We live in a toxic diet culture where we associate nutrient dense foods to restrictive diets, and you are either celebrated for being unhealthily thin, or morbidly obese.
We have forgotten how to listen to our bodies about what foods we should be eating – and that could potentially not be a bad thing if you have an issue with food – you won’t eat what your body needs because it doesn’t know how much or what food it needs!
And if you have been eating a diet of unhealthy food for a long time- your body won’t actually know what it needs anymore
But the downside of that is exactly the problem as well. We don’t actually know what is healthy for us anymore – when we get hunger signals – we don’t know that the signal is asking for protein or vegetables or carbs – we just see them as hunger and fast food is easier to grab than a healthy meal.
Sugar cravings usually mean you have a gut issue – that you are suffering from candida. Someone told me that their daughter had chronic eczema – we spoke about the child’s diet – the little girl was addicted to sugar – it was the cause of her flareups – her gut was inflamed and she suffered from chronic candida.
The myth that girls who are fuller figured have better skin’s than their skinny counterparts – is just that – a myth. It is usually because the layers of fat under the skin plumps out the skin – it is not because their skins are loaded with collagen and elastin, and the surface is thriving with a healthy microbiome.
So how do we learn to eat again for a healthier us and a healthier skin
We need to start eating intuitively – ditching the diets, and learning which foods are good for us, and which are not.
This style of eating doesn’t deprive us of ‘forbidden’ foods – it still allows for a ‘shouldn’t be eaten daily food’, or chocolate because that time of the month is coming.
It is about eating a variety of foods – listening to how our body responds to the food, being mindful of the hunger and fullness cues.
There is no more “good food” or “bad food”. It is eating for our overall health and wellbeing – and knowing when to stop eating food which isn’t going to make you feel amazing, and if you are eating something which you know is not going to help your bodies or skin’s wellness – you stop after a small amount of it. (E.g. 4 pieces of a family block of chocolate instead of the whole thing!).
There are so many foods which have a multitude of health benefits. But if you are healing your relationship with food, you may be fearful of slipping back into a diet trap.
So how do you improve your overall diet quality without restriction?
This is where gentle nutrition and intuitive eating comes in.
What is gentle nutrition?
Diets are about an all or nothing attitude.
You are on or off.
Fasting or eating.
You have a nutrient rich diet and a cheat day or month or week – and eat nothing but ultra-processed foods loaded with sugars and preservatives, undoing all of the good work you have done achieving a healthy vibrant body and glowing skin. Your gut goes from good to sluggish and dysfunctional again before you go back into a ‘good phase’.
This is where intuitive eating is completely different.
Nothing is out of bounds.
You are embracing a holistic, mindful, anti-diet approach to food – focusing on eating nutritious healthy foods which help you feel and look your best.
How do you achieve intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is about experimenting and exploring – looking at food through new eyes. Not seeing food as a punishment or a reward – but a fuel which either helps your body function at its best, one that helps you achieve optimal wellness.
Think of your body like a car – when I use high octane fuel in my car, I need to buy less fuel as I get better milage out of it. My car functions at its best – when I have long distances to travel at high speed, it performs beautifully unlike when I choose a cheaper fuel to save money in the short term – I need to fill the car up multiple times instead of only once- guess which fuel I choose!?
The body is the same. The better the fuel we feed it, the better we look and feel.
The more we experiment with food – the faster we find how we can choose foods which make us feel amazing!
How to start your anti-diet approach to nutrition.
Breakfast has been given a bad rap from intermittent fasting fans. Truth is – ignoring your hunger half of the day should not be worn as a badge of honour. In actual fact – skipping breakfast is associated with increased heart disease, high blood pressure and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, not to mention increased cortisol levels – which is linked to acne, weight gain, and also mental health issues.
Eat a high protein, high fibre breakfast – it will help you maintain energy throughout the day – and stop you from overeating later in the day.
Try simple food swaps.
You don’t have to give up foods that you love – just swap them for healthier options. This can sometimes we a bit hard to do at first as you taste buds will prefer the starchier less nutritious options more that they will crave the healthier options– but once you adjust to the nourishing healthier choice – you won’t like the other option much when you go back to it.
- Swap whole grain breads for white – choose seeded breads, paleo breads, or keto breads. Or if you like baking make this delicious gluten free, vegan paleo bread – it is truly delicious – you will never buy bread again!
- Swap high fibre grains such as brown rice, oatmeal and quinoa all have numerous benefits over white rice, pasta, fast oats. High fibre grains aid digestion, therefore preventing constipation. Whole grains are also linked to a lowered risk of cancer.
- Swap pot set Greek yoghurt or plain vegan yoghurt for regular and or flavoured yoghurt or flavoured vegan yoghurt because flavoured yoghurt all contain sugar. Greek yoghurt is higher in protein than normal yoghurt and has twice the probiotics. For vegans – choose nut yoghurts over coconut yoghurt because they contain protein.
If you suffer from acne – choose vegan yoghurt over natural yoghurt as you may potentially be intolerant to dairy – but also for the reason that dairy is inflammatory and could be exacerbating the acne flare ups.
- Swap butter or Ghee for margarine – there is NOTHING good in margarine for you. If you are vegan I recommend you make yourself this vegan butter or any other recipe (they only take a small amount of time!) – as vegan butters and margarine all contain canola (rapeseed) oil and some contain corn starch.
- Swap raw honey or maple syrup for jam and or sugar. Honey is the healthier choice if not vegan because raw honey contains enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, mineral, iron, zinc and antioxidants. It is also an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent.
Mix up nutrients when snacking.
It might be easier to grab a banana on the run, but just choosing one food group for a meal or a snack will not boost your nutrient intake.
Always pair two types of nutrients – such as fruit and nuts (carbohydrates, fibre, protein, and omegas), hummus and carrot sticks (protein, legumes and vegetable), brown rice crackers and peanut butter (fibre and protein).
Listen to your cravings.
Cravings are part of life – and at that time of the month for a woman, it can be non-negotiable when it comes to chocolate or ice-cream.
For example – chocolate. Ideally choose a healthier option such as dark chocolate over a sugary milk chocolate. Buy a bar instead of a family block. And then eat it with some dried coconut for a good fat, or a handful of nuts so that you will feel full and stop hunting for more.
Add nutrient dense foods.
When you are trying to improve your nutrition – adding the correct nutrients to your diet is extremely important.
Look for ways to add nutrients to your diet, instead of removing certain foods. Eating a diet high in omegas will not only enhance your skin glow – but they will help with mental health and brain fog.
If you are having hormone issues – by eating a diet high in hormone balancing foods you can balance your hormones without the use of chemical solutions.
If you would like to add foods, that you normally don’t eat much of such as legumes – do simple things like add a tin of beans to your soup – a easy way to add beans if you struggle to eat them is to use them instead of cream in your soup- such as cream of mushroom. A good option are cannellini beans – they taste creamy when placed in the blender.
Make it a lifestyle choice.
When you look at enhancing your nutrition – try something different every day. Or even if it seems too big a challenge – start off by eating a large salad with protein (plant or animal) every day – or a bowl of soup (not tinned or bought from the supermarket).
Swap your morning snack or afternoon snack with a protein packed Greek yoghurt or vegan nut yoghurt with berries, a sprinkle of paleo muesli (or granola) and raw honey.
Need chocolate every day? Slowly increase the darkness of your chocolate till you reach 90% cacao and eat a piece with some nuts.
If you have a terrible diet one day – forgive yourself – and start eating for wellness the next day again – do not punish yourself, none of us are perfect thank goodness – the world would be a boring place!
Book a glowing skin and wellness consultation if you would like one on one help dealing with your intuitive eating plan!
Thank you for reading my blog!
I am Yvette van Schie, I am a holistic beauty therapist, skin nutritionist, skincare developer and makeup artist. I am passionate about sharing real beauty advice with a whack of reality.
For over 38 years I have worked with the best in the beauty and health industry as a trainer, educator and product formulator and I still do – so my knowledge is diverse – I am not blinkered when sharing my information with you because everyone I speak to shares what they know, and I turn it into easy to digest information because I want my readers to feel empowered to make their own decisions and to feel that they are fully in control of their beauty and well being.