The Intuitive Mama » an Intuitive Eating Blog

  • Welcome to IntuitiveMama!

    I am so glad you are here!

    I'm Jordann. A full-time mother & wife and part-time registered dietitian and business owner. This blog is my journey raising a daughter to be a competent, adventurous, and intuitive eater with the tools I have learned from teaching Health at Every Size, Ellyn Satter principles, and Intuitive Eating in my work. This is the story of my imperfect journey figuring out this parenting thing one step at a time.

    I hope that your visit here leaves helps you trust your body, your child's body, and the innate ability to nourish yourself and your family.

    (Please excuse my dust while I am upgrading IntuitiveMama to a new look. Things might look a little off for a few days.)

An Open Letter to Dr. Oz | By Hilary Kinavey | Be Nourished

I was moved by this letter so I asked Hilary Kinavey from Be Nourished to share it on the IntuitiveMama Blog today.  Thank you Hilary!



Hi Dr. Oz-

Yesterday morning, in the column you write for my newspaper, “Link between a jelly belly and brain drain”, you warned me, as someone with belly fat, that I could be headed for dementia (based on research of course) if I don’t get rid of my unsightly middle. I wonder if you know that when I finish reading your column, I don’t feel “motivated” or even “warned”. I just feel screwed.

My belly is a part of me.
I’ve housed babies here.
It is much more than dangerous fat cells.

You see, I have always had a belly, like much of the population. It’s hard for me to believe that I could eradicate it with your measly suggestions. My belly is a part of me. I’ve housed babies here. It is much more than dangerous fat cells. Flat bellies are something that belong to some body types (yours), and definitely to the imaginations of airbrushing technicians.

Dr. Oz, I would like to suggest that you start every article you write with a reminder about the resilience of my body. Perhaps you could admit that the statistics you report do not include my complex story, nor do they include the complex stories of the people who may or may not be like me that are in the research you report on (which in this case, were actually mice). I’d like to hear you say, “hey, maybe you are already walking, (like you recommend in the article), or eating avocados (but not too much) and you still have a belly, and hmmm, maybe you are not a danger to yourself after all. Maybe dementia isn’t your path. Or maybe it is and it isn’t something you can control.”Maybe, if your writing reminded me of my essential worth, and that life includes struggling, I would leave your column feeling renewed and validated. Belly and all. At a minimum, it would likely save me from an increase in that horrible cortisol stress hormone, right?

It might be because you think your role as a doctor, (no wait, surgeon? confusing!) is to provide the facts and offer me suggestions on how to change. Your “just the facts, ma’am” writing style is meant to leave the change up to me. You seem to continue to believe that being fearful of what is possible in my future might motivate me. All this motivates me to do is trust you a little less. And if you’d familiarize yourself with behavior change research, you’d  actually know that this “Change or Die” strategy you use doesn’t actually work. It moves people away from change. The joy of living is far more motivating than the fear of dying.

You see, Dr Oz, I’m absolutely confused about what you see your role to be in all of this. For instance, what do you take responsibility for in your interactions with patients? Would you be willing to acknowledge that body shame impacts health? Do you worry that you are contributing to the epidemic of body disconnection? Do you remember that you are a surgeon that has evolved into a large-scale advice peddler?  As a health-care professional myself, you really worry me. I see health promotion happening in my office without the use of “warnings” laced with fear and blame.

So, my belly and I are going to keep on living this one precious, uncontrollable existence I call my life. It’s a human story, replete with imperfection and some body fat. I don’t think I should be scared. I think I should count myself among the many who know that there is so much more to the story.

Very sincerely-


Hilary Kinavey | on IntuitiveMamaBlog


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AM Northwest| What is Intuitive Eating?

AM Northwest | What is Intuitive Eating?

I had the opportunity to go back to AM Northwest this morning!  The producer of the show loves the message of Intuitive Eating and invited me to come back (nearly) every month.  What an honor!!  The hosts Helen & Dave were great to talk to.  However, they were not easily convinced by the message of Intuitive Eating.  I quickly got derailed from my script, but that was good for me.  A few minutes before I went on the producer said, “Didn’t I tell you to never memorize what you’re going to say?”  Oops!  So this was a good reminder that I’ve got this… I could talk about this in my sleep!!  (Speaking of, please scroll down to the end to see the message from my daughter.  I watched it about 20 times before we went on air)


Click below to see the show:

Jordann Kearns RDN, LD | IntuitiveMama


Here’s my outline from the talk in case anyone is interested:

What is intuitive eating?

We all know that dieting doesn’t work.  The research is pretty clear about that.  There was a great TED Talk that recently broke down the research about why dieting doesn’t work.  Intuitive eating, however, has been shown to improve health in the long run by improving our relationship with food.  Intuitive Eating is a philosophy of eating which is based on the belief that you are born knowing how to eat.  That includes knowing when you’re hungry and full, knowing your taste preferences, and knowing how your body feels after making a food choices.  Many people, for various reasons, lose trust in this natural Intuitive Eater at an early age.

Watch a child eat and you will witness the most organic definition of Intuitive Eating.  If they’re young enough to not be negatively influenced by our cultures rules around food, they tend to have a very natural ability to intuitively eat.  My two year old knows when she’s hungry, she stops when she’s full, she gets up from a meal and moves on with her life.    She never thinks “Oh no, I just ate a cheese stick now I need to do twenty lunges to make up for it!”


Does Intuitive Eating take a lot of self-control?

I look at the question in a different way.  Intuitive Eating is not about will power or self-control.   Instead, it’s about trusting the body to give us accurate information about the what, when, and how much to eat.  You learn this ability after practicing Intuitive Eating over time.  And Intuitive Eating is just that, it is a practice.  It takes a lifetime to learn all the ins and outs of your own body’s wisdom.


What are your top practical tips for making the most of intuitive eating?


1)  The most practical tip I can give is to find satisfaction in your eating experience.  People have this idea that eating is supposed to be boring and maybe that food is just for fuel.  I say… enjoy your food.  Find pleasure in the experience.  Enjoy the myriad of tastes, revel in the experience.  That is ok.  It is ok to find pleasure in food.


2)  But in order to find pleasure and satisfaction with our food, we need to pay attention to the eating environment.  You’ll find more satisfaction when there is a lack of emotional tension and stress in your eating environment.  Experiment with clearing off the dinner tables, turning off the TV, try ignoring your emails and other notifications while you’re eating.  Ask yourself, “If I really sat down to slow down and enjoy that ___, would it be satisfying to me?”  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no.


3)  Give yourself unconditional permission to eat all foods.  This one is a hard one for most people.  It’s important to make peace with all foods, so no food is forbidden.  In our diet-centric culture, you have likely absorbed judgments about “good” and “bad” food, and when and how you should eat it.  This labeling of food and the restrictions that come as a result often creates a sense of deprivation.  And often this feeling of deprivation leads to a period of overeating… which then leads to shame… which often leads to another period of overeating… and so the cycle continues.


4)   The fourth principle is to Honor your hunger.  When you feel stomach hunger, your body is asking for food.  Despite what our culture tells us, this is not something that you need to ignore.  Sometimes there’s even a feeling of virtue when we’re able to ignore hunger.  But in Intuitive Eating, you are allowed to honor it.  You are allowed to answer your body’s request for food.


5)  In the same respect, you also want to honor your fullness.  When you feel satisfied, it is ok to get up from a meal.  Your past history may tell you that you have to clean the plate in order to not waste money.  But you are allowed to listen to your body before listening to food rules.  You can leave food on the plate because that honors your body telling you that it has had enough.


For more information about Intuitive Eating, I recommend these resources:

And of course, I recommend coming to talk to me in my private practice.


My awesome cousin was babysitting this morning and she sent me this video an hour before I went on air.  It was exactly what I needed.

  • Tammy Gibb-James - I saw your segment on intuitive eating. I love you! I just had a session with a dietitian who told me she never eats chocolate and never bakes. She recommended I never allow chocolate in my home.She wasn’t the professional I needed.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Awesome video! Thought you did a great job explaining intuitive eating, even when they were a little perplexed.ReplyCancel

  • Friday Favorites #10 - Mindful Meals - […] Newsclip on What is Intuitive Eating? from Intuitive Mama […]ReplyCancel


Feeding Your Family 101 | An IntuitiveMama Class

Feeding Your Family 101 | Introducing Solids & Beyond

Yesterday, fourteen Portland mamas packed a classroom to learn principles of feeding the family… everything from Baby-Led Weaning to Ellyn Satter Family Feeding Practices.  We had some great discussions. I promised them I would throw some links up here on IntuitiveMamaBlog.  This is not meant to be a thorough Baby-Led Weaning outline, but more of a follow-up to our conversations.  You might want to also check out my original BLW post here.

Feeding the Family | Baby-led Weaning Class

I’ll do this in a Q and A format.  Mamas, if I missed anything from our discussion, please comment and remind me to add it in!

What is Baby-Led Weaning?

Baby-led weaning (BLW) means forgetting spoon-feeding purees and simply letting your baby feed him/ herself.  Your baby is presented with a plate of varied finger food from which to choose then given the ability to set their own pace for the meal.  With BLW, the baby decides what goes in his/her mouth, how it goes in, and when.  The emphasis on exploring texture, tastes, color and smell rather than consuming a certain amount.

Some of my favorite articles about BLW:  NY Times, Young House Love, and this one,

Is Baby-Led Weaning necessary to have a competent, adventurous eater?

No. There are plenty of spoon-fed babies that turn out to be completely competent eaters. Frankly, there is a significant lack of quality research for anyone to claim that BLW is the ONLY way or the BEST way. It worked for our family and we saw many great benefits, but you have to decide what works for you and your family.

Here’s a great article from The Feeding Doctor that addresses some of the concerns of BLW. This was good for me to read to understand it doesn’t have to be 100% one way or the other.

I liked this quote from Hydee Becker RD, “My conclusion is parents should do what they feel most comfortable with either BLW or conventional feeding practices AND do what is going to work best for their child. Some babies want to do it themselves. Others want to be/ need to be spoon fed. Either/ Or/ or both is just great as long as the DOR is observed!”

In the end, what matters is the DOR, or the Division of Responsibility.  That leads to the next question.

What is the most important thing we can do to raise competent, adventurous eaters?

Follow the Division of Responsibility. Hands down the MOST important thing.

From Ellyn Satter’s Website:  (please spend some time on this site… you won’t regret it!)

Parents’ feeding jobs:

Choose and prepare the food
Provide regular meals and snacks
Make eating times pleasant
Show children what they have to learn about food and mealtime behavior
Be considerate of children’s food inexperience without catering to likes and dislikes
Not let children have food or beverages (except for water) between meal and snack times
Let children grow up to get bodies that are right for them

Children’s eating jobs:

Children will eat
They will eat the amount they need
They will learn to eat the food their parents eat
They will grow predictably
They will learn to behave well at mealtime

What about the iron concern?

Here’s the article I talked about from KellyMom.
And this article had some tips for increasing iron in the foods that you offer.
Remember if you are concerned, you can ask for iron levels to be checked.
In the end, you and your pediatrician can decide what will work best for you and your family.

Here’s my daughter and her Baby-Led Weaning progression:

The best resources for more on these topics…

Raising competent eaters:

1)  Ellyn Satter.  All of her books.
2)  The Feeding Doctor
3)  Its Not About Nutrition
4) The last chapter in Intuitive Eating.

Working on our own Mama Anxiety around food & weight:

1)  The Intuitive Eating website is down, so read this article for now.
2)  Isabel Foxen Duke.  I promise, you’ll love her!
3)  This TED talk describes why I teach Intuitive Eating
4)  If you still need more, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment at my private practice.

It’s been a long day, so I’m going to stop there.  But please feel free to add to the comments if I left something out.  You ladies are awesome!!  Thanks for coming yesterday.

PS.  If you can, please give me some Google Plus love!  If you comment with the words “nutrition” and “Portland”, you get extra credit points!

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  • Catherine - Jordann really helped me feel more confident in how I’m feeding my 8-month-old. Her advice was reassuring. I’d recommend her for any parents in Portland who want help with learning about nutrition and especially baby-led weaning.ReplyCancel