“What Is Intuitive Eating?”

by Cindy Figueroa

A few years back, while earning my Lactation Educator certificate, I got a very important “aha!” moment that I want to share with all of you. Our professor explained that colic in babies was actually derived from digestive issues and not from all the widely-known wife-tales that even I grew up believing. If breastfed, the mom most likely ate something that upset the baby’s stomach. If formula fed, the baby could be lactose intolerant or the milk gave him/her gas. So we suggested the breastfeeding moms make note of the foods they ate then watch their baby’s reaction. Learning this expanded my view on nutrition and embedded the seed of intuitive eating in me.

This is a concept each of us must pay close attention to. It informs us of two very important things. First, our bodies respond to the foods/drinks we feed it. We must listen to our bodies. If we react – get bloated, tired, headaches, etc. – it’s most likely toxic and we put our digestive system in overdrive. Second, it tells us that we are all biologically different therefore we will not digest foods in the same manner. We were not instructed to tell the mom to necessarily stop eating meats, spices, dairy, etc. There isn’t a standard of foods that could have caused it; it could be one food or a mixture of them. Thus the mom had to make note of what she ate that in turn upset her baby’s stomach. And this, my friends, is what intuitive eating is. Listen to your body, it is just that simple!

I’m sure we have all at one point tried following a diet ritual or eliminated foods. I’m not undermining any of these intentions, but one thing I will tell you is that one diet will work for all of us. There are a million different possibilities for this. Most notably is the number of conditions out there that guide what foods we should consume. For example, some of us may be diabetic, have cancer, be sensitive to gluten, have an autoimmune disorder, etc. The list goes on and on. For each one of these conditions, our body needs different type of foods to nourish and strengthen it. Someone with cancer should eliminate all sugars but increase fiber intake. A diabetic should follow a low carb regimen. People with autoimmune disorders need to eliminate or reduce foods that cause inflammation. Point is, your body will respond and you must react and feed it appropriately.

The purpose of this blog is to inform of the changes we can make in our eating habits that will prevent us from living “food-hostage” lives while at the same time having a healthy relationship with food. Let’s explore these options.

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