How to END Feeling DEPRIVED and START Feeling EMPOWERED by Your Food Choices

 
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Have you recently set out on a wellness journey where you want to begin eating healthier to feel good, build energy and feel more comfortable in your body? The momentum often begins with feeling strong and empowered and you have determined your WHY! Then, you are inevitably thrown into a situation where you are around others eating the very foods you have chosen not to eat because they do not support your wellness journey to feel healthy. Even though you know those foods may leave you feeling miserable (you know, feeling bloated, have an upset stomach, they zap your energy, give you skin breakouts and experience brain fog or another obvious sign that these particular foods are JUST NO GOOD FOR YOU) and yet you now feel DEPRIVED.

When you have turned the corner from making a choice that certain foods just DO NOT serve you, and you clearly know this (uh, remember the above miserable symptoms?), it does not mean that it is easy to choose not to eat them and that you won’t feel deprived.

It takes time and effort to change our minds about those types of foods and to create the shift from feeling deprived. Just because you have made the decision to no longer eat those particular foods, that does not mean that you are not human. That does not mean that there will not be cravings. That does not mean that you won’t secretly be jealous or resentful of everyone else who seems to be eating these foods with no problem at all (at least, so it seems).

Learning to listen to your body is a journey and it is definitely not a straight-line kind of a journey. Nope, integrating mindful and intuitive eating principles into your life often comes with many twists and turns. I know this personally from my struggles with leaky gut and SIBO that there are some foods that my body really does not like. At. All. One for sure is cows milk—which sadly includes cheese. You know, like the super delicious cheddar cheese, muenster cheese, swiss cheese... I pretty much used to be pretty much a chees-a-tarian. Ahh, I do love cheese, it just does NOT love me back. Do you think I didn’t test this many, many times? Of course I did! But with time and practice I had to come to realize that feeling horrible is just not worth it! It took a long time to not feel deprived when I didn’t eat cheese and I wanted it. And there are still cravings, (which are usually more emotionally based) and I have had to practice awareness and managing those desires for comforting foods when I am stressed, tired and anxious, in other ways. 

So how do you release the feelings of being deprived when you choose NOT to eat something you want despite how it makes you feel? Just like any other feelings, you have to learn to be present with them, to accept them and to ensure yourself that you are NOT ACTUALLY deprived. You are making a choice based on your wellness goals, based on what your body needs to feel vital and healthy!

When you connect with your specific WHY driving your decision to eliminate a certain food from your meals it will help to shift how you feel about your choice. Reminding yourself of your personal WHY and ensuring you are NOT restricting foods, not basing this on actual deprivation (like a diet) in any other areas, will help you refocus. My personal mantra is, “eating that gooey cheese is not worth an upset stomach.” I worked way too hard to heal my gut, I do NOT want to destroy it again.

Deprivation mindset is not healthy. When you deprive yourself and restrict certain foods out of fear of taking in calories, fearing weight gain, or to punish yourself because of your own negative body image it will inevitably lead to either malnutrition or a binge. Restriction and dieting do NOT work long-term and will set you up for bigger struggles with food. Research shows that the majority of diets fail and DO NOT last for the long term!!! That is significant and eye opening. IF you make a choice about the food you eat based on how you want to feel, you can simplify your decision-making process.

When you make your decision based on how you want to feel you create an internal experience of empowerment, confidence and self-respect. When you make choices based on building these feelings, you create a powerful shift internally. You regain a sense of control and mastery over your choices and respect your feelings and choices. Experiencing true health and well-being is a reminder that you are making progress towards your personal wellness goals. It is a process and a practice which will take time, effort, determination and focus.

One way to decrease your feelings of deprivation is to create healthy or adapted version of the foods you love. Another way is to explore any emotional food cravings and explore how to get your emotional needs met in non-food ways. An example would be if you find you crave comfort foods when you are anxious and tend to use food to calm yourself down, try a deep breathing practice, journaling, movement or talking to someone you trust about your feelings. Notice the impact of using this non-food-based tool and continue to practice it.

Having regular self-care practice and becoming more comfortable with feeling your feelings will help you choose a different way to eat, to be and interact with food and will help you begin to shift from feeling deprived to feeling empowered! Start each day with asking yourself how you want to feel (mentally, emotionally, physically and energetically) and notice how that begins to impact your choices.

The next time you notice a sense of feeling deprived in relation to a choice you make related to food, check-in and ask yourself: what’s really going on? Why are you choosing NOT to eat that particular food? Continue to be certain that you are not restricting because of a thought that it is a “bad” or “off limits” food due to calories or fear, but because it is a food that does not serve your health and wellness goals.

Are there any foods that you are working to shift your perspective from feeling deprived to feeling confident, empowered and strong? Remember that healthy eating, intuitive eating and mindful eating are form of self-respect. Let me know how this process works for you!

If you haven’t signed up for my 7-Day Kick Your Food Cravings to Curb Challenge, you can do so here!

Confused About What to Eat? Try Following the 4 S's of Cooking to Make Healthy Eating Simple, Delicious and Foolproof

(Recipes Included!)

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Nutrition can seem complicated and yet when we distill it down to the basics it can become oh-so simple. There are countless dietary theories out there making bold claims such as to help you lose weight, to slow down the aging process, to build muscle, to help you become a better athlete, to help you heal your digestion, your skin and your anxiety. Dietary theories can feel confusing and overwhelming.

While sure, many of these dietary theories may have positive outcomes, they will not all be helpful for everyone. What makes one person feel amazing may make another feel terrible. Not to mention that what one theory says will heal you another says may cause long-term health problems. All of the information and conflicting information makes it difficult to know what is best for YOU—and where to even begin.

When you simplify the information, what it comes down to are two basic elements. One, eat REAL food, meaning whole, unprocessed foods. Two, pay attention to how these foods make YOU FEEL, physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically.

In my approach to wellness and helping others heal their relationship with food, I recommend following the 4 S’s of Cooking. This helps to simplify the question, “what should I eat?” by focusing solely on these two basic elements- eating real food AND paying attention to how it makes you feel. The 4 S’s of Cooking are: Soups, Salads, Stir-fry’s and Smoothies. These are all plant-forward, whole foods methods of preparing food and cooking while minimizing processed and sugary foods.

Maximizing your intake of vegetables and fruits will help improve your health and wellness. Vegetables and fruits have a high profile on nutrients. For a refresher, nutrients are: Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber, Carbohydrates, Fat and Protein. These are all needed in order for your body to function optimally and yet so many people do not take in the nutrients daily they need to be healthy. Enter the 4 S’s of Cooking!

The 4 S’s of Cooking can be used to structure your meals and are nutrient dense by nature. Begin searching for recipes for each “S” that will delight your palette this fall to winter season. (I have included a seasonally focused recipe for each “S” below!) Here are a few of the many reasons to integrate the 4 S’s of Cooking today!

Soups often begin with a strong base of veggies, including onions, carrots and celery. Many soups include several other vegetables as well and they are hearty, filling, nourishing and delicious. Warm soups are super satisfying in the fall and winter.

Salads do not have to be boring! This winter, try slightly warmed salads with roasted veggies, nuts and seeds.  

Stir-fry’s can be made into delicious hearty bowls chock full of vegetables, healthy proteins like beans and meats with a base of rice, quinoa or other favorite whole grain. These veggie heavy bowls are great because you can cook once and eat twice or more!

Smoothies may be harder to incorporate during the winter because they often use frozen fruits, however, if you do, they are great way load up on fruits and veggies and can serve as a filling, nutritious breakfast (or dessert!)

I hope you enjoy the following fall inspired, 4 S’s of Cooking recipes. Let them inspire you to get creative, find combinations that you love and get (healthy) cooking!

Soup

Creamy Broccoli Heaven Soup 

Ingredients:

2 broccoli crowns, chopped

1 medium potato, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, top removed and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme + a dash of dried to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons avocado oil

3-4 cups fresh spinach

1 cup cashews, soaked overnight

4-6 cups broth of choice (I use beef bone broth but whatever you have/like will do!)

Preparation:

In a large soup pot, warm oil over medium heat. Add onion, sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, celery and potato, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes. Add broth and bring heat to medium-high to create a light simmer, about 8 minutes. Add broccoli, red pepper, garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and additional broth/water if needed (all vegetables should be covered with liquid). Let simmer on medium-high for about 6-8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low or low, cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally to stir and be sure the broccoli does not lose its bright green color. Turn off, stir in soaked and drained cashews (if you forgot to soak it’s ok, still add them for creamy texture!) and let sit 10 minutes. Transfer in small batches to blender, adding in a cup of fresh spinach with each batch as well as dash of dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Salad

Warm Winter Salad

Ingredients:

4 cups baby spinach and kale mixed together

1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1-inch cubes

1 fennel bulb, sliced

1 carrot, grated

1 avocado, sliced

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

2 medium chicken breasts

¼ cup grated aged manchego cheese (or your favorite hard cheese)

½ teaspoon dried sage

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons avocado oil (or other cooking oil)

Olive oil and fresh lemon juice for dressing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until chicken temperature reads 165 degrees F. Let cool 5 minutes before dicing into cubes. Lightly toss diced sweet potato cubes and fennel in oil and dried herbs. Place on baking sheet, cook for 15 minutes, toss the cubes and fennel and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Add greens to a bowl and toss in warm sweet potatoes, fennel, chicken and grated manchego. Toss in pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds and grated carrot. Top with sliced avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze in a wedge of lemon juice and sea salt if desired and enjoy! 

Stir-Fry

Savory Mushroom and Butternut Squash Bowl

Ingredients:

2 Portobello mushroom caps, sliced

1 cup finely chopped kale leaves, stems removed

2 cups diced butternut squash

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 shallot, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely sliced

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, ribboned

2 cups quinoa, cooked

6 tablespoons avocado oil or other cooking oil

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Juice of ½ a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package directions, once ready stir in lemon juice, parmesan cheese, drizzle in 2-4 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil, once warm, add in butternut squash and stir occasionally for 8 minutes, should begin to soften, if not, cook additional 2-5 minutes. Once the butternut squash is softened, turn heat to medium-low, add shallots, carrots and garlic and sauté together for another 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons oil, mushroom cap slices and shredded kale, and fresh sage, stir together for 5 minutes. Serve over prepared quinoa. Enjoy! Can add favorite protein as well and top with grated parmesan!

Smoothie 

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk

1 cup plain pumpkin puree

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped

1 small apple, chopped

1 cup spinach

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

1 teaspoon raw honey

2 tablespoons collagen protein powder or unsweetened/unflavored protein powder of choice

ice added if desired

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and enjoy!

When you try these recipes let me know what you think! If you find other great recipes, share them with me! I now have a private Wholistic Food Therapy Facebook Group. It is for anyone starting or reigniting your wellness journey. It is a supportive space to share goals, recipes, wins and receive support.