Pop culture has slowly but surely been moving the focus from eurocentric body image ideals that may perpetuate eating disorders and insecurities, to a place of focusing on health and wellbeing.
There are so many fad diets out, some of which may be helpful, others not so much, and it can be overwhelming to figure out the right one for you. Because frankly, there probably isn’t one right diet for anyone. Your needs fluctuate and change throughout your lifetime, with the seasons, and with your menstrual cycles.
Hence why you might find yourself ravenous right before your period!
What is Intuitive Eating?
Being able to feed and nourish your body is one of the most fundamental aspects of being human, but with so many distractions and options at our disposal, sometimes it can be hard to know what kinds of food your body needs and when.
Intuitive eating is the practice of tuning in to your body’s needs and choosing foods that just feel right. It is listening in so you know when you’re full, and when you’re actually hungry.
There are no specific guidelines to intuitive eating because it’s all based on you, and your intuition.
Because it’s a practice, you will probably never develop an exact recipe for what, when, and how you eat. Instead, it will change and evolve with you, as you get to know your body better. Intuitive eating is rooted in the cycles of nature and honors our individual needs, and the fluctuations they take.
This approach takes the pressure off, and lets you relieve yourself of any guilt or stress you may feel around food. Intuitive eating puts the emphasis on how you feel, instead of how you look, or what you think you should be doing.
How to Become More Intuitive
Intuitive eating of course takes…intuition!
Even if you feel disconnected from your intuition, it’s a power that everyone has, and everyone can develop and fine-tune.
You can help to build your intuition through meditation, breathwork, movement like yoga and hiking, and a journal practice.
Just taking a few moments a day to put your hands on your belly and heart and taking some deep breaths, gives you the chance to listen to any messages that may be coming in. The more you tune into your body, the better you’ll be able to tend to its needs and know if any red flags arise.
Follow Your Food
It helps to be mindful of where your food comes from. If you’re able to have your own garden, join a community garden, shop at a farmers market or local co-op, to help you to build a relationship with your food, and the earth it comes from. This is not always an option depending on accessibility in your area and budget.
No worries, anyone can learn to eat intuitively no matter where your food comes from!
Having this awareness, will allow you to act from a place of intuition, trusting that you’re making the right choice for your body.
When it comes to eating animal products, you may need a lot less, or a bit more than what you’re currently having. It can be helpful to get your mineral levels tested to see where you may be deficient, such as iron in the case of anemia.
Clear the Palette
Sometimes in order to get into a place of intuitive eating, you may need to do a sort of reset. You can try a cleanse, this doesn’t have to follow any strict regiment, but prioritize just eating fruits and veggies for a week or two. This helps curb cravings and reset your system so that you can get more in sync with your body’s needs.
During this time, it can be helpful to cut out processed sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and simple carbs.
No Guilt Necessary
One of the gifts of intuitive eating is that it helps to eliminate guilt that you may have around food.
There’s nothing wrong with eating comfort food, everyone needs to eat their feelings sometimes, and that’s ok! If you find yourself in a cycle of binging, ask yourself why you’re eating, and what other hobbies you have that help lift your soul.
Bottom line: This is your body and your journey. So eat the cake and the carrot. Some days you may have a green smoothie for breakfast, others you may have pancakes. That’s great. You do you!
Here is an easy, nourishing recipe to help you on your intuitive eating journey:
Medicinal Miso Soup
- 6 cups of filtered water
- 2 tbsp miso
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp each of fresh or dried oregano and basil
- 1 tsp of powdered turmeric or 1 small fresh turmeric root grated
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- ½ tsp of black pepper
- 4 sheets of nori (sushi seaweed) cut into small strips
- 4 cloves of fresh crushed garlic
- 1 shallot chopped into tiny pieces
- (optional) fresh greens like kale, chard, or spinach
Now bring your water to a boil, throw all these ingredients in, and let the flavor simmer for anywhere from 25 minutes to a few hours. That’s it! You can even add in other veggies in your fridge that need to be used like carrots and broccoli, or that thing of tofu that’s been sitting there for months. This soothing soup is great for any time of the day, you can even poach an egg in a single serving for breakfast.
Listen to your body, this is for you, and you alone. You got this!
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.