What is Intuitive Eating?

Have you ever struggled with food freedom? Felt guilty at just the thought of eating a certain food or food group? Been on every diet in the book?

I sure have. I have shared my obsessions with food and over-exercising several times before…and today, I want to share with you the freedom I have found with intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating is such a big topic that I am going cover a few blog posts on. Today, I am going to break down what intuitive eating is and what it is not. It is my hope that if you struggle with food rules, deprivation, restriction, purging, or maintaining a healthy relationship with food that this may become one of your wellness goals: to become an intuitive eater.

Green Field Girl Spring Pinterest Graphic

What is Intuitive Eating?
When you think “intuitive” think “instinctive”. What are our actual physical instincts when it comes to hunger? Logically, when we are hungry, we *should* eat. Many restrictive diets cause us to completely neglect our true hunger cues and just eat a portioned amount of food based on society’s limitations.

Intuitive eating is also based on these 10 principles:
1. Rejecting the diet mentality
2. Honoring your hunger
3. Making peace with food
4. Challenging the food police
5. Discovering the satisfaction factor
6. Feel your fullness
7. Cope with your body’s emotions with kindness
8. Respecting your body
9. Exercising to feel a difference
10. Honoring your health

The Break-Down of The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:

  1. Rejecting the diet mentality:
    Transitioning the common societal view eating “healthy”. Especially this time of the year, many people go around saying “I am going to get back on track” or “my diet starts tomorrow”. When you become and intuitive eater, you honor your hunger and body by fueling it properly using gentle nutrition, but also know there is a time and a place for cookies…because let’s be real, a life without FUN foods is not as enjoyable.
  2. Honoring your hunger:
    Have you ever been on a “diet” that gave specific times to eat food? Certain portion sizes? Only allowed you to eat certain foods? That’s a major problem with diet culture–not teaching you to really listen, know or honor your hunger cues. With intuitive eating, you base eating needs on your physiological hunger.What are the physiological signs of hunger??
    Physiological hunger is your body’s way of saying “hey, feed me!”

    Signs of hunger:
    *empty stomach
    *stomach growling
    *dizzy/light-headedness
    *headache
    *irritability (HELLO hangry monster!)
    *difficulty concentrating
  3. Making peace with food:
    Any of you ever experienced fear foods? Foods you fear are going to make you gain weight? Foods that society has deemed “bad”?I used to have a huge fear of peanut butter and would only eat the powedered peanut butter because it was low in fat and calories. However, when I started studying nutrition in college, I learned that while peanut butter may be higher in fat and calories, it is also a great plant based protein source. The fat in peanut butter is actually beneficial for your hormone production and heart health. There is much nutrition in peanut butter, and I am happy to say now I am at peace with it and probably eat it daily.You can make peace with any food. When you can break it down and realize your body needs fuel for survival. Truly think of food as fuel. Know that your body can handle eating a cookie on Christmas…a slice of cake on your birthday…a piece of chocolate on Valentine’s day. The bottom line is: with intuitive eating, you never feel deprived or restricted of any food…so when you allow yourself to have more indulgent foods, you don’t feel the need to eat as much as your body can hold.
  4. Challenging the food police:
    Do you know how many times people have analyzed what I eat? Especially now that I am a registered dietitian. I remember my grandpa telling me I shouldn’t eat macaroni and cheese because it would “make me fat”. Or having family members say “Oh, you’re eating cake??” at Thanksgiving dinner. Those comments are annoying, and very difficult for those transiting into the food freedom lifestyle. As hard as it may be, my biggest advice is taking those comments with a grain of salt, and always think about what you’re gonna say next. You can always say “I’m at peace with  food, and very thankful that I can enjoy this pumpkin cheesecake today”. 🙂
  5. Discovering the satisfaction factor:
    Lots of times when we “diet”, we may not be satisfied with what we are being “forced” to eat. “Oh, I’m trying to eat healthy…guess that means I have to eat salad every day.”

    When we are in that mindset of “I have to eat this because it is healthy”, then our bodies aren’t satisfied. We aren’t eating foods we actually enjoy…meaning we aren’t satisfied after a meal. With intuitive eating, you choose foods based on your preference and what you want to eat. You may choose a big mixed greens salad for lunch with some lean protein, avocado, and vinegar based dressing. Other times, you may choose to have a burger with roasted vegetables. Regardless, you learn how to be satisfied after a meal so in turn, you won’t binge and mindlessly eat later on.
  6. Feel your fullness:
    Just as we should honor our hunger cues, we also need to honor our fullness cues, or our satiety level. As an intuitive eater, you learn how to stop eating when you are  full. No one is perfect! Overeating happens to all of us, but intuitive eating can help us learn when to stop at our fullness level, which helps us not overindulge.
  7. Cope with your emotions with kindness:
    This essentially means not to “fix” your emotions with food. Find other kind ways to handle your emotions. Find something that destresses you…that brings you comfort. It could be painting a mural, talking to a friend, journaling…whatever it may be, focus on that instead of food.
  8. Respecting your body:
    This can be easier said than done. From a spiritual aspect, God created you the way He wanted you to be. He wants you to be healthy and develop healthy relationships with people and health. Your body is a celebration of His creation, and wasting time worrying about your size does not enhance your life. Respect your body and what it can do. You are more than the number on the scale or the size in your pants. Focus on your strength. Your talents. Your growth. Your relationships. Your happiness. Respect yourself.
  9. Movement-feel the difference:
    This is all about shifting the mindset of “how many calories can I burn during this session” to “what movement brings me joy?” Don’t run if you hate running. Don’t spin if you hate biking. Find what exercise brings you joy and you’ll never feel “forced” to workout ever again…you’ll even look forward to your workout sessions!
  10. Honor your health using gentle nutrition:
    This is my favorite one! There are so many misconceptions with intuitive eating, but intuitive eaters know how to eat well by using gentle nutrition. With gentle nutrition, you honor your food choices and taste buds with foods you enjoy. Bye, bye kale salads, hello burrito bowls! You don’t instantly become “unhealthy” from one snack, meal, or one day of eating. Intuitive eaters focus on eating well consistently over time versus eating perfectly 24/7. It’s all about progress over perfection with gentle nutrition.

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What Intuitive Eating Isn’t:
Intuitive eating isn’t anti-health. It isn’t eating cookies all day long. It isn’t failing to eat nourishing foods. It isn’t mindlessly eating. It isn’t neglecting physical activity. It isn’t eating highly processed foods “just ‘cuz.”

Intuitive Eating is used to help people truly learn to fuel their bodies without a fear of food, without restricting, without guilt, without over-exercising. Intuitive Eating helps us learn to be comfortable choosing a big salad for lunch, but also realizing if you eat a cookie for dessert that you aren’t “unhealthy”. 

Intuitive Eating
What intuitive eating is and what it isn’t

I hope you now have a better idea of what this intuitive eating movement is all about, and it is my hope that we all can make peace with food. Life is too short to be a chronic dieter.

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Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
IG: @mindful.eating.dietitian
Facebook: Live Better with Kat Detter

 

 

References:
https://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating/

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Granola (Refined Sugar Free + Gluten Free +Vegan)

Do you love granola?? I do! It’s one of my favorite foods to have at breakfast in a smoothie or yogurt parfait. And what’s better?? It’s so easy and affordable to make.

If one of your goals is to make more foods from scratch, meal prep/plan, or just cook more at home, this peanut butter granola recipe NEEDS to be on your list. I know I have shared lots of granola recipes on here, but trust me. This one is the best yet!

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Lots of store bought granola’s can be high in fat and sugar. This recipe uses 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to help bind the ingredients to make a good, chunky granola (they’re my fave!). Other fat sources are found in natural peanut butter–a heart healthy fat to keep your hormones happy and your body fueled for the day. Instead of traditional granulated sugar, I use maple syrup and monk fruit sweetener. The maple syrup also adds a binding agent to the granola ensuring we get those chunks we want!

Why Monk Fruit Sweetener?
Have you ever heard of monk fruit? Since the Keto Diet emerged, monk fruit sweetener has been “on trend” because research shows it does not spike blood sugar like table sugar, making it a good alternative sweetener for those with diabetes, PCOS, or other chronic diseases. According to Michigan State University, monk fruit sweetener is derived from a southeast Asian fruit called “luo han gu” and is chemically processed (usually combined with eryitritol) to form a calorie free sugar alternative. Like stevia, monk fruit sweetener is a lot sweeter than regular cane sugar, so you can use less in a recipe (although most packaging companies state monk fruit has a 1:1 ratio with table sugar).

**Disclaimer: While I do like using naturally derived sweeteners (like maple syrup, honey, stevia, sugar alcohols, monk fruit, etc) because I can use less in a recipe compared to table sugar, I also believe that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle when not used in excess. I would not recommend someone use any of these alternatives in excess but to focus more on whole, natural, plant based foods.

Now onto the recipe! 
This peanut butter granola recipe is comparable to my favorite store bought brand, but I like making granola from scratch because it’s economical, easy, and minimal ingredients.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you do not have monk fruit sweetener, no fear! Use 1/3-1/2 cup of maple syrup (instead of 1/4 cup) to give the granola the sweetness + binding factor for the chunky granola
  • Feel free to use any oil you have on hand–I like using coconut or avocado oil (high smoke point to decrease production of free radicals).
  • To make granola chunky: Pack the granola into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick on parchment paper lined sheet pan. If the granola is not packing well, you may need to add more maple syrup or coconut oil. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes, take out of oven and allow to cool completely. This is a crucial step to make the granola chunks.
  • Additional add ins: Once granola is cooled, you may add any toppings you like! Some ideas:
    • dark chocolate chips
    • raisins (or any dried fruit)
    • chia seeds
    • nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds, etc)
    •  freeze dried fruit (like strawberries or apples)
  • To make a complete & balanced meal, add granola to protein smoothie bowls, Greek yogurt parfaits, or protein oats.

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Peanut Butter Granola

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener
1/4 cup Maple Syrup (or 1/3-1/2 cup of not using monk  fruit)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add oats. Set aside.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, add cinnamon, vanilla extract, coconut oil, peanut butter, monk fruit, and maple syrup. Microwave for 30-45 seconds until smooth–OR heat over stove top.
4. Pour peanut butter mixture over oats and coat well.
5. Pour granola mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. For chunks, press granola into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.
6. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Allow granola to cool completely (1 hour).
8. Break granola into chunks and store in air tight container.
9. Enjoy!

 

What is your favorite flavor of granola? Let me know in the comments section! As always, tag me on IG @balanced.nutrition.dietitian if you try!

Remember! If you’d like to receive my email newsletters for more easy + balanced eating ideas & food freedom tips, subscribe here! Tell your friends 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
IG: @balanced.nutrition.dietitian
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
Twitter: @katrinadetterRD

 

Sources:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/sweetener-stevia-monk-fruit-sweeteners

Apple Nachos

One of my favorite ways to eat apples, these nachos do not disappoint! 

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These apple nachos will fill you up and provide fiber, protein, complex carbs and healthy fat so you have a completely balanced sweet treat, dessert, or midday snack.

Did I mention how simple it is? Takes less than 5 minutes to have a nice treat for you and your family. Best part? These are items you probably already have in stock!

 

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Apple Nachos

  • Servings: 1 serving
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh apple, washed (I usually use Pink Lady, Fuji, or Gala)
  • 1-2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, unsweetened
  • 3 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips (I like Lily’s chocolate if I have it in stock)

Directions:

  1. Wash and slice apple into strips.
  2. Place apples on a plate. Drizzle natural peanut butter on top. (Tip: If peanut butter is thick or too stiff, microwave for ~10-15 seconds)
  3. Top with chocolate chips and serve!
  4. Enjoy!

**Keep it simple or add more toppings such as coconut flakes, chopped nuts, or granola.

 

Treat yourself and your family to this fun sweet treat! If you have kids, this is a fun little recipe to get them involved in the kitchen.

 

What is your favorite way to eat apples?

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on social media!

Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @livebetterwithkatdetter

Maple-Almond Granola

Ah, granola. Such an easy thing to make and yet many people buy it in the store out of convenience.  However, typical store bought granola is high in fat, sugar, and overall calories for a very little serving.

I am SO excited to share my granola recipe with you all. It’s sweet, crunchy, and contains heart healthy fats. The best part? All of these items are probably in your pantry! Oats, almonds, ground flax seed, salt, cinnamon, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla! You can make it in no time.

*Nutrition fact: flax seed is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which is a heart healthy fat. To get nutrient benefits from flax seed, you must pulse seeds in a blender for your body to digest properly. When the flax seed is whole, it passes through and is not properly digested, so make sure you grind it up!

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Maple-Almond Granola

  • Servings: 8-10 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped Almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ground Flax Seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup of Maple Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of Vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons Coconut Flakes, unsweetened

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix oats, almonds, ground flax seed, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. In a separate, microwave safe bowl, melt coconut oil. Add maple syrup and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Add maple syrup mixture to oat mixture and mix well until fully incorporated.
  5. Spread over parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes (flipping halfway through).
  6. After 30 minutes, add coconut flakes if desired. Bake additional 5 minutes
  7. Allow to cool for 30 minutes-1 hour before storing in air tight container.
  8. Serve over Greek yogurt parfait, on top smoothie bowls, or enjoy dry for a quick snack!

 

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My favorite way to enjoy this granola is in a Greek yogurt parfait. Mix 2/3 cup Greek yogurt with a dash of vanilla. Add in your favorite berries and sprinkle some granola on top! Perfect for breakfast or a pre-workout snack.

 

What is your favorite way to eat granola?

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing,

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on social media!

Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube: Live Better with Kat Detter
Instagram: @betterwithkatdetter_rd