A Beginner’s Guide to Intuitive Eating

Stop crash dieting and restricting yourself and start listening to your body, instead. An intuitive eating coach shows you how.
preparing vegetables

Long before there were food trends and crash diets, human beings lived off the land. Foraging and gathering food, letting nature and their inner wisdom guide them.

Oh, if they could see us now.

How did we arrive at this place where we are constantly looking to outside “experts” to tell us what would feel good for our individual and unique body? There are some very cool research projects in the area of nutritional science, don’t get me wrong. But by and large, the best expert and guide to what you should be eating on a daily basis is YOU!

Yes, that’s right my friends. Each one of us is equipped with a software system that is uniquely our own – our intuition or inner wisdom. When we feed our bodies properly, as in actual food (like living plants), this system can alert us to our body’s deepest cravings, ones that are actually nutritionally and energetically based.

So how do you start to hear the whispers of this guide? And turn up the volume so that food decisions become fun, easy, and long-lasting habits?

Here are three easy ways you can access your own inner wisdom and start eating more intuitively.

1. Drink More Water

Often when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty. But filling up on non-water beverages won’t help you get aligned with your intuitive eating.

So many of us swig back large sodas and coffees on a regular basis, and not nearly enough plain old water. Yes, these drinks may taste amazing and you may think that they quench your thirst, but their effects can be detrimental and long-lasting, even after the last sip has been taken.

Take coffee, for example.

It can be incredibly dehydrating, disruptive to your digestion, and acid-forming in the body. Coffee can have unpleasant side effects like coffee breath, discolored teeth, afternoon shakes, and withdrawal headaches. Sound like drug side-effects? Caffeine is considered by some to be a legal drug.

Coffee can wreak havoc on our energetic bodies. Sort of perplexing when most of us reach for it to increase energy, to begin with.

Soda is another health and energy offender. Not only is it very high in sugar, but soda also is a source of other undesirable things, such as artificial flavor, food coloring, and highly processed corn by-products.

These substances throw our taste buds out of whack and ultimately cause us to crave more processed and packaged foods. Why? Because they feed the microbiome that keeps us craving more sugar and more processed foods. This is a HUGE disruptor in accessing that inner voice that will help you crave the right things.

If you want to get in touch with own inner voice of guidance, staying hydrated is important. Drink plenty of water, and ditch the sodas and coffee drinks that can interrupt your body’s intuition.

2. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is so important to help your body understand that a meal is coming, and ultimately that your body is being fed. How many times have you inhaled a snack while driving and then all but forgotten that you ate by the time you’ve arrived at your destination?

Next time you sit down to a meal, take a moment to observe your plate.

Are there an abundance of colors to enjoy?

Are you excited to dive in?

Are you fully present or are there distractions, such as work or tv?

Take your time chewing, sit down while you eat, and be fully present in the experience.

3. Focus on the Positive

Diets don’t last. We all know this. Telling yourself that you can’t have this or that food feels restrictive and impossible to sustain.

Focus on all the good that you’re doing, not on the restrictive energy that “cutting out soda” can bring to your mindset. Instead, say that you’re now “drinking more water,” or “choosing herbal tea or sparkling water.”

These small shifts in mindset go a long way in creating a reality that feels positive and supportive, rather than restrictive and unsustainable.

“What Should I Eat?”

Intuitive eating is all about letting your body and inner wisdom guide you through your food choices.

It’s not a diet with rules and restrictive guidelines that tell you that one food is good and another is bad. It’s letting your body tell you what it wants, rather than listening to someone else tell you what to eat.

Some days you might be content and quite happy to be totally plant-based. Other days, you might feel like your body and energy would be best supported with animal protein, eggs, or dairy. You may notice that cold weather has you craving more nut butters and warm hearty foods.

In contrast, hot summer days may have you longing for salads and refreshing fruit smoothies to help keep you cool.

That’s intuitive eating.

As a professional plant-based chef, I would personally love to see everyone arrive at a plant-based diet. But, as an intuitive eating coach, I understand that 100% plant-based may not be realistic or the best choice for their unique health, or bio-individuality.

And that’s okay.

We all hold the power to make the best decisions when it comes to our food, but it takes a little leg work to be able to hear what our body is asking for. Be patient, graceful, and mindful. Sustainable change takes time, but it is well worth it to live in a body that is empowered to make its own choices about the kinds of fuel it needs.

Chef Lauren D'Agostino
Chef Lauren D'Agostino creates, cooks, and serves all things plant-based and high-vibe. Her virtual cooking courses and plant-based transitions coaching offers non-judgmental support for hungry people who are overwhelmed by the idea of going plant-based or vegan. Learn the what, why, and how of beginning your plant-based journey by visiting laurendagostino.com/transform