Today was a big day.
Finally paid off my phone. Acquired a new phone as a result. Monthly payment plummeted by a whole dollar. I’m the proud owner of the portrait photography function. This fills me with glee. I now spend my time snapping pictures of all things within a 15 mile radius. We entered our TWENTIES. But who’s counting now, anyway? (me. I’m counting). And we ate like royalty at the incredible True Food Kitchen.
Slow clap for Day 20.
However, wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Truth be told, I still have some hefty anxiety about consuming food that’s made outside of my own kitchen or doesn’t have a Territory/Whole30 Approved stamp on it. I’ve come to realize just how protective I’ve become of my Whole30 experience, like it’s an innocent child I need to shield from anything that could cause damage, or taint in any way. The world outside of my compliant-ingredient-only cabinets and fridge still carries with it an ominous feeling. Like, just lurking around the next dark corner is a pool full of rainbow sprinkle donuts I’ll inevitably fall face first into and be forced to eat my way out as the only means of survival. This is not normal I realize.
On one hand, it makes sense. I’ve worked hard to ensure my reset has been a productive one. A rule-following, well-behaved one. One that sets me up for success moving forward. What doesn’t sound like fun, is spending 30 days doing the super tough work of rewiring my brain patterns, only to have some sneak attack ingredient slip derail the journey. In this sense, yes. The outside world is scary, ominous, Big Bad Wolf-esque.
On the other, you’d think I’d have more confidence to carry with me given all the very celebratory worthy NSVs that have been firing on this end. From sleeping like a babe, to super sonic energy levels, to navigating the grocery store like the real-food-only champ I am, I’m still total weak sauce when it comes to living my food life outside of the protective barriers I’ve worked hard to build.
Example: adventures at True Food Kitchen today.
First, I should preface this that we were lucky enough to be waited on by the one and only Samwell. Some may know him from his YouTube fame, we knew him before his stardom and lucky to call this musical genius a friend. So, naturally — we asked to be seated in his section. Consequently, my feelings of terror, anxiety, and embarrassment that typically come along for the ride when ordering in fear of being “that” customer, were tempered by Sam’s sassy self.
We kicked things off with the Charred Cauliflower. It arrived to our table, and it looked so insanely delicious, too delicious, that despite our talented waiter giving us the compliance thumbs up, both me and the hubs sat there staring. Scared to eat it as we were certain it was smothered in some Whole30 compliance ruining sauce. We quite literally sat there for 5 minutes and didn’t touch it— until we pulled up and reread this little, ‘where to exist outside your home while doing Whole30’ write up. With permission granted, the blissful enjoyment commenced.
You guys. This was drop-you-to-your-knees delicious. Stop reading this, and get to a True Food Kitchen and order 13 of these. If you don’t have one near you, drive however long it takes and make it so.
We gleefully transition to the Seasonal Ingredient Salad — just sans white beans. There were toasted mulberries in there. It was a first for me, and certainly won’t be the last. Friggin’ delightful! Vegetables have never tasted so, well, tasty. Certainly due to the quality of ingredients and the amazing chefs in the kitchen, but also think my newly adjusted taste buds may have had something to do with this experience. Hot diggity dang.
Feeling restored and powerful thanks to our veggie bliss, we tackled our entree with confidence. Next up, the Grilled Salmon with roasted beets and a cilantro pumpkin seed pesto. We subbed smoked onion farro for avocado. Because, obvi.
The salmon melts in your mouth, we smear it all around in that pesto, we’re living the life we’ve dreamed.
Panic sets in.
Did we asked the right questions when we ordered?
This pesto is too good.
This pesto is way too good. Like, gotta be full of Melissa Hartwig’s worst nightmares good.
The salmon has to be dipped in Whole30 sins and kissed by the Sugar Dragon.
It’s too late. Every last ounce is in our bellies. I was too fearful to ask Samwell at this point if we may have missed an ingredient somewhere along our exhaustive ordering process.
I try my best to play it cool, trying not to slip into a panic attack over this. Silence takes me over on our drive home. I decide to call True Food Kitchen in an effort to either a) give me peace of mind that we didn’t just do the unthinkable or b) confirm the unthinkable and come to terms with what starting over on day 20 will feel like.
I was transferred 3 times — but 7 minutes later, after the chef was consulted, I was told the only ingredient used on the salmon was grapeseed oil. Immediately googles ‘grapeseed oil Whole30’ and I’m overcome with joy. It’s listed as a “limit your use of” oil vs. “absolutely not. Start your Whole30 over again, you idiot” oil. YAS!
I was too overwhelmed with emotion to remember I also needed to ask about the pesto. To avoid feeling completely insane, I call the other local True Food Kitchen so they don’t recognize my voice. I’m rerouted to the manager, who very kindly lists all the ingredients in the pesto — ALL OF WHICH ARE COMPLIANT. It’s like I’ve been given a second chance at life.
All that’s to say — yes. Our linner (suppose that’s lunch and dinner) was out of this world spectacular. If you’re near a TFK — make the trip. Order with confidence, and let my trip down anxiety lane be a lesson for how not to behave.
No denying that many strides have been made over the past 20 days, but I’ve certainly got some work to do on the food anxiety front. So, with that, I leave you to transition to my Food Freedom Forever bedtime stories.
P.s. Tara’s fight for a delicious mocktail are righteous. Read about her night out preparations and find all the inspiration you need to keep your social life on fire while Whole30-ing.
PSA: if you reside in the DC, SoCal, San Francisco or Dallas areas and want to give Territory’s Whole30 Approved meals a whirl, use code JANW30 when creating your account to snag $50 off your first order. Or just click the magic box below.