Blog Action Day – #Food #BAD11

Today is Blog Action Day, a day where bloggers, not surprisingly, take action. They take action, not surprisingly, by blogging, but on this particular day they all blog about the same topic, thus calling attention to said topic. This year’s topic is “Food.”

From the Blog Action Day website:

This year Blog Action Day coincides with World Food Day, a time that focuses the world’s attention on food, something we all have in common.

There is so much to say about food.

We use food to mark times of celebration and sorrow. Lack of access to food causes devastating famines, whilst too much is causing a generation of new health problems. It can cost the world, or be too cheap for farmers to make a living.

The way we companies produce food and drinks can provide important jobs for communities or be completely destructive to habitats and local food producers. Food can give us energy to get through the day or contain ingredients that gives us allergic reactions.

Food can cooked by highly skilled chefs with inventive flair, or mass produced and delivered with speed at the side of road. It can be incredibly healthy or complete junk and bad for your health. It can taste delicious or be a locals only delicacy.

Food is important to our culture, identity and daily sustenance and the team at Blog Action invite you to join us to talk about food.

Now, I blog about food all the time – it comes with the territory when one is both a foodie and a nutritional scientist – so I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out what I should blog about today. And then I remembered that I’ve been meaning to blog about a book that I read that changed the whole way that I think about food and eating. It’s called “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch and you should totally read it. Here’s why.

Intuitive Eating Book

First of all, this book is written by two registered dietitians – R.D. being the protected title for those who have gone through a rigorous post-secondary program and internship in nutrition, food, and eating1 – and these two R.D.s happen to have many years of experience working with people and through that experience have learned a lot about people’s relationships with food. Second, unlike “diet books” (think Atkins, the Zone, the blood type diet, etc.), this book doesn’t promise a quick fix. Because there is no quick fix when it comes to nutrition. It doesn’t promise you that you’ll lose 20 lbs in a week while eating copious amounts of every food you ever wanted to eat – because that’s just not how bodies work. So, right away this book is different than a lot of others on the market that purport to be about nutrition. OK, now that I’ve told you what the book is *not* about, let’s look at what it *is* about.

Key Take Home Messages From This Book

  • Essentially, this book is about mindfulness brought to eating. When we are born, we eat when we are hungry and stop eating when we are full. Somewhere along the way, we develop messed up relationships with food and eating and lose our ability to respond to hunger and satiety cues. The simple act of paying attention to what we eat while we eat it goes a long way to preventing us from over eating.
  • The idea of “dieting” is all about deprivation. But you can only deprive yourself for so long before you lose it and scarf down an entire cake! The worst part of this is that you don’t even get to enjoy that cake you are eating because you are shovelling it into your face so fast in response to having deprived yourself. And then you feel guilty about having “failed” – and not recognizing that “dieting” is just setting yourself up for failture.
  • There’s no need to deny yourself the things you like to eat – but there’s also no need to eat copious amounts of them either. I mean, think about it: have you ever had a lovely meal or a scrumptious dessert in front of you and you wolfed it down so quickly that, afterwards, you realized that you barely even tasted it? Or finished off a giant bag of Doritoes in front of the television without even really being aware that you were eating them? If you actually make a conscious decision to eat, say, some chocolate mousse, wouldn’t it be better to be present in the moment, paying attention to the taste and the mouthfeel, savouring each spoonful, than to down the whole thing in 5 seconds, not really tasting it at all?
  • Eating “everything on your plate” when you aren’t actually hungry is just as wasteful as throwing it out. A lot of people were raised to “eat everything on your plate” because to do otherwise means you are wasting food. But eating more food that your body needs, eating past the point where you are satisfied – you are still “wasting” it, but instead of it going into the garbage or the compost, it’s just adding unnecessary weight onto your body.
  • Do you really need to lose that “last 10 lbs,” or are you already pretty awesome as you are? This is probably the hardest part of the book for many people. We tend to focus on what we see as our physical “imperfections” – things like, “my thighs are too fat,” rather than “my legs get me around, let me go for a walk, let me run, or play hockey” or whatever else it is that you do. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being fit, with striving to run fast or be stronger. But is dieting to get rid of those “last 10 lbs” really going to make you happy? Or would that effort be better expended on being happy with who you are?
Reading this book really had changed the way I think about food and eating. I feel I have a much healthier relationship with food, just by being more mindful of what, how and when I eat. I no longer scarf down my meals like there is no tomorrow. I no longer agonize over eating particular foods – I just ask myself “Do you really want to eat that, or are you eating just because it’s there?” Sometimes I think, “No, I don’t actually want that junky food, because I know that when I finish it, I’ll remember that it doesn’t actually taste that good. But if I really want to eat it, I do. But I don’t eat crazy amounts – just savouring a few bites is usually all I need to satisfy me. And I really feel that I’m much healthier and happier because of it.
Of course, all this is just my take on the book. You really should read it yourself.

As per usual, I have no affiliation with this book or these authors. I don’t get any money if you buy the book – in fact, I got it from the library myself. But I really do think everyone could benefit from reading it@

  1. As opposed to “nutritionist,” which pretty much anyone can call themselves. []

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