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Domestic PhD: Take the Fight Out of Food

Domestic PhD was founded by food lovers and baking champs, Michelle Marcinow and Kathryn Walton. Focusing on simple ingredients, healthy living, and eating great food in moderation, Domestic PhD is the perfect foodie blog for those who want their recipes with a side of evidence-based nutrition research.

Because March is Nutrition Month, we want to pass the mic over to these ladies for some pro tips on how to take the fight out of food.


Do you ever get frustrated by food and nutrition? Maybe you can’t figure out why you feel bloated after eating certain foods, have family mealtimes that are mayhem, or are unsure about which foods are best for a particular health condition. I call these “food fights” – they represent times when you struggle with yourself or others about what to eat.

Part of my job as a dietitian is to coach people to calm these food fights, so I was super excited that the Nutrition Month 2017 theme – “Take the Fight out of Food” – is exactly what I do every day!

Nutrition Month 2017’s campaign from Dietitians of Canada guides people through a three-step approach to improve their relationship with food, no matter the struggle. Dietitians across the country will empower Canadians to:

  • Spot the problem. Identify or define the specific nutrition problem that needs to be solved, since it’s causing a fight with food.
  • Get the facts. Decide what needs to be done to solve the problem, using reliable and credible sources.
  • Seek support. Put the plan into action with support from family, friends, a dietitian and other members of the health care team.

When I think about taking the fight out of food, the first thing that comes to mind is having a healthy relationship with it. All foods do fit in moderation! It is important to eat the food we love in order to nourish our bodies and be our best selves, without beating ourselves up or feeling guilty. You really can have your cake and eat it, too.

So instead of focusing on WHAT we eat, let’s think about HOW we eat. With this in mind, there are three things that can help you have a healthy relationship with food:

  1. Eating regularly.

While this seems pretty intuitive, when think about our days as a whole, our eating can be all over the place. Skipping meals, over-eating and under-eating can happen all within the same day. Changes don’t have to be large, but eating three balanced meals, starting in the morning when you wake up, and adding two or three snacks throughout the day can go along way! But how to do this? Check out this awesome video from Dr. Mike Evans, a Toronto-based doctor who focuses on helping people make healthier choices. He hits the nail on the head on how to nudge ourselves, our kids, and our families towards better eating.

  1. Knowing what your cravings are and what triggers them.

The food we eat is influenced by so much, including our emotions, preferences and life situations. Getting in tune with why you eat the way you do can be a really powerful process! A tip that people often find helpful is identifying the type of hunger you are having. Did you know there are three types of hunger?!

  • STOMACH hunger is the actual, physical hunger that indicates your body needs food for nourishment.
  • MOUTH hunger is when you want a certain food because it tastes good.
  • HEART hunger is when eating makes us feel good or fills an emotion.

These types of hunger are okay and we all experience them daily. Food is about way more than eating, so identifying which type of hunger you are experiencing can be super helpful in taking the fight out of food and eating in a more balanced way (i.e., a balance between all three types)!

  1. Thinking about our “Choice Architecture.” 

While we make our own choices, what happens around us can become quite automatic and without thought. Becoming aware of our eating triggers is part of rethinking our choice architecture; re-thinking these triggers can lead to making choices that are healthier for us and fit into our busy lives. By making small modifications to your routine, you can make the healthier choice, the easier choice. Here are some ideas:

  • Pre-cut veggies and store them in containers in the fridge. Research shows we eat more veggies when they are easy to grab.
  • Similarly, keep a bowl of fresh fruit on your counter or table so it isn’t hidden away in the fridge. Grabbing an apple on the go is just as easy as grabbing a granola bar or cookie.
  • Keep foods like cookies and packaged snack food off the counter and in a higher cupboard so they aren’t so easy to grab when you are feeling hangry.
  • Instead of taking the whole chip bag to the couch, portion it into a bowl. You still get to eat the chips, but this way you won’t mindlessly eat the whole bag. If you want more, go for it, but you have peel yourself away from the Netflix marathon to get them (i.e., you have to consciously think about it).

Remember, having a healthy relationship with food isn’t about your weight. It is about how what you eat can make you feel better

To find out more about Nutrition Month and to check out some really great resources, click here. If you want support, you can always search for a dietitian in your area. And visit www.nutritionmonth2017.ca to find recipes, local nutrition month event listings and more.

All month long, Domestic PhD will be sharing tips to help you take the fight out of food. For recipes and nutrition tips, visit their website.

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