Nourish and Nurture

Principle 10: Gentle Nutrition

December 21, 2023 Miriam Hatoum Season 3 Episode 81
Nourish and Nurture
Principle 10: Gentle Nutrition
Show Notes Transcript

Episode #: 81.  Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

Intuitive Eating states that you must “make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters.” 

“Taste is important, but health is still honored, without guilt.” Remember, we have worked a bit in this podcast to understand that there is no food that should labeled “good” or “bad”. Certain foods will get us to our goals or move us further away from them. Your goal can be weight loss, and that is perfectly fine. But, in this episode I want to talk about when your goal is to feel well and feel your best. If you did the homework in the episode prior to this one, Food Facts, you might already be discovering, tuning in to, and choosing the foods and quantities that make you feel your best.

This episode continues with  the concepts of authentic health and food wisdom. This week's actionable coaching advice is to have you explore what motivates your food choices.

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Episode #: 81.  Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

 You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode #81, Honor Your Health with Gentle Nutrition.


 Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl! 

Be sure to go to to get all the free guides to help you along the way. I am in your shoes, my friends, and I wrote these guides for both of us. The link is in the show notes and transcripts.

 Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast and the course is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or service, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!

Intuitive eating emphasizes that you are the ONLY expert of your body because only you can feel your body signals, such as hunger and stress. Your intuitive process is to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. To follow the path of intuitive eating, Resch and Tribole give you 10 steps, gentle nutrition being the top step.

 In teaching about Gentle Nutrition, they state that you must “make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters.” 

 “Taste is important, but health is still honored, without guilt.” Remember, we have worked a bit in this podcast to understand that there is no food that should labeled “good” or “bad”. Certain foods will get us to our goals or move us further away from them. Your goal can be weight loss, and that is perfectly fine. But, in this episode I want to talk about when your goal is to feel well and feel your best. If you did the homework in the episode prior to this one, Food Facts, you might already be discovering, tuning in to, and choosing the foods and quantities that make you feel your best.

 Resch and Tribole talk about the paradox of Intuitive Eating with how it relates to nutrition. “As a result of full permission, habituation, and sensory specific satiety” – all concepts that we have been exploring in depth – “the excitement that comes with eating something that is forbidden or restricted vanishes. Once you have full permission, forbidden foods are no big deal and they no longer call out to you.” Consequently, foods that you left behind, or wanted to leave behind, come to the forefront. So, this paradox is that now you know you can have any food you want without guilt or shame, but do you still want all of them all the time?

 The first exercise in this chapter is on Body-Food Choice Congruence. What Resch and Tribole mean by this is that Gentle Nutrition takes on a form of interoceptive awareness that we talked about in the first principle, which was Reject the Diet Mentality, covered in Episode #68, which aired on September 21, 2023. It means that now you are going to pay attention to how foods feel in your body. I got you ready for this in last week’s actionable coaching advice, so go back and take a listen if you have not already done so. 

 The stage is now set for increased self-care through nutrition. You won’t ignore your tastebuds – no one is asking you to eat only steamed vegetables and boiled chicken. You want to honor your taste buds, palate, preferences, cultural traditions and even whimsical food choices. When you do this, - along with eating more slowly and paying attention to your fullness cues - a smaller amount of food will satisfy you. Feeling good with what you are eating, and feeling good after you are finished eating, will guide your food choices. 

 The exercise asks the following questions. When fully explored and answered, you will find the core of gentle nutrition. This practice is best when you are mildly hungry.

1.      In the past, how has this food made my body feel while I was eating it?

2.     Did I like this feeling?

3.     How did I feel after I ate?

4.    Would I choose to feel that way again?

5.     Did this food or meal give me lasting, sustainable energy? 

Then the next exercise asks you to listen to messages from your body.

1.      How did my body feel after eating this food or meal? Did I like this feeling

2.     Were there any ill effects from my meal – for example, excessive gas or bloating, stomachache, headache, or tiredness? Do I want to repeat this distress?

3.     Did I feel more energy after eating?

4.    Did I feel sufficiently satiety from my meal? Did my meal or snack hold me long enough, or did I get hungry too quickly?

5.     In general, are my eating patterns working well for me, or are there some adjustments I need to make?

 I want to talk to you about this last question about adjustments because I have just gone through the same thing myself.

 When I ate Keto, I was never hungry for more than two meals a day. But, once I moved into Low Carb – and Keto is still low carb, just extremely low carb – I found that I became hungry for three meals a day. Here was my progression:

1.      I ate a breakfast containing a bit of carbs, such as toast or ½ a bagel, or some crunchy cereal in yogurt, and some fruit. I found this did not hold me at all and I was hungry by 10am and looking for a snack.

2.     Then I moved to a breakfast that was usually low to no carb choices. I would have smoked salmon, cheese, olives and avocado, but expanded that to putting the cheese and smoked salmon on Wasa bread, which are a thin, whole grain cracker.

3.     This was great BUT if I got up late (don’t forget, I’m retired and one of the joys of retirement is getting up when you feel like it) and the big breakfast closer to 10, then I was not hungry for lunch.

4.    The progression of this is that I did get hungry at around 4 so had something to eat, then was not hungry for dinner. I either ate dinner anyway when I wasn’t hungry, and that didn’t feel good, or I skipped dinner and was looking to eat around 7 or 8 or even later. And believe me, those later choices were never good ones.

5.     THEN, if I ate late into the evening I wasn’t hungry for breakfast or if I didn’t eat, I would wake up in the middle of the night famished.

6.     SO, I had to figure this out. I had to discover my pattern.

a.    My pattern is that I feel my best when I have three square meals a day, meaning protein, fat, a small bit of complex carbohydrates. The first meal of my day is best taken between 7am and 8am, thereby by lining up the rest of meals on a schedule that fits with how my family eats, and also does not have me looking for food after dinner, nor do I wake up hungry in the middle of the night. 

b.    Sadly, this means I now set my alarm clock. But, happily the coffee is on by 7AM and I am in the kitchen making breakfast. The rest of my day falls into place.

 7.     As I experimented coming off Keto I also had a lot of discovery work that needed to be done. 

a.    I am okay with complex carbs – meaning things like winter squash, whole grain crackers like that Wasa bread, lentils, and other fully whole grains (in other words, not something like a box of Near East pilaf).

b.     I also – as I advise my clients – limited my fruit to no more than two a day, preferably with what is in season, but I don’t have it in the evening. 

c.     I also usually have my other carbohydrate choices at breakfast or lunch so that my blood sugar will regulate.

d.     If my blood sugar is higher, not only do I wake up hungry because of the insulin (remember last week’s podcast?) but I also tend to have higher waking blood sugar. 

e.     And, my friends, this might not be for everyone, but I think the majority of us are insulin resistant, meaning that we are carb sensitive. 

f.      You don’t have to be diabetic or even have pre-diabetes to experience this. 

So anyway, this is how I discovered my pattern and what foods made me feel best and what times of day those foods made me feel my best.

 The workbook goes on to explore Play Food versus Nutritious Food. 

 In my podcast and blogs I talk about how the poison is in the dose, not the food itself (unless, of course, you will go into anaphylactic shock by eating something). I can have one cookie and be fine. Neither the wheat nor the sugar will kill me. But, last weekend I had parties to go to that both served the most gorgeous bakery carrot cake. In my devoted keto days this would have been a non-issue. For five years I didn’t touch that stuff, nor did I want to. But now that I am exploring loosening those requirements I thought that I would have the cake – both days and both days, two pieces. 

These parties were Saturday and Sunday. Monday I was fine. I thought I dodged a bullet. Tuesday came around. I thought my insides were being turned into outsides. Sorry to be graphic, but they were. 

 I was very curious to move forward with the workbook to explore this concept of play food and how it factors into gentle nutrition. Honestly, I know myself – without reading anything - that I could have had one piece one of the days and I would have been absolutely fine except maybe for a little bouncing around of my blood sugar.

 Resch and Tribole say, “If all we ever did were study or work, we would surely burn out. We need rest time, an occasional time-out; we need playtime to give us balance in our lives. You can apply the same principle to your eating…Play food is simply food that you crave whose main nutritional value is as an energy sourse, that is, calories. It usually lacks much in the way of vitamins, minerals, protein, or fiber. Enjoy yourself – have that cookie or chip. Be assured that having made full peace with food, play food is not all that you’ll desire. Plenty of nutritious food will also find its way into your eating world.”

 Anyway, looking back on it, I could have had the one slice at each party, and have asked to wrap up a second slice to take home. Or I could have had one slice at one party and then the next day have said, been there done that. The point is that I didn’t do anything of the sort and paid the price. I could explore why I even wanted one piece in the first place. I’m 72 years old and that was not my first go-around with carrot cake. But I guess I like to play.

 The next exercise in the workbook asks if you are ready to consider nutrition in your food choices. I will include some of them in this week’s actionable coaching advice. It dovetails nicely with the last week’s advice on tuning in to how foods make you feel and what effect they have on your energy. 

 Resch and Tribole then discuss Authentic Health and Food Wisdom. Finding your Authentic Health is what I have been asking you to do with various weekly actionable coaching assignments. It is all about attunement. Are you hungry? Are you full? Are you eating in response to an urge, craving or trigger? What foods do you like? How do they feel in your body? 

 Authentic Health is achieved by listening to the messages that your body is giving you. But, as Resch and Tribole point out, it there are not only internal messages. You might be concerned about sustainable agriculture, the production of food, organic food, or pursuit of ways of eating such vegetarianism. These philosophical or health policy issues that are important to you, and these, too can shape your food choices. 

 If this is where you are at, they say that you have likely achieved your definition of authentic health if 

a.    You have evaluated the scientific validity of nutrition guidelines from the external world;

b.    You have integrated some of them into your life without causing anxiety or creating a sense of false control over your life or superiority over others; and

c.     You honor your physical well-being, including staying in touch with your hunger, satiety, and satisfaction.

 Regarding Food Wisdom, you need to start with the basics of Variety, Moderation, and Balance. The workbook asks the following questions:

1.      When you hear the word variety, what comes to mind? 

a.    Does it sound like a health care mantra that might be difficult to achieve? 

b.    Or might the idea of eating a variety of foods make sense to you?

c.     How can you increase the variety of your foods if you’ve had the habit of only eating certain allowed foods or if you have become unquestioningly routine in your eating?

2.     Now think about moderation

a.    A boring concept? 

b.    Or perhaps something that describes the way you eat right now?

c.     If you’re not eating moderately right now, which principles of Intuitive Eating might need some more practice?

3.     How about balance

a.    When you hear that word, do you have concerns that each meal needs to be perfectly balanced? 

b.    Or do you think about balance in broader terms?

c.     Think about a typical week. In that week, do you believe that you get the balance you need? Are there any areas that might need some attention in order to balance out the week?

 If you give all these questions valid thought, I bet you find that you have more food wisdom than you give yourself credit for. Even *I* know I can’t subsist on carrot cake, even though I joke that I could. After all, it’s balanced: Carrots for vegetables, cream cheese frosting for dairy and thus protein, flour for grains and fiber!

 This workbook chapter continues with discussing nutrition recommendations and the five overarching 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. The outline of this is:

1.      Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Eating patterns are the combination of foods and drinks that a person eats over time.

2.     Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.

3.     Limit added sugars and reduce sodium. 

4.    Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.

5.     Support healthy eating patterns for all. The goal of this recommendation is to expand healthy lifestyle choices beyond the home into school, work, and the community through easy, accessible, culturally appropriate, and affordable means.

 The next section is on the issues of eating not too much and not too little. I think when we get away from weighing, measuring, and tracking our food, as I have encouraged all through this podcast, my blogs, my course and to individual clients, we get scared. But if you have done the work on understanding your hunger and fullness cues, and understand the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger, you are well on your way to trusting yourself with how much food to eat. Intuitive Eating will help you get in touch with fullness and satisfaction. Once these two factors are within your reach, or you have reached them, there is very little worry about eating too much.

 But, the other side of the coin, eating too little, might be a problem. This might be especially so if you are just starting to learn about your fullness cues. I think the problem lies in stopping your eating the minute you are no longer hungry. Usually, a few bites will take care of that. But not being hungry is not the same as being satisfied. In addition, once life-long dieters are no longer weighing, measuring and tracking their food, the become afraid of eating too much because they have not yet developed trust in their own wisdom.

 By not eating enough, you will lack essential vitamins and minerals. Or you might not get enough protein to have a strong body, enough fat to absorb nutrients or the right kind of carbohydrates to provide fiber. While you are learning to trust your wisdom – both the knowledge you have and the messages your body is sending you – the pendulum might swing at either extreme. This means that you might find yourself eating too much sometimes and too little at other times. But don’t zone out. If you pay close attention, that pendulum will swing in a very gentle arc that will be comfortable for both the amount of food you eat and the type and variety of food you eat. 

 Resch and Tribole wrap up this principle on Gentle Nutrition by reminding us that it doesn’t have to be perfect. They point out “that no one meal – or even weeks of meals, if you’re on an extended trip – will affect your overall nutrition.” Strive for variety, moderation and balance in your eating. In my case, as with figuring out my best pattern for meals, I would add consistency to that, when possible. Have a mix of nutritious food and play food. Not every meal has to be a party in your mouth, but aim for as much enjoyment and satisfaction as you can. 


This week I would like you to consider what motivates your food choices. These questions come from the workbook, and if the exercise interests you, I suggest you look into it further in the workbook, as they elaborate on the questions based on your answers to them. It is on page 230 in the workbook.

Here are the questions they ask in order to help you understand your intentions in picking the foods that you do:

1.      Is the nutritional value of a food the only thing you consider when you find that you’re noticing hunger and need to make a decision as to what to eat?

2.     Examine your emotional relationship with play food. What feelings arise when you choose to eat play food?

3.     How often do you crave play food? Several times a day? Weekly? Rarely? I will add to that: Situational? I added that because I would never in a million years think about having carrot cake. But when faced with it, I wanted to play!

4.    How much play food can you eat and still feel well physically? Very little? A medium amount? A lot? For myself I find it depends. I can eat only a bit of concentrated sweet before I feel ill. As with that carrot cake I could have easily had a third piece, which is a lot, but not necessarily a fourth.

5.     How often do you eat more play food in a sitting or in a day than you know your body can handle – that is, you eat an amount of play food that you know might make you feel queasy, a little sick, bloated, tired, and so forth? Daily? Several times a day? Weekly? Rarely?

6.     You eat nutritious food simply because you think that it’s something you should do. Yes or No.

7.     You actually enjoy nutritious food because of its taste. Yes or No.

8.     You also appreciate its value in your good health. Yes or No.

9.     You eat play food when you crave it as long as it doesn’t make you feel physically uncomfortable afterward. Yes or No.

10.  You eat play food in preference to more nutritious food without regard to its lower nutritional value or how your body reacts to this choice. Yes or No.

The answers to these questions will help you see whether your desire comes from a combination of wanting nutrition plus having something just for its taste. It will also show if you are leaning all one way or the other. Don’t have any judgment about it. Just notice it. It might help you in your choices you make about variety and balance. 

Before I talk about next week’s episode, I want to say that, if you are enjoying this podcast, I do have a favor to ask of you. Please subscribe to this podcast and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. It helps other people find it by bringing it up in the various directories. Also, don’t be a stranger. Like or join my Facebook page, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, and let me know if there is anything you would like to hear on the show, and let me know you are a podcast listener.  

Next week’s episode

Next week brings us to the end of the third season of the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast. I am going to explore Principle Nine which is: Exercise: Feel the Difference. I have rediscovered something that I love doing, which is DDPY – Diamond Dallas Page Yoga. I think once in a while, also, of going back to belly dancing. And I don’t want to forget the walks on the beach that I dreamed of when I moved here – but I can’t walk more than about 30 steps without getting a backache – which I am sure the DDPY will take care of. Anyway, this next episode is not at all about militant exercise, but as with gentle nutrition, finding a way of moving that is good for your body and soul. 

Please share the podcast with your friends, let them know we are going on an Intuitive Eating journey, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison.

 Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.
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And don't forget my book!