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Back to Nutrition: Food Q&A and Nutrition Shifts for 2024



Things We Dive Into In This Episode:

  1. Tapping into gentle structure with nutrition in the new year

  2. Nutrition Q&A

  3. Five mindset shifts for a positive relationship with food


📘Resources


📌Episode Highlights


Q&A


What are the tools that you use to eat healthier when you have absolutely no time?

  • Eating convenient foods doesn't necessarily mean that you're sacrificing your health or good nutrition. 

  • You can have convenience and good nutrition at the same time by eating:

    • Frozen fruits and veggies - easy to throw on top of yogurt bowls, smoothies, rice, etc.

    • Rotisserie chicken, precooked meats, and frozen sausages - for a quick protein source

    • Pre-made sauces make meals more interesting and add restaurant quality

  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or sacrifice a bunch of time to make something taste really good and to make something healthy. 


I'm feeling really overwhelmed by the list of things that are messing up our hormones. Is my laundry detergent and my shampoo and my deodorant and candles messing up my hormones? 

  • I think the best way to find some peace amidst this chaos is to remember that most people are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, not sleeping enough, not doing essential self-care practices that will reduce their stress such as taking deep breaths, taking time away from a screen, going to therapy, going on walks, and really healing trauma. And most people don't stretch enough, don't move their bodies enough, don't practice intentional resistance training that could be really positive for muscle growth and development and healing lower back pain. 

  • Most people aren't doing these things, and so the way I see it is that we don't have a lot of research showing truly that our laundry detergent is to blame. We don't have a lot of research showing us that our candles are to blame. We don't have a lot of research on which specific hormones are affected in which specific ways. But we DO have a lot of research to show that fruit and vegetable consumption is very important. We DO have a lot of research to show that exercise is very important. We DO have a lot of research to show that sleep and stress reduction and trauma healing are all really important things. So if you're talking to someone, if you are someone who hasn't covered all of those bases, don't run and try to figure out which candles are gonna be the best for your hormones.


How do I read nutrition labels?

**Disclaimer - this isn't a substitute for any individualized medical or mental health advice. 

  • It really depends on what your specific needs are, what your specific goals and values are. Someone who has diabetes is going to read a nutrition label differently than someone who doesn't have diabetes. Someone who has a peanut allergy needs to look at a nutrition label for the ingredients to see if there are peanuts in the product. Someone with celiac disease needs to look at a nutrition label to see if there is gluten in the food product. Someone who's vegetarian might want to look at a food label to see how much protein is in that food product because they're missing a lot of sources of protein in their diet as someone who doesn't eat animal sources of protein.

  • I recommend not looking at a nutrition label for the calories as much as you possibly can avoid doing so because there is an overemphasis on calories in mainstream nutrition, health, and wellness media. And not all calories are created equal. It doesn't matter as much about our total calorie intake as it matters what we're getting enough protein, enough fat, and enough carbohydrate sources. Over-focusing on the number of calories that is in something only creates numbers-based anxiety that isn't necessary. 

  • Something else you might gently be aware of is looking at the amount of added sugar in something. Not because added sugar is toxic. Not because added sugar should be avoided by any and all means. Sugar is part of a healthy diet. Sugar is part of enjoying your life. Sugar is part of experiencing the pleasure of food and feeling fully alive. Sugar is not to be avoided, but it might be okay if you feel capable of doing so without having anxiety.

  • Another thing that you might wanna look at on a food label is the amount of fiber. Fiber is really important for digestive health. Most Americans don't get enough fiber in their diet. We need fiber to have regular digestion and fiber is really good for our heart health. Having too much fiber is bad for your digestion. It can cause constipation and diarrhea just as much as having not enough fiber. 

  • Do not get too caught up in numbers. If you don't feel like you're capable of looking at food labels without becoming anxious, don't look at it unless you have to. Don't look at it unless you're allergic to something and you're gonna literally die if you eat the thing. Work with a dietitian nutritionist who can help you desensitize your reaction to certain ingredients and certain numbers and certain food products so that you can use food labels as a tool to understand what you're eating rather than something to restrict yourself or get rigid or be anxious about. You know, the goal is for you to be able to use food labels as a tool.


Should I snack?

  • Snacking should not be demonized for anyone at any point. 

  • There is an overemphasis on reducing snacking in the United States, and a lot of people are hyperfixated on decreasing their snacking in a way that isn't healthy or necessary. Snacks are often needed to close the gap between meals to ensure that you don't go into your meals ravenously hungry.

  • Our bodies aren't meant to go really long periods of waking hours without fuel. Our bodies create energy from food, don't forget that. A snack gives you energy, and if you close the big gap between your meals with a snack, you're less likely to go into your next meal super ravenous, you're more likely to be in touch with your fullness cues, you're more likely to have a regulated experience while you're eating, you're more likely to have energy for the things that you're doing before the meal, and you're more likely to be in a better mood and be more patient. 

  • I think intentional snacking is very important. Anything worth having is worth putting on a plate or in a bowl or taking some time to actually like sit with. It could be really positive to just make an effort to put every snack you have on a plate so that it's conscious and you actually get to enjoy the experience of nourishing yourself.

  • Fuel vs fun snack - both are essential and important for your health and wellbeing and your relationship with food. 

  • A fuel snack has a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in it, and it's the kind of snack that you would have to close a massive gap between meals.

  • A fun snack is something that you also should be having every once in a while and giving yourself access to on a regular basis. It's just about enjoying the pleasure of eating and knowing that even though this doesn't have like the best, it's not the most nutrient dense food, it doesn't have all the vitamins and minerals, it doesn't have all the carbs, the proteins and the fats, I'm still enjoying myself right now.



Mindset shifts for a positive relationship with food in 2024


Wellness is not about perfect balance. 

  • Wellness is about being able to feel good despite the inevitable imbalances that are going to come with life. It's not about only being okay if you're perfectly balanced. It's about being okay and feeling safe and feeling regulated even when life is inevitably going to be off or food is going to be a little off sometimes and exercise is going to be a little off sometimes. It's about learning how to be able to handle the occasional imbalance and still feel regulated despite the occasional imbalance. We are humans. We are imperfect. We are never going to find perfect balance. 


Self-compassion is key. 

  • You do not have to be mean to yourself in order to eat well and feel good. In fact, being mean to yourself actually never really works. That's how people stay stuck in cycles of rigid restriction their entire lives and then burn out and then binge eat. Compassion, not perfect, rigid consistency is key. I'm also not about letting yourself off the hook. That's not self-kindness either. We should hold ourselves accountable for nourishing ourselves, for being the best we can be, and taking care of our bodies in a way that's going to allow us to operate at our best in this world, do the things that we want to do, and honor our personal values in this world. The hyperdisciplined approach to nutrition does not work. People are not motivated by shame, including you. A sustainable motivator is self-kindness.


Good nutrition, what is going to be considered eating well, will depend on what your goals and your values are (i.e. medical nutrition therapy, allergies, lifestyles, traveling, ed recovery, etc).

  • I don't ever recommend that anyone makes their goal weight loss because there are a ton of other things that we have a lot more agency over than our body weight. When you're looking at nutrition content, it's very important to be discerning and ask, is this nutrition recommendation going to serve my specific goals, my medical goals, my athletic goals, my lifestyle goals, my health goals, whatever they are. I recommend you ask yourself what it is you're really truly looking for. And can you choose a health goal that is behavioral? Can you choose a goal that you have bit more agency in? You might really, really improve your health and energy levels and well-being and muscle mass and a lot of other things without losing a pound. When we make the goal controlling our body shape and size, we end up on a hamster wheel rather than being on a path towards well-being.


Remember that nothing is more important than your sense of discernment and your sense of self-trust when it comes to nutrition. 

  • There are so many influences in the nutrition and wellness spheres that encourage you to outsource every single one of your decisions to other people. Eat this thing, not this thing, do this thing, buy this thing. But truly your healing and your thriving only happens when you learn how to discern what is right for you. Taking care of yourself really well is about building a sense of self-trust and coming back to you. My goal as a counselor is that after working with me, my clients will just go out into the wild, see content on their Instagram feed, know that it's bullshit, and not get caught up in the tidal wave of influences. There are a lot of people who want to tell you what to eat and when to eat it, and if you're hungry and if you're full, but no one else is inside your body or living your life or having full awareness around what is most important to you, what your personal values are. So remember that the best teachers and counselors are always going to direct you back to yourself versus telling you exactly what to do. 


The ultimate way to thrive and feel your best and live a life that feels really good for you is to be able to tap into a sense of unselfconscious joy. 

  • Unselfconscious joy means you are happy and you're not thinking about what your body looks like and you're not thinking about what the person next to you is thinking about you and you're not over calculating every step and trying to make a positive impression on every person that you brush shoulders with ever. You have this sense of un-self-conscious joy. 


Thanks for listening! 💖 Stay tuned to my website for more episode updates and other exciting programs and resources.


Transcript


Caitie: Wellness is not about perfect balance. Wellness is about being able to feel good despite the inevitable imbalances that are going to come with life. So it's not about only being okay if you're perfectly balanced. It's about being okay and feeling safe and feeling regulated even when life is inevitably going to be off or food is going to be a little off sometimes and exercise is going to be a little off sometimes. It's about learning how to be able to handle the occasional imbalance and still feel regulated. 


Welcome to Whole, Full, & Alive, a podcast helping you feed yourself, feel yourself and be yourself. I'm Caitie Corradino. I'm a registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, a body image coach and the founder of Full Soul Nutrition, a method that combines nutrition counseling with a powerful toolkit of somatic healing modalities. I have guided hundreds of clients to freedom with food, their bodies and every aspect of their lives. I've also been through this healing myself, and on this podcast, I want to help you eat with confidence, embrace your body, form aligned relationships and create a life that you're in love with. I'll share actionable tools, no bullshit stories and interviews that will remind you why you have everything you need within you to feel whole, full and alive. Are you ready? Let's get into it.


Hey, welcome back to another episode of Whole, Full, & Alive. I am so excited that you are tuning into today's episode. I have major fresh 2024 energy coming into today's episode. It is fresh in three ways. The first is that this is going to be a shorter, sweeter, biter size episode than what I normally give to you. And that is what I'm gonna try to do throughout the rest of this year so that I can show up on this podcast weekly. It is a New Year's intention of mine to show up here weekly because I have so many amazing people that I wanna introduce you to this year, so many guests that I wanna introduce you to this year, so many thoughts and ideas and things that I want to share with you this year. That we've got to do it weekly. And if we're going to do it weekly, it's got to be bite-sized so that I actually have the space and energy to do it so that I can just help you fit it in your week. I know that it could be hard to listen to long form podcasts. And so I'm going to test this out and see how it goes if we keep it to 25 slash 30 minutes every week. 


The second way that we're getting some fresh 2024 energy in here is that, I'm just gonna try a little bit less on the production quality so that it doesn't inhibit me from getting content out to you. And here's how I'm doing that today. I left my podcast microphone on an airplane. I was flying into New York from Lisbon and I left my podcast microphone on an airplane. And so I'm recording today's podcast episode in my Apple headphone microphone and I was really hesitant to do this. I was like, I don't want the sound quality to be interrupted. Maybe I should just skip the podcast this week. But you know what? If I wait until everything's perfect, if I wait till the lighting is perfect, I wait till the sound quality is perfect, if I wait till everything's perfect, that time will never arrive because nothing is ever perfect. So I am just going to say, you know what? Today's sound quality is going to be a little bit different, a little bit impaired in some ways, but it won't inhibit the quality of what I want to share with you. Hopefully. And I hope that I get a new podcast microphone soon. It doesn't seem like United Airlines is going to give me my podcast microphone back, which is sad because we've been through a lot together, but also fresh energy of 2024. Apparently I'm getting a fresh mic, so hopefully that will come in next week. 


And here's the third way that I want to bring some fresh 2024 energy into Whole, Full, & Alive. I want to try to answer some questions that I get from you on every single episode because as I've mentioned before, I feel so grateful that a community has formed around this podcast and that I know I have a group of listeners out there. And you guys talk to me and you message me and you ask questions and it's beautiful and you reflect on what my guests have shared and I want to. I want to keep a conversation with you going in every single episode. 


So those are three ways we are bringing some fresh energy into Whole, Full, & Alive in 2024. This is the first official episode of 2024. I had a little special, um, retreat promo episode with my friend Diana last week, but this is the first official episode of 2024. So let me take a moment right now to wish you a gentle start to the new year, a gentle start to 2024, if you are listening to this in real time and not like five years later. 


And wherever you are, whenever you're tuning into this, let's take a moment to pull over and take a super deep breath. So roll out your shoulders, maybe stretch out your neck. Notice if you're carrying tension in your jaw, or your forehead, can you bring a little bit more grace to those spaces of your body? Take a nice deep breath in through your nose, fill your chest, fill your belly and exhale. Let it go. One more time. Deepest breath you've taken today. Inhale, fill your chest, fill your belly, and exhale to let it go.


All right, on today's show, I am diving back into nutrition. I am a Registered Dietician-Nutritionist, and I'm also a body image specialist and a trauma-informed self-confidence coach, and a yoga teacher, and a personal trainer, and a Reiki healer. So I talk about a lot of different things on this show, but I never wanna forget to come back to food. I never wanna forget to come back to nutrition because that is one of the main loves of my life. And so to kick off 2024, I want to come back to nutrition, especially because it is this time of year when we are absolutely bombarded with diets and detoxes and solid core and 75 hard. And just this morning I was talking to some clients and four of them told me that they had to delete Instagram from their phones this week because they were just feeling completely bombarded by sculpting and shaping and dieting and get back on track pressure. 


What if we started this year with a commitment to be gentle to ourselves, to heal our relationship with food, to make peace with our bodies once and for all, rather than making a commitment to change our body shape and size? What if? What if? So today I want to talk about food, and I want to answer some of your nutrition questions through the lens of self-compassion and the very necessary self-kindness that it takes to have a really good and healthy relationship with food. And I want to say right off the bat that having a good and healthy relationship with food and being kind to yourself when it comes to nutrition is not about letting yourself off the hook. It's not about eating whatever you want. It's not about flopping into random snacks throughout the day. It's about not shaming yourself into eating well. It's about not using food as a reward and exercise as a punishment. It's about not telling yourself that there's something wrong with your body. It's about knowing that your body holds a really deep wisdom that you can listen to if you lean into it. It's about knowing that the pursuit of health is not the same thing as the pursuit of weight loss. None of that is about throwing in the towel and letting yourself off the hook. It's about compassionate commitment to your wellbeing. 


So that's the lens I'm coming at you with today as I'm gonna talk about nutrition. So the way today's episode is gonna go is that I'm gonna answer some questions I received from you about nutrition, and then I'm gonna give you five tools or five sort of like mindset shifts that you could use to have good nutrition in 2024, that you could use to take a really positive approach and finally make peace with food this year in 2024, for good. 


Before I dive into that stuff, let me just remind you, if you are one of the people that is listening to this, in real time in January 2024. My Nutrition and Intuition retreat is coming up in March in Scotland and I have just two spaces left. This is gonna be five days to nourish your body, cultivate an unwavering sense of self-trust, heal your relationship with exercise, and form incredible community. We're going to be doing a combination of group fitness classes, yoga classes, body image workshops, a cooking class, different workshops to help you heal your relationship with food and nutrition, going on hikes, exploring Scotland, being among the foothills of Scotland in an absolutely beautiful retreat space. It's going to be magic. If you're feeling called to this at all, please hit the link in the show notes to book a free, commitment free, discovery call to talk to me more about it, or you can check out my website, fullsoulnutrition.com/retreat to get all the deets on there too. 


All right, let's dive in. First episode of 2024, we are going back to nutrition, and I'm gonna give you some answers to the questions that you sent me, and I am going to give you five mindset shifts that you can make your nutrition manifesto for 2024 to finally make peace with food this year. 


So the first question I received about nutrition is what tools or tips do you have for eating healthier when you feel like you have no time? I feel like my life is a hectic mess and I often just can't eat healthier because I have no time. So I think the first thing I want to remind you is that eating convenient foods doesn't necessarily mean that you're sacrificing your health or good nutrition. There is a lot of content out there about how we need to home make every single one of our meals and we need to source the freshest ingredients from the Himalayas and whatever and it is really important to remember that you can have convenience and good nutrition at the same time. If you are someone who works multiple jobs or has kids or has to wake up really early or whatever it is, you don't necessarily need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to meal prep. You don't need to have super fancy meals in order to be healthy, and you don't need to spend that much time on meal prep. 


That said, if you are someone who wants to try to implement a like sacred Sunday practice where you meal prep and prepare food for yourself throughout the day, that is fine and that is beautiful and that can be a really great option. And also maybe you're someone who needs your Sundays to do your laundry and to relax and to just chill out and you don't necessarily enjoy spending time in the kitchen and that's absolutely okay. So in that case, I think it's really important to remember that frozen foods are great. Like frozen vegetables and frozen fruits and things like that in particular aren't really any different nutritionally from fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. And they're really convenient foods that you can throw in. And they're very convenient foods that can help you save a lot of time that you might have spent chopping vegetables and doing all the prep that's required to prepare fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. I'm a big advocate of frozen fruits and frozen vegetables. I really love frozen broccoli, takes no time to cook, takes no time to chop. I just put frozen broccoli in a pot or I mix some frozen broccoli into mac and cheese. I'm also a big fan of frozen fruits. I just put frozen fruits on my yogurt bowls every single morning. I don't take time to cut up fruit. I don't take time to cut up strawberries. I just buy frozen berries and I think that they're really good and I just put them on my yogurt bowl in the morning. I find them very refreshing and very delicious. 


You also can buy a rotisserie chicken and precooked meats, precooked things. You could also buy frozen sausages, frozen chicken sausages, those things are really easy to make. And there's also a lot of pre-made sauces. My friend who is a meal prep coach, Micole introduced me to a lot of amazing sauces that actually make my meals taste seriously like restaurant quality. You don't have to reinvent the wheel or sacrifice a bunch of time to make something taste really good and to make something healthy. Look into some pre-made sauces. Also listen to the episode that I recorded with Micole a couple weeks ago about finally wrapping your head around cooking at home. 


And also, wow, low key pitch. Micole and I are running a special right now where you can get a discounted session with me and a discounted session with her in a bundle. So you get a nutrition checkup and then you also get some meal prep coaching from her. But yeah, I hope that some of this helps and gets your wheels turning a little bit when it comes to eating well and also living a very hectic life on a time budget. It's just a matter of also maybe having one session with someone like Micole or one session with someone like me to really help you identify what your preferences are, what your nutrition needs are and figuring out the simplest and most convenient ways to get your needs met given your time budget.


Okay, next question. I'm feeling really overwhelmed by the list of things that are messing up our hormones. Is my laundry detergent and my shampoo and my deodorant and candles messing up my hormones? Okay, it might not seem like this question is related to nutrition on the onset, but there is like a really growing by the day group of hormone warriors on social media who are telling us that our hormonal imbalances are the reason why we're gaining weight and our hormonal imbalances are the reason why we can't digest certain foods properly and people certainly, certainly are replacing diet culture with hormone healing culture, I'm finding. And you're right, there is an ever amounting list of things that people are saying are fucking with our hormones. And there's also like a list of foods that a lot of people are saying are fucking with our hormones. And so I just have so much compassion for the person that asked this question. And I totally get it because I'm also not immune to this stuff. And I was like, whoa, are candles messing with my hormones? 


I think the best way to find some peace amidst this chaos is to remember that most people are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, most people are not sleeping enough, most people are not doing essential self-care practices that will reduce their stress such as taking deep breaths and taking time away from a screen and going to therapy and going on walks and really healing trauma. And most people don't stretch enough, don't move their bodies enough, don't practice intentional resistance training that could be really positive for muscle growth and development and healing lower back pain. 


Most people aren't doing these really, really essential things. These really. I don't want to call them basic, right? Because they're not easy to do all the time. I'm not saying it's easy to just do all those things. That's why we need counselors and people that will help us fit these things into our lives. But most people aren't doing these things. And so the way I see it is that we don't have a lot of research showing truly that our laundry detergent is to blame. We don't have a lot of research showing us that our candles are to blame. We don't have a lot of research on which specific hormones are affected in which specific ways. That's another thing to ask all these hormone warriors. It's like, which hormones are you talking about and in which ways? Most of them don't even know. They just say hormones, right? So, but we do have a lot of research to show that fruit and vegetable consumption is very important. We do have a lot of research to show that exercise is very important. We do have a lot of research to show that sleep and stress reduction and trauma healing are all really important things. So if you're talking to someone, if you are someone who hasn't covered all of those bases, don't run and try to figure out which candles are gonna be the best for your hormones. I really don't think that that's the problem. Truly, I don't think that that's the thing that we should be focusing on right now. I think we'd be better off to be more skeptical of these hormone healing protocols because a lot of them are really expensive and a lot of them are people just trying to scare us into buying very expensive products. A lot of the products themselves that claim to be better for your hormones are also just really expensive and really unnecessary. 


You've really got to ask yourself, even if there was a marginal impact on your hormonal health from your laundry detergent, that marginal impact isn't gonna matter more than your overall dietary patterns. And if you get enough exercise and enough sleep and stress reduction and do trauma healing. And also, I said this to a client the other day, it's important to ask yourself, is this thing, is this thing that's being pushed on me right now legitimate or is it like pink Himalayan sea salt? Is this thing that's being pushed on me right now a legitimate thing? Or is it like pink Himalayan sea salt? Which is to say a lot of people talk about pink Himalayan sea salt being like the superior thing to like top your food with as opposed to just regular salt. But it really isn't nutritionally any different at all from regular salt. And people are spending a lot of money buying pink Himalayan sea salt, when they really could save a ton of money just buying standard regular salt. Think about it, is this person just trying to sell me something or is this actually something that really, really matters for my health right now?


The next question I got is how do you read nutrition labels? And just like any other nutrition question that I'm going to answer, I think it is really important to say that, I mean, first of all, this isn't a substitute for any individualized medical or mental health advice. And so it really depends on what your specific needs are, what your specific goals and values are. And it really depends on what your specific needs are, what your specific goals are, what your specific values are when you're reading a nutrition label. Someone who has diabetes is going to read a nutrition label differently than someone who doesn't have diabetes. Someone with diabetes needs to look at a nutrition label for grams of carbohydrate. Someone who has a peanut allergy, like me, needs to look at a nutrition label for the ingredients to see if there is peanuts in the product. Someone with celiac disease, like me, needs to look at a nutrition label to see if there is gluten in the food product. Someone who's vegetarian might want to look at a food label to see how much protein is in that food product because they're missing a lot of sources of protein in their diet as someone who doesn't eat animal sources of protein.


So it definitely depends on your needs. And I recommend not looking at a nutrition label for the calories as much as you possibly can avoid doing so because there is an overemphasis on calories in mainstream nutrition, health and wellness media. Over-focusing on the number of calories that is in something only creates numbers-based anxiety that isn't necessary. We don't want to create unnecessary anxiety about food and nutrition, and if we look at the total calories in something, it doesn't give us a lot of information. If anything, I think it's helpful for us to look at how much protein, how much fat and how much carbohydrates is in something to get an idea of whether or not we're getting our carb, protein and fat needs met from that food. Most of the time we don't need to do that because if we have a general idea of like, okay, cheese is a protein and a fat source, bread is a carb source, we don't necessarily need to look at the food label to understand that. 


But if we're looking at the food label for like a pre-made soup or a snack bar or something like that. It is good to know does this snack bar have substantial amount of protein in it or should I go get a handful of nuts to complete my protein for this snack? Does this soup have protein in it or should I go get some sort of side or add some cheese on top of the soup or something so that I get protein needs met? Generally speaking it can be good for a pre-made thing with like multiple ingredients to know am I getting carbs, proteins, and fats in this. 


Something else you might gently be aware of is looking at the amount of added sugar in something. Not because added sugar is toxic. Not because added sugar should be avoided by any and all means. Sugar is part of a healthy diet. Sugar is part of enjoying your life. Sugar is part of experiencing the pleasure of food and feeling fully alive. Sugar is not to be avoided, but it might be okay if you feel capable of doing so without having anxiety, right? This isn't for everybody, to be gently aware of the fact that, okay, this one food product that I enjoy has 10 grams of added sugar in it. I know I'm getting 10 grams of added sugar from this food. That is something that it's okay to be gently aware of and to know, okay, maybe my next snack won't have added sugar in it. Maybe I'm just gonna have peanut butter and a banana or whatever, something for my next snack that has a lower amount of added sugar in it. That's okay, that can be an okay thing to look at. 


Another thing that you might wanna look at on a food label is the amount of fiber that's in something. Because fiber is really important for our digestive health. Most Americans don't get enough fiber in their diet and we need fiber to have regular digestion and fiber is really good for our heart health. Having too much fiber, which is also something that a lot of my clients do, is bad for your digestion. It can cause constipation and diarrhea just as much as having not enough fiber. So you do wanna be mindful to not overdo it on the fiber. We don't necessarily need that much more than 25-30 grams of fiber in a day, but you want to make sure you're having some. And so you might want to look at a food label and see does this bread have fiber in it or does this bread not have fiber in it. 


But I think a general recommendation when it comes to food labels too is to not get too caught up in numbers. If you don't feel like you're capable of looking at it without becoming anxious, don't look at it unless you have to. Don't look at it unless you're allergic to something and you're gonna literally die if you eat the thing. Work with a dietitian nutritionist who can help you desensitize your reaction to certain ingredients and certain numbers and certain food products so that you could use food labels as a tool to understand what you're eating rather than something to restrict yourself or get rigid or be anxious about. You know, the goal is for you to be able to use food labels as a tool. 


I don't agree with the fact that they've made calories a bigger font size over the last couple years. That's a new law that they passed in the United States. I don't agree with that because there is an overemphasis on that and then an underemphasis on other parts of the food product. Even if we made the vitamins and minerals section better about how much vitamin D is in this product, I would love that so much more than if we decided to blah, than the calories being so overemphasized. That doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. So that's my note about food labels. 


I'm gonna answer one more question and then we're gonna shift into my five tools that you can make part of your nutrition manifesto to have a good relationship with food in 2024.


So the last question I got is, should I snack? Very simple question, thanks for keeping it right to the point, should I snack? I mean, once again, this is going to depend on your life, your goals, your values, and the needs of your unique body and what's going on with you. Some general things to note about snacking is that, it should not be demonized for anyone at any point. I think there is an overemphasis on reducing snacking in the United States, and a lot of people are hyperfixated on decreasing their snacking in a way that isn't healthy or necessary. So snacks are often needed to close the gap between meals to ensure that you don't go into your meals ravenously hungry. I would say that is the main functional purpose of snacks. If you have five, six, seven, eight hours between your meals because of the way your day flows because of the way your work life is, I have a client who is a teacher and at school they give her lunch at 10 a.m. And she's like, I don't know why, but I'm starving for a whole nother lunch at three. And I'm like, that makes a lot of sense, right?


Our bodies aren't meant to go really long periods of time, really long periods of our waking hours without fuel. Our bodies create energy from food, don't forget that. So a snack gives you energy, and if you close the big gap between your meals with a snack, you're less likely to go into your next meal super ravenous, you're more likely to be in touch with your fullness cues, you're more likely to have a regulated experience while you're eating, and you're more likely to have energy for the things that you're doing before the meal. You're more likely to be in a better mood and be more patient. A lot of people talk about how when they're cooking, they often just end up eating a whole meal before they're done with the food. What if you had a snack before you start cooking so that you have energy for cooking? That is something that my friend, Chef Micole, always talks about too, is resource your thing, resource your body for the thing that you need to do by snacking. 


I think intentional snacking is very important though. Anything worth having is worth putting on a plate or in a bowl or taking some time to actually like sit with. Do you need to do a whole meditation and taste every single bite and take deep breaths and go super slow through every snack? Like no. However, it could be really positive to just make an effort to put every snack you have on a plate so that it's conscious and you actually get to enjoy it and you actually get the experience of nourishment that goes beyond the physical energy that food creates in your body. It's also about the pleasure and the enjoyment of the eating experience. 


Another thing that I use to talk to my clients about snacks is talking about fuel snacks versus fun snacks. Both are essential and important for your health and wellbeing and your relationship with food. A fuel snack has a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in it, and it's the kind of snack that you would have to close a massive gap between meals. Like my client, who's a teacher, she needs to have an actual fuel snack, potentially even another meal, at 3 p.m. after she has lunch at 10 a.m., and it wouldn't really serve her to have a fun snack, to have just a donut that only has carbs and fats in it. It serves her more to have something that has a little bit of protein in it that her body's gonna be able to create sustained energy from so that she doesn't go into dinner or go home and her commute feeling super starving. Probably wouldn't serve her to just have a lollipop. Probably wouldn't serve her to just have a cookie or something. It might sometimes. But her body's probably not gonna make the most energy from that. It would be good to have a balance of carbs, proteins, and fats when you need to fill in that big gap. A fun snack is something that you also should be having every once in a while and giving yourself access to on a regular basis. It's just about enjoying the pleasure of eating and knowing that even though this doesn't have like the best, it's not the most nutrient dense food, it doesn't have all the vitamins and minerals, it doesn't have all the carbs, the proteins and the fats, I'm still enjoying myself right now. I'm still consciously choosing to eat this snack with intention and enjoy it. And those fun snacks are worth putting on a plate too, versus just going to the kitchen and randomly grabbing a piece of chocolate and eating it while you're scrolling through Instagram or while you're on the phone or while you're doing something. Can you make your fun snacks conscious? That's just a few things about snacks, not covering all of the bases here, but the main thing I want to say to you is that, no, you don't need to not snack. It's about snacking with intention. And some people really do need to snack as part of their meal plan, depending on their medical goals. And that's an important thing to say too. Some people literally require snacks. And some of us just, some of us have more even distances between our meals or some of us don't have medical needs that necessitate snacks, but we still get to have them and they're still part of our health. 


All right, now I'm gonna transition into the last part of the podcast, but I'm gonna record it separately from this moment because I have to go see a client right now. So I'm gonna shut off my mic and then I'll come back and do the last part of this pod, close this out.


Okay, I am back from my meeting and I am going to close us out on this podcast by serving five mindset shifts, five tools, five whatever you want to call them. I don't know, it's what I want you to add to your nutrition manifesto so that you can have a good relationship with food and feel positive about the way you are nourishing your body in 2024. 


So number one is that wellness is not about perfect balance. Wellness is about being able to feel good despite the inevitable imbalances that are going to come with life. So it's not about only being okay if you're perfectly balanced. It's about being okay and feeling safe and feeling regulated even when life is inevitably going to be off or food is going to be a little off sometimes and exercise is going to be a little off sometimes. It's about learning how to be able to handle the occasional imbalance and still feel regulated despite the occasional imbalance. 


We are humans. We are imperfect. We are never going to find perfect balance. You know, a few things I think of when I think of this is that sometimes you're going to be bloated and that's just life. Sometimes your gastrointestinal system is gonna be a little bit off, be it because you're stressed or because you're traveling or because your body just didn't respond perfectly to one food one time or whatever. Your body's just doing its thing. You're gonna be bloated sometimes. I think sometimes people, when they're looking to optimize their nutrition and improve their nutrition, they're like, what's gonna help me beat bloating? 


Newsflash, nothing will ever help you beat bloating. You will be bloated sometimes. It's not about being, you know, there's some bloating that's at a medical level and clinically uncomfortable and does happen abnormally and irregularly and is uncomfortable sometimes and that should be nurtured and resolved and I'm not dismissing that, but you will be bloated sometimes and it's important to find ways to feel good, to feel comfortable, to feel safe and regulated despite that inevitable imbalance. 


Another thing I think of is like, sometimes you're just going to eat more than you intended to because you're at a special dinner or a fun dinner or you stopped paying attention to what you were eating for a second because you got distracted by a phone call or you're sitting in front of a movie screen or whatever. You're going to eat too much sometimes. Life's going to happen in that way. It's not about perfect balance. It's about finding ways to feel good despite those inevitable imbalances that will happen. 


And then sometimes life is just gonna happen, right? You're gonna go through a breakup, you're gonna move, you're gonna travel, you're gonna do things and your wellness won't feel perfectly balanced in those moments. It's about finding little things that will help you bring yourself back to center. Finding little ways that you can adjust, little things that you can implement to your nutrition, to your food, to your movement that will help you feel good despite these inevitable imbalances. 


I think there's a lot of nutrition media out there, a lot of nutrition content creators that kind of promote this idea of purity and rigidity and the pursuit of perfect balance. But I believe that good nutrition is finding ways to feel safe, to feel regulated, to feel energized, to feel happy despite the inevitable imbalances that are gonna happen. And also just finding little tweaks and little things, tiny accessible ways that you can find your way back to center if you are feeling imbalanced. And little things that you can implement to just feel a little bit better if you are feeling out of whack. That's number one. 


Number two is self-compassion is key. You do not have to be a dick to yourself in order to eat well and feel good. In fact, being a dick to yourself actually never really works. That's how people stay stuck in cycles of rigid restriction their entire lives and then burn out and then binge eat. Compassion, not perfect, rigid consistency is key. I also think that, like I said at the beginning of this podcast, I'm not about letting yourself off the hook. That's not self-kindness either, right? We should hold ourselves accountable for nourishing ourselves and for being the best we can be and taking care of our bodies in a way that's gonna allow us to operate at our best in this world or just do the things that we want to do or honor our personal values in this world. But that said, the hyperdisciplined approach to nutrition does not work. People are not motivated by shame, including you. A sustainable motivator is self-kindness.


Number three is remembering that good nutrition, what is going to be considered eating well, will depend on what your goals and your values are. So some individuals have certain medical needs that require them to undergo medical nutrition therapy, and that means that they need to eat a certain way. Diabetes is one example of that. Celiac disease is another example of that. Some people have athletic goals. Some people are serious athletes and they need to eat in a way that is gonna fuel them for an abnormal amount of physical activity. Some people, like myself, travel a lot and need to come up with ways to keep nutrition accessible and sustainable and how to fuel their bodies through jet lag and things like that. Some people are recovering from disordered eating, from an eating disorder. They are weight restoring or renourishing their bodies and their nutrition, good nutrition for them is gonna look different from good nutrition for another person. I think a lot more people fall into this category of needing to be renourished than we could ever realize. 


And some people just want to have more energy and they're feeling lethargic and they want to have improved digestion and feel like their body is utilizing food more efficiently and effectively. And they want to create more balance in that way. But regardless, I think one thing to keep in mind is that I don't ever recommend that anyone makes their goal weight loss because there are a ton of other things that we have a lot more agency over than our body weight. There are a ton of genetic and metabolic factors that make it hard or impossible for us to have control over our body weight, over our body shape and size. And there are a lot of factors of our health, there are a lot of things about our health that we do have a sense of agency in, that we can decide to change with the work, with the support of a counselor, we can find ways to implement sustainable, tiny, accessible changes that actually do improve the quality of our lives and our health, depending on what our specific health goals are.


And so when you're looking at nutrition content, it's very important to be discerning and ask, is this nutrition recommendation going to serve my goals, my specific goals, my medical goals, my athletic goals, my lifestyle goals, my health goals, whatever they are. And if your goal is weight loss, I really truly encourage you to one, listen to my podcast for the person who's trying to lose the last 10 pounds or 5 pounds or something like that. But two, I recommend you ask yourself what it is you're really truly looking for. And can you choose a health goal that is behavioral? Can you choose a health goal? Can you choose a goal that you have bit more agency in? You might really, really improve your health and energy levels and well-being and muscle mass and a lot of other things without losing a pound. When we make the goal controlling our body shape and size, we end up on a hamster wheel rather than being on a path towards well-being.


And on that note of being discerning, while you are looking at nutrition and wellness content, number four is to remember that nothing is more important than your sense of discernment and your sense of self-trust when it comes to nutrition. There are so many influences in the nutrition and wellness spheres that encourage you to outsource all of your decisions, every single one of your decisions to other people. Eat this thing, not this thing, do this thing, buy this thing. But truly your healing and your thriving only happens when you learn how to discern what is right for you. Taking care of yourself really well is about building a sense of self-trust and really coming back to you. Your healing and your thriving and your wellbeing really requires your discernment. And yes, I am here as a counselor to support you and guide you and nurture you. But my goal through our work is that you'll also learn how to tap back into your own discernment around your own body and what's right for you. My goal as a counselor is that after working with me, my clients will just go out into the wild and see content on their Instagram feed and know that it's bullshit and not get caught up in the tidal wave of influences.


There are a lot of people who want to tell you what to eat and when to eat it, and if you're hungry and if you're full, but no one else is inside your body or living your life or having full awareness around what is most important to you, what your personal values are. So remember that the best teachers, the best counselors are always going to direct you back to yourself, back to yourself versus telling you exactly what to do. And, when you come back to you, when you allow yourself to make a decision, you are cultivating a sense of self-trust. Self-trust is like a muscle. It's built up over time. The more and more we trust ourselves to make certain decisions about things, the more we learn to trust ourselves. And the more we learn to trust ourselves, the safer we feel, honestly. I think a lot of people tend to believe that we're gonna feel a sense of safety only when we can predict the future. We're gonna feel a sense of safety only when we know exactly what's gonna happen next. But we're never gonna be able to predict the future. And we're never gonna be able to know exactly what happens next in our lives ever. And so the best way to cultivate a sense of safety is to learn to trust yourself, to know that you got you. And that's also how you ultimately can find a good relationship with food and feel like you are eating well.


And number five is something that I want to invite you to consider, just sort of based on some patterns I've noticed in a lot of my clients lately. And it's that the ultimate way to thrive and feel your best and live a life that feels really good for you is to be able to tap into a sense of unselfconscious joy. Unselfconscious joy, like you are just happy and you're not thinking about what your body looks like and you're not thinking about what the person next to you is thinking about you and you're not over calculating every step and trying to make a positive impression on every person that you brush shoulders with ever. You have this sense of un-self-conscious joy. I've come to realize that so many of my clients come to me feeling so self-conscious that they can't enjoy a meal and they can't enjoy a workout class and they can't enjoy a vacation and they're afraid to miss Pilates for three days in a row and they're afraid to make the final call on what they should have for dinner tonight and they're afraid to dance and they're afraid to let their bodies just hang out and shake out and be and so when you are making your nutrition goals and your nutrition decisions throughout 2024, I want to ask you what is it, what nutrition decisions will allow you to access a sense of unselfconscious joy? Freedom from self-consciousness and an ability to just lean all the way into life and to not be in a social setting thinking about your body size, and to not be on a date thinking about how are they perceiving my body, and to be on vacation and not worry about gaining weight. What is gonna help you access that? 


And make no mistake, it is not weight loss that will help you access that unselfconscious joy. It is not weight loss that will help you be in a setting and not think about your body size. It is not weight loss that's going to help you be on a date and not be over analyzing what they think about your body. And it's not weight loss that's going to help you be on vacation and stop worrying about gaining weight. I promise. 


Yes, thin privilege is absolutely a thing. Yes, weight stigma is absolutely a thing. Yes, people in smaller bodies are treated differently from people in larger bodies in our society, and it is absolutely, fully, completely, unequivocally not fair. And it is something that is important to acknowledge when you're thinking about your body image and after we do that work, after we do that work of understanding the systemic issues and cultural issues and weight stigma that exists in our society, we also have an opportunity to exist at a certain level of joy, to access a certain level of joy and a certain lack of self-consciousness amidst that grief, amidst that messiness, amidst that fact that people have this unfair weight bias that's not gonna go away. 


In some ways, there are some people who are becoming more cognizant of their own internalized fat phobia and their own internalized weight bias, and it is getting a little bit better. We are seeing more body diversity in the media. And that said, it's not going away, it's still going to exist. And so what is it that's going to help you access a sense of un-self-conscious joy amidst the fact that amidst some of those more difficult realities? I think we have to let two things be true at the same time, always. We get to acknowledge our grief and we get to acknowledge the ways in which the world is unfair, and we get to acknowledge the ways in which a lot of people have very fucked up ideas about food and nutrition and weight loss and body sizes, and we get to be alive, and we get to fuel ourselves in a way that's going to give us energy, and it's going to give us joy, and that's going to give us pleasure, and that's going to give us the ability to honor our personal values. How can we let two things be true at the same time? How can we tap into a sense of unselfconscious joy? 


And just to give you an example of what I mean here, when you are building your food and nutrition plan for 2024, you're just making day-to-day decisions about food and nutrition. Can you consider what is it that is gonna fuel the life that will, what foods will fuel a life that feels joyful and free to me. What foods are going to fuel my most authentic expression of myself? Which foods are going to make me emotionally happy? Truly emotionally happy. Not like in a I'm soothing myself with food kind of a way, but in a this is freaking delicious and I do a little dance when I take a bite of this food because I love it kind of a way.


I'm still kind of developing this number five a little bit, this unselfconscious joy thing, but I just realized that's something that so many of my clients want, something that so many of my clients desire, and it's something that I want to help you fuel through nutrition. 


So that is that. I hope that you enjoyed today's episode on my low quality microphone, literally talking into my headphones right now. I hope that you give yourself some grace today. Give yourself some space today. Give yourself some good, yummy, nourishing food today. And if this podcast sparked any questions for you, please reach out to me. I'd love to hear from you. And if you love this podcast, please leave it a five star rating on Spotify or Apple. It really helps me out in terms of, it really helps me get the podcast out to more people.

And if you really liked this episode in particular and you wanna share it with someone who you think might resonate with some of the ideas, of course, I'd really appreciate that share too. All right, I'll be back here next week. Next week I'll be back here with an amazing guest. Bye.






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