Gah! My final week of the challenge is complete! I am experiencing many mixed emotions and in all honesty, I feel as though I have been left with more questions than answers now that I am technically finished the challenge. The biggest take-away from this experience has been the realization about how much our food system needs to change if we want to rid ourselves and the earth from toxic chemicals. This is an absolute necessity in order to sustain human life on earth for longer than the estimated 70 years we have left to live at the current rate we are going.1
- This week I was feeling elevated levels of anxiety. This was both for personal reasons and in part from the reflections I was having on the challenge. I kept asking myself, “just because the challenge is done at the end of this week… does it mean I am going to go back to caring less about chemicals being sprayed on the earth and ingesting them into my body?” This thought wasn’t sitting well with me which caused a lot of un-ease in my day to day!
- I struggled of “food boredom” especially because due to the way I was feeling – I had less energy to cook really beautiful meals. I started to crave the comfort of going out for a meal and the ease of eating “freely” in social settings. I was reminded again this week that there are so few restaurants that are fully organic! Living on the small island of Salt Spring the choices feel extra limited. I realize this is a VERY first world problem to have and is only a product of growing up in a privileged Western society where we, for so long have had access to pretty much any type of food we want at any time!
- I struggled with protein consumption. As a primarily plant based eater (with the exception of eggs and wild fish) finding creative organic and local protein sources was starting to grade on me! I felt tired of my usual “go to’s” and uninspired to look to new ideas. However, after putting energy towards shifting my mindset – I realized just how blessed I am to have the options that I do. I found enjoyment in eating homemade veggies burgers I had pre-frozen from the previous week, tempeh, green lentils, hummus, and pasture raised eggs. When I look back to reflect – I realize how much abundance I have access to despite my perceived feelings of “lack”
- I wasn’t as motivated to plan my meals as I was in previous weeks. This was in part because I was feeling less motivated this week and also in part because I slightly let my guard down, thinking I was now an “expert” in eating organically. This lack of motivation on Thursday caused me to work at the library all afternoon only to find myself getting home at 3:30pm ravenous and with very low blood sugars!
What I Learned
- This week I was reminded about the importance of self-care. I felt tired, run down, and frustrated. I learned that because this issue is SO complex and needs to be addressed with so much attention and energy – it is extremely important for me to take extra self-care while diving in so fully. For me this looks like more quiet time, walks in the forest, swimming in the ocean, connecting with my friends, and fostering kinder thoughts towards myself. Without doing these sorts of things I realized I will quickly experience burnout.
- I learned that I needed to remember (as often as possible) WHY I chose to do this challenge. Knowing our “whys” in life are so important! When I reflect on the reasons and values behind why I chose to do this challenge – they are enough to help me persist with joy, gratitude, and optimism. However, the minute I forget my “why’s”, I feel frustrated, have cravings for “conventional foods”, and start to feel hopeless and negative.
- Café Bliss in Victoria is amazing! I was SO pleased when I got an amazing organic matcha latte from them with homemade nut mylk. It was such a treat to have this drink while out and about!
- There really are tons of amazing companies and people doing their part in the organic food movement! Doing this challenge has sometimes felt like it’s easier to focus on all the flaws in our food system and the foods that are laden with chemicals. However, I also was reminded that there are SO many organic options out there for us as consumers. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Whole Foods B.C. in celebration of the challenge and as I was shopping there to make my “Kale Cabbage Green Lentil Tacos” I was able to find tons of amazing organic products that were both affordable and delicious. I felt so grateful to see the 4 different types of organic tortillas I could have bought, 3 different brands of organic salsa, and the vast abundance of organic (and tons of local) produce!
- I learned that I have a lot of reflection and work to do after this challenge! As I mentioned, the thought of going back to not caring as much about chemicals in my food just doesn’t sit right. I know that part of my purpose as both a nutritionist and a lover of the earth is to spread the message about the dangers of in-organic food and what it does to both our bodies and the planet. I am looking forward to figuring out ways to best do this and feel excited for whatever comes of this!
All in all, this challenge truly has been a “challenge” but more than that, it has been eye opening, rewarding, insightful, and motivating. In many ways the end of this challenge feels more like the start of something new for me. Through it all, I have received a better understanding of what it will take to get toxic chemicals out of our food, air, water, soil, and bodies. I know it is not going to be an easy thing to do, but if we want to survive as a human species it is an absolute necessity!
A United Nations report recently estimated that there are only “60 harvests left before there is no viable top soil left to grow food in”2
Hearing this is the perfect wake up call for us all. I have faith each one of us can play our part in doing this and I am ready to continue on with this “challenge”! I feel more inspired than ever to learn and sharing more about regenerative agriculture, our flawed food system, and what we can all do about it. Stay tuned as I talk more about my post challenge reflections, ideas, and action steps.
I want to send the biggest THANK YOU to all the incredible companies who supported me, everyone who followed along my journey, and also to all those who took steps into eating more organic foods with me– you are all truly amazing and I am so grateful to be on the earth with each one of you!
Companies Who Supported Me
- Whole Foods Market
- Organic Matters (OM Foods)
- Botanica Health
- Tempea Tempeh
- Naked Coconuts