Have you ever walked into the grocery store wondering what you should buy organic and what’s okay to skip out on? Buying organic can get expensive so I find it helpful to only buy organic when it’s most necessary.
Have you been there? If you have, I’m here to help!
Something I’d like to mention is that when I’m shopping for food I always bring a list with me. This helps me not only remember everything I need but also helps me save a lot of time and money. Beside my produce items, I write an ‘O’ so I remember to buy it organic, or a ‘G’ so I know I can buy it generic.
How do I know what to buy organic?
I use a list called the “Dirty Dozen.” The Dirty Dozen is a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest amount of pesticides. This is why they should be purchased organic.
Below I have listed the “Dirty Dozen” in the order of their pesticide content. 1 containing the most pesticides and 12 having the least.
Sweet Bell Peppers
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) puts out an updated list every year with the top 12 fruits and vegetables that are swimming in pesticides, and this was 2018’s.
To stay up to date you can go to the EWG’s website.
I hope this helps you prioritize buying these particular produce items organic, while also being able to feel good about buying other produce generic if you please.
If you would have asked me this 10 different times over the past ten years my answer would have been different every single time.
I am finally at a point in my life where I have made peace with food.
You may be thinking, what do you mean? Peace with food…? It’s just food?
Well, for many years that wasn’t the case for me. Food was attached to my self-worth. I thought that labeling what I was eating, how I was eating, or how much I was eating determined what kind of person I was. Of course, that wasn’t and isn’t at all correct, but that’s the state of mind I was in.
I will get into more detail regarding my journey with food at another time.
If you can imagine my headspace back then compared to my head space now, it’s really night and day.
How did I get to this point? I found intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is a large determinant of how I made peace with food and is now the core of my food philosophy.
What is intuitive eating?
It’s not a diet or a certain way of eating. It’s in the simplest terms listening to your body, and eating like you did when you were a child. When you were a child you didn’t second guess when you were hungry, you just ate. When you were full, you stopped. When you wanted a cookie, you had it. When you wanted carrots, you ate them. When I think of my food philosophy I think of going back to my roots. I think of myself as a whole being, and honoring my mind, body, and soul. I believe that as humans we experience life in very unique ways and that the food we eat is part of our human experience.
Intuitive eating is important if you want to break free from the constant dieting cycle like I did.
There are 10 steps to help guide you on your journey to intuitive eating, and these are all steps I implemented in my personal journey. When you read these steps, keep in mind that breaking up with dieting can and will be just as messy as dieting. When you decide to stop dieting and stop trying to make yourself smaller you start going against everything society is telling you to do. You’re going to be on the outside looking in, and it’s going to feel messy and confusing. Everyone is dieting, wants to diet, wants to change their body in some way, or participates in body shaming themselves and/or others. When you decide to do the opposite it might feel strange, and that’s okay. Give yourself grace. This is a journey. These steps may not occur in order for you, but they’re all important.
Reject the diet mentality. The diet mentality won’t benefit you, ever. Diets are made to fail, in fact, 95% of diets fail. Diets make you feel restricted and can cause mental & physical exhaustion. When rejecting the diet mentality it’s important that you’re surrounding yourself with social media accounts, books, and friends that make you feel good about yourself and remove yourself from situations that no longer serve you.
Honor your hunger. Realize it’s normal to be hungry. You need food to survive just like you need water and oxygen. It’s a biological need that has to be met. If you’re hungry, eat something.
Make peace with food. This is when you have to change your dialogue around food. There are no good or bad foods. You are neither good nor bad for eating a certain food. Food is just food. When making peace with food it’s also important to discuss the scarcity versus abundant mindset when it comes to food. When a person is experiencing scarcity their body believes its the last time they will be able to have a certain food, so they overeat. This happens often with dieters and can also lead to the “getting back on track” train which additionally comes with guilt for what they ate. It’s quite a terrible mindset to be stuck in. However, when a person has an abundant mindset around food they believe that those foods will always be there. If they want some they can have what they please until they’re satisfied and then move on. They also believe that they don’t have to have that food in that given moment because it’s not going to go anywhere.
Challenge the food police. The food police can be social pressures, family/friends, magazines, or social media. The food police are everywhere and it’s crucial to challenge them. The food police may even be the thoughts in your head about food being “bad” or “good.” That also goes back to why you feel that way and often times it’s because of society’s obsession with shrinking yourself and dieting. The food police will try to tell you that the cinnamon roll is bad, and the salad is good but the truth is they’re both food and either one is fine.
Feel your fullness. This is when the hunger-fullness scale can really help you. If you don’t know what the hunger-fullness scale is it’s a scale from 1-10 on levels of hunger and fullness. 1 being the most hungry and 10 being the most full. Tuning into how full you are is just as important to tuning into how hungry you are. Diet culture has engraved into our minds things that aren’t important like meal timing. If you aren’t hungry why eat more than comfortable? If your body is telling you it’s full, listen. If you’re having a hard time telling if you’re full or not, in the beginning, it can be helpful to take breaks while eating to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Are you enjoying the food? How does it taste? Are you still hungry? Are you full? Checking in with yourself is so helpful when discovering your fullness levels.
Discover the satisfaction factor. This is such a beautiful part of intuitive eating when food is enjoyed simply to be enjoyed. Like I said before, food is a huge part of the human experience and I believe it’s one of the great joys of life. Food can be so gratifying. You don’t want to eat a meal just because it’s “fuel” for your body, you also want to enjoy it and feel satiated. If you eat food simply for nutrients you will likely want more food to leave you feeling satisfied and that can cause overeating.
Cope with your emotions without using food. I feel like this one is tricky. While I believe it’s important to deal with your emotions without food, I also think it’s incredibly normal and okay to find comfort in food. First, implement forms of self-care that make you feel good that don’t involve food. But if you still want the ice cream and it makes you feel better, I think that’s okay too. Give yourself grace, but also realize it’s important not to solely rely on food to be your source of comfort.
Respect your body. This is often where I find it to be the most difficult. It’s easy to give this advice, but not as easy to take it yourself. I found that respecting my body and accepting my body was easier said than done. I had to let go of the perfectionist mindset, let myself be human and have flaws, and speak to myself and about my body the way I would speak to a dear friend. I found that I would never speak to a friend the way I spoke to myself, so why was I?
Exercise-feel the difference. This has changed my life. Instead of exercising in a way you feel you should be, or in a way that you always have, try exercising just to feel good. Exercise in a way you truly enjoy. Step away from why you’re doing it aesthetically, how many calories you’re burning, etc and just focus on movement that makes you feel good.
Honor your health with gentle nutrition. This is what I like to call mindful eating. I would urge this to be your last step when becoming an intuitive eater because I think it organically occurs after all the other steps have been worked on. Gentle nutrition is listening to your body but also being aware of what you have eaten and making sure you’re giving your body enough nutrients.
I practice intuitive eating and mindful eating on a day to day basis. I’m constantly checking in with my body, honoring myself as a whole, and making sure I have balanced and delicious meals/snacks whenever I’m hungry. That is my food philosophy.