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  • Writer's pictureRasa Nutrition

Contributed by Hannah Stoker and Morgan Ireland

We’d like to talk about joy, specifically movement and joy.

A fundamental principle of intuitive eating is a focus on physical movement and understanding the difference between movement that feels good to your body or joyful movement, and movement that causes your body suffering.

Take a moment and think about your relationship to movement and exercise.

We are bombarded with messages that exercise should be goal oriented, rigorous, scheduled and continually improving. Here are some situations where movement causes your body to suffer. Do you have to squeeze in exercise in order to "earn" food? As an athlete, do you feel exercise is your entire identity? Do you push yourself to exercise longer and harder because you think you might have eaten too much? Are your primary feelings shame, overwhelm or dread when you head to the gym?

If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone. Much of the language around exercise is marketing. That kind of phrasing is often punitive because it’s about selling - workout to counter over-indulging, workout to be desirable, workout to belong. Phrases like this can make you feel bad or shameful and are degrading to your body. And sometimes it contributes to destructive thought patterns as we think about our bodies and exercise.

Now, let’s take a step back. Let’s begin with your ‘why’. Why do you move?

Remember that the 8th principle of intuitive eating is focused on movement and understanding the difference between movement that feels good to your body versus movement that causes your body suffering. This is an opportunity to reimagine movement. An opportunity to reimagine exercise. An opportunity that emphasizes choice, feeling good while moving and pleasure.

It will look different from person to person but here are some situations where movement brings joy to your body. You master a new physical skill. You participate in a physical challenge solo or with others. While exercising you feel a connection with your body. You are building your strength. You collaborate with teammates. You fuel your body so you can move, dance, run, jump, hike, walk, swim, do yoga, play, explore, run with pets, garden, connect with others. You challenge yourself to a competition.

Exercise can be physically challenging but also enjoyable and not forced. Learning to recognize what your body needs to fuel every movement is part of joyful movement. Honoring your body is part of being present in your physical body and respecting the amazing things you and your body can do together.

Movement can be a celebration of our whole selves. You can begin by experimenting with any movement that you find enjoyable. Part of joyful movement is recognizing what your body needs in every moment and honoring that from a place of respect. Because you and your body are amazing.

  • Writer's pictureRasa Nutrition

Contributed by Hannah Stoker

When we discuss performance nutrition, in the discipline of nutrition science, we focus on the biochemical components of food. We often talk about food as fuel.

In the field of nutrition, focus sometimes tends to predominantly remain on the metabolism of nutrients, correction of nutritional deficiencies, conduction of empirical research, pathogenesis of disease, or the manipulation of food to optimize performance. Yet, food is so much more than simply the sum of its biochemical components.

The meaning of food expands when you take a step back from the Eurocentric cultural lens which has typically dominated most biomedical research. In the United States, indigenous peoples harnessed inter-generational food knowledge to cure scurvy by treating a vitamin C deficiency long before such a treatment was understood by Europeans.

Traditional Anishanaabe teachings indicate an immense reverence for the surrounding world. Indigenous peoples practiced Anishanaabe values, connecting their surroundings to food and to nourishment. From this we can begin to understand that the meaning of food is a connectedness from one to another - a connectedness from body to the land, a connectedness from land to food, and a connectedness between each other as we eat food produced by the land. This is food as a relationship, as a celebration and as a memory of connection. As an example, to many tribal communities, wild rice was healthful not only for its nutritional components but also for its sacredness.

We can re-examine our presuppositions about food and nutrition by learning from practiced indigenous teachings and perhaps find a more grounded, and holistic understanding of our body’s needs. While Eurocentric scientific inquiry and empirical study remain invaluable, the respect for and inclusion of cultural knowledge from varying heritages enhances the biomedical understandings of nutrition. What does food mean to you beyond its nutrients? What celebratory memories or traditions are associated with particular foods? Do any foods connect you with a place or person?

Our hope is that this reflection will remind you of all of the unique ways that food is more than just fuel.


1. Hassel C. Nutrition Education: Toward a Framework of Cultural Awareness? CFW Plex. 2013;10(1094). doi:10.1094/cplex-2013-1001-27b

2. Hassel C. Reconsidering nutrition science: Critical reflection with a cultural lens. Nutr J. 2014;13(1):1-11. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-42

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Contributed by Morgan Ireland

Fuel. Grueling practices and hard training can mute hunger cues for athletes. We know that under-fueled athletes can experience impaired performance, loss of strength and muscle size, poor concentration, and are more prone to injuries. In a world of exercise, structured meal plans and competition, is Intuitive Eating right for you?

Yes. Intuitive Eating is an entirely individualized nutrition approach focused on mind-body health developed in 1995 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S. It is an evidence-based concept focused on removing obstacles that prevent body awareness. It will help you to focus on adapting your body and listening to your own hunger cues to decide when, what, and how much to eat. Here at Rasa Nutrition, we believe that healthy fuel can give you the opportunity to complete and accomplish.

What about my rigorous schedule? Intuitive Eating can easily fit into your training schedule as it is an individualized means to learn what is the best fuel for you. You will learn how to find the best fuel that leads to optimal performance and counter diet culture by making peace with food. According to sports dietitian and nutrition therapist, Victoria Lambert, MS, RD “Listening and tuning in to the language of our own bodies is what allows athletes to avoid over-training, injury, and disordered eating,” all things she commonly sees in her clients.

Pre-emptive eating is a tool we use to help you find what makes you feel good using foods that you enjoy. So come learn how different foods affect your body and find what works for you so that you can fuel your body and set yourself up for recovery. Intuitive Eating is about individual needs and can teach athletes to care and honor their bodies by giving them permission to eat in a way that feels good and works for them. Optimal fueling comes from listening to your internal hunger cues and your bodies time clock. It’s self-care!

“When your body is leading the way, it's much easier to drown out the noise and nonsense so rich in the world of human performance and run your own race.” - Victoria Lambert, MS, RD

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