Forbidden foods, favorite foods, and everything in between.
Updated: Jan 15, 2022
When I asked my email list what fears they had about intuitive eating, one person responded “What if my intuition only wants tacos and pizza?”
To this reader, I love you. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for having such exquisite tastes. (Tacos and a marg are the WAY TO MY SOUL, btw, soooo uhhh… just sayin’).
👉My hunch is that this person thinks that only wanting tacos and pizza is a problem needing to be fixed.
Two of the most common fears that I see around "repeat foods" are:
The fear that if you listen to your body, you will only want a certain kind of food forever and ever. In large amounts. At every meal. As if your body could never get enough of it.
The second fear I hear a lot is a fear around "not getting enough variety" in your meals.
Let's break each of them down:
🌟The fear of allowing yourself to eat all foods and then only wanting a specific food or food group all the time
Principle #3 of Intuitive Eating is Make Peace With Food. A key teaching of this chapter is giving yourself unconditional permission to eat.
This means - allowing yourself to eat when you want and what you want. No exceptions. No restrictions. No rules.
This can feel very scary if you've been on a diet for a long time or have a long list of "forbidden foods."
When you give yourself unconditional permission to eat tacos and pizza anytime, you might only want tacos and pizza all the time for a while. This is true. When something has been off-limits and then you're reunited with it, you will go through a phase of "I can't get enough of you."
But the longer you give yourself unconditional permission to eat, the more your body will learn to trust you.
Your body will learn that when it's hungry you will feed it at any time of day. Your mind will learn that it doesn't need to fixate and obsess about tacos and pizza anymore because those foods are frequently available and they've become old news.
Food loses its charge when you take away the "good" and "bad" labels. When you stop saying certain foods are only available at certain times or on certain days. When there's scarcity our body and mind will fixate on and crave these foods more than they would if they were neutral and always available. I promiseeee.
But if this feels scary for you - that's totally understandable. Talking through these fears and having someone by your side as you re-introduce foods into your diet might be of support to you. I offer 1:1 coaching for this exact reason!
🌟The fear of not getting enough variety in your diet
First off, if your body wants to bite into a crunchy taco shell for the 5th night in a row, you aren't broken.
There is nothing wrong with having favorite foods, enjoying consistency, or lacking diversity in your meal planning.
In fact, I’d say you’re already ahead of the game because you know your preferences and have a desire to pursue them. Cha-ching! Now THAT we can work with.
Also, I have REALLY GOOD NEWS for you.
Tacos and pizza are two of the most versatile foods in all the land. In fact, most food is more versatile than you might initially think.
You want pancakes all the time? Cool, add a different topping or ingredient into the batter every day.
You like bread? Wonderful. There are a GAZILLION different kinds of bread with different textures, different nutritional properties that you can add to your meals.
Your favorite cuisine is Mexican food? How about you experiment with different recipes and try out a different type of dish each week?
Okay, I think I made my point. Most of the food you love can be altered in some way to create variety.
👉Also. "Variety" does not need to happen within every meal or within every day. Yes, it's important to eat a spectrum of nutrients over time... but that's OVER TIME.
A big part of mainstream messaging around food pushes for a "balanced meal" (meaning you eating a spectrum of food groups). There's nothing wrong with having a "balanced meal" by any means. But you also don't need to put that pressure on yourself. It's okay if you eat some food groups more heavily one day and then not eat them at all another day.
Your health is determined over time. Not meal by meal. Try to find balance in your week or your month.
Diet-culture likes to zoom wayyyy in on specific foods.... counting macros for example... Part of becoming an intuitive eater involves zooming out. Taking a much bigger and broader perspective of what impacts health. This includes getting curious about what a "balanced" diet actually means and looks like for YOU.
If you have favorite foods, but aren’t sure how to navigate the desire to eat the same thing over and over, try switching up the ingredients in some of your most-used recipes. Tacos, pizza, sandwiches, stir-fry, and salads are all great meals for those who are looking to begin exploring different flavor combinations because they all have toppings or “extras” that can be switched out to create endless combinations.
Just for fun, I've provided a list of some ingredients you can use to create many different taco combinations. You can do the same thing with whatever food you love and desire often!
Nuts and seeds
Special sauce (there are tons of recipes online)