By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist
I've often heard people say that things would be so much simpler if we came with an owner's manual. But we did!
It's called intuitive eating.
That means trusting your intuition - listening to your inner voice.
Each of us has a software program deep within our being that's based on millions of years of evolution - our own, unique evolution. It points us in the direction we should be going - if we care to listen.
That's the key...... if we care to listen.
Follow the advice and you'll do well.
Go your own way and you'll struggle.
Like everything else in life, it's a matter of free will and choice.
Food is eaten for pleasure and nourishment but it's also consumed as medicine to regulate the body functions. You are guided, intuitively, to make choices that will keep your body running smoothly. Here's how intuitive eating works:
1. Eat What You Like
Assuming you already choose a basically healthful diet, eat the foods you like.
You intuitively want to eat the foods (and this includes condiments, spices and beverages) that are best for you. Your choices will be constantly changing to adjust your internal chemistry for optimal health moment by moment, meal by meal.
Don't eat well?
Start slowly and make a healthier choice every now and then. No rush. You know what's healthy and what isn't. Your body will reward you with moments of feeling better and being more alert.
Eventually, as you become accustomed to listening to your inner voice, you'll choose foods that make you feel better more often. You'll choose them because you'll be hungry for more of those healthier feeling moments when you're alive and kicking!
2. Don't Eat What You Don't Like
We all have different tastes and food preferences because we each have different needs.
Foods that are of little or no value to you don't taste good to you (assuming they are well prepared) no matter how nutritionally beneficial they are purported to be. If you don’t like something, don't eat it.
If a food is particularly distasteful (the yuck factor), it's often a sign that the food may be doing you harm even though it's nutritious and others find it delicious.
Children may not like certain foods when first introduced to them. That's OK. Their bodies may not be ready to eat them or, just like you, their bodies may find the food unnecessary or harmful even if it's a healthy food. Just keep on introducing foods to children without much fan fare. When they're ready, they'll add it to their repertoire.
If you're wondering what to do when your inner voice instructs you to reach for the soda and chips or Little Debbies, don't worry. Take a moment to listen to your inner voice and find out what your body really needs.
Is it salt? Is it a sugar boost? Is it comfort? Is it sleep? Or is the craving a response to boredom?
Whatever it is, your body needs something and it is asking for it in a language that you've understood before. (Did you know that Little Debbie is a language?)
The body starts with a gentle nudge or suggestion - a brief, fleeting thought of something you'd like to eat or drink - and, if you don't pay attention, the thought escalates into a full blown craving that consumes your every waking minute. You might even dream about it. Give the body what it wants (and it's not necessarily food) and the craving will go away.
Use your intuition. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Eat intuitively for optimal health and well being.
It's one owner's manual that you'll never loose.