Intuitive Nutrition: A Way of Living
We’ve all heard it before: there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to diet. It’s true; our relationship with food is a dynamic journey that changes over time. As we move through the transitions of life, our body and its needs change. From the time we are born, through childhood, early adulthood, and our elderly years, the nutritional needs of our body shift. In the same way, when we are sick or recovering from injury or illness, our nutritional needs differ from the times when we are in a balanced, healthy state. Cultivating the ability to listen to the ever-changing needs of your body ensures that you will be supported throughout each phase of life. For every nutritional study saying that a particular food or dietary regime is good for you, there is another study saying the opposite. As you may have experienced, what works for one person can wreak havoc on another. So, how can we differentiate between foods that support our body and foods that may aggravate our system? This is where Intuitive Nutrition comes in. According to my personal definition, Intuitive Nutrition is a holistic approach to diet where you, the individual, discover your unique nutritional needs based on how foods feel in your body, and what works with your personal preferences, physiology, and lifestyle. In this approach, rather than looking externally to the latest diet trend, the newest superfood, or the latest nutritional study, intuitive nutrition invites you to look within to your own body wisdom to decide what foods best support you. How do you do this? Here are 4 steps to help you become more intimate with your body’s unique needs and choose the foods that will nourish you in each phase of life.
1) Slow Down: Create the time and space to slow down when it comes to food. During the process of buying, preparing and eating your food, be mindful, present and connected to the process. Read your nutritional facts labels, choose nutrient dense whole foods, and take the time to sit down away from distractions while you eat. Take in the colors and the smell of your meal and begin to connect with what you are eating and how you are eating it! Chew your food thoroughly and completely. Notice the food as it travels down into your body and begins the process of digestion.
2) Connect & Reflect: After you have completed your meal, connect in with your body and reflect on your body’s experience of the meal. How does the food feel in your body? Is digestion smooth? Do you experience any reactions or unpleasant symptoms from your meal? Listen to the feedback that your body is giving you about the foods you are eating, not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Tune in, connect and listen to the signals from your body.
3) Take Note: Be proactive! Keep a journal of the ingredients in your meal, and the symptoms you experience after. This is not about calorie counting, shaming, and focusing on the quantity of foods eaten; rather, it is a simple list of the ingredients in your meal and the physical, mental and emotional feedback from your body. Taking note is about recognizing patterns in our dietary choices and our reactions to foods. Taking the time to jot down this information can help you keep an accurate record over a longer period of time. Particular food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances can become apparent, and it will be easier to identify the foods that are triggering unease in your body.
4) Choose Love & Allow Change: Love yourself through every choice you’ve made. Don’t go into shame, guilt or blame after eating something that’s not ideal or doesn’t feel good. Each time you put food in your mouth, choose it from a place of self-love and self-care; from this place, adjust and adapt your diet based on how foods feel in your body. Do your research, be informed about the fundamentals of health for your age group and health condition, and then allow change to happen as an action of empowered choice and self-love. www.holisticwellspring.com