Over the past few months, I have been trying to stop saying I am busy. I have probably always been somewhat aware of the extent to which “being busy” is often glorified in mainstream culture today, but have become increasingly convicted about this fact over time and also more cognizant of its ill effects. Besides, I acknowledge that “being busy” is relative and there are plenty of people the world over who actually are much more busy than I. All that to say, there are definitely seasons when my calendar is more richly scheduled than others and currently I am in the midst of one of those times. Thankfully, this time around my “busy” schedule is mostly related to fun events, including hosting some friends and my parents this past week! We’ve already had many adventures around Ireland and London and are looking forward to more trips around the Emerald Isle and to Paris this upcoming week. I can’t even explain how happy I am to have this opportunity to spend time with them and make new memories as we see the sights, taste the foods, try new fun things and spent long overdue quality time together. There is so much to do and so little time, that it’s important to know what and when it’s worth it.
I was reminded of this fact just this week in several different ways. We had two full days in London, but of course that wasn’t nearly enough time. With a HUGE list of things that we wanted to do, we had to pick and choose wisely. Although we packed in a lot, there were of course there were some things we just couldn’t fit in. As we mused over the disappointment of not being able to do the full interior tour of the Buckingham Palace, I lamented that I should have booked the tickets in advance for a designated time. However, my dad (ever the insightful and practical one) said that he didn’t know if that actually would have been better. We all agreed that feeling rushed to get from place to place, from one appointment or booking to the next, does increase the quantity of what we could see and do, but of course negatively impacts the quality of the experience. What good is it to actually go into the Palace if we feel like we are under serious time crunch the whole time? It was a good perspective to take in the moment, but I’m now also considering the ways that this is relevant in many aspects of life. As a Type A Doer, I often rush from one thing to the next. I would argue it’s incredibly efficient and I do get a lot done, but sometimes I should pause to consider whether I should do something just because I technically can. For that reason, it’s of course critical to know your values and priorities so you can make decisions about what and when it’s worth it.
Although I’m still a ways off from fixing my worldview on doing all the things, but one area I do think I’ve made some serious progress has been in knowing when it’s worth it as it relates to food. I very consistently eat an entirely real food and mostly Whole30ish diet all the time. It’s taken some time to get here, but I am happily living in Food Freedom. I don’t feel restricted and I love the way that eating this way makes me feel inside and out. Since this is my rule, I didn’t stress about deciding to make an exception while away. While I am not one to throw all my good habits out the window any time I travel or have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones, I did decide that sampling a tray of beautiful pastries and petite fours at an afternoon High Tea was situation when it was well worth it. The desserts were decadent and the ambiance was outstanding. Although I am a classic Abstainer, I have also come a long way in my relationship with food and felt not at all guilty or remorseful about my decision. And although that was absolutely a time when it’s worth it, I now resume my normal eating habits without going off the rails.
Food Freedom and knowing when it’s worth it when it comes to food involves making deliberate choices to indulge in foods which may have negative physical or psychological side effects, but they are so special, enjoyable or significant that “it’s worth it.” And knowing when it’s worth it is one of the most valuable things that I have gained from my Whole30 experiences over time. And it’s also what makes it more than a traditional diet – it’s actually a sustainable and enjoyable way of living. Especially when it includes concluding summer with salads like this Whole30 Chicken Salad with Avocado Poppy Seed Dressing. In this case, I don’t even have to question whether or not it’s worth it, because I’m not sacrificing any flavor or nutrition. Now if only I could master that in other areas of my life, especially when it comes to trying to do everything I might like to do!
Serves: 4 each
- Apple Cider Vinegar .25 cup (60 ml)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil .25 cup (60 ml)
- Shallot, diced 1 each
- Avocado, pitted 1 each
- Poppy seeds 1 TBSP
- Sea Salt .5 TSP
- Dijon Mustard 1 TBSP
- Arugula 8 cups (250 g)
- Sliced Almonds 4 TBSP
- Chicken, Cooked and Shredded or Sliced 24 oz (210 g)
- Strawberries, sliced 1 cup (165 g)
- Avocado, sliced 1 each
- Prepare the Avocado Poppy Seed dressing by combining all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulsing until smooth and creamy. It's delicious and you'll likely have some leftover to use on another salad or protein option later.
- Assemble your plates by separating the arugula among them and then drizzling the dressing over the top.
- Add the chicken, strawberries, and almonds.
- Top with sliced avocado and sprinkle some extra poppy seeds over the top if you so desire!