Every year, about 45 percent of Americans make a New Year’s resolution. It’s safe to assume that of that number, many people make resolutions concerning dieting and eating healthy. However, there’s a more holistic, intuitive method for maintaining weight and eating healthy.
This year we invite you to reach your nutrition, food, and even weight loss goals by eating and cooking intuitively. Make 2015 the year to get away from dieting and discover intuitive eating!
To begin, let’s examine a few definitions related to intuitive eating:
- Intuitive: Using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.
- Conscious: Aware of and responding to one's surroundings; awake.
- Mindful: Conscious or aware of something.
- Cooking: The practice or skill of preparing food by combining, mixing, and heating ingredients.
- Intuitive Cooking: With these definitions, we define Intuitive Cooking as: Being aware and conscious in the practice of preparing food by combining, mixing or heating ingredients.
“Intuitive eating and cooking go hand-in-hand, beginning with shopping for our food, to listening to our body, to intuitively enjoying the cooking process, and enjoying our meal with mindfully eating.”Melanie Albert
Many of us have heard about intuitive, conscious or mindful eating. As a foundation for intuitive cooking, let’s explore these perspectives from a few of the leading experts…
According to the book Intuitive Eating, authors Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch state that intuitive eating focuses on nurturing the body rather than starving it, encourages a reconnection with the body’s innate signals of hunger, fullness, food preference, and helps us find the weight (“right weight”) we are meant to be. An “intuitive eater” makes food choices based on biological hunger (body feelings and sensations) without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma. The intuitive eater honors hunger, respects fullness, and enjoys the pleasures of eating.
Susan Albers, author of the book Eating Mindfully, notes that with mindful eating “you can eat everything and anything. Nothing is off limits.” With this definition, we open ourselves to eating food that we enjoy.
Intuitive Cooking & Eating Steps
Let’s take a look at the four steps of Intuitive Eating & Cooking.
1. Intuitive Shopping. Intuitive Cooking begins with listening to our body, mind and spirit, even at the pre-stages of cooking. First, we mindfully shop for our food with intuition, paying attention to the colors, textures and beauty of food. While we’re shopping at a farmers market or local grocery store, we let our intuition guide us on our food choices. We purchase in season and local food. When the weather is cool, we may intuitively choose dense, heavier foods like roots. On the other hand, when the weather is warm, we may intuitively choose lighter foods like greens, cucumbers and fruit. Think about the food that grows during the different seasons each year. Generally, foods that naturally grow during a specific time of the year are those that will naturally benefit our bodies at that particular time. For instance, in the hot summer time across the US water-rich melon, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes typically grow.
2. Listen to Cravings & Desires. After we have intuitively shopped for our food, with intuitive cooking we also pay attention to our body’s cravings, along with the food (including colors and textures) we are attracted to when we cook. As with shopping, we may intuitively choose to prepare food that is in season and local. For instance, in the cooler autumn time of year, we may cook a stir-fry with roots such as sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips. Notice these roots are warming and are even golden fall colors. In the spring season our stir-fry may be lighter with produce such as broccoli, cauliflower and greens.
3. Intuitive Cooking.During the cooking phase of intuitive cooking, it’s important to mindfully have fun and enjoy the cooking process. Intuitively choose the ingredients to be prepared and cooked, mindfully chop vegetables and take time to cook meals with pleasure and joy.
4. Mindful Eating. At this point, our goal is to really enjoy eating and our meals. We enjoy the colors, textures and tastes of our food. We slow down. We chew mindfully. We pause. We put our fork down between bites. We enjoy food when we are eating by ourselves, and we also enjoy dining with our family and friends.
A quote by American chef, restaurateur, activist, and author Alice Waters inspires us to have fun cooking intuitively with whole foods. “When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.”
Whole Food S.O.U.L. Food Wednesday Action: Cook & Eat Intuitively
With our Whole Food S.O.U.L. blog we invite you to take action with your whole foods eating habits. The goal is to incorporate new whole foods eating into your way of eating step-by-step.
Our Challenge for you this week is to experiment with intuitive eating and cooking as we begin the New Year.
- Shop for a few roots, greens and other veggies at your local farmers’ market and buy the food you are attracted to.
- When you are ready to cook at home, pause and listen to your body and cravings to help you choose a few foods to prepare.
- Cook intuitively by stir-frying, baking or steaming, or eating your veggies raw.
- Take the time to enjoy your meal with intention and mindfulness with your family or friends.
Share your Intuitive Eating & Cooking Experiences with us on Facebook:
Interested in learning more about whole food cooking and intuitive eating? Melanie will be offering a three hour class on Sunday, January 11th at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) from 1 to 4 pm. This $60 class will show simple ways to create dishes with whole foods, teach easy cooking techniques, provide hands-on cooking opportunities, and offer intuitive cooking and eating tips. Register Here: EV 130 – New Year Whole Food S.O.U.L. Food Cooking Class
Want to delve deeper into Whole Food cooking? Try SWIHA’s five week Whole Food, S.O.U.L. Food cooking course! The next course begins Saturday, February 14th from 9 am to 1 pm.
And, to get a taste of what our online Whole Food/S.O.U.L. Food cooking classes are like, take a peek at the below video!