Food Freedom

Technicalities: Food is Fuel

“Food is fuel.”

Technically, this is correct.

Food, at it’s bare minimum, is what allows us as human beings to function.

That doesn’t mean “food is fuel” is the be all end all.

Because food is fuel… but it is not only fuel.

Food functions beyond giving us energy for our daily activities and happenings.

It goes beyond the nutrients it provides for our bodies to do their magical and miraculous things.

It is more than carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

It goes further than providing for our basic needs.

Food is so much more.

Food gives way to experiencing the world, cultures, and lifestyles.

Food is a language we all speak, a common ground.

Food substitutes a time machine, allowing us to revisit the past in just a bite.

Food brings us together and creates community in the making, eating, and enjoying of it.

Food gives us something to look forward to. To reflect on. To bond over.

Food allows a creative outlet in the ability to experiment.

Food is healing because whether it is a cookie or a salad eating is self-care.

Food creates comfort in it’s familiarity, it’s warmth, it’s pleasantries.

Food is life-sustaining it, giving way to experience it, memories revolving around it, traditions upheld with it.

Food is a way to show our love, care, concern, and compassion whether homemade, store bought or takeout.

Food may be fuel… but it’s importance and abilities go far beyond that.

Food is fuel, but it is not only fuel.

How does food go beyond fuel for you? I’d love to hear what it means to you below!

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Holiday Chatter

‘Tis the season of gathering around the table.

Maybe it’s the table in your own home, your parents, your in-laws, your friends, a company holiday party, or even at a restaurant... Maybe holidays suck and you choose to celebrate alone at your coffee table. And that’s okay too. No matter where the table, it’s more likely than not that you will be around it for celebration sometime soon. And for many of us, there is going to be some stress that comes with that.

Stress and baggage has a tendency to travel with the holiday season. First and foremost, make sure you are practicing your best self care (more on that coming soon). Then take it one day at a time.

Here are some things to consider and maybe share with those you are spending time with this holiday season and feel could benefit from knowing:

Mind your own plate (And ask that others do as well)

Your plate is your business… and it’s acceptable to ask everyone around you to mind their own plate too. This is easily reversed-don’t compare your plate to that of anyone around you. Your plate is specifically crafted for you. Your wants, your taste, your needs. The what and why and how much is on a plate is the plate owners business alone.

Also, avoid being the food police and don’t accept others policing your food. It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to eat a salad… or dessert… or grandma’s famous yams. It’s also okay if you go back for seconds of absolutely anything and/or everything if that is what they want.

What someone decides to eat and drink any day of the year should should not be up for public debate (if at all)… let’s try to put an emphasis on that during the holiday season.

Things not to talk about around the table (or ever)

  1. Diets and Restriction: Whether you’re following the newest fad, were put on it by a medical provider, or just shooting for a “lifestyle change” don’t talk about your diet, food rules, or any restrictions that you may be implementing, considering or practicing in the future. With 1 in 4 dieters going on to develop an eating disorder the risk of harm is too high to ignore.

    What to talk about instead?: What tv, movies or music you’ve been into lately

  2. Weight and Body Talk: Even when said as a ‘compliment’, talking about others (or your own) weight and body changes or shape can be incredibly damaging. It reinforces that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bodies… and that is not true. Bodies are meant to be diverse and that is ok. Body image is hard enough in our society without the comments, even well intentioned, from family and friends.

    What to say instead?: “Hello! How have you been? It is so great to see you!”

  3. Post Meal Shaming: Guilt and shame are common following a meal. It’s not wrong to feel that way-but that probably means you personally need to do work with your relationship with body and food and that’s okay! Just choose to not talk about any poor feelings following a meal or shame anyone else for what/how much/when they choose to eat.

    What to say instead: ‘That meal was absolutely delicious. It was so great to share with you all.”

  4. Exercise Routines: No one needs to earn, burn, ‘prepare for’, or ‘work off’ any food, let alone a holiday dinner. Everyone needs to eat, multiple times a day, every day a year, regardless of movement. Period. If you moved today in a way that felt great to you, CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so happy you’ve found movement that works for you. If you moved today and your motivation was elsewhere, that’s okay too! Either way others don’t need to hear about or feel guilt or shame related to your exercise routine.

    What to talk about instead?: Your favorite thing to do during the holidays.

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Preparing yourself for the holiday celebration

Plan for as much as you can. Think through your holiday plans. Run through uncomfortable scenarios. Know your boundaries and your limits. Stick to them. It’s okay to say no to events you rather not go to that will only leave you feeling drained. Share any boundaries you need to with family and friends to help have the best time possible.

Do not skip breakfast or any meals or normal snacks before the event.

The day before and after make sure you have time set aside for self care (the day of too if you can manage!). If you know these events are hard for you, make sure that you are taking time for yourself. Maybe you plan for a nap between events, ten minutes of meditation, a walk by yourself after dinner, an hour in the middle of the day to just read… whatever you know works for you, if possible to incorporate it, do so!

Pack snacks if you think you may need them. If you are unsure that any food will be there for you to enjoy (whether it’s because of personal preference, allergy, or another medical necessity) it’s okay to pack your own food.

If you want to enjoy something or a family member is insisting on you trying it and you just can’t eat it in the moment, ask for some to go.

Not sure how things are going to go? Do what is best for you, have an escape plan, and if you need to leave early, then leave early. There is nothing wrong with that.

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As much as possible, enjoy the food. Embrace the company. Focus on the experience.

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When Mindful Eating Turns Into a Diet

Too much of anything can be a bad thing… Including mindful eating.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in Mindful Eating and I believe that it can work beautifully and compliment Intuitive Eating… But what happens when we take mindfulness and mindful eating to an extreme?

What happens when you have to be mindful about your food all of the time?

When we are so mindful that food and eating are the only focus of the meal?

When we know the exact amount of every food we’ve eaten from cups to tablespoons to the exact count of tortilla chips?

What happens when we take mindful eating and turn it into a form of restriction?

IT’S NO LONGER MINDFUL.

We go from saying we’re being mindful to actually being a slave to the rules and restrictions of yet another diet that we mask with mindfulness… and rules and restrictions are not mindful eating.


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Mindful eating is flexible.

You do not have to be mindful when eating 100% of the time.

You can take into consideration the situations when maybe it would be better for our sanity, our self care, our experience to allow for a bit of mindlessness.

Mindful eating takes into account not only what food you are eating or not eating and how it tastes, how our body responds, how it makes us feel (emotionally and physically), but also the experience and the people around you.

Like with all things there are shades of gray.

There is nuance.

I wholeheartedly believe that eating a meal at the table with good conversation and loved ones is one of the greatest regular occasions we can have… but I also know that is not everyone’s experience.

Maybe mindful eating is really hard.

Maybe mindless eating is truly difficult.

Either way I encourage you to lean into the discomfort as you can, because both are part of the human experience. And neither is wrong in it’s own right.

Yes, mindlessly eating at every meal can be problematic, but making mindful eating a rigid experience is too.

So if practicing mindful eating-figure out what works for you.

Maybe breakfast and dinner are distraction free but lunch we tend to work through. Or after a long day we like to watch our favorite show and have a bowl of popcorn.

Find your balance-whatever that means to you.


Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!


S'moreo Brownies

Finally, I'm getting to the good stuff. A recipe. Something you can really take away from here and use in your own life.

"But wait... You're a dietitian and the first recipe you share is dessert? Is there some secret ingredient like black beans or kale or are they only xxx calories so I can 'justify' eating them?" you may be thinking.

NOPE. Also, we should talk about why you need to justify eating something delicious.

I made black bean brownies once in my life. I won't do that again. They weren't brownies. They were overly sweetened black beans with pumpkin puree. And I didn't enjoy them. 

Now don't get me wrong. I like beans. I like pumpkin. Heck, I love corner brownies. But the three just don't jive well.

"But then these can't be healthy." You all cry in unison. 

YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN AND I CAN'T WAIT TO SHARE EVERYTHING WITH YOU. But that's for another post (actually, probably multiple posts). For now you'll have to settle for the fact that my grandfather considers all desserts health foods and you DO NOT want to mess with him.

Matt and I decided that we wouldn't get each other gifts for our anniversary this year, so in lieu of a gift I made him a dessert that combined three desserts he loves. That I just so happen could enjoy too. Call me selfish.

Yeah, a version of this recipe has probably been done before, but I flew by the seat of my pants and they turned out amazing, so I feel obligated to share the recipe with you here and now.

These brownies were super simple to make-I personally used a box mix (Ghirardelli's Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix to be exact) to make it even more simple! (Side note: Brownies are on my food bucket list to make from scratch because aside from the black bean brownies-which as previously established, do not count-I've always turned to a box mix! Side note, to the side note: There's nothing wrong with brownies from a box-I just like to challenge myself in the kitchen and try new things)

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By putting the marshmallows in the middle they melted into the brownie dough and it was a magical combination. So magical, I enjoyed these bad boys with a glass of milk pre-hoosier heights the next morning. 

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THAT'S RIGHT I ATE BROWNIES FOR BREAKFAST AND AGAIN FOR DESSERT LATER IN THE DAY. And here I am living to tell the tale. You guys I have so much to say and I'm just so excited to have a space to say it. I hope you'll stick around while I break all the food rules and maybe influence you to do so too.

What are some food rules you're still living by?

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