Intuitive Eating: Looking and Listening Within Posted January 26, 2017 Jill Burns & Elliott Prag, NGI Chef Instructors When it comes down to it, no one knows your body better than you. When you listen to your body, it knows best – and will tell you – what, how, and when to eat. This is Intuitive eating: forging a stronger relationship between your food choices and their effects on your wellbeing. Be in the present to access your intuition Intuitive eaters know that true intuition only exists in the present. Thinking about food as ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’ or ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ removes us from the present and robs us of insight and freedom. The intuitive eater, instead, is listening to what the body is communicating in the moment: Does this food make me feel nourished? Grounded? Satiated? What does this food do to my mood, my energy? Intuitive eaters quiet the barrage of conflicting dietary chatter in their minds, recognizing that fad diets and trends often offer false or misleading claims. Embracing intuition in eating is an integration of mind, body, and spirit – in short, a more holistic approach to eating. How it works Intuitive eating accesses right brain input (intuition) to enhance left brain input (logic). We use the sensory aspects of eating – quality, color, texture, flavor, aroma, how food makes you feel – to balance and inform left brain concepts, such as measurements, calories, macro- and micronutrient content. Eating whole foods, that nature provides, with all their edible parts intact, unifies our knowledge, perceptions, and intuition about food. Honoring and enjoying the process of eating also makes a difference in your relationships with food. Sitting down to meals without distraction (of phones, laptops or TV), taking adequate time to eat and chew food thoroughly can facilitate and enhance intuition. These practices also create a more fulfilling experience of eating, digestion and satiety. Finally, intuitive eating is challenging in a society whose heavy focus is on dieting and rigid rules about eating. Remember that Intuition is fluid: your food choices – over time – change and evolve just as you do. Want to learn more about NGI’s take on food? Dive in, get your hands dirty and join us for a recreational cooking class; gain new perspectives on essential components of the better food movement in one of our Certificate Programs; or simply dine with us on a Friday night, featuring a unique 3-course vegetarian meal. About the Authors: Jill Burns, chef instructor and author of Vegetables from the Sea, brings 30 years of teaching experience, passion and commitment to sharing her knowledge of food and health. She is a frequent consultant for health supportive web sites, food writer, lecturer and private chef. A graduate of The Kushi Institute, Jill also brings a unique approach to studies of health including Ayurveda, Herbal and Energy Medicines. She has appeared on Discovery Health, NPR programs across the country and has taught at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan. Jill created “Kids in the Kitchen” for Kidzone T.V. at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and has taught children’s cooking classes in New York City public schools for two decades. Jill is also a faculty member at Maryland University of Integrative Health. She relishes spending time in the great outdoors, growing vegetables, and wild weed foraging. Elliott Prag, full-time Chef Instructor and Curriculum Development Manager, joined Natural Gourmet Institute in 1999. Elliott holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from NGI’s Chef’s Training Program in 1995. Thereafter, he worked in numerous New York natural food restaurants before pursuing and developing his private chef business. In 1999, he expanded his business by founding Siegfried & Prag, Caterers. In 2003, Elliott traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria for two years, where he opened, as Executive Chef, Kibea Restaurant, the first health-supportive restaurant in the Balkans. Elliott is a frequent contributor to Vegetarian Times.