3 Powerful Tools to Be a More Intuitive Eater

 3 powerful tools for becoming an intuitive eater

A huge piece of Intuitive Eating is the ability to tap in to your internal hunger and satiety cues. To know, for real, if and when you're hungry or full and to honor those feelings.

It sounds simple, but it's an incredibly difficult piece of the puzzle. We've been influenced sometimes from infancy to rely on other factors when we eat and how much. We're given snacks at all hours of the day as little children - often sugary sweet ones that disrupt our internal cues and our emotions. We're told in school and at camp that being in the Clean Plate Club is the best way to go and that by not eating the food on our plate we're wasting it.

The break from our internal cues for any number of reasons but it's important to know that those cues do actually exist. They may be long-forgotten, ill-used and need some reworking, but they're there. Under all of the influence, education, pressure we've internalized from external factors, we still all have the ability to tap in to our natural hunger and satiety cues.

So how?

There are so many ways and each may speak to you differently but these are the three main ones that come up for my clients and women I work with:

1. Limit or eliminate distractions. 
In our society, it's completely normal to eat while working, watching television, scrolling Instagram. The thing is, eating is a sensory activity. It's not simply an animalistic act of consuming calories. We need to engage in all of our senses when we sit down to eat a meal. If our sight and hearing and emotions are engaged in other activities while we're eating, it's impossible to truly know when we're full and when we've had enough. Most people who eat distracted report that they barely remember the meal they've just eaten just minutes later. Even if it was filling and delicious, they're reaching for more food soon because their other senses were strained and they don't feel satisfied. 

2. Focus first on yourself.
One of the other principles of intuitive eating is self-love and acceptance of your body. I think it often gets overlooked in favor of honoring your hunger and feeling your fullness, but it's a huge part of getting to that place. If you don't love your body or trust yourself you'll never be able to truly connect with what you're body needs. You'll still be staring at your plate thinking about calorie counts or the fat in your thighs and that's still a form of distracted eating. My favorite way to begin to trust yourself and repair your relationship with your body is to ditch your scale. It NEVER shows the whole picture anyway - weight alone is hardly an accurate indicator of overall health. It's just a tool to make you feel bad about yourself. Ditch the scale and start feeling your body.

3. Practice feeling full.
We often stop eating because our plate is clear or the bag of Peppermint Joe Joe’s is empty (#guilty), but that doesn’t mean we’re full. Often, we eat to excess just to finish our plate or we finish our plate and neglect to go back for seconds when we’re still hungry because we don’t want to look like a glutton. Try this: On an empty stomach, fill 3 large glasses of water. Drink them all in 5 minutes. The feeling of all the water in your belly will mimic the feeling of fullness. Sit down and think about how you’re feeling. Write down any sensations, thoughts, emotions, feelings that you have. Keep this list near you when you’re eating for a couple of weeks to remind you of how ‘full’ really feels. When you get to that point in a meal, stop eating.

We have to stop relying on outside cues like the clock or our plate size or the scale to tell us how comfortable to feel. We have to re-learn to engage in our own senses and internal cues to feel our fullness and satiety in order to truly reach our healthy goals.

Recipe | Brussels + Beans Nourish Bowl

vegan-nourish-bowl

The simplicity of checking macros off a list never ceases to amaze me. Carbs, protein, fat, all mixed together in one million delicious ways to create a nutrient-dense meal. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of unhealthy ways to combine those nutrients. But when they come together as colorfully and deliciously as this, it's pretty magical. Does anyone else get this excited about food? Just me ...?

This would be amazing with some chopped walnuts and green apple shavings too or whatever is fresh and in season at the farmers market! The beans and the gnocchi combine to make a really delicious, simple base to allow some of the extra flavor from the brussels sprouts and the lemon juice come through. What's gnocchi?

Gnocchi is basically a potato ball or potato dumpling. It actually means 'lumps' in Italian. It can be made with other ingredients like semolina, ordinary wheat flour, egg, cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, cornmeal but usually potatoes. They're delicious little pillows of dough that can be enjoyed with the same kinds of toppings you'd use on any pasta dish. Pesto, tomato sauce, butter, whatever your fancy.

 

Brussels + Beans Nourish Bowl

 

Ingredients

1 package gnocchi
15oz white beans (rinsed and drained if canned)
1 pound brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
1/4 cup sliced radishes
juice of 1 lemon
handful of sprouts (broccoli, bean, alf alfa are great)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
*optional red pepper flakes

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place brussels sprouts in a large cast iron skillet with a couple glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high on the stovetop for 5-10 minutes until the bottoms begin to blacken. Shake the pan a few times and pop it in the oven. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes shaking the pan periodically to make sure even cooking.

While the brussels sprouts bake, cook gnocchi according to package (boil water, toss 'em in for a few minutes until they float), drain and place in a large bowl. 

When the brussels sprouts are finished, place with gnocchi and beans and add the rest of the ingredients. 

Toss together and add salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

ENJOY!

vegan-nourish-bowl
vegan-nourish-bowl

Recipe | Simple Vegan Nachos

vegan-nachos

Simplicity is always my goal with meals.

I find myself with lofty goals of complicated home-cooked meals only to fall back on old simple favorites. Not to be disappointed, but rather, inspired and satisfied with what I've come up with. 

These vegan nachos are delicious, nutrient dense, simple, and quick to make. If you're like me and prep basics at the beginning of the week you'll already have rice and beans cooked and ready to go! If not, rice is simple to make and you can always use canned beans if the thought of doing it on your own is overwhelming (it took me years to finally get in the habit).

The beauty of these vegan nachos is that you can really dress them up any you like. Don't love radishes? Swap 'em for pumpkin seeds or more avocado. Add cilantro, more lime juice, or swap it out and toss in some ground turkey. This is a simple, quick base to which you can add or adjust pretty much anything!


vegan-nachos

Vegan Nachos

Ingredients

Corn tortilla chips
1 cup sticky white rice
15oz cooked black beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2-3 thinly sliced radishes
1 avocado sliced
a handful of fresh cilantro

Instructions

vegan-nachos

Cook the rice according to the package (I find adding 1/4 cup extra water makes the rice softer and thicker) and prep the beans.

Spread the chips out on a platter with enough space between so the toppings don't get too crowded.

Top with rice, beans, radishes, and lime juice.

Heat broiler on HIGH and place tomatoes on the top rack to broil for about 5 minutes (watch carefully!) or until they start to bubble and blacken a bit.

Add the tomatoes to the platter and top with the avocado and cilantro. 

Enjoy!

Recipe | Iron Pumping Smoothie

leafy-green-smoothie-recipe

At my last prenatal appointment, I had my iron levels tested. I've thought for a while I was slightly anemic but the test confirmed it and I've been looking for ways to increase my iron intake with and without supplements. 

The common recommendations are to eat leafy greens, cook in a cast iron skillet, and take an iron supplement. I started on a supplement and nearly always use cast iron when cooking but those leafy greens have always been my downfall. With five bags of mustard greens sitting in my freezer from last winters garden I've been mixing up smoothies to get some extra in my diet.

Curious as to how much iron is actually in the 'leafy greens' we're supposed to be eating?

Mustard Greens - 0.9mg
Spinach - 0.8mg
Kale - 1mg
Chard - 0.6mg

*amount in 1 cup

leafy-green-smoothie-recipe

Unfortunately, a smoothie of just leafy greens or even a plate of leafy greens can leave much to be desired. It's far tastier to mix in some extras to make your big green smoothie drinkable. Fruit can be super helpful in upping the taste factor but watch out for the sugar content. Being heavy-handed with the fruit can outweigh much of the benefits from the greens or anything else.

Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to get in essential nutrients - not to mention simple and delicious - for a well balanced diet. Much of my protein comes from nuts or nut milks or butters I add to smoothies as well. Following a plant based vegan diet, especially during pregnancy means taking a little extra time and thought to prepare and make sure you're getting everything the body needs. But even if you're not restricting animal products, you may still be missing key vitamins and minerals from your diet and fruits and veggies are always a good bet for where to find them!

So drink up!


leafy-green-smoothie-recipe

Iron Pumping Smoothie (serves 2)

1 cup leafy greens
1 inch of peeled ginger root
a handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple or mango
1 banana
coconut water
juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon

I like mixing the greens and coconut water first then adding the frozen ingredients and then the rest. If you're using a good high speed blender, the order shouldn't matter much. Add more or less coconut water if needed.