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The Benefits of Intuitive Eating

The Benefits of Intuitive Eating

I had a conversation with my mother yesterday about Tuesday’s Dr. Oz.  The show suggested healthy options that could satisfy our cravings for less healthy comfort foods…including frozen bananas as a substitute for ice cream.  Don’t get me wrong, I love bananas, but they certainly would not curb my ice cream cravings!

These suggestions might be helpful for people with food allergies, diabetes, or other health issues, as well as those trying to lose weight.  However, for reasonably healthy people, I feel the better option is to indulge in your favorite comfort foods, but only on occasion.  There is nothing wrong with eating a bowl of ice cream, as long as you see it as a treat and not an everyday food.  Occasionally indulging prevents us from feeling deprived.  In turn, we are more likely to stick with a healthy diet.

What is more, when we eat a diet of nutritious, whole foods, our bodies often learn to intuitively recognize what foods they need at a given time.  When we try to adhere to diet plans, we often end up ignoring the signals our bodies are telling us.  So we may be putting a great deal of effort into trying to eat healthfully – by counting points or calories or cutting out carbs, for example – but if we are ignoring what our bodies need, we are not making the healthiest decisions.

If we eat intuitively, however, we listen to the needs of our bodies – and they don’t often need ice cream.  Therefore, intuitive eaters don’t usually eat ice cream terribly often, so on the relatively infrequent occasion that they want to treat themselves, they are not doing their bodies severe harm.


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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.


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8:38PM PDT on Apr 10, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

2:14AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Thanks for sharing!

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Have loved ice cream but whenever I buy some it sits in my freezer unloved and unused til I give the stuff away. Will eat ice cream occasionally while a friend of mine will not buy it as she will eat the entire carton at one go.
Have to improve my eating of fruit, so hauled out some grapes from the fridge, for some reason love to eat these with cheddar cheese but the package that I bought recently is not too tasty so will ignore the cheese this time.

6:43PM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

As soon as you deny yourself something (especially food and drink, although it also applies to other areas) you want that thing more than anything else ... until you give in, usually in a major way (this is one of the main causes of binge eating/drinking) and usually with feelings of self-loathing afterwards.
Giving yourself permission to have whatever you want, whenever you want it - always in moderation and always the best quality you can afford - removes the temptation to overindulge.
Hence my 3rd principle ... Nothing, that I am comfortable with, is forbidden.

1:41PM PDT on May 28, 2012

A banana would not curb my craving for ice cream only go around once!

12:15PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

thanks for sharing

2:17AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

I eat whatever is good for my health. You only live once so enjoy your cravings.

9:54PM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

Thank you!

6:04PM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

I bet anyone who thinks no way can a frozen banana replace ice cream has not tried frozen banana chunks whizzed in a blender. Even without almond milk, cocoa/carob, or dates, a little water gets the chunks going and transforms the texture into "ice cream." Knowing how conventional dairy products are produced, I wouldn't eat regular ice cream anyhow. Bovine growth hormones, antibiotics, GMO feed - no thanks.

2:06PM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

Could NOT have said it better! Thank you!

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