Your Inner Food Guru
What should I eat? Such a simple question, yet so difficult to answer these days. Information overload has led most of us (yes, dietitians included) into a state of nutrition quandary. The truth is, you already know what to eat. The solution isn’t in the latest diet book or on the web or in any person, health professional or otherwise. Although it’s certainly easy to see how we’ve come to believe it is. New diets and nutrition information emerge daily. People bounce from one plan to the next hoping to strike gold. When those fail, they turn to nutritionists and other health professionals hoping to unveil the magic. Unfortunately, this search is fruitless unless we also take the time to tune into what our bodies have to say. Everyone has a natural, intuitive understanding of what to eat.; our own personal “food guru”. There are many ways to nourish the body and eating is not a “one size fits all” gig. The key is to slow down and figure out what works for you.
Unfortunately we’ve moved away from using our inner wisdom to guide us around food choices. As much as the dietitian in me hates to admit it, nutrition knowledge has complicated our eating. In ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’, Michael Pollan speaks of the “nutritionism” of food, blaiming it for moving us further from the natural act of eating that we once knew. How has the simple act of eating become so complicated? This is really a rhetorical question since it would take much longer than I have to write (or you have time to read) to answer that.
In some ways it would be easier if the answer was out there in a book or research study. Yet, as useful as this information may be, it doesn’t compare to the knowledge you hold within. Letting your body guide your food choices will lead to a much more fulfilling, pleasurable relationship with food.
So put that ‘Inner Food Guru’ to use. Take time to explore what foods work in your body. How do different foods feel? What do you like the taste of? Are you hungry? How hungry? Are you full? Too full? Taking an organic approach to changes in your eating can be freeing and empowering especially if you’ve been on the diet circuit for a long time.
Want to enhance your connection to this inner wisdom? Spend some time connecting to your breath. Notice sensations in your body. Actively tune out negative self-talk. Focus on how eating well helps you feel better (not how much weight you will lose). Exercise and meditate as they are excellent ways to nurture this attunement. Keep a journal reflecting on the connections between your thoughts, mood, environment and your eating. Be patient and observe without judgement.