Nutrition for ME

Guest Contributor: Brittany Lavery, OTS

How Should I Eat?

It is not easy to know what, when, and how much to eat. Often people don’t even think about food as they consume it. Social media, parents, and even friends can influence the nutrition that enters our bodies. Food is important for determining how well we run, think, feel, and sleep. For something that plays such an important role it is vital that we learn what is best for “me”.

Intuitive eating is a unique outlook on nutrition that is becoming popular. The purpose of intuitive eating is to let the individual decide what food is best for them without labeling it as “good food” or “bad food.” Tracy Tylka (2013), the founder of intuitive eating, shares the principles of reflective eating.

Tracy defines three categories for mindful eating: unconditional permission to eat, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, and reliance on hunger cues to know when to eat. Unconditional permission to eat means willingness to eat without labelling foods as “good” or “bad” or trying to not eat when hungry. Eating can be a comfort when stressed, sad, or lonely but can create unhealthy patterns. It is important to rely on the body’s cues to know when to eat and when to stop. Those who ate intuitively were more optimistic, felt better about their life, had a higher self-esteem, and were more aware of their emotions (Tracy, 2013).

Eat the Rainbow

Now that we know what intuitive eating is, what is there to eat? Eat the rainbow… no, not Skittles. The American Heart Association says to eat a variety of colorful foods every day. Red, pink, blue, purple, yellow, orange, white, and green are recommended colors. That being said…Cheetos and Mountain Dew are colorful but can make you feel sluggish, tired, and don’t help you perform to the best of your ability. It would be like putting regular gas in a diesel engine. One time might not destroy the engine, but diesel engines would cease to function eventually if they are supplied with fuel that isn’t as clean as diesel fuel.

Instead, try to eat real foods such as apples, peppers, cherries, tomatoes, watermelon, rhubarb, radishes, potatoes, blackberries, eggplants, plums, peas, watercress, zucchini, bananas, parsnips, squash, etc. Eating a colorful meal is fun and adventurous. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that allow you to try new things and add variety to everyday meals.