Intuitive eating. You may have heard the term thrown around in today’s health conscious society… but what exactly is it? Another diet? A fad? And what does it actually mean?
Intuitive eating is all about leaning in, trusting our bodies, and listening very, very closely. In our fast-paced culture we tend to obsess and over-think about what and how much we should be consuming. Intuitive eating offers us an opportunity to remove these barriers. If this is a new idea to you, here is my field guide to leaning into intuitive eating:
1 | Go 80/20 with Hara Hachi Bu —
For 21 days, commit to the Japanese ‘less is more’ approach called Hara Hachi Bu. By embracing this system you’ll learn to stop eating when you feel 80 percent full.
This pro-epigenetic intuitive eating practice is what Okinawans attribute their longevity to. While practicing you may find it helpful to keep notes on how you’re feeling.
- Am I full, or am I still hungry after 21 days?
- Has my digestion improved?
- What foods make me feel more satisfied?
- Do certain foods or meal choices leave me feeling hungry?
- Do I have more energy and am I sleeping better?
- Am I happier, less anxious, and feeling balanced and restored?
Once you’ve reviewed your answers for 21 days, notice what nutrients are present in the foods you’ve gravitated toward. Are they mineral-rich? Do they tend to be packed with essential fats? (Mineral-rich foods high in essential fats tend to help us more easily tune into intuitive eating.)
2 | Find out if you or your ancestors originate from a Blue Zone —
Blue Zones, created by National Geographic fellow and journalist, Dan Buettner are the five places on earth where people live the longest, healthiest, and happiest lives. In these locations, heritage and traditional diets are credited as keeping people healthy and alive longer. Check out Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones Solutions: Eating and Living Like the Happiest People on Earth to learn how intuitive eating is so essential to longevity in these regions of the world.
3 | Gather key clinical data to reel in your self-confidence and trust —
Did you know the body creates certain hormones that help us feel full, and that the state of the gut microbiome is the crux of intuitive eating? When hormone levels are off and we flip flop between fad diets our metabolisms are thrown into a tizzy. If our beneficial flora is out of balance it can weaken digestion causing fatigue, lack of focus, and emotional fluctuations.
Determining if we’re experiencing leaky gut by exploring the gut microbiome and evaluating hormones such as ghrelin and leptin are great places to start your testing. Ghrelin tells us if we’re hungry, while leptin signals satiation. If you struggle with weight gain or have experienced an eating disorder, it could be due to these levels being off.
Once you’ve explored these intuitive eating stepping stones, you’ll have a better grasp on what the food you put into your body is doing to it and how it’s making you feel.
Please share your experience with us in the comments below!
Christine Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID is an integrative, epigenetic health and food therapy specialist, as well as a wellness, lifestyle, and food journalist. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. Christine lives, works, and plays with her family in Southern California.