When we are struck with a craving or a mood swing sometimes we want to fix it with a quick trip to the refrigerator or the pantry.
If we eat how we often live – fast – we’ll likely make a fast snack decision: whatever we can rip open from a wrapper and pop in our mouth for a quick fix.
However, intuition and mindfulness can help guide us to make a smarter food choice. Often, a brief reflection on what is causing hunger and how we can best respond to our body’s desires will point us in the direction of a plate of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables to provide satisfaction and nourishment. Undoubtedly, our intuition will occasionally point us to the fresh-baked cookies cooling on the counter – and that is okay too.
This is the principle of intuitive eating – slowing down and recognizing what we really want out of our food choice and opting for the choice that will help us live a more sustainable, long-term healthy lifestyle.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating, or mindful eating, is a concept which encourages practitioners to reconnect with the food they are consuming and heal any toxic relationships previously held with food.
The basic tenants of intuitive eating reject modern notions of diet culture in favor of a holistic approach to a sustainable and balanced lifestyle. Much like the concept of intuitive wellness for physical joint and muscle health, intuitive eating also focuses on slowing down, reconnecting with yourself and your needs, and choosing the option that will help you sustain overall, long-term health and wellness.
Intuitive eating promotes mindful consideration of the nutritious food we choose to fuel our day and make us feel our best. However, it also encourages us to shed any guilt over enjoying occasional treats when the urge arises -- so as to nix over consumption caused by deprivation later.
Essentially, intuitive eating boils down to slowing down and improving wellness from the inside out, by focusing on what the outside wants to let in.
Intuitive Eating at the Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market
Fredericksburg, VA has a rich rural heritage and open-air produce commerce dates back to as early as 1728. Today, that history lives on in the Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market which hosts a variety of vendors offering fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, and breads.
The Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the color, sounds, tastes, and smells of market shopping and intuitive eating.
As you stroll through the market in Hurkamp Park, it probably will not take long for your mouth to start watering at the sight of so much fresh produce and delicious bakery items. Slow down, stop to touch and smell the items and reflect on the following questions at each vendor you visit:
· What is my body telling me it needs right now?
· What is my body telling me it wants right now?
· How do I want to feel? Which items will make me feel this way?
· If I choose this item how will I feel now? How will I feel later?
Pay close attention to the way food affects both your mind and body. Maybe the warm, sweet scent of a cinnamon roll is making your stomach rumble – if so, split one with a friend or family member and relish in the enjoyment of the treat on a beautiful summer day. Maybe the crisp bunches of lettuce are calling your name – if so, pick up a bundle to serve as the bed of your nutritious dinner salad later that evening.
If you’re truly paying attention as you peruse the market, you’ll notice in a pattern among produce vendors in which items are the freshest and most abundant. One of the greatest perks of shopping locally is the opportunity to purchase fresh produce in-season at the peak of the produce’s taste and nutrient density.
Mid-summer produce considered in-season in the Fredericksburg area include berries, cucumbers, beans, green peppers, peaches, nectarines, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, and watermelon.
These fruits and vegetables were planted months ago and carefully tended to and harvested at a precise moment in the season. This is food to be cherished just as slowly and mindfully – hand-picked and prepared for dinner, not ripped out of a grocery store package and tossed in the oven for a few minutes.
Pick up one (or several) of these in-season items and consider the slow agricultural process which broug ht this food to your table. Slow down and appreciate the tomatoes as you dice them for a stew. Take a moment to run your fingers over the fuzzy navel of the peach before you slice it into your oats at breakfast.
Whatever you choose to nosh on this summer, the farmer’s market is the perfect place to begin an intuitive eating journey – with so much fresh produce available in it’s purest form you can learn to reconnect with what your body’s purest culinary and nutritious desires are.
The Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market operates it’s primary market day on Saturdays (April – October) from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Hurkamp Park.
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