Feeling Our Fullness- Something We Are Born With- Spilling the Beans Guest Blog Post

Feeling Our Fullness- Something We Are Born With- Spilling the Beans Guest Blog Post

I feel really lucky to have been a guest blogger on my South Dakota friend Amanda Lambrechts’ blog Spilling the Beans! She is putting her spin on the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, so I took on Principle #5- Honoring Your Fullness.

During my time as a  breastfeeding counselor, I learned a lot about honoring fullness- babies are expert teachers on this topic.

Super stoked to have people like Amanda out there spreading the word about intuitive eating and health at every size. Check out her blog or her Instagram for more info about the 10 Principles, as well as some great recipes.

Principle Five_ Feel Your Fullness



Back in 2016 when I underwent training to become a Certified Lactation Counselor, one of the first concepts I learned was the importance of feeding on demand. In plain terms, this means feeding infants when they are hungry and stopping when they are full- and can apply to both breastfed and formula-fed infants.

Here’s how it works: If an infant is moving their hands or fists into their mouth, making sucking noises, or moving their arms and legs and whimpering, these are cues they may be hungry and should be offered a feeding. On the other hand, if they close their mouth, stop sucking, or turn away from a feeding, these are cues they could be full.Even the tiniest of newborns can communicate these hunger and fullness cues to their caregivers, which is pretty cool!

With the exception of pre-term infants or infants with certain medical conditions2, knowing exactly when, how much, and for how long to eat is an innate knowingness that infants are born with—that we are ALL born with!

Principle 5 Quote Pic

However, for an infant caregiver or parent who may be accustomed to feeding based on portion sizes and food rules, feeding on demand can look very irregular. If fed on demand, some infants may do something called “cluster feeding”, where they want to eat every hour for a number of hours (eating more than you could imagine!)- then go many hours without wanting to feed at all. Unfortunately, clinicians taught by conventional diet culture may also see this type of feeding as abnormal, and may prescribe feeding certain amounts at certain times.

But on a regimented schedule, infants are forced to eat when they are full and refused food when they are hungry.3 Besides not allowing them to trust their innate biology, enforcing this structured feeding can lead to an infant developing side effects like reflux, gassiness, colic, or even rapid or slowed growth. When this happens, a caregiver may want to stop breastfeeding altogether, in favor of some “special” formula to relieve their infant’s “symptoms”- which may never have never have existed in the first place had they fed according to their infant’s hunger fullness cues.4,5

Why I’m bringing this up is to point out that for so many of us, our ability to honor our fullness is skewed before we are even able to walk. And even if you were fed on demand as an infant, chances are your internal regulation may have been skewed as you went through childhood. Clean plate club anyone?

We are taught from a young age that we cannot trust our bodies to know how much to eat. Diet culture tells us there is one recommended portion size for each food, and that this portion size should be used for all people. That’s kind of crazy, considering how different everyone is physically, mentally, and metabolically. Portion sizes have nothing to do with how you should eat. How you eat should be determined by what makes you feel good, and honoring your hunger and fullness.

Trying to find what fullness means for us can be a struggle. I hear you on that. Many of us may have no idea what comfortable satiety looks like. Sure, we may know what it feels like to overeat and be stuffed, but actually feeling full eludes us. A big reason why I named my blog Feeling Full Nutrition is because I want to help people to know what it feels like to feel a sense of joy and satisfaction after a meal. Even if this seems like a far-off dream for you, it is something you can do, because you were born knowing how.


First, take the blame off yourself for having difficulty feeling your fullness. This is not a personal character flaw. I hope from this post, you’ve learned that diet culture, portion sizes, and feeding schedules are instilled in us from a young age.  Its something that’s been drilled into you. Know that you can and will unlearn this.

Secondly, learn what comfortable fullness actually feels like. Here are some descriptions by clients of the authors of the Intuitive Eating Book:

  • A subtle feeling of stomach fullness
  • Feeling satisfied and content
  • Nothingness- neither hungry nor full6

The sensation is unique to everyone, and is difficult to describe. The authors of Intuitive Eating even compare it to describing what snow feels like- you can describe it endlessly, but you have to feel it yourself to truly know.

Once you have thought about this, work on conscious eating to develop a comfortable fullness level for yourself. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Pause in the middle of a snack or meal to check in with yourself. Check in with how your body and taste buds feel. Does the food taste good? Or are you eating it just because it is there? Does your body feel comfortable? Are you still feeling physically hungry? Are you beginning to feel physically full?
  • Don’t feel obligated to leave food on your plate, or finish it all. As chronic dieters or chronic members of the clean plate club, this can be difficult. But instead of thinking about how much you are eating, be fully present with the sensations in your body to tell you when you are finished.
  • Whenever do you finish eating, ask yourself where you are with your fullness. You may want to use the scale back from principle number two.

Remember to be patient with yourself and know that this is a process.  It may take you a long time to get to the point where you feel comfortable feeling your fullness. But remember, you were born knowing how to do this. And even if it may be a feeling buried deep within you, its there.

Here are some journal prompts to work through for the fifth principle.

Principle 5 Prompts

Special thanks to Amanda for this opportunity!


  1. DiSantis, K, Hodges E, Johnson S, Fisher J. The role of responsive feeding in overweight during infancy and toddlerhood: a systematic review. Int J Obes. 2011;35:480–492.
  2. McCormick F, Tosh K, McGuire W. Ad libitum or demand/semi-demand feeding versus scheduled interval feeding for preterm infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;2:138-139.
  3. Fildes A, Cornelia H, van Jaarsveld A, Llewellyn C, Wardle J, Fisher A. Parental control over feeding in infancy. Influence of infant weight, appetite and feeding method. 2015;91:101–106.
  4. Hodge S, Murphy P. Crying Newborns: The colic and reflux situation in New Zealand as depicted by online questionnaires. Int J Community Based Nurs Midwifery. 2014;6(8):97-107.
  5. Ventura AK, Inamdar LB, Mennella JA. Consistency in infants’ behavioural signalling of satiation during bottle-feeding. Pediatr Obes. 2015;10(3):180-7.
  6. Tribole, E. & Resch, E. (2012). Intuitive eating, 3rd edition. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.
  7. Iacovou M, Sevilla A. Infant feeding: the effects of scheduled vs. on-demand feeding on mothers’ wellbeing and children’s cognitive development. Eur J Public Health. 2013;23(1):13-9.
  8. Rodgers RF, Paxton SJ, Massey R, Campbell KJ, Wertheim EH, Skouteris H, Gibbons K. Maternal feeding practices predict weight gain and obesogenic eating behaviors in young children: a prospective study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013;10:24.
  9. Tylka TL, Lumeng JC, Eneli IU. Maternal intuitive eating as a moderator of the association between concern about child weight and restrictive child feeding. 2015;95:158-65.
  10. Lampl M, Johnson M. Infant Growth in Length Follows Prolonged Sleep and Increased Naps. 2011:34(5):641-650.
  11. Brick, N. Ad Libitum or Demand/Semi-demand Feeding Versus Scheduled Interval Feeding for Preterm Infants. Clin Nurse Spec.

What does Health Look Like?

What does Health Look Like?

Here are two memories:

The first is when I was 14. I came down with severe food poisoning. It felt like I was dying. The only things I could get down my throat for two weeks were small sips of water and grapefruit (very weird I know). My mom and I both thought maybe I had E. Coli, but the various parasites/bacteria/ the like I got tested for all came back negative, so to this day I do not know what the cause was. I was treated with antibiotics and slowly started feeling better.

I remember feeling so happy to be returning to school after two weeks of being home. On my first day back, during my last period history class, one of the “popular” girls came up to me and said “Oh my God, Cate! You look so good! You look so thin!”

I remember this moment vividly because at the time, her words made me feel good. I felt good that I had gotten sick and that I looked thinner. I felt good that I had probably lost about 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I felt proud.

The second is when I was 22. It took me 5 years to graduate college. My last year, I lived at home with my parents. I had a full course load and two part-time jobs, and my parents were always on my back about improving my grades. I was in constant fear that I wouldn’t graduate that spring due to my grades (and I came really close). I was probably getting an average of 5 hours of sleep a night, and it was during this time that I had one of the only two panic attacks I have ever had in my life (the second was during the swimming portion of my first triathlon. I am not a good swimmer.) I was also taking medication for my learning disability which made me have virtually no appetite, so I was eating whatever I could scrap together whenever I remembered to, and I was dealing with all this stress by running 5-6x/week. It was probably one of the most unhappy and unhealthy times in my life.

During this time, I also got into rock climbing. It was a good way to relieve my stress. I remember one night I was climbing with my friend when a girl from my major at school that I had known for years came up to me and commented on my weight, saying how good I looked. “Wow, are you running a lot or something?”, she said. “You look really thin.” I told her that yes, I had been running a lot, and again, I remember a looming feeling of proudness about my thinness.

At some of the sickest, and most unwell times in my life, I have had people go out of their way to come up to me and tell me how good and healthy I looked, as compared to the times when I was actually really very well.

This really gets me wondering: what does health look like? Thinness? Quick weight loss? Hollow faces and protruding collarbones? I am not saying thin people can’t be healthy- there are all types of bodies, and they can all be healthy- including thin people- but the general consensus seems to be that fat = unhealthy and thin = healthy, but guess what?

The gravitational pull of your body mass to the universe has absolutely NOTHING to do with health. You cannot tell how healthy someone is by how thin/fat they are. I speak with patients every day, many who have cancer, or GI issues, or major depressive disorder, or other disorders, who are losing weight very rapidly, and let me tell you, this is NOT HEALTHY. So why do we praise people for losing weight, regardless of the context or cause?

I want to re-direct where this blog is going and incorporate more thought-provoking pieces about these types of issues. There will still be recipes on here, but if I didn’t talk about all the issues at hand, I would disservice the nutrition community, and public health in general.

If you want to read about pioneers (including health professionals and dietitians) who are also questioning the relationship of weight to health, check out the Health at Every Size movement. Its a concept I am just diving into, but it makes so much sense.

I entered into the field of nutrition initially because I thought eating things like kale would save the world, but along the way I found there were bigger fights to fight. We put weight on such a pedestal that we sacrifice our health at the expense of losing weight. And that, my friends, is the opposite of what I personally set out to do, so I won’t promote that. Ever. 

There is SO.MUCH.WORK.TO.DO. Let’s get to it.

How to Grow Your Own Food Year Round

How to Grow Your Own Food Year Round
A window box herb garden I put together

As a twenty-something living in a tiny apartment in a busy city, you can imagine I don’t have much room to grow my own food. As someone who grew up gardening and working on organic farms, this can be a bit frustrating. There is really nothing like growing and picking your own food! Though there is not much greenery in my neighborhood, I have done a lot of experimenting with vegetables during the summer to see what grows well in pots, and feel I have gotten this down pat! One of the best parts about growing in pots? No weeding! Since I have been doing this for a few seasons, I figured I could share some tips with you, especially when it comes to growing in the wintertime.

I have found that swiss chard, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, kale, and herbs all grow relatively well contained in pots. I tend to just put them on my steps on lining my driveway in the summer, and I can usually pick from them all summer long. The problem with living in New England however, is that the growing season here is relatively short. Most farmers switch to greenhouse growing or tunneling during the winter to continue to grow during the winter, but that is quite an undertaking to do on a city block. To see what grows in your state, check out Pick Your Own’s Harvest Calendars by State.

First kale harvest! And some of my pots in the background.

But one thing you can grow year round is herbs, and they can be a wonderful addition to your cooking! Some of the best year round herbs tend to be some of the heartier types- my favorites are lemon balm, mint, rosemary, oregano, and thyme. Basil is my most favorite herb of all time, and it grows really well here in the summer. Sadly, it is not too well-suited for winter. Every winter however, I still try to give it a go and end up with a measly and browning basil plant that looks really sad. Oh well!

Another way to continue growing food in cities is by joining community gardens. The garden I joined last summer is called Peace and Plenty Garden (how cute is that name) and doing so was one of the best decisions I have made since moving to Providence. Stepping into the garden feels like entering a world different from the hustling bustling streets of Providence. One of the best parts of joining and growing is the interaction with other gardeners, who can give you tips and share tools and seeds. At Peace and Plenty, we have a lot of gardeners from other countries, who grow their own cultural foods. Some of the friends I have made there are growing the coolest things like Long Beans, and Habanero Peppers. We often get together for work days in the garden, and I love talking to other gardeners about how they grow and cook these foods.


Peace and Plenty Garden, ft. cute signs made by local schoolchildren.

There are so many beautiful gardens throughout Providence and in Rhode Island, if you are looking to join one in Providence specifically, check out this resource  from Southside Community Landtrust.

For community gardens in Rhode Island, look at this guide from Farm Fresh RI.

Or, if you don’t live in RI, check out community gardens where you live here.

Happy growing!

Big Moves, Small Budgets

Big Moves, Small Budgets

I moved across the country with a man who wears a Flamingo shirt.


The buffalo, however, stayed right where he was in South Dakota.

The feeling of freedom is hard to describe. Right now I am young and the world is my oyster. Once I felt that college diploma in my hand, I knew there was nothing holding me down in Rhode Island. It was time to go exploring this big, bad globe. Only, there was a boy I really liked, so he joined. Our trip was incredible. We saw a whole lot of this beautiful country (America- yes, it really is beautiful).






 How’s this for some true American Food??



And now, we are trying on a different coast.

We are both serving with Americorps in Tacoma, WA, and though we get to share a tiny, one room apartment (but hallelujah, big kitchen!), we make next to nothing. We have both gone through the terrifying (though for me, should be familiar) process of applying for SNAP benefits, and have been really trying hard to make our food budget work. This year is going to be the ultimate struggle for me as a foodie, but I am excited too, because I think I can rise to the challenge. Whether is saving vegetable scraps and freezing them to make broth, picking lavender, rosemary, wild blackberries, and apples, or doubling our benefits at the Farmer’s Market, we are making the best of it. So far, I love this city and all it has to offer me- and maybe living on a budget doesn’t have to be bland. With that being said, it is looking like this blog will shift gears a little bit, to be more focused on cheap, affordable, easy, and healthy recipes.

I want to leave with a link to an amazing free cookbook (the PDF is free!) which emcompasses all of these aspects. Leanne Brown studied Food Systems at NYU and thinks people should have good food every day. She created a cookbook “Good and Cheap” which is is a collection of recipes for people with limited incomes, particularly those on a $4/day food stamps budgets. And it is awesome! Here is the link to the PDF


or you can visit her website http://www.leannebrown.com

Let the taste of my new life begin.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico

Hello there.

I’d like to show you some pictures of a place I went a while ago.

I’m not going to talk much.

These pictures speak for themselves.


If this meaty picture doesn’t peak your interest, then I’m not really sure what will.


It’s Oaxaca Mexico, a place I have since dubbed “delicious food capital of the world”.

These fresh markets were everywhere.

And I ate crickets.


This was an organic farmer’s market we visited upon our first day there.

Have you ever had beet, carrot and orange juice? Well, you should!


Salad with fresh grapefruit and orange. I think these colors say it all.


Heaps of cafe con leche was consumed. These people know how to make their coffee!


A delectable tostada with fresh greens from the farmers market. Fresh juice squeezed right in front of me.


For desert, a toasted coconut muffin.


Aaand of course, more cafe con leche.


There is a little fire going on under that stone, and when this Zapotec woman grinds the cocoa beans and adds just the right amount of sugar, it melts and begins to glisten- making fresh, still warm chocolate. That was probably one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted.

It is so so wonderful to travel, and to be able to experience the taste of a place.

I hope I get to do this often in my life.

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

Everyone is taking pictures of their food these days. It seems to me that the human pre-meal ritual has switched over from saying grace and praising god, to hashtagging, gramming and showing the world how beautiful our meals can be. Snap, filter and post, so that the world will know of your delicious chow.  I may not have an iphone, or an instagram for that matter, but this is not actually a technological phenomenon that bothers me. I kinda like it.

People appreciating their food? I’m ay okay with being in that large club.

I sort of found myself wishing it were easier for me to share my breakfast this morning, because it felt like so much more than breakfast.


After a great night out in Newport, RI with this pal, one of my oldest and dearest friends, I found myself on my porch this morning, eating eggs, looking out onto the hazy ocean, smiling and loving life.

close up

And so, this isn’t just a quick pic of my breakfast, it is a small documentation to the immense happiness and contentment that is my life. What I would really like to say is that I am grateful to be eating and feeling well, appreciative of my beautiful friends and loving family and more than thankful to be living on this tiny island by the sea.


I think that’s what all the  instagrammers are trying to say. Look at how lucky I am world. Amen!

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

I am incredibly lucky. I was able to study abroad in Costa Rica for three months studying environmental science. I visited coffee farms, rainforests, volcanoes and beautiful national parks- not to mention I got to live on a small sustainable farm with 27 of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Oh yeah, and I got to conduct research on organic coffee farms, and proved (via soil research) that they are better than conventional. Needless to say, it was awesome.

Oh, Costa Rica. You have been so good to me. Now I am back in the cold, COLD little state of Rhode Island. You may have noticed my last post occurred over three months ago. That does not mean there was no good food in Costa Rica- there was. There was however, a lack of Internet, as well as a way to upload photos without breaking said internet. So I told myself I would save the pictures intended for this blog to my computer and upload them when I had fast internet in town or even when I returned home…….then my camera got stolen. Whoops.

Unfortunately there are none of my own photos to accompany but these are my top 5 Costa Rican favorite foods:

#5 Yucca

Like a potato…..kinda. This tuberous root contains a white starch similar to that of a ‘tater but has a very different texture. They grow underneath what looks like long spindly trees, until you pull that tree up and see there are…..potatoes underneath? Great mashed or steamed, but mostly great fried. Yum.

#4 Lizano

The official ketchup of Costa Rica. Personally, I like it better than ketchup. When I visited CR with my parents way back in the third grade, they came back to the states and specially ordered cases of this stuff. Not lying.  Sweet, tangy and spicy, Lizano is a great compliment for just about anything, just like ketchup.

#3 Gallo Pinto

I ate this Every. Morning. For. Three. Months. But you know what, now that I don’t have it, I miss it. There really is no heartier breakfast than a large helping of rice and beans. I would have liked it even better if they used brown rice, but hey, you take what you can get. Basically it consists of kidney beans and white rice with a little bit of onions, cilantro and a special salsa. Everyone here eats it. Regular rice and beans was also served to me for Every. Single. Meal. For. Three. Months. Guess the Costa Ricans stick with what they like.

#2 Tres Leches

I stayed with a nice family in CR, and the moment I mentioned to the sweet mother that I enjoyed cooking, she dragged me into the kitchen to teach me how to make this. You basically start off with a regular old yellow cake, then you proceed to jab zillions of holes in it and then pour sweet milk all over it and let it sit. You then frost it with a condensed milk frosting. It is called tres leches because you literally use “three milks” when making it.

#1 Dulce de Leche

This stuff can be described accurately as caramelized condensed milk. However, I would describe it as the best thing to happen to bread, ever. Peanut butter and dulce de leche sandwiches were a staple of my diet in CR, and I would be lying if I said wasn’t going to purchase some back here in the states (yes, you CAN get it at the supermarket). Word on the street is that they bathe in that stuff in Argentina. My friend Lucy was there and she said people put it on literally EVERYTHING. Meat, rice, fruit, crackers, cheese, you name it. Stuff is so good, I can see why.

If I learned anything in Costa Rica, it was that you eat what is in front of you, literally. Everyone has a little garden in their yard, and there are small fruit vendors around every corner. These people eat local all the time, but it isn’t a trend or anything, it is a way of life. They live off the fat ‘o the land as one smart cookie author once put it. I really enjoyed Costa Rica, although I did really crave pumpkin, greek yogurt and good bread pretty much all the time. I do expect I will be back soon though.

Beauty of the Bake

Beauty of the Bake

I have not posted in a while, it’s been a busy summer! I whipped these up for my dear friend Kelsey on her birthday. I have minimal talents besides cooking, so I usually will bake my friends and family a dessert of their choice on their special day. These cupcakes are the result of two bottles of red food coloring. I just wanted to leave y’all with the pictures because they are radiant!

The Best Wine EVER

The Best Wine EVER
For some reason, my dad really values my opinion on wine, even though I am a total newbie when it comes to taste. There are not many wines that I love being a newbie, but Apothic Red had me from the start. First off, you can’t go wrong with the price ($9.99) and second, its taste is a blend of heaven. It came as not surprise to me then, when I stumbled across an article featuring it in the Projo FOOD section.
We shared the wine with one of my friends who is studying to be a sommelier (a trained wine professional) and he was blown away by the stuff.
We needed a great meal to pair it with, so we chose two recipes from that weeks Projo Food section to honor it.
We did a simple swiss chard salad with fresh radishes topped with pistachios and Pecorino Romano. I whipped up a little vinaigrette for that as well. Next came the blanched almond chicken (we did not know what blanched was before the recipe) and the carrot cilantro salad. Overall a great meal to go with that great wine.

A Summer Night with Friends

A Summer Night with Friends
I wasn’t planning on posting this meal. However, I had been cooking all night for a couple friends at my house and after telling me how good our meal tasted they all demanded it be posted on the blog.
Friends enjoying food.
This is a cool technique. We simply steamed veggies and chicken on the grill by sealing them in tin foil packets with a little bit of white wine and chicken stock. You could substitute any of the veggies and could substitute the chicken for beef or even fish.
(my apologies for the poor quality)
Our little recipe consisted of chicken with a Spanish olive spread, artichokes, asparagus, sweet potato, red onion, zucchini and yellow bell pepper. “Cause, ya know, gotta keep that figure. YEAH RIGHT.