This review was last edited on August 26th. I don’t know why it was such a long road to get here, but for those of my CBR pals who also have taken five-ever to review a book, you are not alone! So, here I go, nearly a month later, imma REVIEW THE HECK OUTTA THIS BOOK.
Ahem. As I was saying. This book is probably not a typical one you’ll see in the bingo category for “science” but the science of nutrition and food is a) real b) confusing c)constantly evolving. Exhibit A: Eggs. Eggs were good, then bad, now good again? Or maybe bad? HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW?! I started teaching myself to cook the summer before my senior year of college. A few years later during grad school, I really dug in and started to think more critically about what I was eating. Let’s get one thing straight: I LOVE FOOD. The adage about “those that eat to live or those that live to eat?” I’m a “live to eat” gal. I don’t like chain restaurants, I like authentic cuisine, and I like trying new things.
Um, I am going to talk about a book, promise, just stick with me.
I have said for the past few years that my food philosophy is “mostly healthy” meaning I try to eat healthy most of the time, buuut I mean I’m going to eat bacon. Because bacon is awesome. And cheese. Because cheese completes me. But somewhere in the past few years I’ve swung the pendulum in the other direction. I’ve heard myself say, “Oh, I like pasta. But I don’t eat it.” Or I’ve spent far too long debating on whether I could eat a cookie. I didn’t like what my relationship with food had become: a bit of an obsession, micro calculations about what I “should” eat, based on what I ate earlier in the day. In addition, I was concerned about what my perspective was teaching my stepson. So, I went searching for a new way to think, a way to reboot my mentality, and that is where the Intuitive Eating book/method came into my life.
The book was written by the pioneers of intuitive eating, and it isn’t a flashy new idea: it was published in 2003. Regarding a rating, I gave them a 4, but if I could be more granular, it would be a four for content but a 3 for the book. Let’s just say, it reads like it was written in the early 2000s and is charmingly dated in some places. Also, I definitely did skimming in places where the material was less relevant to me: I haven’t done a ton of diets and I have not struggled with an eating disorder, so some of those passages just weren’t for me.
Essentially, intuitive eating is all about having a good relationship with food, and listening to your body and eating what your body needs.. So, for example, in the past, if I was hungry at 8 pm I wouldn’t eat because “I shouldn’t eat after dinner.” Why? Why is this a rule I followed? Who knows. Now I am unlearning boxes I’ve made for myself and really enjoying food more. It also means that at work, where we often have sweet treats around, I am actually thinking about whether I want a cookie (before just mindlessly eating it), and if I do, I eat it and go about my day. I don’t eat it and then lament eating it. Because guess what? COOKIES ARE GOOD Y’ALL.
Caveat: I must recognize that being able to go on this kind of journey of personal exploration, and being able to choose a “food philosophy” is PRIVILEGED AS HECK. I don’t live in a food desert, I have the means to buy whatever food I want to eat. This method/process isn’t for everybody, but this concept really makes sense to me. Because if I want a cookie, and I don’t eat a cookie, then I am obsessing about cookies and then, definitely within that week, I’m going to eat waaaay more cookies. Because that’s how deprivation works.
This has really made me, in small ways, happier. I’ve relaxed about food and can enjoy things more. One final takeaway I had is to modify language around “junk” food. My kiddo had a phase where he was asking if something was “good for you” or “bad for you” and we would usually give him the “all things in moderation angle” but what does calling something “junk” really say to him? Instead, I’ve adopted what the book uses and refer to things as “play” food. It’s tasty, it’s a treat, but it isn’t “junk” because all things in moderation. It’s a small, some would say pedantic, tweak, but again, its made a difference for me.
Principles of Intuitive Eating
- Reject the Diet Mentality
- Honor Your Hunger
- Make Peace with Food
- Challenge the Food Police
- Respect Your Fullness
- Discover the Satisfaction Factor
- Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
- Respect Your Body
- Exercise—Feel the Difference
- Honor Your Healt