The overwhelm of nutritional information can really take its toll on you. We are all subconsciously programmed to label foods as good and bad, high fat and low fat, sugary and sugar-free. Trends within the nutrition space are a constant topic in popular culture and can often be taken to extremes.
We are here to simplify nutrition. At AIYANA, we incorporate all kinds of ingredients and sprinkle in particularly nutrient-dense ones when we can. We don’t necessarily follow any labels or diets which is why you will find a rainbow of ingredients in our meals and snacks. We intended it this way because the healthiest approach to food is focusing on how it makes your body and mind feel. Our recipes are filled with nutrients that help fuel you through whatever is being thrown at you through the week.
This brings us to today’s topic: intuitive eating (IE). You may have seen this term floating around over the last couple of years, but with the slew of obnoxious diet culture marketing that comes with the face of a new year, we felt it was important to highlight this nutritional science and evidence-based approach that helps you tap into a way of eating that feels best for YOU. Pioneered by two female dieticians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, IE helps us silence the constant tirade of diet culture’s agenda that often leaves us feeling more disconnected than ever. IE is a way of life and completely opposite to the diet you may be subconsciously thinking about trying.
A traditional diet framework involves fixating on a list of specific “good” foods and a specific period of time that will allow you to lose weight. This flawed approach creates an unhealthy relationship with food, your body and often ends up in poor mental health outcomes because of its overly restrictive nature.
The framework surrounding IE is rooted in forming healthy habits while tuning into your body’s cues with all foods on the table. IE is a habit approach to healthy eating that leads to a domino effect of other beneficial habits in your life that compound into increased energy, mental clarity, stronger immunity, and so much more. The pillars of the IE framework are as follows.
Honour Your Hunger Cues
Your body will tell you when it's hungry and when it's full, so all you need to do is start eating (and stop eating) when it is right for you. Creating your own limits will take time, and can change from day to day, but when you really tune into your biological cues (fullness, salivation, stomach hunger cues) you will be able to navigate with ease.
All Foods Included
Every food is on the table. Sugar, bread, cheese–anything you have been told not to eat. Remove all kinds of overly negative or positive language about food. Words like bad, good, shouldn’t, cheat, reward, and can’t need to be removed from your vocabulary. It’s time to welcome all foods: carbs, proteins, fats, bread, rice, beef, dairy, bananas, carrots, you name it. Eating a variety of foods in as many different colours as possible is the goal.
Break-Up with Diet Culture
Okay, this one may be the most difficult because unfortunately, everyone has their own opinion on what you should and shouldn’t eat and they tend to make their opinions heard. Try as best as you can to tune out the noise, let your circle in on what you’re trying to do and unfollow any accounts that are trying to push their agendas.
Practice Body Positivity
Body positivity is key to mastering IE. Diet culture thrives on damaging marketing tools and messages to convince you to hate the way you look. Every time you find yourself picking yourself apart, replace your thoughts with three positive gifts you have to offer this world and thank your body for helping you get through.
We’re not talking about conventional exercise. Movement is everything–it's carrying laundry up the stairs, cleaning, cooking, getting off the subway one stop early, taking the stairs at work. Wherever you can, add it in! Dance with the family after dinner, go for a short walk. Daily movement will help clear your mind and boost your happy hormones.
We know five pillars might seem like a lot, but our helpful hint is to pick 1 or 2 of the pillars and incorporate them over the next few weeks. Once you feel more confident in your habits, stack another pillar on top. In no time you will be an IE master, ready to help mentor others into ditching diet culture for good. If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. If you are looking to start IE and don’t know where to start, check out our variety of menu options here, all made with love and designed to help fuel you and your family.