty calories out there, than ever before! And even more calories, than our daily requirements!
So for those with the mindset of "everything in moderation", I hope they are also ok with having moderate health (again, that was me). And if that is the life they choose to have, then it's ok. Even I didn't think that way until I reached a certain age... The problem is, most people won't realize that they made this choice until they fall ill, "out of nowhere"...
As for me, I choose vitality now that I've experienced it, for as long as I can... I just recognize that "food devil" talk and I laugh because nothing tastes better than my health - period. And I sure am glad that I am able to make that choice in conscience. Knowing that I am not giving up on anything, instead, I am choosing more abundance of what really matters to my body. I believe that I owe that care to myself.
Experimenting once in a while is part of that process - it only brings us more knowledge and enjoyment. Just don't confuse it with what many diets call a "cheat day". It is very distant from that - I refuse to cheat on myself (or anything really).
So to finalize, I am happy to have experimented. I had zero guilt, and while by the end of Summer, I usually would have had allergy problems, this time there was none - again! For the 3rd year in a row, after I took the steps to change my relationship with food.
There is nothing wrong with being specific and having boundaries with yourself... It only helps you making the right decisions. With everything in life... And that's true with your body too. So experiment, but in a conscious way, to really understand the effects it has on your body. That alone can impact your future so much!
Happy beach days!
If you're looking to transform your relationship with food, and want to know more about how I did it, get in touch with me here.