I ate a roast beef sandwich today.
I wasn't planning on it and wasn't "craving" it, I just walked into a coffee shop, ordered a dirty chai (my favorite), then realized I hadn't eaten yet apart from my vegan Bulletproof Coffee in the morning. I had just finished a run in the hot Texas sun and went to meet up with friends up north. I looked at the menu, saw a roast beef sandwich made with in-house meat and sourdough bread and I thought, "huh, that sounds good." So I ordered it.
I sat down with my dirty chai and sandwich and dug in. It was delicious. The bread was soft and fresh, the meat not too sweet or too salty (as many types of cold cut meats are), and the sandwich wasn't too big either. I finished it all plus the pickle, and I was good. The perfect amount of satiated.
Now, why am I telling you this? Not because I have a penchant for roast beef. In fact, probably the opposite. The last time I willingly purchased a roast beef sandwich was in 2012, going through major stress and trauma and eating everything I could to suppress my feelings.
Rather, I'm telling you this because this was the first time in my food freedom journey that I purchased a store bought sandwich containing what most would call processed, crap meat, simply because that's what I felt like and it made me happy at the time. And you know what? I DIDN'T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT.
Being able to eat what you want, listening to your body about what feels good to you at the time, is SUCH A BLESSING. Three years ago I would've glanced at the sandwich menu, rolled my eyes at all the gluten, meat, salt, and preservatives that would kill me, kept starving myself feeling resentful as my friends ate whatever in front me, then finally go home and stuff my face with whatever vegan food I had to make up for all the hunger and frustration from the previous several hours. Two years ago I would've maybe purchased it, sat there eating it thinking what a failure I am, how I can make sure my friends won't tell anyone about it and what's the best diet/exercise combo to make up for this disaster of a meal.
Instead, I just listened to my body and my intuition, and this is what it told me: I'm 45 minutes from home. I'm at a coffee shop to read with friends. I ran 4 miles outside, I have water but I'm hungry! I've been sweating. I need salt. I could purchase an overpriced salad with non-organic ingredients and crap lettuce that won't satisfy me at all, or I can just go for what I really want. Decision made.
Cravings always mean an underlying need in your body, NOT because you are a failure or a bad person! For example, I craved the roast beef sandwich because I had just been running, I was depleted of salt from sweating after my run, so I instinctively knew I needed a savory roast beef sandwich to replenish the sodium levels in my body. I ate it, and I felt great.
Let me clarify that I am in no way promoting roast beef sandwiches. I don't eat them, I don't keep bread in my house unless I make it or it's fresh from the farmer's market. I will continue eating the foods I know that will nourish me the best, and that does not include roast beef. But, when you're down to minimal food choices (e.g. coffee shop = coffee, pastries, and sandwiches) it's totally OK to eat what feels GOOD to you! Today was the first time I willingly chose to eat a sandwich and didn't feel a twinge of guilt about it. Food freedom and listening to your intuition is the best, y'all!
Food does not have to be something we fear. Food is our friend, it's here to serve us, not the other way around. It takes time to get over our fears with food, re-frame your mind and see food around us in a different way, but the end result is a world without fear of food, where everything is here to nourish and satisfy you! We don't live in a hostile Universe. We live in a friendly Universe where we are provided for with delicious food when we need it, even if it's a roast beef sandwich ;)
Does food guilt run your life? Do you go to the store or a restaurant afraid to buy anything? Do you see most food as evil and something that will kill you? Does your body crave something out of the ordinary but guilt and shame prevent you from giving it a try? Do you try resisting cravings by eating everything else in sight to suppress it but it never goes away? Do you feel guilty for having cravings in the first place? If so, I want to hear from you! Let me know in the comments about the food guilt you struggle with. And if you have a food freedom story, that's great, I want to hear about that too!