Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating: When old habits creep back in

Once you’ve done intuitive eating for awhile, your weight tends to be more of a curiosity than anything to actually care about.

Until it isn’t.

I didn’t weigh myself much at all while learning to eat intuitively, because the number on the scale used to be a bit of an obsession, and a major source of guilt and shame.

But after feeling firmly settled into my unrestricted eating and body positivity habits, I started to weigh myself again… both out of curiosity, and because my fiancé is always talking about his day-to-day weight fluctuations. We’re scientists and we love our data, for science’s sake. (Did running after that high salt meal negate the water retention? Did we actually manage to lose weight on that beach vacation from all the swimming?)

But today I realized that at some point, it stopped just being data. I’ve noticed that my weight on the scale is affecting how I see myself again, and daily fluctuations are having an influence on my mood.

I’ve been lifting weights more, so this is especially damaging because I want to gain muscle. But my lifelong conditioning is that weight going up = bad.

But either way, why should an arbitrary, irrelevant number have an effect on my mood?

It shouldn’t.

So I’ve stopped weighing myself.

Easy!

If thoughts about my weight creep in, I can just shake them off by deciding that I think I look fine. Instead of the other way around where I let the scale decide how I feel, when otherwise I would have felt happy about how I look.

And, most importantly, I remind myself that it doesn’t really matter either way if I gained a bit of weight.

Would my career suffer if I gained weight? Not at all.

Would my fiancé leave me? Nope.

Would it really affect my life in any way besides my own self-perceptions, which I can easily change? No!

(Now, I know there are some careers and circumstances where gaining a bit of weight could negatively impact your life. But still, feeling bad about yourself won’t prevent it at all. Feeling good about yourself and nourishing your body with satiating foods will prevent it1.)

I’ve found that the key to maintaining intuitive eating is to be mindful of what kinds of thought patterns and habits you might fall into. Some of us may naturally trend back towards bad habits and thought patterns if we’re not actively maintaining our new, better patterns. And that’s okay!

For some of us, thoughts are like teeth that way… without a retainer, they slowly drift back towards old, pre-braces patterns. It’s worth having to pop in a retainer occasionally to avoid being stuck with painfully crowded teeth. We don’t feel bad about ourselves because our teeth do that, it’s just how it is!

So every once in awhile, take a moment to self reflect about your feelings towards yourself and food. Check in with yourself to find any bad habits or worries that are forming, and stop them in their tracks. Better yet, replace them with something good: freedom to eat, self love, and good food.

Here’s a great book on intuitive eating for those looking to get started. I’m also starting a series of every-other-week posts on how to eat intuitively, both for beginners and for those facing issues later on the process (none of us are perfect!), so subscribe to stay tuned!

  1. See my weight loss videos for scientific research on how to lose weight without restricting.

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Recipes

Vegan Caribbean Beans Recipe

Black beans, pinto beans, brown rice, avocado recipe

Today I’m sharing my favorite bean recipe of all time. That’s a serious statement given how often I make beans.

It’s based on a recipe my mom made when I was a kid, and since then I’ve veganized & modified it, and have been making it by feel ever since. But today’s the day… after years and years, I finally wrote it down.

Cue applause. 😛  (It may come as a surprise since I often post recipes, but I usually don’t write them down otherwise!)

These are my favorite beans not only because of the taste, but because they’re easy to make, involving almost no chopping if you have a food processor. Bonus: I’ve discovered they’re the perfect way to use up hot peppers from the garden, and tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, & herbs to boot–and this recipe really makes them shine. They’re also one of my favorite bulk cooking recipes because the flavor actually gets even better over the course of a few days.

Not to mention, they’re really versatile, and can be dressed up or down depending on your mood. As a kid we had them in cheese-topped tortillas, and now my usual go-to is with brown rice and avocado. They also go great as part of a salad!

Vegan caribbean beans recipe with avocado

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 15oz cans black beans, drained and washed
  • 1 – 15oz can pinto beans, drained and washed
  • 1 large yellow or white onion
  • 2 cups bell peppers, any color
  • 1 cup fresh tomato
  • 3 tsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
  • Heaping 1/4c fresh parsley
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2-3 small medium-hot peppers* (~3 tbsp worth)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4c dry white wine
  • Topping ideas: Avocado, fresh tomato, scallions, hot sauce, vegan cheese

*Every hot pepper I’ve tried has tasted good in it, and I often mix and match: jalapeno, garden salsa, anaheim… try experimenting with your favorite peppers! Or try 1/2+ tsp dried cayenne to taste.

Directions:

  1. Chop the onions and bell peppers, either by hand or in a food processor. Add to a pot over medium heat and sauté around 5 minutes or until the onions begin to get translucent.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the vinegar, wine, oregano, parsley, garlic, and hot peppers. Blend briefly until everything looks approximately minced–do not blend until smooth. (Careful not to inhale it right after it’s done blending, the hot pepper can sting your nose!)
  3. Chop or food-process tomatoes until diced, and add them to the pot with the onions and bell peppers. Also add the blended herb mixture, and the rest of the ingredients (beans, cumin).
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes, until everything is tender and combined.
  5. Blend 1/2 to 3/4 of the pot, depending on how pureed you want your beans. If you puree them a lot they’ll be like black bean soup, and if you puree them less they’ll likely stay in tacos better–it’s up to your personal taste! I usually coarsely blend around 2/3 of it.
  6. Serve on its own, with rice, or in a burrito or taco.

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Welcome!

Hey there!

I’m Miche, and I’m a recovering dieter.

After years of yo-yo dieting & weight gain, I figured out how to stop the cycle, lose the fat, and gain muscle!

So I’m here to share advice on how to eat without rules or restriction and reach your goal body, using scientific research from nutrition & psychology.

…and share recipes, too!

Weight loss isn’t about eating less.

It’s about eating differently.

Losing weight, and especially maintaining it, is about what you eat, and how you go about eating it.

I know, this completely runs against conventional wisdom. But hear me out.

Conventional wisdom doesn’t consider the actual scientific research on how weight loss works.

I do: I’m a PhD student!

I run studies on nutrition & memory, and apply science to my daily life!

There is a lot of great research out there on how to lose weight, and be happier & healthier… but most people don’t know about it, because it’s hard to access & understand.

So I break it down by writing posts & filming videos so you can apply scientific findings to your life!

PS: I also love gardening, so I’ll be sprinkling in some health-related gardening posts here and there 😉

Videos

Study: Overeating sugar doesn’t make you gain weight? | How high carb vegans lose weight on 3000+ calories

Happy Saturday! Today I have a video for you where I go over a scientific study on what happens when people overeat sugar. Specifically, how much sugar you can turn into fat (through de novo lipogenesis), and whether sugar makes you fat.

Study summary

This study compares lean and obese participants in terms of their de novo lipogenesis (DNL), which is the process of converting carbohydrates into fats in the body. The researchers fed people 3 diets for 4 days each: a control diet to maintain their weight, and two overfeeding diets. The participant were in a calorimeter room during these diets to measure exactly what they burned off, and their activity and rest was controlled. The control diet was a pretty normal, Western-style diet: about 50% carbs, 40% fat, and 10% protein.

In both overfeeding diets, they were overfed by 50%, half of which was fat (butter and oil added to meals), and half of which was sugar (sugary drinks). In one overfeeding diet, they were overfed with sugar in the form of glucose, and in the other diet, they were overfed sugar in the form of sucrose. There were no differences in the outcomes by the type of sugar, so I don’t talk about that in the video.

The researchers looked at what happened to the sugar especially: how much of it they burned off, how much of it they turned into fat, and how much it contributed to body fat gain. They also looked at whether fat or sugar leads to more increases in DNL, how the overfeeding diets affected insulin and blood sugar, and more. I spend most of the video going over the results, and what they mean for you!

Here’s a link to the study: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/74/6/737/4737416

Extra science notes

Here are some notes on parts that I cut out of the video, since they’re more for people specifically interested in science!:

  • The effect of increased energy expenditure with the overfeeding diets wasn’t statistically significant, but there was a consistent increase in all 4 overfeeding groups (lean and obese, sucrose and glucose). Given the small number of subjects, it is likely this effect would be significant if more subjects were included. There are also other studies finding this increase in metabolism with increased food intake, which I plan to make another video on too! (e.g., https://www.nature.com/articles/ijo2012202)
  • Fat balance and carbohydrate balance each explained 43% of the variance in DNL. Therefore, it appears that overeating generally rather than solely carbohydrate intake may be responsible for increasing DNL.
  • The numbers on the plot are in kilojoules, which is a standard scientific unit for energy. For the video, I converted it to calories to make it more applicable. If you look at the paper yourself, note that many of the numbers are in kJ (or grams, for macronutrient balances) per 96 hours.
  • The paper was funded by sugar interests, which would be a big problem if it were the only paper showing low rates of DNL like this, or if their main goal was to show how low DNL is. Luckily, there are many other studies showing similarly low rates of DNL, but I chose this one as the example for this video because it was a nice method, published in a top nutrition journal, and made the numbers available. The main goal of this study (aka what the sugar industry wanted) was actually to test the differences between sucrose and glucose in DNL–they found no effect. Also, they focused more on how DNL doubled than how low it was, suggesting their goal wasn’t to push a low-DNL sugar agenda.
  • Here is another paper reaching the same conclusions, from Berkeley and not funded by the sugar industry: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC185982/

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Recipes

Fluffy Baked Potato Chips Recipe [Vegan]

Fluffy vegan baked potato chip recipe

Sometimes I like to make elaborate meals like my most recent strawberry shortcake recipe, but other times… I just want some potatoes. These guys are my favorite way to eat simple potatoes! They’re like a cross between chips and a baked potato—crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and so addictive.

And it’s so simple, I almost feel silly even calling it a recipe. I usually have them with just salt and pepper, but they can be flavored so many ways, with sauces afterwards or spices while baking! (I add a few ideas below)

Nutrition note: contrary to popular opinion, potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse! Not only are they packed with fiber and resistant starch which are both great for weight loss (see my video on resistant starch & weight loss), but they’ve got almost every nutrient you need to survive. For example, one 400 calorie meal of these potatoes would give me 20% of my daily protein needs; 10g fiber; tons of potassium, B vitamins, and vitamin C; omega 3s, and a bunch more.

Vegan fluffy baked potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes (~300g)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use ~1/2 tsp seasoning salt, 1/8 tsp pepper)
  • Optional: spices to taste (can also use to replace salt): smoked paprika, taco seasoning, curry powder, chili lime seasoning, 21 seasoning salute (or other italian seasoning)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.
  2. Slice potatoes into ~1/8″ thick slices width-wise (aka, so they’re circles not ovals), as evenly as possible. The best way to do this is with a mandolin, but a knife will do!
  3. Put them in a large tupperware, add spices, and shake them around to get them evenly coated.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread potato slices out in a single layer on the parchment paper with some space in between them. (Use multiple sheets if necessary)
  5. Place baking sheet(s) in oven. If you have multiple sheets, place them side by side on one rack rather than stacked on a rack above the other–you want both sheets to get full heat from the top and bottom of the oven!
  6. Bake for 18 minutes, or until there are large golden brown bubbles on top of all of the slices, like in the photos. But don’t let them get fully browned!
  7. Eat immediately, since they’re crispiest while hot!


Enjoy,

 

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Videos

Scientific Studies: Losing Weight Releases Toxins in your Blood + 6 Ways to Reduce your Pesticide Levels

Happy Monday! Today I have a video for you where I go over scientific studies on toxins: how weight loss actually raises the amount of toxins (especially pesticides) in your blood, what those toxins can do to your body and what types of symptoms they cause, and 6 science-based steps you can take to lower your pesticide levels.

Some of the symptoms & diseases that pesticides could cause:

  • Hormone imbalance (can cause endometriosis, painful periods, acne, PCOS), birth defects & infertility
  • Inflammation (can cause eczema, headaches, fatigue, indigestion, etc.)
  • Cancer
  • Brain fog & neuron loss
  • Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma

See the video for how you can lower your toxin levels, based on science.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Weight loss & elimination study links:

Health study links:

 

Want to help me do more of this kind of research for you? I would really appreciate your support on Patreon!

Recipes

Decadent Vegan Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

I finally got my hands on the new Reddi-wip vegan whipped cream, and for my first time trying it, I wanted to make something a bit extravagant where whipped cream is a key ingredient: so I went with strawberry shortcake. My fiancé found a nonvegan recipe online, and we made it vegan and changed the method to make it easier—and it has turned out amazing every time! It’s now our go-to when we want a fun brunch.

We’ve also served it to nonvegan friends with rave reviews!

Vegan strawberry shortcake

Makes about 16 shortcakes

Ingredients

Shortcake

  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cups vegan butter (for dough)*
  • 1/4-1/2 cup vegan butter (for pan & topping)
  • 1 1/4c vegan heavy cream, half and half, or coconut cream

Toppings

  • 2 pints strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Vegan whipped cream

*Our favorite vegan butter is Miyokos, and we add a bit of extra heavy cream to make up for it being a bit less wet than most vegan butters. Depending on the brand you use, you may need to add more heavy cream or non-dairy milk to make the dough smooth and moist enough.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Slice strawberries to your desired size, crushing some of them if you prefer more juice rather than whole strawberry pieces. Mix with 1/2 cup of sugar, and set aside while you make the dough to let it produce strawberry syrup.

Make the shortcakes:

  1. Stir flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup of softened butter, and use your hands to rub it into the dry ingredients. Add 1 1/4 cups cream, and mix to a soft dough. Add more cream (or nondairy milk) as necessary to achieve a smooth ball of dough with no cracks.
  2. Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes in the bowl, then roll it to about 1/2-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter or jar (mine was about a 3″ diameter), cut an even number of rounds.
  3. Use some of the remaining butter to grease a baking sheet. Lay the rounds out on the sheet, leaving some space between them. Melt remaining butter, and brush it evenly on top of the rounds.
  4. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure not to brown the bottoms beyond a golden light brown color.
  5. Serve warm. Top shortcakes with strawberries and whipped cream, and enjoy!

I would love your feedback if you try it! I would also love to see your posts–if you make it and tag me @veganmiche on Instagram, I’ll share your post! 🙂

 

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