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The key to making rock-solid food choices

It was a gray and rainy weekend here in Michigan. Instead of meeting for our typical morning walk, my good friend Stacy and I met for breakfast at a local favorite, Cherie Inn. The menu was filled with decadent pancakes and French toast, hearty omelets, specialty coffees, and a nice a la carte menu to boot. But what to order? I trusted my gut and ordered the vegan hash (sweet potatoes, broccoli, red pepper, portabella mushroom,) an egg over-easy, a slice of gluten-free toast, and a mug of hot peppermint tea. What a treat. I remember the days where I would get so caught in my head, trying to figure out what to order, avoiding eggs because they weren’t vegan, or refraining from sweet potatoes AND toast because they were too rich in carbohydrates. Decisions were based on an internal set of rules that I happened to be following at the given time. That’s an easy way to zap the fun and satisfaction out of eating. So to turn the tables and focus on you, sweet one, how do you determine what you eat nowadays? Why do you eat some foods and avoid others? What place within you runs the show? If it’s that lovely brain of yours, that not a bad place to start. Our brains allow us to gather information. Reading books is great. But go a step further – use discernment. When we rely solely on intellect or the mind, you may find yourself responding to the question, “Why are you eating that”: 1. With defensiveness or facts This typically looks like justifying choices by the latest nutritional research, food politics, or judgment of another person’s dietary preferences. 2. With timidness and resignation This typically looks like feeling confused, not trusting one’s own opinion, or following everyone else’s lead. One of the foundations of the work I do with clients is helping them get out of their head and back into their bodies, where appetite, hunger, and intuition reside. Without ever exploring how the body actually FEELS, food decisions are bound either to logic and rules or emotions and impulses. But when you dive into the unknown and explore what foods in what amounts support or imbalance for your body (with an openness that this, too, will eventually change,) the eating thing is way easier. We soften into eating, relax about food a little more, and feel an increase in self-confidence. Answering the question, “Why are you eating that?” can be confidently based on your own personal experience. Self-assured answers may look like this:

  • “Because it makes me feel like a million bucks.”

  • I’ve noticed an overall shift in my food since adding this into my diet.

  • Right now, it feels like this way of eating is supportive for me.

  • I never thought I’d be able to eat like this, but I was tired of waking up with gut rot every morning.

  • I finally found support determining what foods work for my body. X makes the cut.

  • It just sounds good to me.

  • It’s one of my favorites!

  • It feels really good to take care of myself. As well as answering, “Why aren’t you eating that?”

Self-assured answers may look like this:

  • I will feel like a space cadet for the next few hours if I have any more.

  • I don’t really feel like it.

  • I don’t enjoy eating meat.

  • I usually get an upset tummy when I eat X.

The best part of knowing if a food makes you feel well or unwell, is no one can argue with you – not even yourself. Only you know what it feels like to live in your body. So I challenge you to do the work. Show up in your body, challenge your food paradigms, and find support deconstructing food beliefs that are no longer serving you. Feel what it’s like to live in your body. To the wise, embodied eater in you, have a beautiful week. Love, Laura

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