There are two things have been pretty constant in my life, since I was a little kid; I have always been fascinated with the making and eating of food and my stomach has always been touchy, tender and nervous. If I was sick as a little kid, 9 times out of 10 it was because of an upset tummy. My love of cooking has in so many ways been my stomach’s savior. Cooking for myself, as often as I can, has been my regular therapy. I also tend to read a lot about gut health, IBS, digestive systems, bacteria, and what foods and herbs help and hurt. I noticed a few articles recently on a topic that makes me smile ruefully and joyfully at the same time. My Millenial Generation has performed a mean trick once again, and has taken an action that has always existed, and done a rebrand. Previous versions of this type of rebranding include wild swimming, bone broth, and gut health, otherwise known as swimming, stock and taking a poo. The latest addition to this pantheon is Intuitive Eating, previously known as nourishment.
Intuitive eating is about to become the next biggest search term in the world of diets, which is quite funny because it’s the anti-diet. Intuitive eating means eating whatever you feel like. Let’s break that down, because it doesn’t mean binging on 3 whole pepperoni pizzas and washing it down with soda and ice-cream. “Eating whatever YOU feel like,” not, “whatever YOU want.” So think about how you feel; hungry, not so hungry, sluggish, energetic, anxious, jittery, calm, irritable, and you think about what you are craving, or what sounds really good, and then that’s what you eat.
To be honest, a lot of people already do eat intuitively, at least part of the time. Intuitive eating is your mum bringing you chicken or vegetable broth when you’re sick with a cold, eating a slice of fresh watermelon on a hot day, or drinking a glass of red wine with a hearty stew on the darkest, coldest day of the year. The reason why this way of eating is “making a come-back,” is because our food world never really allows us to just always listen to what we want.
The never-ending crush of holidays, advertising, and food trends about what, when and how we should consume nourishment drowns out the voice in our bellies that is constantly trying to tell us what it needs. The Intuitive eating trend makes me smile joyfully because I hope that more people, especially kids, start to approach eating by asking themselves, “How am I feeling right now?” I ask myself that in the morning, and directs me between eating a green, pink or protein smoothie, or two eggs and sourdough toast and butter, or a big bowl of oats and nuts with honey. The seasons, our schedules, our guts, our metabolisms, our families, our exercise, have a major effect on what we need to get the best energy and brain function we can get. Each of our diets can and should look a bit different each day, and radically different from one another.
If you read my blog you’ll find steak and pasta, kale and flaxseed. I don’t view any single item of the whole, unprocessed food as “unhealthy.” I try to find the best quality version of that item I can, and I eat when I crave it, in amounts that satisfy me. Perhaps this is the more complicated version of “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” that Michael Pollen coined. Apparently, he needed the help of the Millenial Branding Machine too. If you want to read an incredible article that also discusses the concept of Intuitive Eating, check out this NYMag article, “The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right.”