In this post, I want to share with you how to use essential oils in everyday life, simply and effectively. But before I get to that, I was to share something else with you- I am probably one of the most skeptical people out there. And yet, in the past few years, I have allowed myself to open up A LOT more to new experiences, foods, products, crystals and yes even tarot cards. The old Jaclyn would have thought it was all a little too ‘woo woo’ and wouldn’t have given it another thought. I am actually really happy that I have opened up a lot more to things that can’t always be explained and have to be experienced. Because had I not done this, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. So lets get to how to use essential oils in everyday life and specifically, how they helped me with anxiety, stress and PMS, pretty amazing right?!
My first foray into Essential Oils:
This post is not sponsored in any way, nor am I trying to sell you on any kind of essential oil or am I (nor do I want to) be affiliated with any type of MLM. I am not bashing them, it is just simply not my style. There are a lot of companies out there selling essential oils and most of them come from an MLM type business. So when I wanted to learn more about them, I attended a class about 3-4 years ago run by someone from one of those huge MLM’s. She was sweet, knowledgeable, but I was hesitant even then to really think that these oils could do so much. And this was while I was in school for holistic nutrition! So trust me, when I say I was skeptical, I was REALLY FUCKING skeptical. So, I tried them, but didn’t notice much of anything besides the fact they smelled nice.
Fast forward to 2016-17 and I became kinda obsessed and wanted to learn how to use essential oils in everyday life. I bought a diffuser from Saje Wellness and loaded up on various blends from them as well. The first way I learned how to use essential oils in everyday life was by choosing different blends and learning to take note of the different aromas and how they impacted me. I would leave them going all day, bringing it into my bedroom at night and diffusing tranquility at night to help me fall asleep. I noticed how much less anxious I was when I used them, how they almost instantaneously worked to calm down my mind and my thoughts. They actually lessened my stress levels and I couldn’t believe it.
Little Miss. Skeptical had turned into a believer…
So how do essential oils work exactly?
Essential oils are prevalent in aromatherapy which has been around since WW II when essential oils were discovered to treat soldiers.
“The beauty of essential oils is that they are natural, extracted from flowers, leaves, bark or roots of plants. While it’s best to make sure you use pure essential oils, meaning oils that have not been diluted with chemicals or additives, they can provide much needed relief and healing for a variety of ailments, including as a natural remedy for anxiety.” Aromatherapy is often used for anxiety because our sense of smell triggers a powerful emotional response. In particular an area of the brain, adjacent to the limbic region processes so much information through smell and is a powerful area familiar with emotional processing and memory recall. When the scent of an essential oil is inhaled, molecules enter the nasal cavities and stimulate a firing of mental response in the brain. These stimulants regulate stress or calming responses, such as your heart rate, breathing patterns, production of hormones and blood pressure. Aromatherapy can be obtained by using it in a bath, as direct inhalations, vaporizer or humidifier, fan, vent, or one of my favourites, through a diffuser.
How to use essential oils in everyday life:
This is how to use essential oils in everyday life, because unfortunately we all deal with things like headaches, anxiety and PMS. I happen to be a big fan of using them in my diffuser. They help infuse my room in such a beautiful and subtle way while also helping relieve my tension, any stress and anxiety or simply help put me in a better mood, depending on which blends I use.
This month, I tested out a new way to use my favourite essential oils from Saje Wellness and that is by using them directly on my body. I purchased the pocket farmacy from Saje and absolutely love having that with me in case I need something for a symptom I am experiencing, like indigestion or a headache. I have been using the peppermint halo whenever I happen to get a headache, which doesn’t happen often thankfully, but it works like magic. They also have one for stress relief, which I use on my wrists and behind my ears. It helps to calm me down and puts me in a better place.
PMS, What PMS?
What really blew me away with my new Saje products was the moon cycle roller. I usually get mild cramps for the first day or two of my period, they used to be a lot worse, but since really changing my diet to a whole, real foods one (and ditching birth control), they have gotten a lot better (a post for another day, perhaps). But, usually I will still experience cramps, which suck. I used to pop Advil like candy when I was younger to avoid the pain, but didn’t want to do that anymore. The way I use this product, is by taking about two to three drops from the bottom of the bottle and mixing it with a drop or two of peppermint halo and pain release from my pocket farmacy. I was told this trick from a wonderful Saje employee in the store and could not believe how well it worked. My period cramps were GONE! Completely and totally GONE! Remember I am skeptical AF so this was really surprising to me that it worked and how well it worked. It lasted for a few hours, so I only had to reapply it once more later in the day. You could also add a couple drops of any of these blends to your bath as well, which would be amazing to unwind in at the end of the day.
How Else to Deal with Stress and Anxiety:
This is really just one of the ways I deal with stress, tension and anxiety. But managing anxiety and stress is really such a multifaceted approach that is unique to each and every individual. I also try to incorporate movement into my daily life with yoga and pilates, meditation, journaling and deep breathing. I am also a big believer that what we choose to put in our bodies is also going to help with internal stress and inflammation. So I drink lots of water and turmeric milk or golden milk before bed too. Those are really my non-negotiables, water and turmeric lattes. Some days, I am a lot better at managing my stress and anxiety than others, because I am human after all. But I do try and keep it under control as much as I can, because stress is such a big contributor to so many health problems.Laughter and gratitude are two simple things to practice daily that can really help as well and the best part is that these don’t cost a thing! Even on days, when I am home alone, working all day and not really talking to anyone, I still find a way to laugh at myself. I mean, it’s really not that hard to do for me, especially because I have also learned not to take myself too seriously.
I hope you found this post about how to use essential oils in everyday life useful, there really are so many ways to use them.
I would love to hear from you. What do you do to manage stress and anxiety? Are you familiar with essential oils and if so, how do you use them?
Self love after weight gain is tough, it requires a deep mindset shift and today I am sharing four mindeset shifts that I hope will inspire you to learn to show yourself love no matter what. We are more than half way through February, the month after January otherwise known as Diet-uary. Uhhhmmm, did I just make that up, yes, yes I did. But you know how it goes, January is the month where many attempt to start new healthy habits, diet and of course lose weight. The obsession with weight loss is so real which is why the weight loss industry is a billion dollar business. They work because they prey on your emotions, your fears and society’s unbelievable and unattainable standards of beauty. If January is national diet month, then February is love month, with Valentine’s Day and all. But, what if instead of focusing all our love on things, we turned that inwards and focused on self love. Learning how to show yourself love after weight gain is one of the hardest but most rewarding things I learned how to do. I want to share some mindset shifts that really made self love after weight gain possible.
At 34 years old, I can finally say I know how to love myself and I do. But it took me a really long time to get here. Nothing happened overnight and it was a longggg journey full of all kinds of twists and turns that finally got me to where I am now. So I also am well aware of how hard it is to accept and love yourself as is, never mind self love after weight gain.
What Weight Gain Meant to Me:
If you have read my previous (very personal stories here and here) you also know that I struggled with disordered eating and orthorexia. How I perceived my body and in turn how I treated myself were inextricably tied to each other. If I gained weight, I punished myself by restricting my food intake, followed of course by subsequent bingeing. If I lost weight, I got an immediate “high” and felt on top of the world. The thing is, that feeling never lasted very long. That is exactly what dieting for so many years did to me. It made me feel inadequate in every way possible, I was never smart enough, pretty enough or skinny enough. I focused solely on my appearance and thought, if I could just get down to XXX weight, I would feel better about myself, I would love myself. But then I did get to this goal weight and nothing happened. For a fleeting moment I felt happy, but it was all superficial, in fact I really didn’t know myself at all. I certainly didn’t know a thing about self love, never mind self love after weight gain.
Self Love After Weight Gain: Changing my Mindset
So how did I get here? It took a lot of mindset shifts and that shit is HARD AF. Sorry, but this isn’t called personal development for nothing. How long does it take to develop anything of significant worth and reward? I mean, some of the best cheeses (and wines) take a long ass time, soooo…. why would you expect you to be any different?!
I know what it feels like to jump on the scale in the morning to see that number come down 1/2 to 1 pound and get that high. I know what it feels like to restrict foods because you fear they are making you fat. I also know what it feels like to feel so out of control around food that you end up bingeing on chocolate cake in the middle of the night with the lights off. But I also know what it is like to leave weight off the table altogether and embrace my body and its changes. When you learn to let go of the weight and its hold on you, or stop chasing after the next perfect diet, weight loss pill or supplement you create space for something else. That something else is self love, self care and self respect, and ultiamtely self love after weight gain doesn’t seem so hard. Your thoughts are no longer preoccupied with how you look all the time and you can learn to accept your body as it is, yes even if you gained weight.
Becoming an intuitive eater and teaching other women how to do the same has been truly game changing. Learning to have a neutral relationship to food and realizing that food is just food and leaving it at that has been at the very forefront of my relationship to myself. Letting go of the “good” and “bad” labels on food has been super important as well.
Self Love After Weight Gain is Possible with these Four mindset shifts
Here are four powerful mindset shifts that really helped me discover self love after weight gain, while embracing intuitive eating.
Say Goodbye to That Which Doesn’t Serve You: Whether this is friends, family or anyone else, sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do for you. It doesn’t have to be a person either, it can be a thing- a job, a relationship (of any kind), self limiting beliefs and doubts or anything else. If it doesn’t light you up inside or makes you feel less than, it could be time to say goodbye. For me, I had to unfollow some accounts on social media as they were not in line with my own beliefs and values. When I spend my time scrolling through Instagram, I want to feel inspired in some way and if I am left feeling less than in some way, then it’s time to say goodbye. Social media can be a tool to connect with people, I have met some amazing friends online, but it can also lead to a sense of unworthiness and inferiority. If you find that you are starting to feel that way, take a break online (social media detoxes are very rewarding!) or just unfollow people that don’t serve your best interests. It is not selfish to practice this, this is a form of self care.
Bye Bye “skinny” jeans: Are you holding onto a pair of clothing that used to fit? I did this for SO LONG!! And you know what, it never made me feel better about myself, instead it left me feeling sad, anxious, depressed and ugly. It did not make self love after weight gain possible, because it held me back, as it was not motivating to have these items lying around. You deserve to be and feel comfortable in your skin and in your clothing. When I gained some weight after letting go of restriction and embracing intuitive eating, I felt uncomfortable at first. Things didn’t fit, but rather than going shopping for new clothes, I still tried to squeeze myself in my old jeans. It was not fun and most important- I was not honouring my body. So after a few weeks of wearing nothing but leggings (because that was all that fit me), I went out and bought a few new pieces of clothing. I picked out and wore what was comfortable to me in that moment and made me feel good. Wearing things that are too tight are not going to make you feel good, trust me! It is a much better idea to buy something new that makes you feel good than suffer in too tight and uncomfortable clothing.
Prioritize Your Health, Not Your Weight: This is primarily what the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement is all about. It is prioritizing your health over your weight or your appearance. Your health is so much more than just the food you eat, it is also a lot about what you are thinking. Your thoughts throughout the day impact your health in a very important way and shape how you see yourself and the world. Rather than thinking about exercise as a form of punishment, I started viewing it as a form of pleasure. I no longer exercised to “work off” the food I ate, but rather because of how strong it made me feel. When I embarked on my 30-day yoga challenge, I learned a lot about what I like and don’t like and chose to embrace the word movement over exercise because it helped me remember why I move my body. If I was doing it solely just to lose weight, it wouldn’t have lasted very long and I am happy to say that I am still practicing moving my body (through yoga and Pilates) weekly. When you learn to take the weight out of something and focus instead on your overall health and prioritizing self care, you will notice a difference mind, body and soul. Identifying what is important for your health is a big part of learning self love after weight gain.
Don’t Engage in Diet Talk: This is one of the harder things to do in our cultures and once you are more aware of how pervasive diet culture is, you will start to notice how much diet talk exists in everyday life. As women, we are especially prone to negative self talk and body bashing and for some strange reason, we like to talk about it with other women a lot of the time. Misery loves company, I guess? The best advice I have and one of the biggest shifts I made was to not engage in the body comparison/bashing and diet talk anymore. Yes, sometimes, I still find myself occasionally getting sucked in, but the key thing is I am aware of it. That awareness allows me a moment of clarity and to rephrase what I am saying into something more positive. When I am out with friends or talking to others (co-workers for example) and diet talk gets brought in. I simply don’t engage in it. Occasionally I will try and steer the conversation to something else or offer up an alternative viewpoint, but for the most part I don’t engage. My hope is that by not engaging in it, I can help shut down the notion that we are only as good as our appearances. I also plan on doing more in-person workshops, panel discussions and speaking engagements to really help spread the word about self love and ditching diets. When we all learn to share our voices and speak our truths, we can truly make a big difference. Ending the diet talk was key in learning about self love after weight gain and helped me re-think how I viewed my body.
Final Thoughts + Body Positivity
With all of that being said, I know how hard it is (for women especially) to look in the mirror and hate what they see. I know how hard it is to get discouraged along the way. Weight gain may represent the process but not the destination. Or maybe it is the destination and that is what your natural weight is supposed to be. Fighting your body along the way is not the answer though.
I also recognize how easy I had it in comparison to others. That is the very definition of thin privilege and I get that my body type is still in the “ideal” category that society deems acceptable. That doesn’t mean that my struggle wasn’t any less real than anyone else’s, but I do understand that many others have a far different experience with their weight, weight gain and their physical appearance. I cannot speak for them and don’t want to try, I can only share my own experience and also keep sharing others as well. I get that the body positivity movement was not created for thin white women with a little roll on their tummies to feel empowered for sharing their story or a picture. But at the same time, that is their story and their truth and I think that should also be respected. There is space for all of us at the table and when we share our stories and connect with each other in meaningful ways we are showing our support. Rather than bicker back and forth about who body positivity is meant for, lets instead listen with compassion and join together to share the same message.
That wraps up this post all about self love after weight gain or just how to love yourself no matter what life throws at you. The weight is never the issue to me, it is always deeper than that. Health looks different on everyone and to try and pigeon-hole what it means to be healthy as one thing is not the way to go.
I would love to continue this conversation in the comments, so share with me what resonated with you the most and what can you do to show yourself a little more self love regardless of weight gain?
I think most of the time you either love tofu or you hate it. I hope to change your mind just a bit with this vegan salad bowl with crispy baked Tofu. When it comes to whether or not tofu is healthy, there are some pretty strong opinions on both sides. Some say it’s bad because it messes with your hormones or your thyroid and others think it is a complete health food. I’ll get to what I think later, but I like to always consider different sides no matter what before making any opinion. Plus, I really don’t believe in demonizing any one food or food group, so you won’t find me doing that here either.
By the title of this post, I am sure you guessed that I do obviously eat tofu, so I must consider it healthy. The truth is, I don’t have tofu very often, probably only a few times a year, so when I do, I make sure I enjoy it. And this vegan salad bowl with crispy baked tofu recipe is perfect for one of these occasions. I also used to be vegan (you can read about that here) and would eat tofu quite frequently, probably about 1-2 times a week. When it is prepared and cooked right (like in this vegan salad bowl with crispy baked tofu) it is actually really delicious. So if you are avoiding it simply due to having bad tasting tofu in the past, I hope this recipe can help you reconsider that.
Whats Up with Soy?
It seems that tofu is one of the most controversial foods out there when it comes to whether or not its healthy or not. There are many things to consider and I am going to do my best to show all sides of the debate and I leave it to you to make a decision on whether or not you want to eat tofu or other soy products.
This is kind of a loaded question when it comes to soy and tofu to be honest because contrary to what ANYONE tries to tell you their is no conclusive evidence one way or the other. I am not paid by any one party to endorse soy or tofu one way or the other. My only reason for doing this is to show you that when it comes to nutrition research there is no right answer. When I came across a nutritionist linking to a very questionable nutrition article bashing tofu I was kind of surprised. The “research” cited in the study was questionable at best and yet it was being presented as facts. This is what I have a problem with. Demonizing a food (or food group) as not healthy especially when it is based on research that is shaky at best, what is the point?
So I did come across a very well researched pubmed article on soy and its affects on health, I knew I had to share. It’s important because it doesn’t say one side is right or wrong, plus it means I can eat this vegan salad bowl with crispy baked tofu more often. Instead, it argues that more research needs to be done and much of the research out there has conflicting results.
– Soy does not appear to offer protection against osteoporosis.
– The evidence on male fertility and reproductive hormones was conflicting; some studies demonstrated a harmful impact caused by soy consumption and others showed no effect.
– Soy supplementation also appears to affect thyroid function in an inconsistent manner, as studies have shown both increases and decreases in the same parameters of thyroid activity. Note that this is referring to soy supplementation which is completely different that the occasional amount of soy or tofu in your diet. Most people I have seen that cite problems with soy or tofu state that it interferes with thyroid function when in fact the research states this is inconsistent.
– Soaking, fermentation, and heating may reduce problematic anti-nutrients contained in soy.
– The authors found that consuming moderate amounts of traditionally prepared and minimally processed soy foods may offer modest health benefits while minimizing potential for adverse health effects. However, additional studies are necessary to elucidate the variable thyroid response to soy supplementation, and more rigorous studies are required to assess dose-response relationships, the relationship between intestinal-flora composition and the response to soy, potential fertility issues among males, and the unknown long-term health effects of consuming highly processed modern soy foods.
What are my thoughts on all of this:
Buy Organic: Most soy out there is genetically modified which has numerous implications for our health and for the health of our environment. The studies that have been done on GMO’s have not been able to determine that they are not bad for our health and because it is such a new thing, it is hard to know for sure what the long term effects on our health will be. Because of this and so many other reasons, I do only buy organic tofu. The other issue with GMO’s is the residue of glyphosate that can remain on the food. Glyphosate is one of the main ingredients in Round-Up, a chemical that is sprayed on many crops. It has been linked to numerous health problems. You can read about these issues here.
Try and Eat More Fermented Variations: Although tofu is not fermented, every once and a while, I think it is ok to consume. However, when you include fermented soy products like tempeh, this has more health benefits. Because it is fermented it is much easier to digest and also contains probiotics which are essential for our gut health and overall health. Other sources of fermented soy include: miso, tamari and natto. Swap the tofu for tempeh if you want in this vegan salad bowl with crispy baked tofu recipe.
Don’t overdo it: Like most things in life, don’t overdo it! Soy is hiding in many processed food items which is why it can add up quickly in our diet and that could lead to health problems. My suggestion is to watch the amount of processed foods you are consuming and look for hidden sources of soy that are processed and probably GMO. Soybean oil is EVERYWHERE! If you are having soy in its whole form and eating fermented forms of soy, I don’t see a problem in including it in your diet. We want a variety of foods in our diet and soy and tofu is one of them that can be included in our diets in my opinion so long as you are cognizant of the above points I made.
Enter This Vegan Salad Bowl with Crispy Baked Tofu…
There are a lot of misleading claims being made about tofu and soy. Some are true, some are not and some need more research to be done. Always be wary of anyone who says to never have something EVER. And with that being said, always be wary of the research that does exist out there. Look at who funded the study and see if a conflict of interest exists there.
My goal is to provide a balanced approach to nutrition and I always encourage you to listen to your body and see how something makes you feel.
Ok, now onto the fun stuff! This vegan salad bowl with crispy baked tofu is just delicious and I highly encourage you to try it in some way. Change up the tofu if you want to tempeh or another source of protein, like chickpeas! Make it your own in a way that suits your life and your needs.
The key thing here when it comes to making crispy baked tofu taste amazing, is all in the prep! I highly encourage you to get out as much water as possible by pressing it so that it is better able to soak up the flavours you add to it.
2 big handfuls of mixed greens, I used arugula (feel free to use any greens you want)
1 scoop of kimchi
1 small handful of shredded carrots
½ watermelon radish, sliced thin (use any kind of radish)
Sprinkle of sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 400, line a baking sheet with parchment paper so the tofu doesn’t stick.
Slice the tofu into even slabs and then into cubes.
Place the tofu cubes on a plate with a clean towel or paper towel below and on top, place a cutting board on top of the plate. Place something heavy on top of the plate, I used my cast iron pan. Let that sit for about 20-30 minutes.
Remove the tofu and add to a medium sized mixing bowl and add in the tamari, avocado oil and mix well. Then add the arrowroot powder and make sure all the tofu is covered and no white powder remains.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 13 minutes, then flip them around and bake for 12-13 minutes more.
Remove and let cool slightly.
Prepare the bowl by placing the greens at the bottom, followed by your toppings and then add the tofu on top with a pinch of sea salt, chili flakes and sesame seeds.
Top with Michelle’s Raw Foodz Japanese Joy dressing.
I am so excited to introduce fellow Holistic Nutritionist and friend, Rachel Molenda! She is talking all about self care activities and what self care really means. I wrote about self care here, and I love how Rachel agrees that self care isn’t about going to a spa or getting a massage (though those are nice). It is about the deeper work that you need to do. I love how Rachel connects self care activities with helping to heal your relationship to food. I hope you enjoy this guest post as much as I did reading it!
How developing self-care activities helped me heal my relationship with food:
Before I really learned what self-care is all about, I thought it meant treating myself to lavish things like bi-weekly manicures, trips to the spa and decadent dinners out at restaurants.
Little did I realize, self-care really comes down to fulfilling your needs.
I know – so not sexy, right? But let me tell you, viewing self-care as a means of fulfilling our needs can be the most effective and productive way to support our overall health.
What is self-care?
The beautiful thing about self-care is that it can look different from person to person. There might be suggestions or guidelines out there, but there are no rigid textbook rules on how to go about self-care. What it comes down to is having go-to enjoyable strategies on hand to manage things like stress and to support your overall well-being, ultimately ensuring your needs are being met.
In the work that I do with my 1:1 nutrition & emotional eating consultations, we often spend more time talking about needs and our emotional health than talking about food. Food can play a vital role in our health too, but all of the nutrition knowledge won’t serve anyone if our emotional, mental and physical needs aren’t being met.
Here’s a first-hand example:
I’m a Holistic Nutritionist that understands the value of nourishing our bodies with wholesome real foods. I’m also a partial-entrepreneur which comes with more demands and obligations beyond the 9-5, including the occasional night(s) and weekends (it’s a good thing I love the crap out of what I do!)
What that means, is that there will be a week every now and then where I feel like I’m barely hanging on. Usually my self-care practice is the first thing to go because I stop making time for it, in place for other things that supposedly take precedence.
But when I stop focusing on self-care activities, I often find myself in a heightened state of stress. That state of stress often results in me turning to comfort food (that doesn’t fuel me as much as my #RealAssFood does) as a means of “coping” with stress, just for a few fleeting moments of relief.
In the past, turning to comfort food to cope would’ve looked more like a binge, whereas now, it may mean “fueling” myself off of foods that just don’t make me feel all that awesome. Either way, I would end up feeling depleted, lethargic and burned out.
Why? Because I wasn’t fulfilling my needs and when we fail to do this, we might often find ourselves turning to other coping mechansims, like food, as a result.
Everything starts with ensuring our needs are being met:
To ensure that we are fueling ourselves the way our body likes to be fueled.
To ensure we are moving our body in the way our body likes to be moved.
To ensure we are making time for fun and play to prevent getting burned out.
To ensure we give and receive love from family, friends and our partner.
To ensure we aren’t saying “yes” when we really mean “no”.
To ensure that we are preserving our energy, emotionally and physically.
One tactic I use with my clients is to ask themselves, “If I’m not biologically hungry, what other need might I be trying to fulfill?” Maybe you’ve just spent days on end studying and you’re bored and in need of some play time. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur who works from home and you’re feeling lonely and in need of socialization. Either way, get to the bottom of what the actual need is and because you won’t find the permanent answer in the food.
My self-care activities aren’t entirely rigid as in “I must do this every day” but is more so a tool of resources I pull from depending on my needs on a given day. It looks a little like this:
Self Care Activities:
– Drinking 500ml (1 small mason jar) of water right when I wake up
– Moving my body in the morning (typically CrossFit) during the week
– Giving myself permission to sleep in
– Not overscheduling my social life (i.e. 2 events post-work max during the week and nothing on Sunday nights – that’s my time!)
– Meal prepping on Sundays to prepare healthy wholesome food for the week
– Allowing myself to enjoy “play” foods like chocolate without guilt
– Creating, cooking and dancing in the kitchen (mostly dancing)
– Nourishing my skin with a rich moisturizer and apricot oil in the AM & PM
Notice how none of my self-care activities involve a fancy shmancy spa treatment? Because yes, while those can be valuable self-care activities, we need more sustainable practices we can incorporate daily to support our needs. When we can become more aware of our needs and support them through self-care activities, we can stop abusing food and ultimately work towards healing our relationship with it.
Rachel Molenda is a Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) who specializes in helping women heal from emotional and disordered eating, ultimately helping them to establish a healthier and happier relationship with food and themselves. With each client she works with, Rachel brings her non-restrictive, anti-diet, whole foods-based approach to help people adopt healthy sustainable food and lifestyle practices so they can start living their lives freely and authentically loving themselves. Rachel works one-on-one with clients online where she educates clients on how to get to the root of what’s causing their emotional or disordered eating with the intention of healing their relationship with food, their body and themselves.
I would love to hear from you! What are some of your non-negotiable self-care activities?
I am a BIG latte fan which is surprising to some people because I don’t drink coffee. Is that weird? I don’t know, I just never liked coffee and have never had a cup before, I am really into tea though, especially matcha! But sometimes, I like making lattes or elixirs that don’t have any caffeine at all. And a lot of the time I like making elixirs and lattes that fuel my brain and give me energy, because why not?! So today I am sharing my fave superfood mushroom latte, aka brain fuel, featuring one of the best products out there and one of my personal faves- Four Sigmatic.
Before I get into this superfood mushroom latte and all the goodness that’s inside of it, I want to chat a bit about these magical mushrooms… no not that kind of magical mushroom. The mushrooms I am going to be talking about are also called functional mushrooms and the brand I use all the time and LOVE is Four Sigmatic. No, this post isn’t sponsored by them, I truly just love their products and believe in them 1000%.
Let’s get to what is so magical about these functional mushrooms.
Superfood Mushroom Latte: A Functional Fungi
So even though you may think of mushrooms as just that fungi on top of your burger or say ‘ewww’ to them because you don’t like the texture, they are so much more than that. “The reality is that the world of fungi features mind-boggling diversity. There are more than 140,000 known species of mushrooms around the world, and an estimated 2,000 of these are thought to be edible and/or medicinal. People have utilized mushrooms for these purposes for thousands of years, and there are now tens of thousands of studies backing up what ancient cultures long believed: Functional mushrooms offer a ton of benefits.”
Some of those benefits include: improving your immune system, reducing stress, supporting cognitive and physical function and performance and helping with gut health. Those are some pretty AMAZING benefits if you ask me. And these functional mushrooms are also known as adaptogens.
If you are asking adapt-a-what? Don’t worry, I am going to explain exactly what that means. They are naturally occurring, non-toxic substances that can help stabilize and optimize a wide range of physiological functions depending on what your body needs at any given time. Meaning, they adapt to what your body needs at any given time. “Adaptogens are especially well known for minimizing fatigue, supporting immune functions, supporting natural energy levels, sustaining focus, protecting the body from the physiological and emotional consequences of stress, and promoting overall wellness.”
Superfood Mushroom Latte: The Ultimate Stress Buster
The other amazing thing about functional mushrooms are their ability to help with anxiety and stress. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single person that doesn’t deal with some kind or form of stress. Stress is not going anywhere, it’s all about how we respond to it that matters.
The reason these are so beneficial in regards to stress is due to the high amount of B vitamins in them. Those B vitamins are essential for our body to be able to respond to stress in a healthy manner and one of the many reasons I suggest to most people supplementing with B vitamins. They are also a good source of vitamin D, in fact they are one of the only plant based sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone, not a vitamin) is essential for brain and nervous system health, which help contribute to a more positive mood.
I personally love to take my lion’s mane in the morning to help with my own mental clarity and focus. The other ones I take, cordyceps (pre-workout or also in the morning), chaga whenever cold and flu season is approaching or if I feel that I need the extra boost to my immune system (such as coming back from vacation) and then reishi I take before bed. I am probably the most obsessed with reishi to be honest, but all of them have their purpose.
In my brain boosting recipe, I also use ashwagandha. This is another adaptogen that has shown to be incredibly helpful for our thyroid and providing cortisol support. Cortisol is also known as our stress hormone and when we find ways to support this hormone, we can in fact help our body adapt to stress so it is better able to handle it. The amazing thing about this herb is that because it is an adaptogen, it is able to work for those dealing with either hypo or hyperthyroidism. Beyond just being able to help with the health of our thyroid, they also help with our adrenal glands as well. Our adrenals are responsible for releasing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol in response to stress from the body. If your adrenals are overtaxed, this can lead to adrenal fatigue which in turn disrupts your hormones and lowers your DHEA, causing you to age faster. Ever notice how much those in office age in the span of 4-8 years? Probably because of so much stress. Ashwagandha is great for helping to balance our hormones and is something that I think most people can find benefit from including.
So as you can probably already tell, I am a big fan of adaptogens and also using Four Sigmatic products to help with stress and balancing my hormones.If you are interested in trying out some Four Sigmatic products, I highly suggest checking them out and reading through many of the articles on their site so you can become more familiar with all of their amazing benefits. As of right now, they are currently having their winter sale, a sale that only happens about 3 times a year. Some of the products are 50% off! So it is a great time to stock up if you are thinking of buying anything. The sale runs from February 8/18 to February 12/18.
You can also use my code holisticfoodie to save an additional 10% off your order! YAY!
Ok, let’s get to this delicious superfood mushroom latte recipe so that you too can experience the brain and mood boosting benefits for yourself.
Winter has done a number on many peoples skin this year, mine included. The harsh cold weather and winter has been rude and unbearable in my opinion and it almost ruined my skin. But with some amazing winter skincare tips and natural products you can incorporate into your routine, you can make a big difference.
I think that it is important to take care of your skin year-round and especially as the seasons change, we should also re-evaluate our skincare and if we can, treat ourselves to a proper facial. Personally, I try to get a facial as the seasons change and last time I blogged about my upcoming facial at Pure and Simple and the microdermabrasion I was going to get. It was FABULOUS by the way. I swear my skin glowed after I got that done and I will for sure be getting it done again in the spring. For winter, though, I am focusing as much as I can on hydration, which is why I wanted to put together these winter skincare tips and show you some natural products that really work. That means in terms of the foods and drinks I am consuming as well as the products I use.
So I’ll share my fave winter products right now and then I’ll chat about what you can do for that inner glow as well.
Winter Skincare Tips: Exfoliate That Skin!
You may think exfoliating is only important in the summer and spring, but nope, this is a year-round thing we need to do consistently. It not only helps with hydration but it also makes your skin look smoother, which in turn helps your makeup look better and your other skincare products work better. Because exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells leaving room for the healthy, new cells to show. It also helps to keep your pores clean and helps with lines and wrinkles too.
Winter Skincare Tips: The Natural Products that Work!
One of my favourite ways to exfoliate is with The Clean Dirt by May Lindstrom: It works like a charm and always leaves my skin looking super hydrated, smoother and tighter. I am currently on my second bottle of this stuff and yes it is expensive, but it lasts a long time. Plus I love that the formula comes as a powder and is activated only when you add water to it. This means a more potent formula and results as well as it will last a lot longer than other products that come ready made. I use this about one to two times a week and always before a night out when I want my skin looking extra soft and fresh.
You can buy this from The Detox Market, unfortunately this line does not ever go on sale and my code will not work for it, but trust me it is worth the price 1000%.
Another exfoliating product I really love after I tried it as a sample is Glow Philtre by Kypris Beauty. Once I am finished with my May Lindstrom above, I will be buying this one. It really helps to soften the skin, tighten your pores and makes your skin GLOW! This is somewhat similar to the Tata Harper resurfacing mask to me, however I liked the results from the Kypris more. Plus it is intended as an exfoliater and this Tata Harper product is not, it is thought of as peel, you can read my review of that here. But, they felt similar on my skin, although I did find better results with the Kypris Glow Philtre. This product is also excluded from any discount.
Geranium Orange Blossom Face Cream, by Wildcraft Care: I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical of how this product would perform based on the extremely fair price point. Yeah, I can be a bit of a skincare snob… but I was so impressed with how this cream performed. I have been using this in the morning combined with an oil (usually rosehip or this one) and love how soft and dewy it makes my skin look. I also think it helps my makeup look better too. I love the scents of rose and orange, plus with the addition of organic rosehip seed oil it really helps with the GLOW factor, which I am all about. When you first put it on, it can feel rather rich and I thought “oh man, this is just gonna sit on top of my skin” but it absorbed pretty quick and really helped keep my skin hydrated all day. And this has been in -20 degree weather in Toronto with wind and snow! The addition of vitamin E also helps with scars as well.
If you want to shop directly from Wildcraft Care, you can use the code HOLISTICFOODIE to save you 10%. Or use my code HOLISTICFOODIE10 to save 10% at The Detox Market.
Retinol Restorative Overnight Balm, 100% Pure: This product has been one of the biggest game changers in my routine and when I wake up the next day, my skin is super smooth, nourished and significantly brighter. It can feel a bit greasy when you first use it, but you may be applying too much. Go for a small pea sized amount, warm it in your hands and then apply over top of your other serums or oils. Retinol is great for our skin as we age, but this one from 100% Pure is derived from plants rather than chemicals and helps to boost cell turnover, reduce age spots and lessens lines and wrinkles. It also helps to boost collagen which helps your skin look firmer and plumper and who doesn’t want that?! I have been using this product about 3-4 times per week and at night only. This is a potent anti-aging product so if you are in your 20’s, you can use once a week to prevent aging. Above 30 you can use this 3-7 days a week. A little goes a long way! Also- don’t forget to wear sunscreen the next day as your skin is more sensitive, yes even in the winter!
Winter Skincare Tips: Oil Cleanse
Oil cleansing is another tip I have to help with dry skin in the winter. You can read about why I love doing a double cleanse here and oil cleansing at the very minimum is another good idea especially in the winter. I notice a huge difference when I use the double cleanse method or simply oil cleanse. Not only is it really great at taking off makeup, but it is also really good at helping your skin stay hydrated. It sets the tone for anything else you put on your skin after as well, so be sure not to miss this step in your skincare routine.
Winter Skincare Tips: What To Do Internally:
Now, what about all the things you can do internally to get dewy, fresh and hydrated skin year-round?
Besides checking out my eBook, “Get the Glow” you can also look at doing any of the following to help with dry winter skin.
1. Choose lukewarm water for your shower: although it may be tempting to want to turn the water on to hot, its best if you can keep it on the warmer side. Using water that is too hot can really dry your skin out even more.
2. Apply moisturizer or a body oil after your shower: when your skin is still damp, it is best to apply some kind of moisture. I personally love using body oils and recommend this one or this one. If you want a cream, I love this one.
3. Don’t forget to drink water: this is a good reminder any time of the year, but particularly in the winter as we tend to forget to hydrate with water. Herbal teas also count towards your water intake, just don’t forget to drink throughout the day to ensure you are staying hydrated.
4. Don’t forget to eat hydration rich foods: We tend to gravitate towards more raw foods in the summer and I am all for that, but we can’t forget to also include them in the winter too. You can still get lots of nutrients in your morning smoothie, just don’t use a freezing cold liquid. The top water rich foods I like to include: cucumber, celery, radish, watermelon, apples, pears, zucchini, carrots, kiwi, oranges and cantaloupes.
5. Use a DIY mask at home to help with hydration. You can find my fave DIY hydrating face mask below!
On my blog I do share affiliate links, however, I will never use an affiliate program or link to products unless I truly love the brand. I can never be paid for a positive review and do not collect a commission on any item I do not whole-heartedly love and support.
I hope you found these winter skincare tips helpful and let me know in the comments how you like to keep your skin hydrated and nourished in the winter.
As someone who identifies as an intuitive eater and a Holistic Nutritionist, I have struggled with the idea that the two cannot exist together. Can you be a healthy intuitive eater? If you are immersed in the anti-diet culture and involved in the intuitive eating space, I am sure you have come across numerous posts that talk about eating whatever you want followed by pictures of candy and anything else not labeled as “healthy.” So if I happen not to partake in a lot of this food, does that also mean that I am still immersed in diet culture in some way? I don’t think so, but it can be really confusing to talk about intuitive eating and then only show pictures of smoothie bowls, salads and healthy desserts. So can you be a healthy intuitive eater? Let’s discuss…
What is Intuitive Eating?
Let’s start with what is intuitive eating exactly. Put in the most basic way possible, it is eating foods you want to eat when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. Of course, there is much more to it than this and I would encourage you to buy the Intuitive Eating book and workbook if you want to read more about it, it really is life changing!
To me, intuitive eating is all about embracing foods, repairing your relationship to food and listening to your body, you can read more about how to eat intuitively here. For a long time, I did not know how to do this. I restricted foods, then would binge on things later, feel guilty and then start all over again. It was a vicious cycle that never seemed to get much better. When I really got into healthy foods and cooking in 2012, I fell hard! You can read about that here. When I graduated from school in 2015, I was still very much restrictive with some foods and embraced the “clean eating” industry wholeheartedly. But, after a while, I began to notice that my relationship with food was so toxic and in turn so was the relationship I had with myself. I was not eating intuitively, rather I was eating what I thought I should be eating, ticking off all the nutrition boxes but yet I was still so unsatisfied. What the hell was wrong with me, I often wondered?
Anxiety Around Food:
I experienced anxiety around food which in turn created the worst digestive issues. So, naturally I tried paleo, keto (for like a day), gluten free, grain free, sugar free and nothing worked. It seemed that no matter what I eliminated, those digestive issues were still there. It wasn’t until I repaired my relationship with food that the bloating finally stopped (and everything made me bloated prior to this). For me, all those digestive issues were directly related to my own food issues and poor self image and self worth. When I discovered intuitive eating, I truly discovered a different way to live, look at myself and yes the way I look at food too.
Embracing Intuitive Eating:
When I first embraced intuitive eating, I ate ALL THE THINGS. I can’t tell you how freeing it was to go out to a restaurant, not have to worry about what was on the menu and just order what I wanted. I was also cooking up whatever I wanted too. I still chose quality ingredients and food as those are things that are very important to me, but there was so much freedom. Truly, I’ll never go back to the way I was, EVER.
So can you be an intuitive eater and still eat healthy?
It really should be an easy answer (hint, the answer is YES!), but it is truly something that I wasn’t sure how to balance at first. Because those initial first months of IE were filled with a lot of foods that I had considered “bad” previously, I thought I would never crave a gluten free pizza again. The truth is, I still crave a lot of healthy foods. They make me feel good whereas lots of sugar doesn’t. That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever have dessert when I am out, because I do. But, generally I don’t crave them because I find them too sweet.
The other difference is that I don’t fear white sugar or bread to the point that if it was the only option, I would choose to starve rather than eat the food. I don’t fear what having sugar will do to my body. What I’ve noticed (particularly on Instagram) is that a lot of IE bloggers/nutritionists/RD’s all promote eating candy, or sweets and they often times tend to call out others for choosing not to eat these things or include them on their feed. They will often say that by only showing healthy foods or eating healthy foods that this means you are not an intuitive eater or you are orthorexic. I don’t agree with this at all. One can still choose healthy foods and be an intuitive eater. I do intuitively crave lots of healthy things like smoothies, salads and green juice. Sometimes, I crave burgers, pizza or chocolate. I don’t choose to frequent fast food places or buy a lot of processed foods because I don’t agree with them from an ethical point of view, nor do I think they taste great. I don’t fear them, I just don’t want them. This is the BIG difference!
A Healthy Intuitive Eater:
I think that I have finally found that happy balance when it comes to food, health and my relationship to it and I would happily call myself a healthy intuitive eater. If I do eat something that isn’t considered “healthy” it’s all good, I don’t think twice about it or punish myself for it by making up for it with a workout or food restriction. It just simply is. The fear that certain foods had over me is gone and I am left not stressing about how a meal is going to affect me. I know that if I am on vacation and indulge in gelato, wine and pizza its all good. I don’t stress about it, try to make up for it or feel guilty. This has taken a long time, lots of work and an incredible amount of self love and respect. It was not easy, but is anything this amazing ever really easy?
I want to know your thoughts on this? Do you identify as a healthy intuitive eater? Do you think its possible to still eat healthy and also eat intuitively?
If there is one thing I know, it’s that our relationship to food can often be defined as “it’s complicated,” and so many are searching for how to stop emotional eating. Women especially have a hard time with food, dieting and our relationship to ourselves and how we treat ourselves. It shouldn’t be surprising though, we are bombarded by societal standards of what beauty is (and isn’t) on a daily basis and we are constantly receiving messages on what/how to eat via diet culture. For all of these reasons and so many more, we can often times eat emotionally.
I recently hosted a workshop with my nutrition bestie all about how to stop emotional eating with some amazing women. What I discovered after hosting this, listening and learning from them it’s that emotional eating can happen to anyone. There are lots of reasons emotional eating can happen, but today I am going to dive deeper into three reasons it happens and how to stop emotional eating.
How to Stop Emotional Eating: Three Reasons why it Happens:
1. You believe there are “good” and “bad” foods: Diet culture is so pervasive in our society that most of the time, we don’t even hear it anymore. There are so many trendy/wellness related cleanses and detoxes that we don’t even see them as a diet anymore, they are simply a healthy lifestyle. When we subscribe to these types of beliefs, we tend to also start labeling foods as good or bad. We have a list of “bad” foods to stay away from (like sugar- especially white sugar- the devil, processed foods, white carbs/bread, gluten and dairy) just to name a few of the most popular. Then we have our good foods (such as superfoods, fruits- only low sugar ones, veggies, grains – only ones that don’t contain gluten and organic anything).
When we are following a plan of some kind (re: diet), we are “so good” but as soon as the plan is over, it is GAME OVER. Does this sound familiar? If it does, then you are familiar with emotional eating because chances are when we restrict these bad foods for so long, we in turn start craving them more and more.How to stop emotional eating? When we learn to separate morality from food and our subsequent judgment, we don’t need to fear certain foods. They no longer have control over us and we are much less likely to eat emotionally because we fear we won’t ever get to eat these foods again. I would encourage you to listen to that voice inside your head that tells you a food is good or bad. Then question that statement by asking does this really hold true? If not, then learn to let that food rule go.
2. You are currently dieting or following a diet: Much like what I alluded to above, if you are following a diet or even a lifestyle type diet, you are more prone to restriction. What often will happen with restriction after so long is subsequent bingeing on certain foods that aren’t allowed on your program/diet/plan. Dieting is no fun, I don’t care what type of plan you are following. Most of the time, these programs just don’t allow for enough calories or food in their plans. Plus if you are also following an exercise plan and reducing your food intake, your energy will also plummet. When this happens, you are much more likely to become stressed out, anxious or moody and often times in states like that we tend to overeat or eat emotionally. That may be why after you have finished a plan or even if you haven’t you binge afterwards as a reward for your “good work.” Enter the subsequent feelings of guilt and shame and you have a recipe for emotional eating.
How to stop emotional eating? When we learn to let go of dieting and diet culture and following rigid plans, we make room for a lot more in our lives. We don’t need to gorge on foods to reward ourselves or restrict others to follow a plan. We can just be. Enter intuitive eating!3. You don’t allow yourself to enjoy food: Why is that we associate rich, tasty food with words like sinful or deadly? Because for the most part, us women who grew up in the Western world, we associate pleasure from food as something that is best avoided. If it is too pleasurable, we won’t be able to stop, have the willpower to say no or control ourselves. But why do we need to have control around food in the first place? Why can’t we just enjoy food for what it is and not think anything else of it? DIET CULTURE! This is one of the reasons and that is something that we need to be aware of so that we can question and reject it.
How to stop emotional eating? When we learn to look at food from both an aesthetic, pleasurable point of view, we learn to enjoy it as is, without needing to feel guilty for eating it. If you allow yourself to enjoy every bite of cake (or whatever else) without feeling shame or guilt, you will be much less likely to develop negative feelings about yourself and subsequently overeat or eat emotionally. The next time you find yourself feeling shameful or guilty from enjoying food, challenge that feeling. Question why you feel this way and dig a little bit deeper to find out what exactly is making you feel this way.These three reasons for why you may be emotionally eating are just some of the reasons. I tend to think these are three of the biggest and also the hardest to overcome. None of these reasons are easily resolved or even identifiable some of the time because they require us to dig a little deeper and do the work. It’s not easy, but it is so worth it. I hope that this has helped to explain how to stop emotional eating and provides a starting point to start questioning food rules, diet culture and encourages you to challenge these thoughts.
I also want to offer a bit of guidance about emotional eating. It is nothing to be ashamed of, it happens to everyone! Also, sometimes, it is the best thing we can do to cope with things at the time and that is ok too. Learning to let go of your own judgments and bias you hold about yourself is also important.
Let me know in the comments if you currently find yourself struggling with emotional eating and what strategy you think can be most beneficial for you.
I really wanted to write a post with advice to my younger self to share lessons I have learned over the past 34(!!) years. Seeing as it is the new year and my birthday, I thought it would be a great time to do so. If I think back to my 20-year old self, I don’t think I would recognize her as the same person. Even if I think back only 8-10 years, I still would not be able to recognize that person. So much happened in my mid to late 20’s and it really did change my life forever. But if I had the opportunity to give advice to my younger self, I have a few things that I would like to say.
The reason I write posts like these rather than typical nutrition type blog posts is because 1) I don’t consider myself a typical nutritionist and 2) there is so much more to my life (and yours) than food and beauty products. Sharing this kind of stuff (the real stuff) is therapeutic and most important if it helps someone out there that stumbled upon my post look at things differently I am all for it. My post on why I am no longer vegan is my #1 read post (by far) and I have received such positive feedback from it, so I will continue to share stories that are deeply personal because that is the good stuff. It lights my soul up and for that I am so damn grateful.
Alright, so my 20-something year old self, who was she exactly?
She was in a committed relationship (and still is) with her rock and life partner. Relationships are hard fucking work. There is no secret and we fight and argue and disagree on a lot. That’s the honest truth. But there is also so much love there. He knows me so damn well (and vice versa) and most important, he is there for me when I need him. No matter what happens, he is there and he listens and although he drives me crazy (as I do him), he also makes me laugh at myself and tells me like it is. I need that.
She thought she knew everything about everything. Like a lot of people in their 20’s, I refused to compromise or let go of things and sometimes was pretty petty about things that didn’t really matter.
She was hella bitchy. Not all the time, but a lot of the time, she was bitchy. Mostly because she was so unhappy with herself deep down that even she didn’t realize it. She was incredibly unaware of her unhappiness (deeeeeep down in her soul) and instead took it out on those around her. Those closest to her that would basically put up with it and her moods. It was also related to her constantly trying to lose a couple pounds and subsequent binge-restrict cycles. This moodiness was directly related to the lack of quality food I consumed and that up and down blood sugar roller coaster.
She hated her body and picked apart everything. But rather than simply learning to accept things or change them (in a positive way) she instead hid those insecurities and was miserable. The ‘always starting a diet on Monday’ mentality was so real.
She rushed through life. I was always looking forward to something and never embracing the now. I was in such a hurry to get a job, start my career and buy a place of my own, I ended up rushing things.
I hope that gives a good indication of who I was. Basically, incredibly self conscious, in her own head all the time, moody and in a rush. Not the best picture, but an honest one if I do say so myself. So I had some issues, who didn’t, right?
Now, if I could pull a Back to the Future moment, I would go back in time and give this advice to my younger self.
Advice to my Younger Self:
Slow Down: Enjoy the times that don’t seem as fun because you have your whole life ahead of you. Being a go-getter is fine, but slowing down is better. Things aren’t going to be handed to you simply because you are qualified, you need to appreciate the things that don’t seem fair and work with them. You are not owed anything in life, not even the time you have on this earth, so slow down and take note of how things are right now, rather than worrying about what is coming next. The worry about what is coming next is anxiety and there are ways to deal with it rather than trying to constantly push forward.
Eat More, Worry Less: Stop reading the labels on things solely for calories. Worry less about how fattening something is and just enjoy the food without the guilt. One indulgent night of pizza is not going to ruin your whole life. You can probably eat more at times rather than waiting until you are famished and then gorging on food. That is not normal. Calories are not everything, in fact, they are nothing.
Appreciate Your Body: One day you will see that your body is amazing for all that it does. But when that day comes, it won’t be fun, because it will be too late and your mom’s body (one that she herself never appreciated) will be gone. Only then will you realize that your body is not something to fight against, starve or treat with so much hate. Work towards doing something positive for your body, tell yourself you love yourself (even if you don’t believe it).
Don’t Follow What Everyone Else is Doing: It is so easy to go the easy route in life. To get a job out of school, commute to work, buy a car, save for a house, get married and “start your life.” There is no rush, these things will come. You are here for a purpose, not to buy stuff, go to a job you hate, come home and start all over again. What works for other people may not work for you and that is OK. It is your life, so don’t be afraid to live it.
Trust Your Intuition: You know deep down that this career you have started is not feeling right. You knew this from before you accepted the position, but took it anyways. Listen to your intuition and not what anyone else is saying to do. If it doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t light you up, don’t do it. You do have a greater gift and purpose and to deny that is to deny your souls ambitions. Don’t sell yourself short on this, you will regret it later.
I know that it is easy to say all of this now, knowing what I do now and I am sure in my 40’s I will have different advice to my younger self. But I do hope that any of these lessons can help you in some way if you find you are struggling to find your purpose or passion or just feeling a little lost.
I would love to continue the conversation in the comments, so let me know what advice would you give to your younger self?
Learning how to eat intuitively has changed my life, I went from saying “I shouldn’t have ate that” to I can eat whatever I want, but it wasn’t always this way. I used to feel ALL THE GUILT that would come after eating. I thought this was what all girls and women did. My mom did it, so did aunts, cousins and friends. As I got older, I noticed pretty much all the women I knew did this to some extent, so I normalized it. Eating food that was deemed as “bad” or unhealthy was to be eaten in shame. But I did change all of this when I learned how to eat intuitively and challenged my relationship with food. I am sharing how to eat intuitively with you so you too can experience food freedom.
Before I discuss how to eat intuitively, let me take you back a little bit. When I went away to university, I felt the pressure to eat healthier in front of others because I didn’t want their shame to add to my own. So, when I was alone, I would eat ALL THE THINGS. I would sit in my dorm room and binge on chocolate or chips and then have to hide the evidence after. I felt so guilty, like I had committed some kind of crime or something.
Binge, Shame, Restrict, Repeat:
Years later when I moved out on my own (with the BF) I carried on much the same way. I was so ashamed of how I ate, I would hide things and only eat them when I was alone. I worried that he would catch me eating so much (on a binge) and would be disgusted. Surely he would, because I was so disgusted with myself. I did the same thing, hid my junk food and after eating it in one binge, I would hide the evidence in the garbage so nobody would see it. When I went vegan, things got a little easier because most of the stuff I had been eating, I couldn’t anymore. As I talked about in this post, that vegan label served as a form of protection for me as it shielded me from bingeing on foods that I deemed as “bad.” Soon after going vegan, I did discover vegan junk food and I would binge on that. My one “vice” was always Doritos so when I found a vegan version, you can bet, I stocked up on it. I would eat half a bag in one sitting, I felt like I had no control. Then after, I felt sick for eating it and would be angry with myself for not having any willpower.
What was my problem with food? Why couldn’t I just eat a handful of something and be done with it?
The truth is, I couldn’t do that because I had all these restrictions on myself. So when the opportunity to eat came up, I went completely crazy because I knew that the restriction would come again soon. This is exactly what the binge/restrict cycle is about. But I did learn how to eat intuitively and get rid of the food guilt. So how did I change this? Below, I am sharing how to eat intuitively as a short guide to help you.
How to eat intuitively:
I let go of dieting and diet culture: So when I decided to let go of my vegan label, I tried on many other labels after that. I tried paleo for a bit, grain free, high fat, keto (for like a day lol) and gluten free. It wasn’t until I really let go of all the labels that I found food freedom. I get that some people follow these types of eating styles for various reasons and I have a lot of respect for that. However, I think that personally if you have past issues with disordered eating or disordered thoughts around eating, it may not be the best idea to label your diet. It was hard to let go of all the dieting drama, I had been immersed in it since I was about 15 when I went on my first diet. Even when I had ditched dieting after going vegan, I still followed pseudo dieting (i.e. counting macros, eating only “safe” foods, paying the price for eating “bad” foods and restriction/cutting back when I had an event/vacation planned). When I came to realize that all these ideas surrounding food I had in my head were really messing with my self worth and making me second guess and judge myself, I knew that I had to ditch all dieting thoughts once and for all. This was not easy by any means. It’s so easy to get caught up in the diet culture without even knowing you are doing it and its even respected in our culture to jump on a juice cleanse before an important vacay. But once you release this guilt and shame and learn how to eat intuitively, you will find ultimate food freedom, I promise.
I no longer restricted any food: This was probably the scariest thing for me, but I am so happy I did it and went through it. I was truly petrified that when I gave up restriction and allowed myself to eat anything I wanted, I would immediately go back to my adolescent self and eat/binge all the food. I’ll admit when I first said no more restriction, I did go a little crazy with food. I gained some weight and wanted to jump back on a juice cleanse to “reset.” The thing is, I was still in my head thinking that I would restrict later on so food still had this allure and I wanted to eat all of it before I restricted again. When I truly let go of the restriction and allowed myself to eat anything I wanted, I learned that it was ok to leave food on my plate. I didn’t have to eat everything because if I wanted to, I could just eat again later. Therefore, there was truly no need to binge on anything.
I stopped weighing myself: For so long, the scale was the ultimate determinant of how small I was. It really piqued when I was vegan and I dropped some pounds and continued after that for a while too. It was so easy to see how well I was doing by how much weight I had gained/lost. I let it define who I was and it controlled me. When I finally let go of the scale and its hold on me, I was able to really find out what I valued about myself on a much deeper level. When I did gain some weight, I knew this because my clothes were fitting a bit tighter not because of the number on the scale. Gaining weight as a side effect of intuitive eating was rough I am not going to lie, but it is entirely possible to still love and respect yourself. I think I could write a whole separate blog post about this another time! I stopped tying my self worth to my dress size: Similar to above, when I did ditch the scale, I had to also learn to stop tying my self worth to a certain dress size. I was always a size 0-2, then I jumped to a 4-6 and I had to accept and love my body through all of it. Yeah, at first, not fitting into any of my old clothes was depressing to me, but rather than restrict/diet all over again, I went out and bought new clothes. I used to think that if I did this, it would mean I gave up, but instead it meant to me that I loved and respected myself no matter what. I needed to feel comfortable in what I was wearing and if that meant a bigger size of jeans, then so be it. I allowed myself to go through this period and yes, I had bad days where I did get hung up on the numbers but I also showed myself love and respect. My value as a human is not made better the smaller I am.
I learned to listen to my body and my hunger: This was probably the one thing that really made the biggest difference in going from guilt and learning how to eat intuitively. I learned how to slow down when I was eating so that I wouldn’t eat too quickly without realizing I was actually full. Its funny, the hungrier you are when you eat, the more you tend to eat. However, when you eat when you are moderately hungry (and not starving) you don’t need to binge on food. I also learned how to ask myself what it was I truly was hungry for and didn’t judge myself for eating any of it.
“My value as a human is not made better the smaller I am.”
How to Eat Intuitively: Your body will Know
I know that it can seem scary to allow yourself to eat anything you want because you think you will eat nothing but pizza and chips, but trust me your body will eventually get tired of those too. You can’t survive off of chips and chocolate forever, your body will naturally want different foods. Just like your body will naturally want to move and be active without you needing to force it. I hope that me sharing my story about how to eat intuitively serves to show you that it doesn’t need to be scary to let yourself feel free around food. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
I hope my how to eat intuitively post was helpful for you and made intuitive eating a bit more real. Share with me in the comments if you currently suffer from shame and guilt around foods or if you have learned to eat and live more intuitively.
If you are local to the Toronto area, join me for an upcoming in-person 3-series workshop happening in January 2018. Each workshop is centred around mindful/intuitive eating, self love and balancing your blood sugar.