It takes roughly 7.25 hours to drive from Park City, Utah to Boulder, Colorado with 2 pee breaks and driving an average 7 mph over the speed limit. That’s the length of time I spent driving home on Sunday from the Blend Retreat. I typically don’t mind road trips, but let me tell you, I80 through southern Wyoming has to be THE most desolate stretch of land I’ve ever driven on.

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So, I relied on entertainment in the form of fitness podcasts.

On one particular podcast I was listening to, the guest was talking about “feeling free” from her obsessive eating and exercise habits. How she only sometimes felt restricted, felt good in her own skin, and had gained weight but was ok with it.

It got me thinking…

Do I feel free? What makes me feel free?

In short, YES, I feel completely free from obsessive thoughts about food and fitness – and there was a time when I wasn’t. And if I’m being completely and truly honest with myself, I probably didn’t feel 100% free until about a year ago. Sure, the obsessive thoughts were long gone by then, but I wouldn’t quite say I felt free until I could say 5 simple, freeing words:

“Yes, I can eat that”

-to everything.

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Yes, I can (and do) eat meat.

Yes, I can (and do) eat wheat

Yes, I can (and do) eat dairy.

Yes, I can (and do) eat peanuts.

Yes, I can (and do) eat pizza.

Yes, I can (and do) eat ice cream.

Yes, I can (and do) eat CHEESEBURGERS.

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You catch my drift. There was a time when I didn’t eat meat. There was also, more recently, a time when I didn’t eat gluten.

A little backstory: If you’ve been reading for a while, almost 2 years ago I was diagnosed with PCOS (which, another ob/gyn told me later she thinks that was a misdiagnosis, and HA was more likely,) and I sought the care of a naturopath right away. Surprise, surprise, he told me to avoid grains for 2 weeks, and then gluten forever. So I did. I gave up gluten (and most grains) in an effort to get my cycle back for the better part of a year.

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And then I did more research, and found out about my low blood sugar and its correlation with a low body fat. Restricting gluten was stressing me out – I mean, I live in land of delicious craft beer! After switching up my diet to be more blood sugar-friendly, and gaining about 10 pounds, I got my regular cycle back (on the last day of Blend Retreat 2013, actually!) Come to find out, I can eat gluten just fine! Yes, I can eat that – and I’m so glad I can. It’s much tastier, and much easier.

Every year at Blend Retreat, the organizers put on a raffle at the closing ceremony. Basically, it’s a sweet giveaway package from the retreat sponsors that’s a little bigger/has more value than what’s in everyone’s swag bags. And the awesome part? EVERYONE wins something! That’s my kind of raffle Winking smile However, as the organizers were announcing names of attendees and what they had won, there was a crazy amount of people who had to have their names put back into the drawing because of the words “I can’t eat that.” Their diet or allergies didn’t allow them to eat the certain food (whey, wheat, etc.) that was being raffled off. (In their defense, the organizers did say everyone could decline a prize if it’s because of an allergy)

Now before I go any further, I have to disclaim that I am not, in anyway whatsoever belittling those with a real, diagnosed allergy of any food. Some of my very favorite people are forced to forgo certain foods from their diet so they don’t break out, get sick, or have some other allergic reaction. It sucks for them, and I feel for ‘em.

I am also not at all shaming those who are eliminating certain foods from their diet even though they don’t have a diagnosed allergy. Maybe they’re experimenting, or maybe they feel they are healthier without a certain food group. I’m not hating on it. I was in their shoes just over a year ago – so I have no place to judge, nor is it any of my business in the first place. In fact, if someone would have come up to me and tell me I didn’t have a real allergy, and to eat some bread, I’d probably tell them to mind my own business, and a few other choice words Winking smile Live and let live and all that is my motto.

What I am saying is that for me, someone who doesn’t have a real allergic reaction to certain (whole) foods: I feel truly free being able to get together with a group of friends, sharing some yummy Colorado beer, and sharing a few pizzas for dinner – and not feeling any guilt, anxiety, or resistance while doing so.

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^ my bestie, Katie and I on Monday, with our pizza (yes, we each had a pizza to ourselves, haha – and our local craft brew!) Yep. I can eat that.

Of course I don’t think drinking beer and eating pizza every night is healthy, but it’s pretty damn nice to make it a weekly tradition.

Do you have a food allergy? Do you eliminate any food group from your diet?

(Again, no judging here on those who do. I do, however, sometimes find the marketing behind it laughable when foods like apples or cheese are labeled “gluten free”…like, duhSmile with tongue out)

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