By Eva Wexler, NLC
What does intuition have to do with nutrition? It all starts with listening to your own body.
While being on a ketogenic diet may be superb for you, it may not be for your BFF. Our bodies are unique, so when we tap into what our individual bodies need rather than following the new “it” fad, we’re able to eat and live healthier in a much more effective way.
Here’s how I came to figure this out in my own life.
Intuition and Diet: Breakfast Lessons
I was born and raised in Taiwan, where breakfast was generally a bowl of Congee (soupy rice) with assorted condiments like chili bamboo shoots, pickled cucumbers, and cabbage. When I moved to this country during childhood, my parents would take me to the local diner or a pancake house for breakfast, and I was appalled by what I saw: Heaping piles of pancakes with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and bacon served on plates that were practically larger than me. Even cereal with whole milk rather than soy milk confused me.
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Eventually, as I became more acclimated to the American way of life, I deviated from my roots and started to adapt a more American diet. I wasn’t following what my body was telling me that it craved—rice porridge with veggies. Instead, I was fitting myself into the new society and doing what everyone else did. Hey, when in Rome, right?
After consuming dairy, meat, and greasy foods, I would get so tired, lethargic, and bloated. When we don’t listen to our bodies, we pay the price for it.
Another example: coffee. I never liked the taste of it, but when I reached adulthood, I picked up the habit. It was the “grownup” thing to do, to start your day with that cup of coffee so that you can conquer the world. I would drink coffee with milk and sugar because I saw everyone else doing it, and I couldn’t even stand the taste of milk. I happen to be one of those people who goes into caffeine overdrive with just one cup, but I didn’t stop even though my body was practically screaming me for to cut it out. I wound up developing a bleeding ulcer because of the coffee. Even after the incident, I refused to give it up. It was what worked for everyone else in the morning, so at some point, it would work for me, right?
It wasn’t until I developed a morning routine of drinking warm lemon water first thing upon waking up that I managed to cut coffee out completely, and now my body thanks me by not being so jittery all of the time, along with my heart not beating a million times a minute.
The same thinking applies to exercise, too. I used to weight train, but when I switched over to yoga, I started to get into much better mental and physical shape, because it was what my body needed in order to be functioning at its fullest potential. Or even walking—I don’t run because my body overheats easily, and I wind up sweating like a pig. Runners are constantly coming up to me encouraging me to try it out. I have, and it didn’t work for me.
Intuition and Diet: How to Find What Works For You
Now, you may be thinking that it’s absolutely disgusting to have some kind of rice soup with veggies for breakfast. Or maybe you’re not a breakfast person at all. Or you would rather die than to skip that cup of Joe. And that’s my point exactly.
There’s no one-size-fits-all with diets. What your body is telling you it needs to flourish and thrive might be the complete opposite of what my body needs. We’re all vastly different. We don’t all wear the same clothing, so why should we all adhere to the same diet?
All you need to do is listen to what your body needs, and your entire perspective and experience of nutrition will change.
A food journal is the easiest way to get started. Try it out for one week. Write down every meal, along with how it makes you feel afterwards. If you feel energized and rejuvenated after steak and potatoes, that’s great because that’s what works for you. If you feel heavy and tired after a soy latte, then maybe that’s something you have to cut out of your diet eventually.
But then, how do we deal with our minds craving certain foods that don’t make us feel good? Take a step back and reflect on why you may want food your body is telling you to eat. Sometimes, we’re looking for nourishment in the wrong place because of a psychological issue.
For instance, junk food was never kept in my house growing up. Once I moved out of my parents’ home, I would buy chips, pretzels, and ice cream…anything that wasn’t healthy became my diet. For me, it was an act of defiance towards my mother. I wanted to take control of my own life rather than allowing my mother to control what I did and how I lived. But my body didn’t really want those foods; my mind was playing tricks on me.
This doesn’t mean that we have to deprive ourselves. Personally, I don’t eat too much meat because I get tired and have a heavy feeling afterwards. However, once in a blue moon, my body is craving a steak, so I’ll eat a small portion of it. It’s just about finding what works for you day to day. Explore and experiment with different foods and seasonings, and you’ll find what works for you.
In time, your intuition will guide your diet and will lead to you to the individual Nutritious Life that you deserve.
Eva Wexler, NLC, was influenced by Buddhism from a young age, and through her own struggles, she transformed her learnings into a lifestyle. When she witnessed the transformation of her own life, she knew that she had to pay it forward. She has since embarked on a path of aiding others in healing mind, body, and soul through emotional, physical, and psychological nutrition. For more information about Eva’s services contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cleencarma.com. You can also follow her on Instagram at @cleencarma and on Pinterest at @cleencarma.
(Photos: Shutterstock, Eva Wexler)