Updated: Aug 30, 2021
"Intuitive eating" - this is how we can call our way of eating. What is intuitive eating anyway? The answer is, in fact, very simple: I eat what my body wants, in the amount it wants, and only when it feels the need (hunger).
Does this mean that if I want a coffee, a cake for breakfast and a bread with a greasy vegan fried omelette, I eat it without thinking and looking at the consequences, because that's what my body is calling for? He, he… no, no, it doesn't quite look like this.
Well, my dear, intuitive food, in line with our species, in my understanding, consists in choosing food from a wide range of fruits and vegetables (plus seeds, nuts and herbs), i.e. natural, unprocessed plant products that we find in nature, which are intended for consumption by humans and which are filled with life energy and nutritional values. Translating it into another language: I listen to what my body asks (and our body by nature knows what is best for it), not my mind. The body will always crave healthy, fresh and unprocessed plant foods. However, the needs of the body sometimes have to break through many layers of programs and addictions that have formed in our mind over the years (which is why for children it is easier). Until we realize it, we will not be able to move on. All other "needs" are the work of our mind.
Sometimes we can get addicted in a way, that we do feel body sympthoms. Cheese is a good example. For me it took a very long time to get over it. Cheese is a condensed form of milk. Milk is produced by cows, goats and other animals to feed its babies. Because by nature a cow wants its calw to stay close to her, she produces large amount of enzymes that addict the calw and make it stay close to the mother. And what happens when we drink this cows milk? And what happens when we eat the cheese or yoghurt, which as I wrote is a condensed form of milk? We become addicted to it and we are craaaaaaving for it.
Ok, too much so far? Where should we start in order to free ourselves?
Let's start with the fact that we have to swicht to fruits and vegetables. There is no other diet, which is more suitable for human beings. So, we look at what fruits and vegetables we have at home. We approach them, smell them… if nothing appeals to us, or if we just don't have anything like fruits or vegetables at home, we go to the store. We walk around the fruit and vegetable department, being alert to the signals our body sends us. Personally, I always try to have a choice of fruit at home, because I never know what I would like to eat on a given day (and the rest of my family members). However, if I go to the store and see a great sale, e.g. for an orange, I just buy them and eat them, or squeeze the juice (unless I obviously don't want to).
As a rule, when I start the day, it takes some time before I receive information from my body about the desire for a specific fruit, but sometimes I get these signals right away and already know what my first meal will be. But I always wait for the right moment when my body lets me know it's ready to eat. I usually start around 12, sometimes 13 or 14. I stay flexible, adapting to the needs of my body and my daily schedule. Sometimes I will serve myself a fruit, sometimes a juice. Sometimes both - then always in order: juice first, then fruit. I try to eat mono meals- one type of e.g. fruit at a time. I noticed that my body then functions better and learns more about the taste and defining its needs. But it's not a hard rule - if I want to mix a few fruits, I just do it. You cannot be locked up in a rigid framework of your rules.
When it comes to children, I always try to give them freedom to choose certain meals. They always decide for themselves what fruit they will have for the first meal and when they will eat it. In addition, I would like to emphasize here that in our home there are neither fixed meal times nor division into categories: breakfast, lunch or dinner. I want my children to learn how to interpret and understand the needs of their body. Sometimes they are hungry immediately after waking up, and sometimes after a few hours.
However, because they also know the flavors of processed products, we always speak together about such a meal (what how and others) and then I have to admit that I take some control over it. For example, sourdough home-made bread from buckwheat. Children love it and could eat it every day. However, I know that would not be a healthy solution. Sooner or later they would have "glue", that would cause stagnation inside. When baking bread, we eat it for 2-3 days in different ways, and then we give ourselves a break for a while.
It is worth emphasizing here that we try to eat only when we actually feel hungry. With intuitive eating, we do not eat stress or emotions and we do not eat more then enough. It is important to discover your boundries, so that you will not miss the moment when your hunger is satisfied. This is not easy. I'm still working on it. The most important thing, however, is to jump on this path and want to stay on it. No diets or strict rules are needed here. The only need is recognition and trusting yourself.
In conclusion, intuitive eating is inherently very simple. What is most difficult is seeing the line/ boarder between the real needs of the body and what our mind is calling for.