In today’s world we are told to eat three times a day, at certain times of the day, or try intermittent fasting, or go on a certain diet, or labeling certain cultural foods as not healthy, the list goes on. This particular way of thinking separates our own knowing and our own body’s inherent wisdom. It perpetuates the same ideal that mind and body are separate, stemming from colonialism.
Intuitive eating is an approach to food and nutrition that emphasizes trusting your body’s internal cues, rather than following external rules or restrictions. The goal of intuitive eating is to develop a healthy and sustainable relationship with food, free from diet culture and the pressure to conform to certain body ideals. Intuitive eating also involves letting go of feelings of guilt or shame around food, and embracing a non-diet approach to eating. This means rejecting the idea that certain foods are “good” or “bad” and instead focusing on nourishing the body with a variety of whole, nutrient-dense foods. Intuitive eating also emphasizes the importance of being present and mindful during meals, and savoring and enjoying the food we eat.
Intuitive eating to me personally, is a way to reclaim and bring back indigenous practices. For Indigenous communities, intuitive eating is a natural and traditional way of eating that has been practiced for generations. Indigenous communities have historically relied on their environment and traditional knowledge to determine what foods are available, when to harvest them, and how to prepare them in culturally appropriate ways. This often involves a deep connection to the land and a holistic understanding of health that encompasses physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. However, colonialism and Westernization have disrupted traditional food systems and imposed Western ideals of beauty and health, leading to a loss of cultural practices. The promotion of restrictive diets and the demonization of certain foods has also contributed to disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.
By embracing intuitive eating, we are reclaiming traditional knowledge and practices around food, and challenging dominant narratives about what constitutes a healthy diet. Intuitive eating can be seen as a powerful tool for decolonization and cultural revitalization, as it allows individuals and communities to reclaim their autonomy and agency over their own bodies and health.
I would love for you to try to reassess how you might be feeding into these western ideals, and able to reclaim intuitive eating. Also remember, your abuela’s food matters, your curvy body matters, access to nourishing food matters and your health matters. Sending you much-needed healing love.
Dr. Francis Martinez
Dr. Francis Martinez is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor, specializing in the mind and body connection. She has a Bachelor's degree from University of Washington in Public health and Geography and a Doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. As well as a certification in integrative somatic trauma therapy, and a certification in integrative pelvic therapy with a focus on somatic dialogue and trauma informed care.
She is a first generation Latina, a creator, a spiritual coach and a healer. She mostly works with first generation Latinas to get to the root of their unhealed intergenerational traumas on a spiritual, emotional and physical level. Some of the symptoms of these traumas on an emotional/spiritual level are anxiety, negative self-talk, self-doubt, unhappiness, perfectionism and unhealthy relationships. On a clinical level some symptoms can look like fatigue, chronic stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, digestive issues and nervous system dysregulation.