Posts tagged intuitive eating
Relationship with Food Series Part 5: Emotional Eating, Self Soothing and Meeting the Change Triangle

We’re back with part 5 of our relationship with food series, and today I’ll be sharing some amazing resources that will be so helpful on your journey to a better place with food, especially when it comes to emotional eating. We’ll be talking about how normal it is to see food as part of our coping tools (eating for reasons other than hunger is a part of normal eating and emotions play a part in this), and what can help when it has become the only coping tool. I’ll share a resource that has been enormously helpful in understanding emotions and anxiety, and we’ll talk about how there isn’t just one side of us running the show when it comes to our eating, and how we can begin to nourish the different sides of us, with and without food.

It’s not uncommon that from a very early age, those of us who have had a hard time dealing with difficult emotions, have also found our way to using food as a coping mechanism. For many of us food was associated with early rewards, or it was used to help us deal with tough emotions such as sadness, grief, anxiety or worry. For some of us the restriction of food was used as punishment, or perhaps fun foods were only permitted when we had been “good”. For some of us (myself included), food became a great way to momentarily escape situations we were not prepared to face or weren’t old enough to face. For many of us it was the way family members showed love and affection, for others it was a door to a calm space, away from difficult circumstances. For some food was where you turned to when you’d had a bad day, or perhaps it was the way your culture expressed its sense of community and enjoyment. Whatever our origin, most of us have learned from pretty early on that food is a point of connection, of celebration, of reward, and it can be a way to cope with difficult situations or emotions.

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Relationship with Food Series Part 4: Saying Goodbye to Restriction + What Do you Like to Eat?

We’re back with part 4 of our relationship with food series in which we’re going to dive in a bit deeper into the role restriction can play in our relationship with food, how saying goodbye to restriction might be a huge help, and how being vegan, or making other dietary choices for ethics, religious beliefs, etc., fits into this.

As you know, in this series of shorter episodes and posts I’m guiding you through a little journey towards the resources, tools and general mindset we can access to help us improve our relationship with food. For me it was a journey of many ups and downs, navigating emotional eating, overeating, occasional binges, and even more frequent dieting and restricting. Then came an over-obsession on eating “healthy”, “clean” and “pure” foods. It took me a long time to find the resources and amazing experts that would finally give me the tools that helped, but my hope is that I can be here to present them to you, so that you can go through this process with the guiding hand of the incredible pros and qualified experts that helped me so much.

The Pitcher of Water

When I got started on my journey, through all the different steps and stages I’ve been telling you about in this series, I soon realized that restricting foods was like a pitcher of water that was holding me inside. It gave me the false sense that my issues with food were contained and under control. The thing is though, that restriction and dieting are also like a water tap that can’t be turned off, countless rules and regulations that keep getting piled up on top of each other until you can’t hold them any longer. Eventually, there’s just too much water in the pitcher and it overflows and makes a mess in the kitchen.

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Relationship with Food Series Part 3: Seeing our Food and Body Image Struggles Collide

Last week in our relationship with food series we talked about the importance of safely, and from a distance, going on a little exploration journey. I asked you to look back at some of your stories and personal history with food to learn from it and view it with as much kindness as you could muster. For me, the first step in improving my relationship with food was taking an honest look at where I was with food, acknowledging that I was struggling and where that struggle was actually coming from. The very next step was taking inventory. I had to look back at my history with food and all the damage that going on endless diets had done, understanding that so many of my struggles with overeating and emotional eating came from this self-imposed restriction and focus on control and perfectionism. Soon after going on this little self discovery journey, it was time for me to see a different side of the equation, and it’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Body image was what was usually behind many of my habits with food and exercise and yet it was so incredibly difficult for me to see. So much of my focus was on healing what I considered to be my only problem: I would sit down to eat and paid no attention to my body’s cues, I would overeat until the point in which I was severely uncomfortable, and I would emotionally eat using food as my only coping tool to deal with difficult emotions. Just as I hadn’t seen the negative role restriction had played in my relationship with food, I would only see food as the culprit, food as the problem, food as my nemesis, food as something I needed to gain control over.

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Relationship with Food Series Part 2: Riding our Bikes Through our Food Stories

I’m so excited to bring you part 2 of our relationship with food series. Last week we talked about getting started on this journey by digging in deep, and noticing where were are when it comes to our relationship with food. I shared what really changed when I decided to look into these issues, and I talked about how every year this is a process of self discovery in which I get to see different sides to it and I continue to heal and make peace with food.

Today’s topic will be a bit shorter than last week’s because most of the work is going to be done by you, at home. Yes, there will be a bit of homework for you, as we’ll probably have in most of the episodes and posts in this series.

One fun little fact about the topic at hand today is that my whole process of healing my relationship with food began with looking into my food stories to share them with you. It was all in an old blog I used to have, and sadly I hadn’t realized (and wouldn’t realize for a while), that those stories were going to mark the beginning of a journey for me.

In fact when I dug into these stories the first time, I could only see the instances in which I was overeating, emotionally eating, sometimes bingeing, and was looking through them as a way to find how on Earth I was going to restrict and eliminate those behaviors through weight loss attempts. I had not yet seen what I told you about last week, that my stories of restricting foods and dieting had been the source of the problem, yet I had ignored them and focused on what I thought the “bad” habits with food were. I hadn’t seen what I know now, that my past history with dieting and restriction had been the cause, not the aftermath of so many of my issues with food. Back then I also hadn’t seen how my stories with body image and feelings toward my body had in many cases preceded my efforts to diet and restrict.

This is why looking at our stories with food and body image, exercise, dieting, emotional eating, etc., are so important when it comes to healing our relationship with food. It’s why today I’m going to ask you to get on a bike and ride next to your food stories and see what you discover.

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Relationship with Food Series Part 1: Acceptance of Who We are and Where We are

As promised a few weeks ago, we’re about to embark upon an adventure through our food stories, exploring our relationship with food. It took me a while to understand that in my own journey with food and cooking, there was another side to my interest in preparing delicious meals. I became a student of cooking when I was around 15 or 16, when I would gobble up all the cooking shows, and watched my uncle (the best cook I’ve ever known) deglaze pans to make elegant French sauces without any pretentious vibes whatsoever. I would study his techniques on everything from making a simple sandwich to the perfect artichokes with hollandaise sauce. I became obsessed. I began collecting recipes, filling up notebook after notebook as I watched The Food Network and when I finally found my chance (especially after I had Carlos to charm and impress), and started spending every bit of free time in the kitchen. What I didn’t know back then was that this thirst for culinary knowledge was also my way of dealing with something I wasn’t aware of at the time: my relationship with food had been tumultuous, it was in pain, and it needed a little support and help. Looking back I know that my interest in food was my way of looking into my relationship with food “without looking into it”, but thank goodness there came a day in which I couldn’t avoid shining a spotlight on it any longer. That was the day things really started to change.

As you probably know if you’re one of our My Brownble members, or you’ve taken any of our cooking courses, my interest in food and cooking never went away, and it’s still one of my favorite parts of the day, but along with developing the skills for tossing onions in a skillet, this has gone hand in hand with looking into and healing my relationship with food. It’s why neither side of this equation is ever missing in our content. One goes along for the ride with the other. We can’t talk about food and cooking without inherently dealing with our relationship with food, and we can’t talk about our relationship with food without talking about the act of eating and the food itself.

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Mini Q & A!: Thoughts on Whole Foods vs Processed Foods, and Vegan Companies Owned by Non-Vegan Ones

We haven’t had a Q&A episode in such a long time! Our last one was to celebrate our 100th episode in The Brownble Podcast (part 1 and part 2), and since you’ve sent me so many questions I’d thought I’d settle down in front of the mic and answer them as best as I can, sharing any additional resources that might help you on your journey.

Since I love having Q&A’s that are as fluid, casual and friendly as a fun conversation with a friend, today we won’t be having the traditional written version of this episode, but I invite you to grab a cup of coffee, get comfy on the couch and listen in.

I’ll be answering a very popular question I see come up again and again in vegan circles: Should we be buying vegan products from brands that aren’t vegan, or from companies that have been bought by non-vegan companies? I’ll also discuss a question one of our darling Sams sent our way, which is related to whole foods vs. processed foods, and some of the specific vegan dietary trends or philosophies that restrict veganism further than excluding meat dairy and eggs.

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Labels

Today in our little words series we’re tackling the topic of labels. If you’ve been a reader or a listener of our podcast before, you know we’ve discussed labels (especially as it pertains to veganism and perfectionism) many times. Today though, we’re looking at labels from a wider lens as we’ve just done with patience, excess, change and fear. The idea behind this series is that we use these little words as motivation or mantras to help us on our journey to improving our relationship with food, on our vegan journey, our body image journey, and our general sense of wellness, so things go back to being simple and we are a bit more self aware.

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we use labels on ourselves and place them on others on a regular basis. This can go from the very simple act of referring to ourselves or others as athletic or lazy, as introverts or extroverts, as annoying, smart, nerdy or busybodies, when we say we’re vegan, vegetarian, omnivores or pescatarians, and all the way up to labels that are deeply rooted in society and intertwined with identity, such as being a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or a part of other belief systems or religions. We have labels for sexual orientations, labels for personality traits, labels for our political views, and of course, labels for the way we eat.

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Change

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying writing these episodes in which we’re using little one word mantras to discuss a topic that will inspire and motivate us. Every time I sit down to write a post and episode I get pulled in a million directions, noticing how a simple word can have such a powerful and strong meaning depending on what angle the spotlight hits it. One of these little words that has a powerful meaning for me is “change”. Change can be seen from so many perspectives. From the desire and strength we have when creating changes in our lives (whether that’s quitting smoking, quitting a toxic relationship, changing the way we eat, incorporating more movement throughout the day, etc.), to looking back with insightful eyes at the things we’ve changed and the people we’ve become.

We can look at change from the perspective of what it will take to create it in the world we live in. We can see it happening in children with growth spurts in just weeks. We can see it through the eyes of that “always 20 year old on the inside” staring into the mirror through wrinkled eyes that mark the passing of time. We can see it by looking at the wonderful advances in technology, in societal points of view on social justice issues, and also the long journey ahead to change things even more, for the better.

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