Gentle Nutrition: Intuitive Eating for the Holidays and Life
Last principle for a reason. It’s easy for diet culture to sneak back in here and undo the progress you’ve made with the other principles.
Make food choices that honor your health and your taste buds. Don’t eat foods because they’re this month’s “superfood” even though you hate. Remember the satisfaction factor. Don’t eat foods you don’t like for the sake of trying to be healthy. There’s no reason to eat kale if you hate kale, eat some spinach or romaine. Just not kale.
I like to think of this principle as your gentle reminder. Usually regarding veggies. Maybe you’re deciding what to eat for dinner and it’s been a busy day. You know you have pasta at home with some pesto and chicken, but you also remembered you haven’t had a vegetable all day. Maybe with your pesto chicken pasta, you throw in some tomatoes to make sure you get some veggies in. Just a gentle reminder. It’s not taking away from the dinner you had planned but is adding to your health in a simple and easy way.
Make sure to include foods that both nourish your body and nourish your soul. What would your life be without that amazing cheesecake your sister makes? But how are your kids going to grow up and be strong like Popeye without some Spinach? Make sure to find a balance between foods that will give you lots of nutrients and foods that are going to make life enjoyable. When these foods are one and the same, that’s even better!
Remember: one food, meal, or day of eating will not affect you. It won’t affect your health; it won’t affect your weight. There are so many different sources of nutrition information floating around the internet telling you what to eat, how to eat, what not to eat, what diseases you’ll get if you eat a certain food, but none of them care about you. Those sources are there to make money. Take the power back from them and eat. Just eat. Eat what sounds good. Eat what will nourish your body and soul. Eat and enjoy life. There are no numbers to follow, no grams you must count, eat an orange because it will quench your thirst, not because it’s a fruit. Eat chocolate cake to celebrate a birthday or eat it because it just sounds good. Don’t eat foods you don’t like. Don’t eat fat-free foods because they’re fat free. The only “clean eating” you should be doing is making sure you wash your fruits and veggies. Like we talked about with respecting your body and not body-checking, don’t judge others for the way they are eating. There’s no reason to look in someone else grocery cart or have an opinion on what they ordered in s restaurant, unless it sounds really good. They are on their own journey and you don’t need to body check with food.
I think this principle and intuitive eating in general can be summed up in this one quote from dietitian Melissa Joy Dobbins which is “Enjoy your food with health in mind.”