Three carloads of us rode from the Salt Lake City airport into even higher altitude and more beautiful scenery in Park City, Utah, the location of the Whole30 Coach Summit. We met about 100 more people who were there to experience a camaraderie and unity that can only be described as family. Story after story from my fellow coaches and new friends captures one main theme: through food, we changed our lives in ways we never imagined and now we want to help others do the same.
The lodge we’re staying in sits with a 360 degree view of stunning mountain scenery. Walking into the suite I shared with my room mate, I gasped at the huge windows that seemed to hand me inspiration on a silver platter. Inspiration for my Whole30 business, sure. But also inspiration to do many other things that I’ve been “sitting on” for a while. Creation has a way of giving you two juxtaposed feelings of overwhelm at the same time: peace and comfort on one hand, awe and fear on the other. Just looking outside my window I can feel a hint of this dualism inside of me. If I were to hike to the top of one of these mountains, I’d be completely swept away by this battle between comfort and awe. Is it a battle? I’m not sure. But it’s amazing to me that I can be so comforted by something of which I feel incredibly unworthy. I can’t help but think of how Creation is meant to reflect the Creator, and how important it is to remember that I can feel all of these emotions at once toward Him. He is the Almighty, after all.
After taking a few hours to check in, browse the program and menus, and take in the overwhelming swag situation (see photo below), we got ready for the first event.
The New Primal Reception
Dinner was fantastic, which is good, because our hopes were high. There were so many green things to choose from and I chose them all, the kale salad with pine nuts, the spinach salad with bacon and warm citrus vinaigrette, the broccolini with almond sauce. It was all incredible. The non-green items were just as good, with a beet salad with an almond butter drizzle, parsnip mash, and cauliflower rice with apricots. Two protein options were available: a chicken dish and a curry pork dish. All of these items were Whole30 compliant. Do I even need to say that we were #notdeprived?
The speeches matched the food in quality and sustenance. The New Primal is a Whole30 Approved partner who generously sponsored this meal and many other parts of our weekend. Jason, the owner of the company shared an incredibly moving story of the legacy of his mother living on through food in community. When he began to read the the story, a few of us were choked up. I’d venture to say there were only a few dry eyes in the room when he recounted speaking at his mother’s funeral in 2014, asking the room of over 100 people to stand up if they’d ever had a meal made by his beloved mother. He told us not one person was left sitting. The collective mascara situation was growing increasingly dire.
I couldn’t help but think of my own mother when Jason shared his story. Her career and life is built around food and the purpose it gives her is astounding. My mom doesn’t know how to not feed a human being standing in front of her. I knew I had to approach Jason to tell him how moving I found his speech. After dinner he gave me a bit of his time to chat about our experiences with mothers who have to feed people, the dramatic and exciting changes happening in the food industry, and our own stories of food freedom through the avenue of food that serves our bodies, minds, and souls well.
Part of what Jason told me was that big companies (think Walmart and the like) are busy at work trying to figure us (Whole30ers) out. How cool is that? I have felt this over the past two years, a shift in the industry. “People want good-for-you food,” he said. I love that simple way of putting it. To put it another way: we are voting with our dollars.
Currently, numbers one and two in the category of sauces on Amazon are The New Primal’s latest releases from about a week ago. The bottles cost about twice what you’d pay for their corn-syrup, MSG-laden counterparts and they are topping the charts. Big corporations are paying attention to this and yes, it’s all about the bottom line for them, but I’ll be damned if part of the tradeoff isn’t more real food accessible to the masses. These smaller companies that start out with heart and grit and all the good feelings aren’t selling out when big names buy them- they’re winning. They’re showing what they’re made of and changing the market as we know it. Their values, sourcing, the ingredient details are the reasons they were noticed in the first place.
A wise consumer is the one moving the needle right now and y’all, she is a VERY wise consumer. She might walk into the grocery store and skeptically grab a recently-bought-out product she loves BUT all it takes is one look at the ingredients to see whether the values are being upheld. Were they not upheld, she wouldn’t buy them anymore, because she is wise, ya know? The wise consumers made these good-for-you brands famous and these are the same consumers benefitting from their being widely distributed. The wise consumer now has more access to good-for-you food. The prices are even more budget-friendly, in some cases. This is not like a lot of examples we see when products are bought out and the integrity goes out the window. It’s different because of who the customer is in this case. She has the power to vote with her dollar.
I’ll be damned again if Whole30 didn’t have something to do with this massive shift in the very fabric of our food industry.