Understanding Your Food Story with Elise Museles

In this episode, we talk to Elise Museles about discovering your food story and how stress is the anti-nutrient.

elise museles headshot
November 23rd, 2021

Episode Notes

Memorable Moments:

  • 2:49: Everyone has a food story. So your food story is a big swirl of many things. It’s the way you were raised. It’s the messages about food you received from your family and other influential people in your life. It’s the advertisements that you absorbed from the media. It’s your positive memories of food and your painful memories of food, and all of that comes together to create a story, which I call your food story, your beliefs about food and the words you say to yourself about food, either inside your own mind privately or out loud.
  • 5:29: And the further I got into conversations and the more I got into looking at it as a story, the more that I could see that people could understand where some of their behaviors came from or their patterns. And it released a lot of that guilt and shame and blame even.
  • 7:22: If a listener is going back and finding a painful moment, and it could be from a parent or a caretaker who might’ve said something that stuck with them for a long time or had a behavior that you know, or made you clean your plate or whatever it might be, that we have to always remember that they were well-intentioned and doing what they knew. You know, like nobody wants to impart a negative or traumatic relationship with food. And so I want to make sure that there’s not that like, you know, that we, we realize we can forgive and people, they had good intentions and didn’t know better.
  • 9:13: Identifying what are some of the major themes will just get you started thinking about your food story. What was the culture like growing up? What was it like at your dinner table? What was your, for many people the mom plays a big role in their food story. So what was your mom’s relationship with food and how did she talk about it? Or your dad or whoever your caregiver, your main, the main person in your life who, you know, cooked for you or provided for you. What did they talk about when it came to food and their bodies? What did you observe as a child? Because oftentimes that affects you.
  • 15:38: So what happens when you’re stressed, as you release more cortisol and then your digestion isn’t as efficient, your metabolism slows down. It goes way back into you know that original flight or fight mode, and then you don’t assimilate all your nutrients as well. In addition to that, I mean, how much pleasure could you possibly be getting from your food, which I think is an important part of the eating experience, when you’re constantly thinking those thoughts?
  • 16:28: I realized, oh, just because I’m the poster child of kale, quinoa and superfood smoothies, I’m actually thinking thoughts that are like creating this [negative] response. So, you know, this stress is acting as an anti-nutrient. So that’s when I realized that, what I said at the beginning, what’s in your mind is just as important as what’s on your plate.
  • 18:46: Remember there’s no such thing as good or bad foods. So that’s why I’m saying it like that, but it doesn’t matter what you’re eating because when you’re, whatever it is you’re eating, you’re choosing to eat that and that your body deserves the same respect.
  • 19:15: I like to tell people is that, this is going to sound so ridiculously simple, but at the same time, it’s so great that it’s simple because you could do it right now, the next time you sit down to eat and that is to take three deep breaths before you eat. And that just automatically puts your body into more of a relaxed state.
  • 20:26: I like to recite a mantra. There’s a whole bunch of science behind how a mantra works, but it’s just something to kind of, to bring you back into your body, you know, to, to have your head stop with the spiraling thoughts, you know? And so a mantra can be as simple as, “I’m nourishing my body.” It doesn’t matter what you say. You can pick, keep it short though so you can say it over and over.
  • 24:36: So if people are like, I don’t even know what to eat? You know, I would say that you want to try to eat food as close to mother nature as possible. So the least amount of processing, the more whole it is, the better off you are. And so even just thinking about having all the colors represented throughout the day is a wonderful place to start and it’s visually exciting too, you know, to be able to nourish your body. The more colors do eat, the more nutrients you’re putting into your body.
  • 26:00: And also I’m going to add here not to vilify food groups because we need them all. I’ve been there before and cut out different food groups and that just doesn’t work as well. That’s not the way that our bodies were built.
  • 28:34: The thing about the food story, you’re born into a food story and you pass on a food story and not to put any pressure on parents or people who are around, you know, extended family members, but it really is true.
  • 29:25: I also learned what doesn’t matter. And I know that probably sounds really negative, but when you can filter out what doesn’t matter, all the little things I used to stress about, all the material things that I thought I had to have, you know, all of those things that kind of weigh you down and cloud your life. This has been an opportunity for more clarity on that.  And so when I realized what doesn’t matter, it created more space for what does matter. 

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This podcast is hosted by Allison Walsh and Dr. Angela Phillips. It is produced by Allison Walsh, Ashley Tate, and Nicole LaNeve. For more information or if you’re interested in being a guest on this podcast, please visit www.therecoveryvillage.com/dearmindyoumatter.

Show Contributors

Elise Museles

Elise Museles holds four certificates in holistic health and integrative healing. She is on the Environmental Working Group board of directors and has been a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant recipient for five years in a row. A sought-after speaker, she is also host of the popular Once Upon a Food Story podcast. Her work has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Forbes, Health, Self, ELLE, Well+Good, The Chalkboard, mindbodygreen, and other outlets. Elise’s new book Food Story: Rewrite the Way You Eat, Think, and Live was recently released.