In Part I on Intuitive Eating for Stress Freaks, I talked about how to start changing your diet even when you don’t think you have the time. If you haven’t read that post, or the original explanation of Intuitive Eating, I strongly suggest you read those first. While Part I was more about which actions to take to start building some momentum towards healthier and ultimately intuitive eating, Part II will focus more on mindset and intuition (along with even more action steps).
Intuitive Grocery Shopping
If you’re a stress freak, I’d highly recommend starting with a plan at first. We all love a good diet plan. It’s a billion dollar industry. So, plan out your week. I can hear you panicking now. You don’t have time to make a plan, damn it! Chill, freak. It’s going to be fine. Stick to what you generally eat – don’t try to overhaul your entire diet on the first day. So, if you eat cereal for breakfast, keep that in for now. You can switch to something more natural later. Make your focus, at first, taking something healthy with you for lunch. Keep it simple to start and go with what you know. But…
- Start making better choices. So, instead of buying that void-of-all-nutrition, white sandwich bread (you think the whole wheat is better? It’s not), and the preservative laden lunch meat, get yourself some all natural bread (read the label. All natural means no artificial ingredients) and slice some chicken that you’ve cooked yourself (it’s not hard. Grill a chicken breast and slice. Or, if you want to get fancy, throw a chicken in the oven and bake. Google it. Seriously). Add some real tomato and some lettuce and you’re on your way to making a great, delicious and all natural sandwich, which will taste better than that nasty chemical crap you’re used to.
- Try doing your shopping at the health food store. (Don’t worry, they have wine and ice cream, too).
- If you buy chicken or beef, get some really good chicken or beef (probably not available at your supermarket.) Read those labels and ask the dude at the meat counter. Yes, you’ll look like a hippy tree hugger. Get over it.
- Instead of using spice mixes (which generally have a lot of chemical additives), use single spices and herbs.
- Read labels. If there’s anything in there that isn’t actual food (as in onion, tomato juice, lemon), don’t buy it. For example, don’t buy a bottle of lemon juice. Get real lemons instead. It takes no time to squeeze a damn lemon and you can count the wrist pumping action as part of your workout.
- Don’t buy stuff that doesn’t spoil. Real food goes bad after a while. If you make mayonnaise from scratch (which is super easy and so yummy!), you can keep it for a few days. Why does the mayo from the store stay good for weeks? Artificial ingredients. Great for convenience, awful for your body.
- Once you’re comfortable with lunch, you can then start to change your other meals. The key is not to overwhelm yourself by trying to change your entire diet and shopping completely differently than you’re used to.
- Once you’ve got a routine going, and shopping has become easy and stress free for you, take a little bit of time to actually look at the food before buying it. Look at the produce and see if you resonate with it. Over time, you’ll notice how you’re drawn to fruits and veggies that are in season. You’ll see cheap beef from mistreated animals as lifeless, while meat from happy cows, pigs and chickens kind of glows. This will happen gradually. Take your time and don’t expect to be “Intuitivo the Magnificent” on your fist day.
- Start looking for and incorporating new ingredients one at a time. If something jumps out at you at the store, try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it again. Expose yourself to new foods and recipes. But again, one at a time.
Intuitive eating and restaurants
I’ve saved the hardest category for last. Many restaurants, particularly in the United States (sorry US, but this has been my experience) no longer serve ANYTHING fresh and natural. Every single dish comes pre-made and frozen or even worse, out of a bag. So, the kitchen wouldn’t have any ingredients with which to prepare an all natural meal for you, even if they wanted to.
- Avoid these types of restaurants. Seriously, you’re not going to win here. Running in there and screaming at them to stop putting shit in your food won’t help, either. Instead, make peace with the fact that over time, as more people make more natural choices (which I truly believe our rising global vibration is leading them to do), these restaurants will follow suit and provide us with better options. Until then, don’t go there. And yes, that means being willing to gently but firmly put your foot down with family and friends when they insist on going to one of these places.
- When in doubt, call ahead. Just call the restaurant and nicely ask them if they can cater to your special diet. By giving them a heads up, you avoid asking the cook to go off menu in the middle of the dinner rush. They’re much more likely to be accommodating if you work with them.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the cook to go off menu, but be nice about it. If you come at them with a “I’m the customer. You have to do what I say” attitude, they’ll tell you to go to hell, or worse and very likely, they’ll spit in your food. Never, ever piss off the kitchen. But most places these days will be happy to cater to a special diet (the plethora of allergies has made that a necessity), providing you’re reasonable about it (i.e. nice) and that they actually have the ingredients they need for your meal.
- If you’re on a business dinner, and don’t want to make all kinds of special requests in front of clients or the boss, etc., excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and go speak to the waitress or cook in private.
- Make a list of restaurants that you’ve had good experiences with and offer them as alternatives when others suggest places you don’t want to visit.
- If you’re forced to go to a restaurant where they have only chemically laden foods, have a salad. It’s generally the least evil thing on the menu. Ask for no dressing (which will certainly be full of artificial ingredients) and use olive oil, lemon juice (ask for lemon and squeeze it on your salad) and salt and pepper instead. Pretty much any restaurant will be able to accommodate that.
- Drink water. Have them put a slice of lemon in it. If everyone else is drinking wine and you don’t want to (ask your body, you don’t HAVE to drink alcohol to be social), have them serve you the water in a wine glass. It makes a huge difference.
- Remember that this is a process. Shit happens. If you have one chemical meal, you’re not going to die. Your body can handle it, and much more so, if your diet is generally all natural.
Take it slow stress freak. For once…
See what I did there? If you’re a stressed out overachiever, you’re not going to be calm enough at first to even hear your intuition. As long as your relationship with food boils down to you grabbing whatever is even remotely edible, just as long as it’s quick, asking you to listen to your inner voice is totally useless. But if you can change how you view food just a little, to something that you can feel a bit better about, something you’re a bit more selective about, then you’ll be able to make the jump to detecting how you feel about each particular food. I can’t stress this enough (pun fully intended): You cannot do this all at once. Even if you’re not a stress freak, this is a gradual transition. Move to more natural foods and then start to use your intuition. And yes, there are faster ways to do this (I can literally feel your bloodshot eyes light up here), and I will write about that in the future, but you, my dear little freak, will be better off making changes a bit more slowly, for once. Be nice to yourself. Don’t turn this into another stressful thing in your life. Commit to the long haul, to permanent change, to truly changing how you feel about food and your body.
So with that in mind, I recommend the following steps:
- Switch to natural foods first. Don’t worry about quantity or perfection. Go with what you know and start making better choices. Before you do this, you can’t trust your cravings anyway. And until you get your cravings under control, your intuition has no chance of being heard.
- Once you have a routine you’re comfortable with, gradually expose yourself to new foods. Your body won’t know to crave spinach if you need iron, for example, if you’ve never eaten spinach.
- As you start making better choices, start to notice how you feel about the food you’re eating. Does it look good to you? How do you feel after eating it? You’ll definitely notice some differences. You don’t have to do this right from the start, particularly if you’re switching from a predominantly “bad” diet. In fact, your busy work schedule will do you a favor here – it’ll distract you from any withdrawal symptoms you may experience in the beginning. The idea is to make a switch to healthier food, let your body get used to it and only then make the change to feeling your way through food.
- Once your cravings begin asking for foods that you actually need, you can eat more and more off plan – meaning true intuitive eating. The best thing to do is to develop a core diet over time that basically covers your needs, by incorporating more and more natural foods that your body is asking for and which make you feel good. Then pay attention to whatever random cravings hit you from time to time and satisfy them by eating a bit of that food every day until the craving stops.
- Once you begin to energetically connect to your food (you can “see” or sense a difference between different foods depending on whether or not they resonate with you), or whenever you feel comfortable doing so, you can further enhance that connection by sending some gratitude to your food before and while you eat it. You may notice that you’ll begin to eat more consciously and more slowly. You’ll begin to enjoy your food more, not only because your taste buds will recover from the chemical onslaught (which takes about 10 days) allowing you to finally be able to actually taste your food, but also because you’ll take the time to pay attention to what you’re eating. Again, don’t try to be all Zen about your meals from day one. Let it happen naturally. If you find yourself getting all annoyed at the crap you have to do before you eat, you’re doing it wrong. Back off and got back a step.
Intuitive eating is a vast subject, which combines nutrition, diet tips AND much more importantly, energy. I believe it’s all connected, so the higher your vibration, the more intuitive your diet will become. But you can also support your rising energy by eating more intuitively. The biggest diet blunders and failures come from trying to isolate one variable (one kind of food, one kind of action, a pill), often completely forgetting the energy part (which is what we’re all made of) and then trying to use that to achieve results. You may have some temporary success, but the costs can be astronomical (failing health, empty pocketbook), and you will experience the rebound effect (pounds come back, willpower fails, you feel worse than ever).
I do plan on doing more posts on Intuitive eating (I will NOT save it all for my book, I promise). If there are any specific questions you’d like me to answer, just let me know in the comments. Otherwise, did you find this post helpful? I know the stress freaks among you have no time to comment, but maybe you could do it this once anyway… You know, to help me help you. J
And don’t forget to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! It will help me out and make me think you’re awesome.
I saw you mention “intuitive eating for gamers” in the last post. I’ll have you know there we’re very aware of what to eat to produce optimal n00b-pwning.
I went to a LAN party a couple weeks ago and started out doing mediocre. As with every LAN party, there was about 50 cans of Mountain Dew in the fridge, a few boxes of pizza, and about 10 burritos from Taco Bell (I brought those).
By the end of the night, I was so wired that I was scoring way better than everyone else. I had a mountain of Mountain (ha ha, get it?) Dew next to me . My twitch skills were like none other, even though I think my actual body was starting to twitch a little.
But that’s just the price of success. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
(I felt so horrible that next day but I haven’t done it again, so maybe there is something to intuitive eating after all.) 🙂
Hahahaha! Yeah, gamers are masters of nutrition. Everyone knows that…
Um, Fred? I hate to break this to you, but downing a mountain of Mountain and fast food Tacos isn’t exactly intuitive eating. It’s opportunistic eating – eating whatever happens to be in front of you. LOL. But yeah, the fact that you paid attention to how you felt and made the connection to the chemical warfare attack you subjected your body to the day before, that’s your intuition helping you. It’s saying “See that? see how you feel now? You did that to yourself, dude.” I imagine your intuition calls you dude. And bitchslaps you to get your attention. That makes it more fun. For me. ;P
Right on all accounts, especially the dude part. 🙂
This was just on time for me as I have been trying to eat better. I have been trying for at least 3 years now. 🙂 This is good stuff as it provided humor and a great amount of depth on how to tackle a challenging issue. Thanks for this entertaining read.
If you’ve been trying for 3 years, you’re probably trying to use the willpower method. That’s too hard, dude! 😛 Just let those nasty foods gradually gravitate out of your reality. Although, as driven as you are, I can’t imagine that your diet is all that bad… You may just be way too hard on yourself….
This is great stuff. Thank you so much for these ideas! And for encouraging people to take it slow. I dove right into the idea of Intuitive Eating with no real connection to my intuition! Your tips will set me on a better trajectory this time.
I realize now that I use food to “ground” myself. I started seeing stress as a vibration and becoming heavier was a way of making it harder for that vibration to “get me.” I am working on better ways to hold my own vibration against all that stresses me out.
I would love to know more about your experiences with resonating with the right foods. What does it feel like? I’m still learning. Thanks for helping me with this!
You’re so welcome! Food and weight can be a powerful protective mechanism. I used it myself that way for years. The underlying fear kept me from successfully losing weight so many times. I would lose a bit of weight and then I’d get anxiety attacks, or I’d get ill, or something else would happen. I had to get rid of the underlying belief and then things really started to flow. Ok, it was more than one belief, but it made all the difference.
You kind of have to experience the feeling. It’s subtle at first. It just feels right. It feels good. You’ll know it when you figure it out. It’s best to switch over to natural foods first, otherwise you won’t be able to really hear the intuition. The natural foods really support us in this. 🙂 Much more info to come. Strangely there have not been a lot of comments on these posts, but there are a lot of readers. So there are many people out there that want this info… 🙂
Excellent tips you have. I love your writing style – it leaves me laughing out loud at times. I like your example of your body not being able to crave spinach for the iron if it’s never had spinach. It’s common sense but enlightening at the same time. And I agree with you, it is damn hard to eat intuitively in restaurants. How wonderful it would be to have a Jamie Oliver in every little town. Thanks for the excellent and at times funny post!
Thanks so much for this awesome feedback Anne! I’m so glad you liked it. I do think we will see a change in the types of foods that restaurants offer. There will be tons of Jamie Olivers. Although, I prefer my cooks to keep their clothes on… It’s just more sanitary… LOL.