Intuitive Eating – Best. Diet. Ever.

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by Melody Fletcher on September 6, 2011

Those of you who’ve read my About page, may have noticed that I mentioned that I consider myself an “intuitive eater”. After a flurry* of emails requesting that I write a blog post explaining what I mean by Intuitive Eating, I’ve decided to give in to this avalanche of demands. I won’t negotiate with terrorists, but I’m a sucker for email requests. Note: Because of the depth of this subject, this really isn’t a “How To” article, but more of a description of what an Intuitive Diet is. If you’re interested, I’ll write a follow up post with tips on how to implement this way of eating. Just let me know in the comments.

[Disclaimer: I may like to play doctor from time to time, but I am not one. This article is not intended to be medical or nutritional advice. If you are intelligently challenged enough to use anything I say as an excuse to go off your meds, it's on you. And on all those poor school children who got in your way. Why?! Why would you do that?! Oh GAWD. The carnage…]

You’re such an animal!

Let’s start with the basics: Biologically speaking, we are primates, quite a bit like monkeys, and not all that far removed from the pig, apparently. While those facts may explain a lot (I’m talking to you, People of Walmart), I’m not here to make fun of the genetically disabled but rather to make a different point: when it comes right down to it, we’re essentially animals.

And animals have instincts. Animals, all of them, have biological impulses that have allowed all the ones that we haven’t managed to kill off to survive over the millennia. These instincts will tell a bear to protect her cubs and a salmon to swim upstream. They will also let a dog know to eat certain grasses when he’s ill, without any other dog ever having shown him how to do that. Animals in the wild rarely get poisoned by natural plants or have nutritional deficiencies (providing the habitat hasn’t been destroyed and provides all the variety they need) – and not because they’ve somehow managed to gather and pass on the knowledge of which plants or animals are ok to eat and which aren’t. They can sense which foods will benefit them, and which won’t. And it’s only when unnatural substances, such as chemicals, are introduced into the mix, that those instincts go awry.

Humans have access to those same biological impulses. Everything is energy – and we have the ability to read that energy. When something is good for us, when something will benefit us, it will resonate with us. When something is bad for us, it won’t. We translate this reading of energy into biological signals, and if we can re-learn to listen to those signals, we can construct the perfect diet for ourselves.

Why you have cravings

The mechanism of cravings is actually an incredibly useful one: When your body needs something, a certain nutrient, it will give you an impulse to eat something that contains that nutrient. You won’t get the thought to go find something with iron in it, for example, but you may well suddenly crave Watermelon**.  Then, your taste buds will jump into the mix and support that craving. This means, that you’ll not only suddenly REALLY want some Watermelon, but when you find some, it will taste like the best thing you’ve ever eaten. All of your senses will come together to ensure that you can suddenly think of nothing more pleasurable than eating the food that you most need.

The intent behind the mechanisms of cravings was never to make you a slave to pizza and ice cream, but rather your very survival. Think about it: Your body knows exactly what it needs. There wasn’t one Neanderthal who had a degree in Nutrition, and yet they managed to survive. Animals who live without human interference, do just fine without “optimized nutrition”. In fact, they tend to deteriorate when we get involved. Why? Because nature provides everything we need to not only survive, but thrive, and has put mechanisms such as impulses in place that will make it easy for us to do so.  But, just like the wild animals, we have to listen to those impulses. Enter intuitive eating.

What is intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating is basically a way to reset our body’s original biological impulses so that they are not only accurate again, but loud enough for us to hear. We then listen to those impulses and eat only what our bodies tell us to (i.e. the foods that look and taste amazing) and stay away from anything our bodies don’t want (i.e. the foods that we don’t resonate with, or that even totally gross us out.)

This means that there is no perfect diet for everyone, but there is a perfect concept – eat whatever your body tells you to and nothing else. Some people will need more meat, while others need none at all. Some may want to live mostly on fruit and veggies, while others will crave more grains or fish. A person may go months or years without wanting something and then suddenly have a craving for it. We don’t need to apply one set of rules for everyone. In fact, we should throw all rules out the window.

How rules about food can do damage

Let’s say you’ve decided to go on a strict diet, where every gram of fat, carbohydrate and protein is measured. You even know exactly how many units of each vitamin and mineral you’re taking. Everything is strictly controlled. Now, if you wake up one day and your body tells you to have some chocolate, because it needs one of the many, many minerals that pure chocolate contains, you’re not going to eat it. You’re going to ignore the craving. It doesn’t fit into your diet. If you continue to ignore the craving and don’t find some other way to give your body what it needs, your health will suffer for it. Now, you might try to make up the difference by taking more supplements, but you’re not sure which mineral you need, and the lab can’t even come close to providing nutrition in the exact form that nature does. Your body, on the other hand, knows exactly what you need and is telling you which foods contain it.

Your body needs a variety of foods. I’ve been eating a completely intuitive diet (as opposed to a mostly intuitive one) for the last several years and I’ve gone through several cycles of cravings. There was my avocado phase – a period of two weeks where I could’ve bathed in avocados every day. They were the best thing I’d ever tasted. And then, just like that, I stopped wanting them. They still tasted ok, but they were no longer anything special. Then, came my Rocket salad phase. For about a week, I added Rocket to my salad every day. I couldn’t get enough of it. After that, I went through a sushi phase. Each time, my body needed something that was in those foods. Once I satisfied the demand, they ceased to be interesting to me. If I’d applied some arbitrary rules and refused to give in to my cravings, I would’ve become deficient in some way and forced my body to redress the balance in any way it could.

What went wrong

If you’re like most people in the Western world today, you’ve come to hate your cravings. You see them as something that has sabotaged every diet attempt you’ve ever made. The idea that cravings could be not only natural, but useful to you seems ridiculous. Cravings need to be overcome, managed, fought against and eliminated. But the cravings aren’t the problem. They’re just a signal that your body needs something that it’s not getting. The real problem is that the signal has been corrupted – if you’re craving fast food burgers and donuts, it isn’t because your body needs lots of the elusive “Grease Vitamin”. The signals you’re getting are wrong.

But how did they get corrupted in the first place? When we ingest substances that aren’t really food, our bodies don’t recognize them and don’t really know how to process them. In an attempt to keep us alive, however, our bodies will try to adapt to what we’re feeding them. It’s as if we’re using the Google Language Tool and asking it to translate from German to French. But instead of putting in German, we write something in Japanese. The program won’t be able to translate the language, but it’ll still try. Only, the output will be horribly (or hilariously) wrong. When we eat something that isn’t really food, we’re telling our bodies “this is food”, even thought it isn’t and our bodies will try to respond, only what comes out is gobbled-gook. This is how you get cravings for Twinkies and Doritos. So, basically, every time you ate something that wasn’t made with natural ingredients (foods that your grandmother would recognize) but contained chemicals, preservatives and substances that more closely resembled plastic than something edible, you made it just a little bit harder for your body to communicate its needs to you.

The cost of eating garbage

Because our bodies (not just human bodies, but all bodies) are these miraculous biological machines, they find a way to keep us alive, even when we subsist mainly on meals that should, by all rights, come with a hazmat warning.

But there’s a cost. We begin to suffer from indigestion, heart burn, ulcers, fatigue, excess weight, aches and pains, headaches, high blood pressure, and all kinds of other ailments that are simply a result of our bodies’ attempts at keeping us from keeling over. When you put sugar in your car’s gas tank, it dies. It can’t cope. But when you gulp down 32 ounces of soda, you don’t instantly die. Your body finds a way to deal with the onslaught. It cleans up what it can, using your liver and kidneys. And what it can’t deal with right now, it shoves into your fat cells, to be dealt with at a later time. When you don’t get the nutrition you need, your body takes what it needs from wherever it can get it, meaning it will cannibalize certain systems to keep itself alive.

Just to give you one example, the ideal ratio of Calcium to Phosphorous , is between 1:1 and 2:1. That means that your body needs at least an equal amount of or preferably more Calcium than it does Phosphorous. When you drink homogenized cow’s milk, you’re getting a ratio of 1:1.2, which means the body must find some calcium somewhere else in order to maintain the correct ratio. This is how it stays alive. So, your body will leach calcium from your bones and teeth to make up the difference (yes, drinking milk actually causes you to lose calcium.) Your body is going to do whatever it takes to keep you from dying, and when you consider that even a slight imbalance in the blood can lead to death, it becomes clear just what a huge job that is.

Get clean

But you don’t need to be a nutritionist, or even know anything about nutrition in order to maintain a perfect diet. All you need to do is create an environment where your body’s natural signals can come through and they will tell you, in every instance, exactly what you need. So, what do you do if you’re currently craving chocolate cake?

Get off the garbage. Stop eating chemicals. You don’t have to stop eating pizza, but stop eating pizza made with fake ingredients. Stop going to restaurants that serve vegetables out of a bag (how hard is it to cut up some lettuce??). Go cold turkey. Eat all you want, but only natural foods. If you do this, a few things will happen:

  • You’ll have withdrawal symptoms. Your body is used to getting these chemicals and some of those substances act like drugs. You’ll need to give yourself about a week to adjust. It will take your body about 3 days to clean the majority of crap out your blood (this will not clean out the garbage socked away in your fat cells), but depending on how toxic your diet was, it may take up to a week or two. After that, you’ll feel a lot better. Side effects such as headaches, fatigue and nausea may occur. Be prepared for that.
  • After the initial clean up period, you’ll get a surge of energy. This is because your body is no longer fighting so hard to keep you alive, and all that energy is being freed up. If you’re eating an all natural diet, your body will also be getting a lot more nutrition than it may have gotten in a long time.
  • Foods will begin to taste better. It takes your taste buds 10 days to renew. Until this happens, natural foods may taste bland, because you’ve destroyed your sense of taste with chemicals. High fructose corn syrup, for example, is sweeter than anything found in nature. If you’re used to eating it, an apple will taste sour by comparison. Wait for your taste buds to renew and watch out. Natural foods taste better than anything the chemical factory can produce – providing you can taste them.
  • Once your taste buds adjust, you’ll become more and more intolerant of chemical additives in your food. You’ll actually be able to taste them, and take it from me, it’s like eating plastic. This is a good thing. The only downside is that you’ll realize just how much shit there is in the food we eat. Seriously.
  • Your cravings will become more accurate. You’ll find yourself wanting foods that are actually healthy – with a vengeance.
  • You may begin to eat less over time. When you eat nutrient dense foods (natural foods have more nutrients), you no longer need as much food.

This process does take some time. Don’t expect all of these changes to take place in a week. Some, you’ll see quickly (like your taste buds recovering) and others will take longer (like your craving mechanism recovering, this can take weeks or months).

Becoming an intuitive eater has taken me through many changes over the years. It happened naturally for me, not by design, but by default. As I’ve listened to my body more and more, I slowly made changes without really noticing. The chemicals were the first to go. After that, I went through a series of dietary changes. I loved meat and eggs for a while and ate what many call a Paleo diet. This resonated with me for a long time. In January 2011, I had the strong desire to try a RAW diet, which I did and instantly loved. It allowed me to break my coffee addiction (3 days after being completely RAW I just no longer wanted coffee). I ate 100% RAW diet for about six months and have now added some cooked veggies and a few meals of the aforementioned sushi, although that seems to be over with for now. I’m getting more into juicing now, and am always discovering something new.

I don’t care what you eat

The most wonderful thing about eating this way is that I’m completely unaffected by what others eat. For example, I no longer eat dairy (it actually grosses me out a bit). But if you were to eat cheese in front of me, I would have no problem with that. I used to eat cheese. Now I don’t feel like it any more. I’m not denying myself the cheese, or the chocolate cake or the steak. I just don’t want them. I feel no need to judge your diet (eat what you want. It’s your choice and your body. Who am I to judge what’s best for you?), nor do I feel any pressure to conform to peer pressure (“Oh come on. Just one piece of birthday cake. It’s a special occasion”). I’m not on a diet. This isn’t temporary. I’m not denying myself the foods I want in an attempt to be healthy.

I love the food I eat. I’ve always been a foodie and that hasn’t changed. The flavors I get to experience now are out of this world. I still have chocolate, just not with sugar or milk. I put a little raw cacao into my smoothie every morning. It’s orgasmic. I can’t stress this enough. If I want something, I eat it. There is nothing I can’t have, nothing I will deny myself. But, if my body doesn’t want it, I won’t eat it. And if there’s nothing to eat that I want, I’ll skip that meal. I’ve become incredibly discerning about what I put in my body, not because some diet guru told me to, or because I’m trying to make a statement, but because I’ve finally started respecting this incredible biological machine that’s kept me alive throughout the years despite all the less than optimal stuff I shoved down my throat. I have never enjoyed my food more and I’ve never felt better.

Nutritionist’s stamp of approval

But just in case you’re worried about potential imbalances – I recently had a nutritionist evaluate my diet and he was floored. He actually exclaimed, “You’re so healthy!!”. He’d never had a client with such a balanced diet. He confirmed that my intuitive choices were right on the money. Adding lemon juice to my salad, for example, which I do just because I like it, helps to unlock the iron in the vegetables so I can absorb more. I didn’t really need the validation, because I know what I’m feeling, but it was nice to get it, nevertheless.  There’s clearly something to this stuff.

Now it’s your turn. Have you had any experiences with intuitive eating? Have you listened to your body? What did it say?

If you liked this article and thought it was valuable, please tell a friend on FaceTwitStumbleBook or whatever.

* = a flurry is 3. Shut up Webster. I reserve the right to make up my own definitions.

** = Watermelons are incredibly high in iron. See? My blog is both fun AND educational. You’re welcome.

Original Image Source: http://www.freakingnews.com/Pig-Celebrities-Pictures–1790-0.asp

{ 47 comments }

Kara September 6, 2011 at 18:40

Nice post! You are inspiring.

I think the problem I would have with intuitive eating, is that in my daily life I am so often stressed/overwhelmed that it is often difficult for me to ascertain what it is that my body wants, as I usually need more energy/sleep, etc. But…you are helping inspire me to try to attain more balance. Thanks!

Kara
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Melody Fletcher September 6, 2011 at 20:47

Hi Kara,

Thanks so much for your feedback! I will be sure to include some tips on how to succeed at intuitive eating when you have a busy schedule. Although it is harder to eat well when you’re sleep deprived and stressed, getting proper nutrition will actually give you more energy and make it easier to deal with that stress (to a point). I’ve made a note of this, so I don’t forget. :)

Hugs!
Melody
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Derrek September 6, 2011 at 19:09

Oh—kay. Pig Damon is going to give me nightmares for a week now. That is seriously the creepiest thing I’ve seen since, I don’t know, Justin Bieber or something. Thanks a lot, Melody. *shudder*

I actually went on an intuitive diet about a year ago. I basically stopped snacking on things that made me feel unhealthy, and focused on enjoying the healthier ones. It was tough at first, but after a couple of weeks I felt great. Sadly though, that diet fell through and I started gobbling stuff up again. Those damn Kit Kat Chunkies get me every time! And cakes with butter-icing. They’re like orgasms for the taste buds.

Great article. I’m gonna’ have to restart intuitive eating again. :)

Melody Fletcher September 6, 2011 at 20:54

Ahahahaha. Sorry Derrek! I thought it was funny. Sometimes the line between hilarity and nightmare inducing terror is fine, my friend (clowns come to mind…) I disagree, though. Justin Bieber is infinitely scarier.

Our habits can really bite us in the ass. Often times, we eat things that our bodies aren’t even asking for (not even with false cravings) just because it’s there, or just because that’s what we always eat on that occasion, at that time, in that place, etc. Wait till you really clean up your taste buds. Not only will all that stuff taste like a chemical factory (because it IS), but things like fruit and vegetables will taste like nirvana. I’m not kidding. I know it’s hard to imagine now, but fresh strawberries, or watermelon, or papaya, or plums, or even sweet carrots will be like a flavor explosion in your mouth. Food is supposed to taste amazing, and it does, if only we don’t mess up our taste buds with the crap. And the longer you stay off the nasty, the better it gets. (I would make a “making lurve” reference here, but I know you’ll one up me cause you’re better at that than me, and then Joe Bill will jump in and then it’ll just go too far. It’s foreseeable…)

Hugs!
Melody
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Derrek September 7, 2011 at 05:47

I know right?! If you ever meet Bieber in person, you should totally teach him how to use the LOA to attract puberty. God knows it has evaded him for the longest time! Unless the rumors are true and he’s a lesbian. Hmm.

Haha! I’ll take the “making lurve” part as a big compliment. :D

Melody Fletcher September 7, 2011 at 09:59

LOL. I think he’s a robot, actually. That way, they can keep him young forever. Like Ralph Macchio or Michael J. Fox or Dick Clark. A lesbian robot. Guess they went in a new direction with this one. Bad move music industry. Bad move. Although, he does seem to be popular (WTF???), so…

You should! It’s not often that I defer to someone more talented than myself in the art of wordsmithery.

Hugs,
m

Lindsay | The Daily Awe September 6, 2011 at 19:33

I’ve never tried intuitive eating but I’ve been looking for something just like this and had no idea what to call it. I’m going to give this a try. I’d love it if you talked about this in a little more detail (like, what a day in the life of an intuitive eater looks like..especially when dining out at restaurants).
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Melody Fletcher September 6, 2011 at 20:56

Hi Lindsay,

Great suggestion! I’ll make sure to include that in the follow up post.
There is something called Instincto – basically using your instincts to eat, but I don’t like the way the name sounds. I don’t know. Instincto…weirdo… It’s just off. I like intuitive eater better, and I think it’s more accurate anyway. :)

Hugs!
Melody
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Kim September 6, 2011 at 20:25

Melody…you have just saved me $200. I had it all set in my mind that I was going to do a raw transformation diet next week. For the low, low price of $197 I would get a coach, meal plans, recipes, workouts, coaching calls, etc. Mind you, I was actually talking myself into it because I know I want the end results but actually, I’m not quite ready for the process cold turkey. I figured that if I just jumped right in…I would naturally enjoy it and reap the wonderful rewards.

After reading your blog, I now realize I just need to take one step back and re-evaluate the foods I currently eat and just get off the crap and eat real food. I know that this will allow my taste buds to gradually change. This reminds me of your previous blog about taking quantum leaps…you can do it but beware.

The beware for me would look like: one to two weeks of fabulous raw food eating and then bam…an all-out junk food binge, only to rebound and raw food, etc etc etc.

It’s amazing what we will do to try to do what’s best, paying for programs that offer the hopes of instant succes, rather than putting in the true work of self exploration and understanding according to our own needs versus a particular program, manual, ebook, etc.

Thanks for the savings…I owe you one (or 200 ;0).

Kim

Melody Fletcher September 6, 2011 at 21:04

Oh wow, Kim! Sounds to me like the Universe brought you this article just in time. Whenever you have to talk yourself into something, forget it. You’re trying to make yourself do something that you don’t really want to do, because you think it will get you where you want to go. Never. Gonna. Work.
Line up your energy and be inspired to a solution. That’s so much easier and leads to permanent change.
Going raw probably does represent a quantum leap for you. I’ve been on this journey for years and my diet got cleaner and cleaner over time. I looked at a raw diet about 2-3 years ago and couldn’t imagine doing that. I thought it was for tree huggers (of which I guess I’m one, now) and anorexic looking people (of which I’m not one and never will be). There wasn’t as much information about the raw food movement then, but also, and more importantly, I didn’t resonate with it. I couldn’t even go vegetarian. I tried and hated it. I wanted that meat.
But when I went raw in January, I was so ready to do it that I couldn’t have stopped myself if I’d tried. I was excited about it. There was no hesitation, no fear, no question. I started eating raw before I even knew what I was doing. I just went with it and then researched. I didn’t force myself to go raw, going raw was the natural next step for me. I was drawn to it. And because I waited until I was ready, it was easy. It’s not a diet. It’s how I eat.
But you don’t have to go raw to eat instinctively. And you don’t have to go raw to be healthy or, and this is important, to lose weight. Trust me on that.

I’ll definitely do a follow up post. I realize I’m probably giving away a chunk of the book here, but since it’s not ready, and this info clearly wants to come out, what the hell. :)

Hugs!
Melody

P.S: Feel free to buy several copies of the book when it does finally come out. I guarantee you, it’ll be a lot cheaper than $197… ;)
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Kim September 6, 2011 at 20:28

Oh yeah… I would like to hear more about this in a follow up post…

My hips thank you in advance :)

Jk Allen September 6, 2011 at 22:01

Hi Melody,

One thing that people don’t know about me is that I pay very close attention to my health. I figure as a father of 3, husband of 1, oldest brother of 6 and so on…I better be as healthy as I possibly can. I’ve always been active on a fitness level…but only in the past few years have I really stepped up my game when it comes to food.

One thing I’ve learned to do is listen to my body. The reason I stay so active fitness wise is because it allows me to hear my body speak. Being in shape allows me to identify deficiencies and address them.

I love what you’ve written hear about intuitive eating and I think it’s something that I’ve got to learn more about.

Thanks so much for sharing this post Melody!
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Melody Fletcher September 6, 2011 at 22:50

Ha ha JK. I love it when men say “husband of 1″, like you have to specify that. “I’m a husband.” “Oh yeah? Of how many?” XoD

It’s amazing – there’s such a huge difference between being disciplined (forcing yourself to eat a certain way) and just learning to listen to your body. I don’t deny myself the cake or donuts. I truly don’t want them anymore. It means freedom from food and not having to count calories or anything else. I’ve even stopped weighing myself (I use to be obsessed with that). There was a time when I couldn’t have imagined living like this. But it’s possible and it’s not even hard. But you can’t force yourself to do it, you have to let it happen. :)

Hugs!
Melody
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Jk Allen September 6, 2011 at 22:59

You know… every time I write that husband of 1, I chuckle. Because duh…but I like to add it because others usually get a laugh out of it as well!

My wife has started back working out with me. This morning after my workout I didn’t have my protein drink and she why…I said because my body doesn’t want it this morning. She thought I was being a smart-guy which is normally the case…but in this case – I was being honest.
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Erika Matos September 6, 2011 at 22:44

Oh man, I really need to make the transition to teaching wholesome eating. I have been playing around with a raw diet for about a year now. It has made a HUGE diffence in he way I think, feel, and look. Those yo-yo pounds are no more, and my energy and weight have been steady ever since. I dont believe in depriving myself, but every time I cave in to the cupcake or chicken breast, I feel the difference. So the cave-ins are not as usual anymore.
Thanks for a great post and I look forward to the follow up!
Warmest,
Erika

Melody Fletcher September 7, 2011 at 09:40

Hi Erika,

Welcome to Deliberate Receiving!

That’s a fantastic point. My weight has also stabilized and I’ve even stopped weighing myself. How freeing is that?
Ok, what you DON’T want to do is to eat the cupcake or chicken and feel awful about it, just as you don’t want to deprive yourself of anything your body wants. So, either be ok with not eating it, or make peace with it and enjoy it like hell. Otherwise, you’re creating a lot of resistance around the food, which will not serve you…

Hugs!!
Melody
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Fred Tracy September 6, 2011 at 23:18

Your posts have been REALLY good lately!

Through some strange twist of irony, according to this I am also an intuitive eater. The only problem is that, as you mentioned, my intuition is all messed up from eating too many bad chemicals.

I don’t think I’ll have much of a problem switching to this way of eating. I simply have to do what I’m doing now – that is, eating whatever I want – but make it natural so my body can correctly discern what it needs.

Your point about Neanderthals not needing nutritionists is spot on! I think I may be inspired to change my diet… I could use some more energy.

Thanks! :-)
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Melody Fletcher September 7, 2011 at 09:42

Wow Fred. Thank you SO much!!

Sounds to me like you’re half-way there. You’re not a slave to food, you just need to present yourself with a healthier buffet to graze from…

Let me know how it goes! I love the idea of inspiring people to eat healthier!!! Yay!

Hugs,
Melody
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Taryn September 6, 2011 at 23:43

Hi Melody,

This post could not have come at a better time. This week I was trying to work on the very thing you described – detoxing by keeping my diet all natural and adding some great fruit and vegetable smoothies to my diet. It went really well for about 5 days but then, being stresses, having friends over – I ended up not making the best decisions regarding the foods and drinks I was ingesting. I felt really frustrated with myself about this. But now, reading about using intuitive eating, and listening to the body and what it needs, it has given me a new focus for getting healthy. Thanks! :)
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Melody Fletcher September 7, 2011 at 09:48

Hi Taryn,

Thanks so much for adding your perspective here. When we get stressed, we tend to fall back into old patterns, especially when we’re still transitioning. It really doesn’t help that our choices are often limited at the office or social functions. Sometimes all there is to eat is a candy bar (been there). This is where a little pre-planning can really save you. That, and insisting that there be healthy food available. My family now know that if we go to a restaurant that serves only chemical laden food, that I will not eat there. I’ll sit with them, but often, all I’m willing to have there is water. I can almost always find something on the menu, but some places don’t have one real vegetable in the house. They only serve fake food. I just refuse to subject my body to that (or feel awful after eating it). It was hard for a bit, but now everyone accepts it. Remember that this is a process. You don’t have to jump to the end in one go. Just do what feels right. :)

Hugs!
Melody
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Justin | Mazzastick September 7, 2011 at 02:43

Hi Melody,
One technique that I learned from Wayne Dyer is to hold something that you are about to ingest next to your heart and see how you feel. I guess that is his method for intuitive eating.

I eat a very simple, basic and whole food diet. This makes digestion and assimilation much easier for my body. Watermelon is also a great source for flushing your body of toxins.
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Melody Fletcher September 7, 2011 at 09:51

Hi Justin,

Wayne Dyer’s technique is spot on. You can get to the point where you don’t even have to hold the food to your heart. You just look at it or think of it and listen. You’ll get a clear yes or no. I can’t remember the last time I had indigestion. Things that we take for granted, like feeling bloated or having heart burn or gas aren’t normal. And they become a thing of the past when we feed ourselves properly.

You’re so right! Watermelon is awesome. See? What an educational community! :D

Hugs!
Melody
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vikas jain September 7, 2011 at 10:31

mam,
can “Intuitive Eating – Best. Diet. Ever.” be used only for desired food.
Can’t we use it for our soul matter means is it relate to meditation to a proper limit

Melody Fletcher September 8, 2011 at 12:28

Hi Vikas,

You’re absolutely right. You can use your intuition in every part of life. I try to break down issues into specifics, though, to make it easier for people to apply these principles. So in this case, I’m talking food and getting in synch with your body. But you can use the same principles and apply them to any issue in your life. :)

Hugs,
Melody

Dia September 7, 2011 at 15:49

Hi Melody,
This is an interesting post! I love the concept of intuitive eating. Personally, I eat everything that I like in moderation. I make sure that I eat lots of fruits daily and I have cut down on eating red meat. I think balance and moderation are major keys in eating a healthy diet, but I would love it if there is a way that I can eat red meat and not have cholesterol. ;) Thanks for sharing

Melody Fletcher September 8, 2011 at 12:26

Hi Dia,

Actually, if you really listen to your body, you’ll be able to each meat without having it affect your cholesterol. That’s because your body will tell you to eat the exact amount that’s right for you so your body can thrive with no negative consequences. Also, looking at it from a purely scientific point of view, there are now many, MANY studies that show that high cholesterol is not a direct consequence of the food we eat (meaning, eating a lot of cholesterol does not automatically raise your cholesterol), but rather a consequence of the environment in our bodies. If an imbalance exists due to lack of properly balanced nutrition, cholesterol will rise. Dehydration, for example, can drastically raise your cholesterol. There are many, many factors that influence this. But making it easy for your body to heal itself will take care of all of them. :)

Hugs!
Melody
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Todd | Channelingmyself September 7, 2011 at 22:57

Hi Melody,

I couldn’t agree more with intuitive eating. Like you mention, I think it is critical to start by initially cleaning out your system to purge yourself of all those bad toxins. Unfortunately, if we don’t do this first we will mistake our bodies cravings for “junk” as something we need. I remember reading that if your body is overrun with candida you will always have sugar cravings to feed the yeast. So like you said, purge first then listen to the cravings.
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Melody Fletcher September 8, 2011 at 12:31

Hi Todd,

I’m glad you agree. :) And you are so right. Candida will cause you to crave sugar. The beauty is that an alkaline diet will clear Candida right up. I haven’t talked about alkaline vs. acidic yet, but chemical additives in our food are incredibly acidic. Getting rid of them will make a huge difference in helping the body create a healing environment, which will help with all conditions.

Hugs!
Melody

Tess The Bold Life September 8, 2011 at 06:03

Melody,
I need to get off the chemicals. Period! Thanks for the inspiration. xo
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Melody Fletcher September 8, 2011 at 12:33

Hi Tess,

It will be the best thing you’ve ever done. You’re so welcome. :)

Hugs,
Melody

patricia September 9, 2011 at 02:07

I ate raw vegan all last summer and wow did I feel great – then I needed warm food during the winter and chose to live on soups. Even though it is close to 90′ F right at the moment of writing this, there is less sunlight and that soup craving is beginning to come up again and I want bread ( whole grain – un enriched – homemade) and some grains…I started eating organic chicken years ago…and feel great if I eat about 3 oz. a day right now – so chicken and rice soup with fresh organic carrots, garlic and onions are on my mind today – I just made stock so they are tickling my nose.
I had carrot cake to celebrate my birthday and that was all the sweet I wanted…but I do miss my ritual ” 18 year old scotch neat”
I have been filling up on watermelon for about a month and now have 1/4 of one left to eat and I am done/done…I want blueberries – boy do I want blueberries.

I have tons of lettuce from my CSA box the last 3 weeks, while my husband is gone…and I don’t want lettuce at all…but it is what I have to eat right now…and it does not freeze like the beets and spinach and other things….
I hate to waste food….but my freezer is full…
CSA is sending all the fresh new potatoes…they just make me ill – like dairy ( which is just mucus and gross to me) – Cook mash and put in freezer…
Wasting money is a huge problem area for me…
I am suffering from weight problems, plantar fasciitis ( 2 months) high-low blood sugars and without walking daily high blood pressure…the inflammation pain in my feet, legs, and hips is nearly overwhelming…acupuncture has helped – massage more…and now I also have a yeast problem.. and no income…and the 2008 financial stress has put me over the edge.
I think helping 3 children grow and become/ caring for my mum and helping her die/ cooking for celiac disease – has burned me out…my acupuncturist and Sufi healer said yesterday – you just need to do nothing but heal….and heal your heart…
forget the garden and blogging and getting a newsletter going 24/7 heal
I tried to do this all day today…forget about making the soup, freezing the beets, watering the garden…it was so scary I fell asleep on the medicine ball …
Great information sharing here…and I think I am on the right track just extremely disheartened right now..
I hope the Chinese herbs will help They make me feel not totally alone.

Melody Fletcher September 10, 2011 at 00:11

Hi Patricia,

Sounds like you’ve got some powerful resistance going there. I totally agree with your Sufi healer – stop everything and focus on feeling better. Forget out fixing anything, focusing on what might be causing all of this and trying to release it. Get really, REALLY general and go do whatever makes you feel good. The world will not come to an end if you don’t freeze a couple of potatoes. You have got to make yourself a priority now and just relax. Take a lot of naps, do general meditations, take a walk with your adorable puppy. Stop trying to be so damn productive all the time. Watch a funny movie or read a funny book. Truly do whatever you can to feel good and NOTHING that doesn’t. You are not supposed to be suffering like this.

Take care of yourself, my friend. You have so much love to give to the world. Right now, it’s time you give some to yourself.

Huge bear hugs,

Melody

Iskierka September 11, 2011 at 04:30

Just came across your blog when I googled “intuitive eating.” I am brand new to this non-diet approach and found the post to be a great introduction to the subject. I think it’s interesting how everyone I encounter who eats intuitively went through a Paleo phase at some point. How long did it take you to figure out how to really listen to your body? And are there any books/websites you’d recommend on the subject? Thanks, Iskierka

Melody Fletcher September 11, 2011 at 09:48

Hi Iskierka,
Welcome to Deliberate Receiving!
I don’t actually know any websites that truly explain this concept, which is why I’m writing a book myself. I can’t really say how long it’s taken me, because for a long time, I wasn’t conscious the process. I believe I became an intuitive eater as a direct result of the energy work I was doing. The higher my vibration got, the cleaner my diet got. The two go hand in hand. So, my journey has taken me several years. I do think that if this is done consciously, it be done much faster, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Each person is different. Some may be able to get to a true intuitive state within 6 months, while others will need a couple of years. The point is to learn to listen more and more. It’s an ongoing process.
For example, my ability to taste chemicals in foods is getting stronger and stronger. I will taste even a small amount of food coloring in my balsamic vinegar. Recently, I discovered, that I could detect artificial ingredients in many foods simply by looking at them. I just feel that something is off. This is new for me. I’m going to keep strengthening that skill. Who knows what I might discover in the future?

So, keep watching this space. I do plan on doing at least one follow up article very soon (within the next week). And I just had a huge breakthrough on the book (I keep getting more and more awesome insights that make it better and better), so I think that baby is very close to being birthed.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask. :)

Hugs,
Melody

Timo Kiander September 12, 2011 at 14:23

Melody,

It was nice to read this article.

I have been adding raw food elements to my diet bit by bit and I just love making something delicious by using just raw elements.

Currently I’m having too much sugar in my diet, which I’m about to get rid of soon.

I guess one of the biggest things when fighting against cravings (any food for that matter) is to see, whether it is just a habit or if you body really wants to have that food.

Anyway, I’m willing to test your method and see how it works out.

PS. I have been a coffee drinker since the age of 6. Let’s see what happens after this experiment ;) I have already cut down my daily dose of coffee from 7 cups to 2, so there is hope :)

Timo
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Melody Fletcher September 12, 2011 at 23:16

Hi Timo,

Congratulations on your decision to try the Intuitive Diet! The think to remember with the coffee and all foods is not to push against anything. So, if you really feel that you need those 2 cups of coffee right now, then by all means, drink them. As you focus on listening to your body, and providing that you no longer really resonate with the coffee, it will slowly but surely gravitate out of what you want. That means, you’ll just no longer want it. That’s so much easier and more permanent than trying to quit. But it won’t happen overnight, generally. Be ok with that.

There is always hope!! :)

Hugs!
Melody
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Gina September 26, 2011 at 14:21

Intuitive Eating and cooking for a family…

I liked this post a lot and can even envision putting it into practice with one big exception. How does this translate into the other people in my house? As the wife/mother/cook of the family what my body intuitively needs at the moment may not be what my husband or teenage sons bodies need – so what then? I make four meals?

Melody Fletcher September 26, 2011 at 18:32

Hi Gina,

Welcome to Deliberate Receiving!

This is such an excellent question. And it’s one that deserves to be answered fully, so I’ll do that in a blog post, and I’ll do my best to do that ASAP (definitely within the next 2 weeks).

I hope to see you around more!

Hugs,
Melody
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shebani February 28, 2012 at 22:40

hey !

i think i HAVE been doing the intuitive eating bit for the past two years without realizing it !
i wasnt sure how i dropped weight so fast without even realizing it, and got checked for hormonal imbalances too, but i was fine !
and the moment i start ‘worrying’ about what im putting in my mouth, the weight comes creeping back and i feel icky inside !
i smoke a lot tho, so i was wondering if that has anything to do with my decreased appetite, altho i personally think i eat the same amount irrespective of the number of cigs i chugh on anyday. its just the ‘worrying’ and ‘anxiety’ bit that gets me to mess up !

Melody Fletcher February 29, 2012 at 17:48

Hey Shebani,

Welcome to Deliberate Receiving! Worrying about the food you eat will certainly not serve you. You’ve proven that to yourself (isn’t that awesome?!) I may be worth exploring WHY you feel so much anxiety around food. It could have nothing to do with food, actually (it generally doesn’t). It’s also quite possible and likely that this same fear, whatever it is, is tied to your smoking. Just a thought… :)

Thanks for sharing!

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Jenee April 2, 2012 at 20:36

Hello! I found your blog by accident, but I’m sure happy I did. I’m a runner and mom of . Recently I started lifting weights again, it’s not new for me, but I wanted to gain some lean mass so I concentrated on this area of my fitness. At the same time, I began eating a higher protein diet. Still clean, but less fruit (on purpose ) and less vegetables (not on purpose ). Last week I suddenly became sick to my stomach. It lasted about 4 days, and with it came an aversion to meats. Things I ate every day, now made me nauseous. When on my weekly grocery store trip yesterday, I followed my instinct and picked up things I wanted, instead of the usual. I am craving blueberries, for example, so I bought some. I’m thrilled that my body works in this way, but scared it may be my undoing, fitness -wise. Does that make sense? I was vegetarian for a while, raw for a while also. I think my body just had enough of the meat and eggs, because everything I want now is fresh. Veggies, fruits, almonds. It does make more sense to eat those things than a protein bar, and logically I get that. I’m having trouble convincing myself that I won’t get fat by eating this way. Well, thanks again for this post and thanks for reading my story. :)

Melody Fletcher April 3, 2012 at 22:11

Hey Jenee,

It’s great to meet you! Welcome to Deliberate Receiving!

Don’t worry. You’re going through a bit of a paradigm shift and the part of you that likes to control everything is going a bit mad. You can make peace with that part, though.

First, I would suggest that you read up on protein sources for RAW Vegans, just so that your mind can be assured that you are not, in fact, going to atrophy. One of my favorites is spouted lentils (google it, it’s SO easy!). If you are lifting weights, you may need to supplement at some point (Spirulina works well, or just add more nuts), but if your body put a stop to the protein, you probably ate too much and it may be a while before you need more. It’s quite likely that you became a bit too acidic. Eating mainly fruits and veggies (alkaline foods) for a couple of weeks will do you a lot of good.
Second, if you have a fear that eating this way will cause you to gain weight (because obviously your control freak brain can’t accept that just eating whatever you want could actually work out), then I have a tip for you:
Got to fitday.com and sign up for a free account. For one week, eat whatever you feel like, but write everything down. Measure it, weigh it, whatever and then, at the end of the week (or each day if you like, but that’s more dangerous), figure out how many calories you actually ate. You may well find that you ate much less than you think (if you stuck to clean foods). Your mind may not be able to fathom that you can eat well and NOT be overdoing the calories, so seeing it in black and white will prove it to your brain. You don’t have to do this all the time, but I found it’s a great way to make peace with that control freak part of the brain. And regaining a sense of control really helps the tame the fear that the second you take your eye off your food intake your thighs will explode.

I hope that helps! :)

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Alice October 19, 2012 at 07:10

Hey there,

Heard you mention somewhere the Joe Cross film about juicing.

Firstly, hee-hee, loved his very Australian accent, blunt attitude and how he just walked up to people and said “you need to lose weight buddy”
“You’re too fat.”

Tactful!

I didn’t really like the first part.
He doesn’t explain what he put in his juices, what symptoms he went through (besides sick in bed first 3 days) if he needed to wear a diaper…. It doesn’t instruct very well. Just says basically, “do juicing, it’s good for you”
He also has a high paying job and is able to take time off work…most people can’t do that.
So I’m not sure how you’d do that at work…might be embarassing if you had some digestive issues…

The second part with the truck driver was moving and a really good story about friendship.
I think the second guy got better because he was depressed and lonely and then suddenly he has someone helping him with eating, paying him lots of attention, a camera crew and a goal.
I think the happiness and walking about did more than the juice. He had distractions and company.
I don’t think a lonely person sitting around the house could do it. I think it was critical he had Joe.

I thought it was good as it showed how important diet is, but it seemed to also highlight how importnant a mentor and being happy is.

I’m keen on the juicing, my diet isn’t that bad to begin with–but I find too much vegetable juice and I feel ill.

People want to cure things like IBS…but juice diets can create IBS!!!

I also feel 60 days on this diet would be dangerous to your bowels as it would constantly strain them…..
The amount of stuff he was juicing up… seemed like too much to shove into your intestines.

My BMI is 21 so I’m all good weight wise, but I love the idea of being healthier and maybe a tad smaller!

What do you think of 60 whole days on just juice?

Melody Fletcher October 19, 2012 at 13:28

Yeah, I loved that movie! Personally, I’m a huge fan of juicing, and I’ll be talking about it more next year. I’m also a huge fan of fasting, in general. But, you have to feel good about it or it won’t be great for you.

I do believe that certain foods have the power to raise our vibrations. It’s like they support us in our work. Raw foods can do that for us to a certain extent, but you have to be in the vicinity of where they’ll take you or it’ll backfire. Also, if your digestion is really messed up, then raw foods and juicing can get really uncomfortable at first. There are gentler routes to take in that case…

I’ve personally gone 35 days without food and I didn’t die. It was an incredible experience actually. Do I recommend that everyone do that? No. But I do think that adding a green juice to your daily diet can help a lot. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And I agree, having someone to care for him and believe in him probably made even more of a difference to the trucker than the juice did. But juicing isn’t dangerous to the bowels. The bowels don’t need solid food – they actually liquify your food so that they can absorb the nutrients. A liquid diet actually gives your digestive system a nice break. But again, you have to go with how you feel. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Bottom line.

I think one could start with 10 days of juicing and go from there. See how you feel. Then, keep it up or just juice once a day and eat solid but healthy food the rest of the day. That might be a gentler way to go. Listen to your body.

Huge hugs!
Melody
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Alice October 20, 2012 at 09:51

Thanks Melody,

I plan on trying this once I am a bit healthier and have a better social life. I am slowly getting there.

At the moment my digestion is messed up. The other day it felt like someone was punching me in the stomach.
I’ll never understand my avalanche of symtoms!

I’m using food as a reason to get out and be social. I talk to people at the shops and really get into it, so juicing would be bad right now.
I do see myself in furture using the juicing as a reason to go to farmers market and be social in the health food places!

Weirdest thing. I felt so much better after having… a sausage! LOL That’s not even healthy but it seemed to cure my stomach!
That and a natural oat bar….of all the things those two jumped out, I ate them and recovered.

I thought a tea and salad would be more appropriate, but you’re right the intuition is very cool!
I had the tea and salad later for taste as I love salad and fruit. This is cool. I hope to keep getting better at spotting the magic food!
I think the woman that makes the sausages is super-happy, so maybe she literally puts love in her food?

Very excited about what you said about not eating for 35 days! Did you just have water?
What sustained you? I bet that would heal your body if you could do it right.

Melody Fletcher October 30, 2012 at 01:01

I once had a stomach ache and had the urge to eat processed turkey meat (lunch meat slices). I listened and had a couple and the stomach pain cleared. It’s probably the massive amounts of sodium. Couldn’t believe that worked, though…

I was doing the Master Cleanse, so I had the lemon juice/maple syrup/cayenne pepper concoction. I was quite ill when I started and felt TONS better when I was done. I wouldn’t have gone that long if it was just a normal cleanse…
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Gauri May 24, 2013 at 15:07

Hey! Huge hugs!

I tried this raw-diet and juice diet and all that crap and NONE of them did any good but make me miserable. Finally I realized when I feel amazing about myself and am in a great mood, the universe naturally brings me all food that I love. I eat SO MUCH of eggs, oil, spices, cheese, butter, coffee, fish, rice, pizza and many South Indian delicacies that would be called ‘sinful’ but I have lost weight and my skin has never been clearer. I realize when I feel good I don’t need so much food, I eat only for taste. There was a very happy time in my life when I was so happy and joyful and in love with myself and I manifested a maid who cooked 5 dishes at every mealtime and fed me with a revenge and I was slim and my complexion was fairest and hair shiniest at that time. And my energy level was incredible. So I don’t really agree with any of these diet prescriptions – none of these things are required. Diets can even be a way to punish yourself. Simply feeling great is all that is needed. Cleansing will happen automatically. And the universe will bring you everything you want. You can have the cake and eat it too. :)

Huge hugs!

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