You’re not doing intuitive eating wrong by eating fruits and vegetables.
As the only eating disorder dietitian in the state of WV, a lot of times people come to me asking questions about eating disorder recovery, as well as intuitive eating. Recently, I’ve had a couple people who promote intuitive eating reach out to me and ask me if they were doing something wrong because they were promoting nutrition on their social media account.
My answer? Heck no.
In fact, there is a whole principle in the ten principles of intuitive eating devoted to nutrition. Honor your health through gentle nutrition.
“Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.”
However, that principle is #10 out of 10 principles of intuitive eating. Why is that? Because a lot of work has to be done on the journey of intuitive eating. If someone is focused on nutrition throughout their journey they can’t possibly make peace with food. That’s not to underplay the importance of nutrition.
Fruits and vegetables are good for us- they are full of antioxidants, fiber, and full of vitamins and minerals. They are also very tasty. However, it’s when we get super focused on eating fruits and vegetables ALL the time that there becomes a problem. Ex: You must eat 2,000 servings of vegetables in a week. That’s just not the truth. Your body knows what you need when you need it. Our bodies are just that smart and it’s pretty fascinating how they were made (Hello God! )
As you journey your way through intuitive eating you may eat the same things for a while because you never were allowed to have them before. One of my clients for example was on a low carb diet and she could not eat bananas on her low carb diet. One of her first steps on her intuitive eating journey was to introduce bananas back in her diet. She did and there for a while she wanted bananas every day. However, there came a time that she no longer wanted bananas because she knew she could have them all the time. That’s a really simple example that I often use with patients/clients. Now that she is farther along on her journey, we have approached the gentle approach to nutrition and focused more on adding other fruits/veggies. However, you cannot skip all of the other steps and go to this step. That would be super harmful.
So what am I getting at? Fruits and vegetables are important, but so is your mental health. Don’t fill up your brain space with how many fruits and vegetables and eating the “purest” food possible. There is so much more to life than that.
I’ve recently seen a lot on social media accounts promoting “monochromatic” meals. There is nothing wrong with that. I, too, lately have made some monochromatic meals because life gets crazy but you still need to eat. I see you chicken, rice, and squash meal from Thursday evening.
However, I did not to point out that there is nothing wrong with adding some color to that plate. In fact, I encourage eating a wide variety of foods. I love a colorful looking plate. However, if you are eating that plain bland colored meal, kudos to you too because that is fine. Your body knows what do do with it.
As a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Therapist, I respect other providers and respect that we are all on our own journey. No path is the same. However, I believe that we should still all be friends. I would be lying if I said some days I log onto social media and want to sing the song “Why Can’t We Be Friends” because sometimes I feel that intuitive eating can be discriminating against others who aren’t there yet.
Show grace. Show compassion. Do good. Always believe that we are all on our own journey and trying to do the best we can.