ABOUT CAROLINE FAUSEL
Busy mom and Whole30/Paleo recipe creator and blogger, Caroline Fausel of Olive You Whole knows the struggles of balancing motherhood, nutrition, travel, self-care, and summer fun. Between running her own successful blog and other busy social media channels, Caroline was kind enough to share with us her philosophy on navigating summertime food freedom and the ever-elusive concept of balance; in life, in parenting, and at the dinner table. She's giving us her take on just how to figure out what's "worth it" as you we define our own food freedom and venture to remove the guilt and morality from our food choices. Plus, she's sharing her Whole30 Potato Salad recipe that'll make any summer BBQ, pool party, or cookout feel complete!
Ah, food freedom… It can be so elusive, can’t it? I personally find it’s hardest to nail down my food freedom in the summertime, when there are parties every weekend, and drinks and desserts are flowing! The concept of “Balance” can be ever elusive too. I want to share with you our definition of balance and how we strive to maintain it, especially in the summertime when kiddos are home!
For us, we have found that eating almost entirely Paleo at home sets a good foundation for us. Thankfully, we eat Paleo by choice because it helps us feel our best (we don’t have medical conditions that make it mandatory for us, like I know so many do!). So our “balance” is that we don’t always eat Paleo when we go out to eat!
A few things to note: we have two small kiddos, so going out to eat isn’t an all the time thing! It’s typically just 1-2 times a week.
Even when we’re out to eat, an aspect of food freedom is trying to determine what’s “worth it.” This can be ever changing! For us, that means a couple things. From our experience with Whole30 Reintroduction, we all know how specific food groups affect our bodies… If I know that certain types of dairy are going to give me an extreme stomach ache, I have to decide if the deliciousness of the food is greater than the pain I will experience. Sometimes, the answer is yes. A lot of times, the answer is no.
Thinking in terms of what’s “worth it” or not has really helped me savor the foods that ARE worth it, and leave behind the foods I’m not as excited about. An example for you: when Ella was pretty little, I realized FAST that we’d be going to a LOT of birthday parties. What do most birthday parties have? CAKE.
You know what I realized? I was eating the birthday cake just because it was there, not because I was super excited about it. Honestly, I don’t LOVE store-bought birthday cake. I DO love a delicious, homemade chocolate cake. But these slices weren’t my deal. So I stopped eating cake at birthday parties as a general rule, and I’ve been better for it!
Now don’t hear me say you should do the same! This is completely personal. Birthday cake may be what you live for! If so, it’s worth it to you! This is exactly why food freedom is so dang complicated :)
Things for Me That Determines if Something is “Worth It:"
- Is it a special occasion?
- Are you in a new/ exciting place (city, country, restaurant)?
- Is this place known for this food?
- Will you ever be able to try this food again?
- Did someone make this food for you specifically? Would it mean a lot to someone if you enjoyed it?
- Have you been specifically looking forward to this?
- How will this food make your body feel?
- If this food will negatively affect you, what do you have going on in the next day or two? Is there anything going on your need to feel your best for?
- Is it possible to make/ have a healthier version that will bring you equal joy?
One thing I like to do, especially for things like potlucks where I’m bringing an item, is try to think about what items will likely be the least healthy for me personally. If I can’t do soybean oil, maybe I offer to bring the potato salad, so I can use an olive oil/ avocado oil based mayonnaise. That way you know you’ll likely be good to go with the barbecue, the green beans, and now you have a healthier potato salad option!
Whatever the situation, this is a great way to navigate it! I personally love to bake Paleo goodies! I’ll bring some Paleo treat options, so when my kiddos ask for dessert, I know there’s an option that they’ll love that’s healthier for them!
Regardless of how you choose to manage your food freedom, an important lesson to learn is to cherish those choices you DO make. We do the Whole30 to figure out what foods work for your body, and which ones don’t. If you find out that black beans work great for your body, add them back into your chili! Throw them on tacos!
Moral of the story: eat the thing or don’t eat the thing, but don’t feel guilty about it.
We’re constantly trying to figure out if the thing we just ate that we thought was worth it truly was… And do you know what? Even Paleo food bloggers get it wrong. But when that happens, I take a mental note for next time! (Note to self: birthday cake NOT worth it for me).
Even if you make a move that you wouldn’t make next time, move on! Don’t wallow in guilt and shame. It will only derail your efforts to lead the healthiest life you can.
Since I know we’ll all be navigating plenty of barbecues this summer, I wanted to leave you with this Whole30 Potato Salad Recipe! I hope you enjoy!
Tell me in the comments- have you found a good balance in your life? What do you think helps you navigate your food freedom? What steps do you take in the summer to keep you on track? We’d love to hear from you!
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