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Lauren Nixon

Eating Well Self-care

Self-Care Series: Intuitive Eating

Lauren Nixon is a Food & Wellness Educator based out of Washington, D.C, who who guides people in cultivating spirit-filled lives through self-care practices and real, healthy food. The attention and care that she devotes to eating and living well are palpable, and it’s an honor and joy to have the opportunity to share our conversation here. Catch up on Part 1 here, where Lauren shares her self-care practices, if you haven’t already! – xx K

1. What is intuitive eating?

For me, intuitive eating is a really amazing dialogue between your body and your emotions. When many people think about eating, they merely think of relieving themselves of hunger. But the five senses are heavily involved in every thing that we do. Honoring our five senses, our physical cravings, and our ever-changing palates (especially in the midst of seasonal changes, emotional changes, and physical changes) is really at the core of eating intuitively. So is honoring your body’s wisdom to know what whole, real foods would best nourish you in any given moment.

For me intuitive eating is decidedly intentional and paced. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you craft an intuitive eating experience when you’re on the run. There is so much power in the relationship between cooking at home and eating intuitively in order to craft an experience that is yours and only yours.

Self-Care Intuitive Eating 3

“Intuitive eating is a really amazing dialogue between your body and your emotions.”

For me, eating intuitively involves tapping into the following questions:

  • How do I feel? Am I in my most balanced state of being?
  • What textures are of interest to me today? The crunch of raw cabbage? The soft bite of a roasted sweet potato?
  • What flavors will make me feel like my best self? A warm hit of garam masala? Simple salt and pepper? Smoky paprika?
  • What scents will create a fulfilling environment for me? The smell of sweet honey dissolving in hot tea? Chicken roasting away in the oven?
  • How much or little do I need to eat in order to feel nourished? Is a snack or a full meal the best fit?
  • What colors will excite my palate? (The deep orange skin of a kabocha squash? The intense purple coat of an eggplant?)
  • How can I create a meal that honors my needs in this very moment?

Self-Care Intuitive Eating 2

2. Does it have anything to do with food cravings?

Intuitive eating has a lot to do with food cravings! I think that allowing your cravings to lead you is a really natural inclination. I think that when we align that natural inclination to meet our personal food needs with the natural, amazing flavors that the earth provides, we’re bound to create a fulfilling eating experience.

Cravings are natural. Wanting something sweet, or comforting, or filling, or light, or dense…those are all beautiful things. I think that the beauty of intuitive eating is that you can take all of these needs and moving thoughtfully and deliberately, you can create a meal that is really wonderful.

3. How do I tell if it’s my body telling me what I need vs my brain telling me what I want?

That’s between you and your body (and your brain!). There’s only one you and only you can know the answer to that question. For me, asking myself questions about my cravings, my hunger, my emotional state, and my needs is the first step.

If you have questions or difficulty with the food/brain connection, a therapist or counselor would be a great place to start! There are so many therapists and counselors who are doing great work around eating practices.

4. What are the benefits of intuitive eating?

Eating intuitively allows you to create a space where you honor your hunger pangs, your tastebuds, and your emotions. It allows you to think creatively about your own needs.

Self-Care Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating begs for a bit of research, a bit of dawdling in the cookbook aisle at the bookstore, a bit of food blog hopping, a bit of time at the farmers market, a bit of risk taking and comfort zone bending. You will inevitably come out of the experience more creative and more adventurous.

Most importantly, intuitive eating teaches you how to feed yourself. There’s no blueprint for how we should eat, so you have the freedom to create a personal blueprint that shifts and morphs and transforms as you grow as a person.

photos by Sophie Sarkar.

Lauren Nixon Self-CareLauren Nixon is a Food and Wellness Educator who guides youth and adults in creating healthy, nourishing relationships with local, sustainable food through cooking instruction and educational workshops. She has had the pleasure of working with sustainable food and environmental education organizations including FoodCorps, Urban Nutrition Initiative, Raices Eco Culture Micro Farm, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Hidden Villa, and many more. Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenNNixon or at www.laurennixon.com

Eating Well Self-care Wellness

Self-Care Series: Lauren Nixon, Food & Wellness Educator

Lauren Nixon is a Food & Wellness Educator based out of Washington, D.C, who who guides people in cultivating spirit-filled lives through self-care practices and real, healthy food. The attention and care that she devotes to eating and living well are palpable, and it’s an honor and joy to have the opportunity to share our conversation here. In Part 1 of this two part series, we chat about her self-care practices. In Part 2, we’ll be talking about intuitive eating. Enjoy! – xx K

Hi, Lauren! Tell us about your self-care practices. How did you arrive at this point of your self-care journey? 

Although I’ve always woven various self-care practices into my life, after 6 years of living in New York, I realized that my self-care practices were not enough and that I was living in a city that just wasn’t the right environment for me.

Leaving New York was the first step in revamping my self-care practice. I needed someplace quieter, with more nature, with more space. I needed to feel like I could breathe. After bopping around for a few years to farm and garden and teach and have my quarter life crisis outside of New York, I moved to Washington, D.C. I’m originally from Silver Spring, MD, a metropolitan area that’s right outside of the city, so being back feels like I’m bringing my self-care practice full circle and returning to my home space to gather certain parts of myself from my youth and to have a chat with those parts. It’s nice. And rigorous. For me, physical environment plays a huge role in my internal self-care practice.

Right now, my self-care practice involves gobbling up library books, spending time with my friends, dating, riding my bike, cooking, spending lots of time alone in nature, avoiding drama and low vibrations, and stepping into my authentic self. I also have an asana and pranayama practice and an affinity for journaling that really nourishes me.

How do you keep yourself on the path of self-care? 

I keep my self-care practice going because it feels really good. It feels really good to take care of myself and to have energy and to feel healthy, and alert, and strong. It feels good to feel emotionally, intellectually, and physically ready for your day, your week, your month ahead. I also remind myself of what burnout feels like. I’ve been there. It’s not a cute place to be.

My self-care practice doesn’t necessarily require much discipline because I feel so good on a daily basis and I want to maintain that delicious feeling. Of course, there are days when I don’t feel so hot. But that’s when my self-care practice shifts a bit. Sometimes I let myself cry in bed or watch really terrible Netflix movies for a few days. But then I remember that I have a divine purpose and that I need to be an active participant in my self-care practice and that my moping has an expiration date.

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It feels good to feel emotionally, intellectually, and physically ready for your day, your week, your month ahead.

What are some of your inspirations? 

I’m really influenced by ancestral and feminine knowledge. I’m interested in how people lived, what they ate, and how they sustained themselves before happiness became a commodity. I’m influenced by the knowledge and stories that are passed down by women. I’m influenced by my body. I listen to its cravings, its impulses, its gut feelings. I’m influenced by nature. I’m influenced by my friends. They are good listeners and smart people and forces to be reckoned with.

Are there any resources you turn to?

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a classic. When I was 26, I read it in bed and sobbed like a baby and I’ve been meaning to revisit it. It’s a really powerful call for women to step into their power.

BlackGirlInOm is doing important work. It’s important for women of color to have a space to talk about their lives and experiences.

I’m really keen on a lot of healthy food blogs. It inspires me to see how other people nourish themselves. Right now, I love Will Frolic For Food, Earthsprout, My New Roots, and a handful of others.

Reading my horoscope is a really great way to set he tone for my week and to think about how I can best take care of myself and avoid self-induced nonsense and foolishenss. I really like astrobarry, Chani Nicholas, and Susan Miller at Astrology Zone. They keep me on track. I also really appreciate a good tarot reading every few months. I had an awesome reading by Mecca Woods of mylifecreated.com and it was insane how much perspective I received from someone who hasn’t even met me.

Books play a big role in my life and remind me that I’m never alone. This year, I’ve read a lot by really great female authors. I’ve read Danzy Senna, Alice Walker, Jeanette Winterson, Helen Oyeyemi and many others. Books remind me that I am a powerful little speck in a big, big world.

Photo of Lauren by Chelsea Keat.

Lauren Nixon is a Food and Wellness Educator who guides youth and adults in creating healthy, nourishing relationships with local, sustainable food through cooking instruction and educational workshops. She has had the pleasure of working with sustainable food and environmental education organizations including FoodCorps, Urban Nutrition Initiative, Raices Eco Culture Micro Farm, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Hidden Villa, and many more. Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenNNixon or at www.laurennixon.com