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
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