Tag Archives: Food

‘Normal’ Eating

2 Jul

Have you ever wondered what ‘normal‘ eating is?  Yeah.  Me too.

This question comes to my mind a lot both as yoga teacher and as an advocate for eating disorder recovery.  What is ‘normal’ eating?  What is nourishment?  Can eating and nourishment be (de)coupled?

Registered dietitian Ellyn Satter is quoted in the NYtimes for her definition of normal eating.  Below are some exerts:

  • Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied.
  • Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food.
  • It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful.
  • Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating.
  • Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life

I appreciate these.  There is not a carb or -ism or rule to be found.

And, yet, is it really THAT simple?

Is ‘normal’ eating really about listening to our needs in the moment and honoring them with compassion?  The yoga of eating if you will…  (<—READ IT! :P)

Having spent time investigating my own nutrient needs (in good times and bad), I’m quite certain that there no STANDARD PRESCRIPTIVE DIET for ‘normal’ eating.  But, what does exist is a ‘normal,’ or better said, nourishing eating for every individual person.

Because my needs (raspberries please!) are uniquely my own, what is normal to me most certainly will not look or feel normal to you.  

And, why should they?!  


We can practice making nourishing choices in our daily diets and then ‘normal’-ize these choices.  

The question then begs:  How do you find your nourishing choices?  What do you listen to?  And, how do these choices manifest in your (normal) eating?

Let me know!

You eat WHAT?!

12 Mar

Warning:  RANT ahead

Okay friends…  I tried to avoid this.  I tried to witness it.  I tried to be compassionate.  (I still am!).  Then, I remembered, I have something to offer too.  And, the right responsibility to offer it.  As a humane being…

I challenged people (and myself) recently to be conscious of there ‘food talk’, in conjunction with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

How’d you do?

I thought that this was a lovely way to (sidestep?) the address the prejudice and judgment imbued in chatter around food choices.


SERIOUSLY.  You just had an opinion about an ecard didn’t you?!

How is this okay?!!!  Food is food.  It is an individual(‘s) choice.  And, it should be judgment free.

Can we market that alongside all the other ‘frees’ please!? 😛

In time, as one connects with one’s body, the body will have an opinion!  Trust me.

Then YOU– yes YOU get to make a choice.  You can choose how YOU fuel your LIVING body.  It’s your choice!  (Not mine.  Not hers.  Not a magazines…)  Frankly, I shouldn’t have a say.  And, if you are confused or struggling, there are professionals for that.  And, of course, there is YOU :)!

Make the NEXT right choice.

What gets worse though, is how quick we are to forget that some people do not even get to have a choice.  Hunger is real.  So is disorder and disease.  So are food stamps and government subsides.  I often hear (and don’t speak up enough!) people laugh and mock processed meat products and supplements, but for MANY this is dinner.  And meals give life.

Grace comes in many forms…

Nourishment is necessary.  Even if we, holistically as a society CAN do better.  I know this to be true.  I worked for a program called Upward Bound designed to academically mentor kids from rural and low-income communities assisting them in becoming first-generation college graduates.  School lunches were the only fuel some of our students got.  Food is a blessing.  Even if it’s canned…

Or colored! 😛

Of course, there is room for improvement though.  But not by mocking or judging each others’ food habits.  We can contribute to a nourishing dialogue.  We can become educated.  We can know policies.  We can support farms and food-banks.  We can STOP the blind prescribing.  We can lobby for school lunches to change.  We can listen.

We can recognize the luxury of our choices and offer compassion for people who are in different situations.

We can lighten up :).

One last ‘offering’:  There are also incredible people who struggle with how to feed themselves regularly.  It might not be based on an economic reality but it certainly IS real.  When you suffer from disordered eating (or a diet…), food is far from a delight.  And, when it is, the undercurrent of ‘delight’ usually has a ROUGH undertow.

When I was working at IOP I once asked our staff nutritionist why the food recommendations and nutritional guidance were (in my mind) so scantily ‘nourishing’.  The answer:  safety.  The nutritionists worked with what they could.  Including supplements.  To bring life back.

Simply, eating any dinner IS a victory.  For SO many.  Processed or otherwise.

 With grace…