What is Simplified Nutrition?
Nutrition IS a complex science- but that doesn't mean it needs to be complicated or confusing. At it's core, good nutrition is both a compilation of best practices for living your healthiest life- and a completely individualized approach. So how do we combine the two and simplify it so it feels less complicated and daunting? Enter simplified nutrition.
There is so much NOISE in the nutrition world. Our culture- Instagram, Pinterest, conversations- are rife with messages surrounding ‘eat this, don’t eat that,’ ‘x’ plan will change your life. The truth is, there is NO universal right way to eat in a way that serves YOU. We are all incredibly unique humans with unique needs, and I hope that you’ve come to learn that, at this point in the program. But as humans, we do have BASIC needs for fuel and nourishment, and meeting these needs helps us go beyond surviving as humans, but THRIVING. And that’s what I want to share with you.
Because it’s a MYTH that we can’t pursue healthy living while eating intuitively. It’s all about our mindset surrounding it. But listen, friend, if considering nutrition still feels overwhelming and might bring up feelings of desiring to place rules around the things we discuss in this module, I want to remind you, waiting is ALWAYS available to you. Skip it, for now. I want you to come back to it, later, when you feel as though you have a good grasp on what intuitive eating means, to YOU, and are ready to receive this advice with openness and curiosity and non-judgment.
What does simplified nutrition mean?
Simplified Nutrition is rule-free eating. The first step to eating for YOU is taking away the rules and restrictions someone else put on you. We need to first strip away the idea that there ARE rules necessary for eating and recognize that our needs change on a DAILY basis, and a SEASONAL basis. What our bodies need today, might be different than what they need tomorrow- and what is helping our bodies to thrive in this season may be different than the next. Are there best-practices for eating to thrive? Totally. But what’s important in this is flexibility in our eating, always- so we can pursue best practices without rigidity. Nutrition is about averages, over time. Our body desires to maintain balance- it will provide us with the physiological cues if we need them and it is falling out of balance, it’s our job to listen. Placing rigid rules surrounding our eating prevents us from tuning into our body’s actual needs. So, we can pursue best practices, knowing and embodying flexibility within our eating, understanding it’s what matters over TIME- not moment by moment, that creates health.
Simplified Nutrition is label-free eating. In a similar vein, there is no need to label our eating style- INCLUDING using intuitive eating as a label. Intuitive eating isn’t an eating style- it’s a framework to help you find what works best, for YOU. Labels imply rules and statues regarding maintaining that label, and that can feel like a lot of pressure. Whether it’s paleo or intuitive eating, whether or not you eat this way, because it feels good, there doesn’t need to be a label in order to pursue health in this way. The goal isn’t, in fact, to become an intuitive eater- it is to become a normal eater, where eating is no longer complicated, but easy-- and you’re thriving as you are-- no labels required. Taking labels off of your eating style provides freedom to explore when that style of eating might not work for you any longer, or you’d like to explore adding something in, or even taking something away. If you’ve labelled yourself as paleo but would like to explore adding in some grains, for the rule-based thinker around food, it can feel confusing and even devastating, when we associate that label with a way of life that is attached to our identity. The same thing when we consider ourselves an intuitive eater and do something we deem un-intuitive, we’re a vegan and we’d like to explore enjoying eggs. Eating should not be a part of our identity, it should be a part of LIVING our identity. We can have values around food, but food should not CREATE these values. THIS is why flexibility and shedding labels is key to simplifying nutrition.
Simplified Nutrition is gentle nutrition. What does gentle nutrition mean? Gentle nutrition is nutrition without rules, regulations or expectations. It’s approaching nutrition in a way that is health-and-self-focused, rather than based on a set of laws governing how we SHOULD eat. Gentle nutrition is flexible and open to change, based on our body’s needs at the time. Simplified Nutrition is based on the principles of variety, moderation and balance. Variety means we are eating a variety of foods which encourages a wide variety of nutrients for optimum health. Moderation isn’t about control, but about learning to self-moderate based on the cues our body provides. Balance isn’t just balance on your plate, but it’s balance overall, making choices based on nutrition AND satisfaction, and considering your future self and health when making decisions, without rigidity.
Simplified Nutrition is based on science- what we KNOW to be true about nutrition. Simplified nutrition takes what we know, and has been proven (as much as can be)- and considers these things when developing a well-rounded meal plan. This includes considering including macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as a variety of micronutrients we know our body requires to thrive simply by adding in more nutrient dense foods; providing our body with essential nutrients like omega-3s, and health-promoting foods such as probiotic-rich and fiber-rich foods. While nutrient-dense superfoods can be included in anyone’s meals if desired, It doesn’t focus on psuedoscience or gimmicky cure-all superfoods but gets back to the basics of what we know to be true, and uses intuition and body cues to make decisions around other foods that may or may not fit into your eating habits. Simplified Nutrition considers best practices for living a healthier life- not fixed mandates. Similarly, simplified nutrition means taking what we know about nutrition as best practices- with flexibility and balance as a whole, rather than creating rules surrounding the things we know about nutrition, reminding ourselves and those around us that insist there is one way to eat, that our needs change over time, and variety, moderation and balance are key to ensuring a healthy life- not rigid mandates.
Simplified Nutrition takes YOUR individual needs into consideration. We all have individual nutrition needs and the BEST way to determine what YOUR needs are? Tuning in! Working on the process of intuitive eating and learning what truly FEELS good in your body- this is the number one indicator of what works and what doesn’t, and then considering the signs of health: energy, focus, mood, digestion and hormone balance. Any of these being off may indicate a need for change, in nutrition and/OR in other areas. We’ll go into how to determine if there is something you need to change in a later lesson, but know: though we are simplifying nutrition as much as possible, there IS a level of individuality and personalization necessary to find what TRULY works for you. Simplified Nutrition considers your values. We all have different values surrounding food, health and nutrition. You might value a fully plant-based lifestyle based on spiritual views, value athletic endeavors as part of your lifestyle or have a high desire to live the healthiest life possible, and these things will affect the way you eat- and there is NOTHING wrong with that. The same goes for valuing energy, staying focused in your work or really valuing being able to eat chocolate cake sometimes, even if it makes your tummy hurt. Just like with anything surrounding nutrition, MINDSET around this is key- a mindset of VALUES-based eating rather than dogmatic thinking. We have a WHOLE lesson on this coming up because it is SO important to continue to come back to our values surrounding food and aligning our eating WITH our values- not the other way around.
Simplified Nutrition is not static. Just like our lives change, so do our nutrition needs- nutrition, EVEN WHEN we find what works for us, isn’t meant to be static. It should grow, change and evolve WITH us over time.
Simplified Nutrition is not meant to cause stress, overwhelm or confusion. I know it can sometimes feel a LITTLE overwhelming when we’re talking about making changes to our nutrition or finding what works for us. There are quite a few nuances- but it shouldn’t cause stress, overwhelm or confusion. If it does, THIS is cause to simply go back to the basics- the basics never fail us! We ALWAYS have the opportunity to strip down, simplify and get back to the baseline of what we KNOW feels good to us. If it starts getting confusing or stressful, take a pause. Remind yourself nutrition is not supposed to be stressful- it’s SUPPOSED to be intuitive. It’s up to you to allow yourself to consistently tune in- your body is your BEST expert.
Ultimately, what simplified nutrition boils down to is this:
Eat the food that feels good, to you.
Consider the science of nutrition.
Utilize best practices for feeling and living your healthiest life.
Adjust, as needed.
How does it feel to see nutrition through this new lens?
Learn more about Balanced Eating Essentials, the mini course that will teach you how to eat in a way that's balanced- anywhere, any time-- without the counting, tracking, measuring-- or stress.