Intuitive eating is an approach that acknowledges that the body knows best - or should I say, that a body in balance knows best. When your body is in balance, you create the mental and emotional space to start making decisions based on how you feel rather than relying on outside sources to inform how you should eat or approach your health. Whether it’s vegan, plant-based, paleo, carnivore, or a combination, you do what’s best for you. When you restore balance and tune in, you become empowered with the knowledge that your body is your best guide, and that you are your own best healer.
The problem is that the more interference you have had throughout your life, the longer it may take to restore balance. Interference, in this instance, would be anything that disrupts the balance of the body and mind.
- Processed foods (refined sugar, sweeteners, additives, colourants, etc.)
- Medications (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, acid blockers, etc.)
- Heavy metals
- Toxic relationships
- Emotional and physical trauma
We are born with an innate understanding of what our body needs, but it often gets disrupted along the way. When you limit the interference and restore balance, it becomes less about what diet fad to follow or how much to eat and more about letting your body guide you. You begin to crave foods that are nourishing, and start to notice how dead and devitalised processed foods affect you. This makes the decision to eat healthier that much easier, because it’s based on how you feel rather than on what you are told.
However, if you are not in balance, you could be getting mixed signals. This is what you should be looking at, in particular, when in this state…
- Gut health
- Mineral levels
- Toxins and trauma
Gut health imbalances have a major effect on our health and what we choose to eat. 80% of our immune system resides in our gut. Poor gut health can result in a compromised immune system, which can lead to a vicious cycle of antibiotic use, which in turn damages the gut even more. This can start at an early age, so you may not even remember what it feels like to have a body in balance.
How does this relate to intuitive eating?
Our microbiome has been shown to influence our mood and behaviour. There are a number of ways in which your microbiome can manipulate your eating behaviour for its survival. Depending on the composition of bacteria, fungi, and viruses found in your gut, this manipulation can be detrimental to your health.
Restoring gut health is fundamental to intuitive eating. How do you tune into your body when you have an overgrowth of microbes that constantly tell you to eat sugar?
Healthy eating isn’t just about motivation and making the ‘right’ food choices, and it certainly can’t be reduced to a calories in and calories out approach. It’s about nourishing your body and microbes with quality wholefoods in a way that optimises your health and works best for you.
Your brain does a constant analysis of the nourishment it gets from the foods you consume. This has a major effect on appetite regulation. Mineral deficiencies can trigger ravenous hunger and uncontrollable cravings. You feel the constant need to eat, but if you continue to eat processed foods devoid of nutrients, you don’t ever satisfy that hunger - and so begins another vicious cycle.
Sugar, stress, medication, and toxic substances all deplete minerals. While we understand that this can affect appetite, what is even more concerning is that mineral deficiencies can cause cellular function to falter. Minerals are the spark plugs that ignite our cells - without them, our bodies do not function optimally. Low energy, hair loss, fatigue, a compromised immune system, poor wound healing, and accelerated ageing can all be a sign of a mineral deficiency.
Both sugar and artificial sweeteners can alter our palates or taste preferences over time, increasing our desire for sweet foods. This disrupts our ability to eat intuitively.
TOXINS AND TRAUMA
Toxic exposure, toxic relationships, traumas, toxic thoughts, and of course chronic stress can all lead to some level of imbalance that dissociates you from your body. Whether it’s physical, emotional, or spiritual, your body pays the price. In order to restore balance, it is essential to face the aspects of your life that are holding you back from aligning with your highest potential and purpose.
Your thoughts and beliefs control your biology. How you perceive life has a direct effect on your biochemistry. Often there needs to be a recognition of programmed beliefs before you can change them. Are you stuck in a cycle of self-sabotage, bad relationships, bad habits, or a lack of fulfillment?
On a physical level, we are exposed to a bombardment of toxins that have a major effect on our microbiome, cellular health, and mineral levels in the body.
Toxicities come in many forms, and it’s up to you to recognise them, put up some boundaries, and make the changes necessary to limit your exposure and cleanse your body and mind.
Instead of a mechanistic view of your body, focus on a holistic approach that seeks to nourish you on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Start to build some awareness of your current state of being. What is not in balance? What have you ignored? What is your body trying to tell you?
In order to effectively listen to your body, you need to cut out the interference. The easiest way to do this is to align with nature. Eat quality wholefoods, spend time in nature, and trust that you are exactly where you need to be.
Your body is working for you, not against you. Tune in and listen to what it has to say.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kimberly Kemp is the co-founder of Healthy Hunnies, which offers a holistic approach to health through consultations and a 14-Day Mind and Body Detox. For more information or to get in touch, visit www.healthyhunnies.com.