Hey friends! Today I have a video (& post) for you with 10 tips on how to stop overeating or binge eating out of boredom! Boredom eating is an important habit to kick whether you’re looking to learn to eat intuitively, or looking to lose weight.
Today I’m wearing my psychologist hat: I do have my master’s degree in psychology (cognitive neuroscience emphasis) after all! Some of these tips will address the eating side of the issue, and others will focus more on solving the boredom side.
I go over all these points in detail and with concrete examples in the video, but here’s the list:
Figure out if you’re eating from actual boredom, or if it’s really hunger! (Try the broccoli test)
Exercise: the hormones suppress your appetite!
Meditation: turn boredom into something that’s good for you physically & mentally
Plan something exciting
Find something else that’s mostly mindless to occupy yourself, especially your hands
Find an activity that’s rewarding in a way that replaces the reward from food
Channel your food-related thoughts into cooking something healthy!
Find & solve the root cause of your boredom, like stress, depression, dissatisfaction with life circumstances, etc.
Ever since I started gardening a few years ago, I’ve wanted to grow sungold tomatoes. I’m always hearing how they’re magical and taste like candy.
I planted one last year, but I only got to try a few because squirrels got almost all of them. It was a tomato tease, but at least I figured out what all the hype was about (among humans and squirrels, apparently): they really are amazing.
This year I’m overflowing with them… thanks to the 6 foot tall, 128sqft squirrel-proof cage I built around them in spring. I’m also overflowing in early girls, romas, and sweet 100s thanks to the cage, too!
I had a giant harvest of tomatoes over the weekend, and I wanted to use them up while they were fresh. I wanted to make something where they’d really be the star of the dish instead of hidden in another recipe. And I wanted it to be really easy, because I was tired from gardening!
Enter salsa fresca.
This salsa can be made with any tomato, but I made it with sungolds and a few early girls and it was mind blowing. Sungolds are really sweet, so it had the sweetness of fruity salsa (like the kinds with mango or pineapple), but it was still pure tomato flavor.
This salsa was also perfect for using up my big hot pepper harvest, because it really showed off their flavor!
~1lb (500g) tomatoes
Half large red onion
2-3 small jalapeños*
2 big garden salsa peppers (or more jalapeños, or 1-2 serranos)
1/2 cup whole cilantro leaves
1 tsp fresh oregano
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
*If you have very spicy jalapeños, start with fewer and add more at the end until it’s your desired level of spiciness!
Add peppers, cilantro, oregano, and lime to a food processor. Process until everything is minced, but not pureed.
Add onions to food processor. If you like your salsa with liquid (like in these photos) or prefer not to have to chop the tomatoes, add them to the food processor with the onions. Pulse until they are in small chunks, as large as you like in salsa. Otherwise, if you prefer chunkier salsa with less liquid, then add in hand-chopped tomatoes after chopping/processing the onions on their own.
Add salt and cumin to taste. You may also want to add in additional minced peppers if you like it spicier!
Enjoy with tortilla chips, on nachos, in burritos & tacos, on salads, etc.! If you make the recipe, tag me @veganmiche on Instagram and I’ll share it 🙂 I’d love to see!
I’ve been talking about intuitive eating for quite awhile now, and I thought it was finally time I make a post all about it. Specifically, what it is (my take on it, at least), and especially, whether it can help you.
But first, let me ask you a question. Do you find yourself having issues with…
Wanting to lose weight and not being able to?
Eating because you’re stressed, emotional, or bored?
Feeling hungry or craving something because you saw food on TV, social media, friends eating, etc.?
Overeating because you’re starting your diet tomorrow, or because you failed at following your diet that day?
Feeling guilty for eating?
Not letting yourself eat even though you were hungry?
So did I. And intuitive eating is the reason I don’t have these issues anymore.
Intuitive eating is a term coined by the authors of this book, but the idea has been around in different forms for a lot longer than that. There are scientific studies from before 1995 and in more recent years showing that following the tenets of intuitive eating lead to weight loss, treat disordered eating like binge eating, reverse obesity, heal relationships with food, reduce depression and anxiety, and improve self esteem and body image.1,2,3
The basic principle of intuitive eating (and related ideas) is simply:
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.
That may sound too simple, too good to be true, or just something you’ve tried before that hasn’t worked. But it can be tricky to get right, especially with society’s attitudes about food these days. We start out doing it as kids, but somewhere along the way, most of us lose the ability.
Maybe because we learned to use food to deal with our emotions, maybe because of our culture’s obsession with dieting as THE way to lose weight, maybe because we’re taught that desserts, carbs, sugar, etc. are “bad”.
If you’ve tried dieting, followed meal plans with scheduled eating times and portions, overeaten or undereaten, or felt guilty for eating, chances are you’ve fallen out of tune with your ability to eat when hungry and stop when full. I know I did, completely–hunger and fullness were almost irrelevant in my eating behavior for 10 years.
The more we learn to ignore our hunger and satiety signals, the more we start to rely on cues like emotions, stress, the presence of “bad foods” in the kitchen, and other people’s diet plans to dictate when we start and stop eating. And that’s how weight gain, guilt, and constant dieting sneak in.
Intuitive eating is all about undoing this: getting back in tune with our hunger signals, and learning not to let external or psychological factors determine when and how much we eat. As a result, it involves effortlessly maintaining a healthy weight, improving your health, and healing your relationship with food and your own body.
With intuitive eating, there is no such thing as dieting, restricting, binging, “bad” foods, or guilt for eating.
No more calorie counting. No more food scales. No more portion control. Just reaching your goal body by eating as much as you want, when you want it. Channeling all that time and mental effort that you were once spending on food into the rest of your life: your relationships, your work, your hobbies.
If it sounds too good to be true, don’t worry… I thought so too. Until it worked.
So, I’m starting a series of blog posts all about how to get started with intuitive eating, no matter how unattainable it might feel for you. I was stuck in a restricting/dieting and binge eating cycle for over 10 years, so I think I qualified as one of the more hopeless cases out there… so I’ll be sharing what worked for me, and incorporate tips from scientific research on it.
Maybe you already do intuitive eating, and still can’t lose weight. I still have advice for you coming up, and part of that involves tweaking what and how you’re eating (notice I didn’t say how much)!
So stay tuned for posts every other weekend on how to eat intuitively or troubleshoot your intuitive eating. If you’re looking to lose weight, escape disordered eating habits, or improve your physical and psychological health, this series is for you.
Some of the posts I have planned so far are:
My 10 year battle with “unintuitive” eating, and my journey since
How to get started with intuitive eating
How to troubleshoot your intuitive eating
How to stop binge eating
And more! (I’ll add a table of contents with links as the posts come out)
If you’d like to keep up, sign up below to get email notifications when I post! 🙂
(I know I probably sound like I’m trying to sell you something, but honestly, I just want to share this because I want to help other people not have these issues anymore too. Getting rid of them seriously changed my life… not only have I finally achieved my goal appearance, but more importantly, I’m so much happier. And I want to turn my gratitude into a way of helping others. I even paid to get rid of ads on this blog because I don’t want them to get in the way!)
Today, I have something a little bit different for you: 7 natural ways to reduce your stress using foods and herbs, based on scientific studies. Stress is a major reason for overeating and weight gain, and causes all sorts of bad health effects, both physical and mental. So if you’re stressed, reducing it could help you reach your health & appearance goals!
In the video, I go over the remedies and what types of stressors and stress symptoms they help with, how to use them, and briefly cover studies supporting them. In the post below, I list specific supplements/foods, dosages, how long they should take to work, and link the studies.
Unfortunately, many supplements don’t actually contain what they say they do. So I researched independent lab tests for supplements to make sure they contain the proper dose of the active ingredient, are free of toxins, and have the most bang for your buck!
For the food and teas, I’ve researched the best ones and linked my favorites. I also include my recommended dose for everything if applicable, based on the linked studies and others. And, I found a few combo products (linked at the bottom) that contain multiple remedies in one!
All of these remedies are supported by placebo-controlled studies in humans. (All studies linked below are in humans, and all but one are placebo-controlled). Studies done in rodents also support these remedies.
Can be taken right before a stressful event to help (studies found good effects with 280 cals/50g of a dark chocolate bar, but you would likely need less when using cacao powder or nibs since they contain more flavanols)
Today I wanted to share a recipe that’s so easy, a (vegan) caveman could do it: my go-to breakfast smoothie. I’ve been having this every day since the temperature hit 70 degrees out, and I haven’t looked back since.
Honestly, it tastes more like dessert than breakfast… and I’m not complaining.
In the past I’ve made it with just the fruit and soymilk for a minimalist smoothie, but this year I’ve been enjoying putting in all sorts of fun superfood add-ins: my current combo has probiotics from vegan kefir or yogurt, omega 3’s from hempseed, protein from hemp protein powder, antioxidants from beet powder, and tons of vitamins from spirulina. You can get creative with it, because the strong fruit flavor can mask a lot! And, if you like your smoothies on the sweeter side, throw in a date or two for some extra nutrients & sweetness.
The key here is the frozen bananas and raspberries. (Bonus: frozen berries are more nutritious1 and much more affordable than fresh.) To freeze bananas, I peel ripe bananas (with plenty of brown spots), break them in half, and store the halves in a gallon bag the freezer. The best part is you don’t have to worry about always having ripe bananas on hand, because you can stock up and freeze a ton at once!
2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen raspberries
2-4 cups of non-dairy milk (I use vanilla soy), depending on consistency preferences
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?
So I’ve stopped weighing myself.
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!
See my weight loss videos for scientific research on how to lose weight without restricting.
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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).
Simmer for 15 minutes, until everything is tender and combined.
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.
Serve on its own, with rice, or in a burrito or taco.