What is Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is a non-diet, evidence-based framework that teaches you to trust yourself around food again. How amazing does that seem?

what is intuitive eating

After years and years of chronic dieting, it’s likely that the concept of life without diets seems strange and a little scary. It’s also likely that thinking about eating without following a diet seems overwhelming and that you might be at a loss of where to even begin. This is where intuitive eating can really help.

With intuitive eating, we don’t focus on the scale. Instead we focus on behaviors that promote your health, that heal your relationship with food, and that help cultivate a better body image. To do this, intuitive eating integrates your instincts, emotions, and rational thoughts. It teaches you to how to eat based on your own wants and values while promoting a healthy attitude toward food and your body.

As a dietitian, I prefer the approach of intuitive eating because it allows me to work with people on nutrition interventions that are behavior focused instead of nutrition interventions that are restrictive in nature or rule focused.

Before we take a quick look at the intuitive eating principles, let’s take a moment to explore what intuitive is not. Intuitive eating is not a diet. It is not the “hunger-fullness diet.” It is not the “eat whatever you want” meal plan. Intuitive eating is not about following a meal plan (but intuitive eating and meal planning can coexist). Intuitive is not giving up on your health. In fact, there are numerous health benefits associated with intuitive eating such as lower HDL cholesterol (this is the “good” cholesterol), lower triglycerides, better body image, more life satisfaction, better self-esteem, lower rates of emotional eating, and more.
Intuitive eating is also not giving up on your health.

Now, for the 10 principles of intuitive eating…

Reject the diet mentality
This is the first principle and it’s first for a reason. To begin your intuitive eating journey, you have to acknowledge the harm that diets cause. You have to acknowledge that you did not fail. The diets failed you! You start here by reflecting on your own dieting history.

Honor your hunger
Your hunger is normal. Your hunger is a gift. You deserve to be fed but dieting has taught us to suppress or ignore our hunger. Learning what you hunger feels like is part of the intuitive eating process.

Make peace with food
Give yourself permission to eat. Give yourself permission to eat all foods! No more labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” Let yourself eat and enjoy all foods including those that have been on the forbidden list.

Challenge the food police
Those thoughts in your head that tell you what foods are “good” or “bad” or that tell you that you have been “good” for eating you veggies but were “bad” for eating a cupcake – those thoughts are the food police. It’s time to face them, acknowledge the, and flip the script on them.

Respect your fullness
Do you know what comfortable, satisfied fullness feels like? Like hunger, dieting has taught us to ignore what fullness feels like and to only eat a certain amount. Learning to recognize when you are full is an important part of honoring your health and becoming an intuitive eater.

Discover the satisfaction factor
Eating should be enjoyable. It should be satisfying. If you’re not satisfied, it’s likely that you’ll continue searching for the food or foods that will satisfy you. Knowing what textures, smells, and tastes lead to you being satisfied with a meal or snack will lead to being able to eat more mindfully and being able to stop eating when your body has had what it needs.

Cope with your emotions with kindness
It’s common to eat for emotional reasons and there are times when food really does help. But, we don’t want food to be the only coping mechanism so we’ve got to learn to recognize when we are eating for reasons other than biological hunger.

Respect your body
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. All bodies are good bodies. You don’t have to love your body to be an intuitive eater. You will need to work toward respecting your here-and-now body and showing it kindness as part of your intuitive eating journey.

Movement – feel the difference
Stop thinking about exercise as something that you should do. Instead, think about exercise from a perspective of something that you want to do because you respect your body and your health. This will take finding a type of movement that brings your joy and feels good.

Honor your health with gentle nutrition
Nutrition does have a place in intuitive eating. Nutrition is an important part of intuitive but to get here, we have to go through some diet reprogramming first so that we can focus on nutrition from a place of self-care and respect.


Air-Fried Pistachio Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Gravy

This recipe is adapted from Tupelo Honey Cafe: New Southern Flavors From The Blue Ridge Mountains. It was so much fun turning this recipe into an air-fryer recipe and the outcome was quite delicious.

Air-Fried Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Gravy (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

For the pork

  • 3/4 cup shelled, roasted, salted pistachios
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 center-cut pork chops

For the mushroom gravy

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

To Make It

In a food processor, combine the pistachios, bread crumbs, and pepper. Process until the pistachios are finely chopped (but not ground). Transfer to a large plate.

Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl.

Coat both sides of each pork chop in the egg mixture and then in the pistachio mixture.

Place the pork chops in the air-fryer. Spray generously with cooking spray. Air-fry at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the pork chops over. Spray generously with cooking spray and continue air-frying until the pork is cooked through.

While the pork is air-frying, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to crisp (about 4-5 minutes). Add the mushrooms and cook until tender (about 4-5 minutes), stirring frequently. Add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and cook, stirring frequently, until the gravy has thickened (about 4-5 minutes).

Serve pork chops topped with gravy.

Enjoy!


Air-Fried Chicken Schnitzel

My current obsession is turning recipes that requiring frying into an air-fryer recipe. This is one recipe that worked perfectly for the air-fryer. It’s become a weeknight night go-to dinner in my house because of how quick it is to throw together, the fact that I usually have all of the ingredients to make, that it’s essentially chicken nuggets for adults, and it’s quite tasty!

Air-Fried Chicken Schnitzel (makes 3-4 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, divided
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (preferably panko but any bread crumb will work)
  • olive oil cooking spray

To Make It

  • You’re going to prepare 3 bowls.
  • In one bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 tablespoon of paprika, the garlic salt, the kosher salt, and the black pepper.
  • In the second bowl, whisk the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water.
  • In the third bowl, combing the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of paprika.
  • Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess. Then dunk the chicken in the egg mixture. Let any excess egg mixture drain off. Next coat the chicken in the bread crumb mixture. Finally, spray each side of the chicken generously with the cooking spray.
  • Place the chicken in the air-fryer basket and cook at 400F for 14 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, flipping the chicken at the half-way mark.

Note: You can also use chicken breasts; however, you will want to place them in a plastic bag and pound them until they are 1/2-inch thick.

Recipe adapted from – What’s Gaby Cooking: Eat What You Want


Omelette Muffins

These omelette muffins are easy and delicious! I like to make them on a Sunday for breakfast, refrigerate the leftovers, and then I’ve got some breakfast ready to heat up quickly throughout the week.

Omelette Muffins (makes 9-10 muffins)

You’ll need…

  • 1/2 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To make it…

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Coat muffin tin with cooking spray.
  • In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook and crumble the sausage until mostly browned. Add the onion and bell pepper. Continue cooking until sausage is cooked through and onion is soft. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs. Add the salt and chili powder. Whisk until combined. Stir in the cheddar cheese.
  • Add the sausage mixture to the egg mixture.
  • Scoop the mixture into muffin cups using a 1/3-cup measuring scoop.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes until puffy and set.
  • Serve warm.

Red Beans & Rice

New Orleans is one of my all-time favorite places. On a recent trip, I picked up some red beans and rice from The Gumbo Shop and some beignets from Cafe du Monde and then went and had a lovely little picnic by the river. It was amazing!

So naturally, when I got home, I needed to recreate the red beans and rice. With the help of a cookbook that I picked up while there, I’ve come up with what I think is a pretty good red beans and rice recipe.

Red Beans & Rice (makes 5 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound cooked sausage, sliced
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans red beans (do not drain)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1/2 – 1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles (add more or less depending on your preferred spice level)
  • 1 cup long-gran brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning

To Make It

  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Saute until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add sausage, red beans with their liquid, diced tomatoes with their juice, green chiles, rice, water, and cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook until all liquid has been absorbed, about 35 minutes.

Note – This is one of those dishes that still tastes great the next day. So it’s a great meal to make and then use the leftovers for lunches during the week.

**Recipe adapted from Growing Up Cajun**