The Whys and Hows to Authentic Eating

By: Sue Van Raes

If you are like a lot of yogis out there, you likely want to bring your yoga practice to everything you do. Because our time on our mats turns us back to our true authentic nature, aligning our eating with our authenticity can evolve alongside of our yoga practice.

Eating and nourishing ourselves has become one of the most complicated and confusing things we do in today’s world.
So today, I thought we could shed light on some of the touchstones that I find to be helpful in this conversation.

These come through my own self-study and also through observing hundreds of eaters with every kind of history under the sun, in my private practice, Boulder Nutrition, and my flagship program, The Yoga Of Eating.

These touchstones are reminders that set the table for our personal artistry of living (and eating) with a soulful and pleasurable approach – with our authenticity leading the way.

There is no exact formula for this genuine expression, but rather a gentle allowing in how it manifests and is embodied in each of us. This may look very different for each eater. We may have to clear some cultural and social beliefs about how we think we should eat, to then make space for what truly works for us authentically as individuals.


When we eat with our authentic rhythm, we create personal freedom.

The more we feel into the elemental cycles around us, present for all life forms on the planet, the more we can ride these waves and rhythms in ourselves. This knowing is embedded in our true nature, our cellular DNA and our innate animal wisdom.

We can tap in to this wisdom at any time. When we allow ourselves to eat aligned with these elemental currents, we begin to see our authenticity and body wisdom as a spiritual freedom and as our truest teacher.

When we return with reverence to these elemental currents as our primary guidance system, over time we can soothe and remedy our lives – including our eating, and our personal care.

We don’t have to pick one eating style or commit to one way. We can flow, groove and evolve our eating to match the many aspects of our lives. Our eating can become fluid, freeing, intuitive and attuned with our bodies, minds and souls.


Authentic eating means learning to listen to our body’s wisdom amidst all of the changing and conflicting information coming at us.


Finding a Practice That Supports Your Mind-body Connection.

One of the most valuable tools we can hone as a mindful eater is our mind-body connection. Our mind-body connection increases both our sensitivity to sensorial experiences inside the body as well as the perception of these signals.

As you know, there are many ways to elevate our mind-body connection. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Incorporate downtime for reflection and rest
  • Spend some time in nature each week.
  • Practice an awareness art regularly such as yoga, meditation, reflective journaling, tai chi, or forest bathing,
  • Create a consistent morning ritual, intention practice or gratitude practice. (even if you only have 5 min)

Honoring Your Physical Hunger

There is a big difference between our physical hunger and our emotional hunger. Our emotions don’t have a stomach, so they can never be truly hungry or be truly satiated when it comes to food. When we take a moment to check in with our body’s physical hunger cues we often get a more authentic answer.

Stop. Pause. Take a deep breath. Place your hand on your stomach. Ask the question: “What are you hungry for?”

If the answer has nothing to do with food (i.e. you need a hug, a good cry, or a nap) give yourself permission to take care of yourself.

Slowing Down and Learning What Being Satiated Feels Like

Feeling full vs. feeling satiated are two very different things. In fact, the most common reason for overeating is due to not being satiated (in our bodies or in our lives).

Also, we can barely navigate our hunger and satiation cues when we are distracted, checked out, or rushed. Satiation also includes our personal fulfillment. When we are more satiated in our daily lives, our relationships, our jobs, and our free time, we will naturally find a more easeful relationship with our eating.

Learning Your Metabolic Type

How you feel after a cup of really strong coffee, or a sugary treat may be very different than me. How you feel after a grass fed piece of steak or a yummy bowl of vegan lentil soup might be very different than your sister.

Metabolic typing is the very complete and science based system that I use to learn how to customize nutritional needs for the individual. This information gives us a science based “recipe” for how to fuel our unique body chemistries on macronutrient and metabolic levels – to feel more satiated, energized, and nourished.

Respecting Your Body

Respecting out bodies with our eating involves feeding ourselves in a way that leaves us energized, uplifted, inspired, satiated, and loved.

Practice: The Way Out Is Always Now

Food is often used as a way to punish or reward ourselves (or both). As a culture, we often find ourselves eating our emotions, stuffing our feelings with food, or numbing ourselves with sugar.
Take inventory and care of your inner ecology. Rather than avoiding a situation, a feeling, or a truth (which often turns into acting out in our eating) allow the space, time, and reality of the situation to move through you completely.

We are a culture that often looks outside of ourselves for the answers. Try asking yourself for the answers. Only you know what is best for you and what aligns with you.

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