- Madi Hahn
The Intuitive Principles: Principle 10- Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition
One of the biggest misconceptions regarding Intuitive Eating is that it is an unhealthy approach… or that it encourages overindulgence in foods that don’t favor health.
In actuality, Intuitive Eating was created by registered dietitians and has a plethora of favorable mental and physical effects backed by science. The concept is never to consistently binge or form unhealthful habits – in fact, research has found that it is restrictive eating and a polarized view of foods that causes these habits.
Principle #10 emphasizes the nutrition aspect of Intuitive Eating and how to navigate adding more nutritionally-dense foods into the diet to provide balance and favorable effects on the way the food we eat can make us feel.
In order to achieve healthy eating, we must acknowledge that this includes two sectors. As Tribole and Resch state, healthy eating is “having a healthy balance of food and having a healthy relationship with food.”
Having a healthy balance of food lends itself to the statistically-proven fact that eating a wide array of foods is actually associated with a lower mortality rate. When we view each food we eat from a neutral lens and recognize that they each provide us with a different profile of nutrients, we can move past the days of restricting our intake and instead focus on adding to our plate. From the polarizing health lens that stresses the perceived issue of increased portion sizes as they relate to poor health, the idea of adding to a plate may sound like a concern. However, for Intuitive Eaters, we know that the amount of food we eat is regulated by our internal hunger/satiety cues, meaning that we can gauge the appropriate amount of food for our bodies and often do not feel a need to overindulge.
Having a healthy relationship with food is the principle aspect of Intuitive Eating. By listening to our body’s internal cues, cravings, and nutritional needs, choosing to view your body in a neutral light, and challenging previous diet-culture beliefs, we can learn to be at peace with food and our bodies. We can move past the harsh judgements of ourselves for what we eat and move toward honoring our health by providing our body with nutrients without guilt.
Here are some ways to honor your health with gentle nutrition:
Eating enough food for our bodies
Listening to our bodies when they tell us we have enough fuel
Adding a fruit or vegetable to our plate or to our favorite dish
Making sure we are getting enough water/fluids
Incorporating whole foods, nutrient-dense foods, and protein-rich foods whenever possible