98: Overcoming Orthorexia with Intuitive, Mindful Eating with Devyn Sisson

Overcoming orthorexia with intuitive, mindful eating with Devyn Sisson

With so much conflicting information in the health world, it can be all too easy to get tied up in knots over what really is best to eat. Instead of seeing a fresh, juicy apple, to wonder what kinds of pesticides lurk on its skin. Is the fish I’m eating farm-raised, or wild? Is this beef really grass-fed or just grass-finished? Are there nitrates in this bacon? Should I be eating meat at all? Or if, God forbid, I eat some “junk” food … just how guilty should I feel?

I’ve definitely felt like this at times in my health journey, and I bet I’m not alone in this. In fact, I know I’m not thanks to our fantastic guest today, Devyn Sisson. She’s written a great cookbook called Kitchen Intuition, and her message is a breath of fresh air.

Devyn Sisson on Loving to Eat (While Eating to Live)

If Devyn Sisson sounds a little familiar, it might be because she’s the daughter of well-known primal blogger Mark Sisson. Devyn grew up with near-perfect food options, in an amazing family. But her healthy upbringing had some unintended consequences.

When she moved away to college and had to learn to navigate the world of healthy eating on her own, Devyn found herself literally becoming so afraid to eat that she bordered on orthorexia. Drawing from her background in psychology and her secondary degree in nutrition, she realized the big role food has in social interaction and metal health, as well as physical health, and set out to find a new relationship with food.

In her new book, Kitchen Intuition, Devyn helps people fall in love with eating, cooking, and sharing food all over again.

In This Episode You’ll Learn

  • what it was like growing up in the “perfectly” healthy Sisson household
  • Devyn’s brush with orthorexia—an extreme fear of eating anything unhealthy—and what she learned from it
  • how you can build health, confidence, and self-esteem from “intuitive cooking” … and make food fun again
  • Devyn’s insights about how to raise kids to have a healthy outlook about food
  • one key way to feel better about the food you put in your body (regardless of what it is)
  • the key emotional factors that shape our food choices and cravings
  • eating disorders: how to navigate this tough topic with loved ones
  • the Sisson’s latest business venture (hint: it has to do with delicious food!)
  • how to find balance in the quest for health … and still enjoy the ride along the way
  • and more!

Resources We Mention

Follow Devyn on Instagram

Book: Devyn Sisson, Kitchen Intuition: Cook With Your Hands. Laugh with Your Belly. Trust Your Intuition. (2017)

Primal Kitchen, Culver City, CA

Your turn! Have you ever felt weighed down and stressed out about making the “right” food choices? And on the other hand, is there some aspect of food that brings you the most joy? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Special Thanks to Today’s Sponsors

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen me mention them before. I have been using and loving and Instagramming their products for years. They have an amazing instant mushroom coffee.

I know it sounds weird, but hear me out! It’s not only the best instant coffee I’ve ever tried, it’s also pretty high up on the list of best coffee I’ve tried, period! It’s made with superfood mushrooms like Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Chaga mushrooms. And these mushrooms have some big health benefits, plus give you energy and mental clarity without the jitters from traditional coffee.

If you aren’t a caffeine person, they also have a variety of mushroom teas and other caffeine-free products. I love them so much that I reached out and they agreed to give a discount to my listeners. So, go to foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and use the code “WellnessMama” to get 10% off.

This episode is sponsored by Kettle and Fire Bone Broth. If you love the benefits of bone broth but don’t love the time it takes to make and how tough it can be to find quality bones to make it, Kettle and Fire is for you! Their bone broth is a regular staple in my kitchen these days, and it was what I used to create the recipes in my new bone broth e-book (releasing later this year).

So they use only bones from 100% grass-fed pasture raised cattle that are never given hormones and antibiotics. It’s also unique because they focus on bones that are especially high in collagen, which is one of the healthiest things you can put in your body. You can find them in many Whole Foods on the west coast and you can also order online at Kettleandfire.com/mama.

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.

Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. Why is being conscious of eating pesticide laden, nutrition void “foods” labeled a disorder??? You all know you feel and function better on GOOD real food. Stop perpetuating the big pharm and psychiatric “labels”. How about you go after the criminals who are poisoning our food instead of labeling decent people?

  2. Orthorexia is food foresight that annoys those with less foresight. “Orthorexia” is a new “disorder” the medical/psychiatric industries came up with to label clean eaters.

  3. As a registered dietitian specializing in the treatment of eating disorders I truly appreciate this. Thank you for sharing about a very prominent issue leading to suffering and health consequences beyond what most could imagine.

  4. Oh my yes…everyday there is some new study that contradicts the previous….don’t eat saturated fat, do eat it, oh no don’t …. eat beans, don’t eat beans, gluten, no gluten. My kids have lost all faith in me trying to lead them to a healthy diet. I myself feel like I am just going to abandon it as well. Just eat what I want to in moderation.

    • I agree with Mary Lou. It hard to tell what is healthy. I had to pray to God. Moderation is the key, eat a balance meal from each food group.

  5. I can relate to this all so well. When I was in college, after taking chemistry classes, and learning about how food was processed, with either chemicals or fermentation to the point where bugs & fungus grew on it, I became ‘orthorexia’ except that back then there was no name for this condition. I weighed only 90 pds. at 5’5. My dress size was a 1. I would eat salads without any dressing, everything had to be pure, unprocessed & kosher clean, it was hard to eat. I ate no chicken, no meat, only salads. A sandwich only once in a while, without mayo, just muster & turkey. Then one day a cute guy came up to me and said, “honey, you’re beautiful but you’re too skinny. You look anorexic.” I thought, okay he might be right, I’m too skinny so I started to eat more salads with toppings and a little vinegar. I got up to 98.

    It’s weird how it happens but the brain goes into retract mode, saying nope, that’s processed, nope, that’s fried, nope, that’s moldy, nope, you don’t know where that came from, how long it’s being sitting around, etc.
    Year’s would go by like this until I turned 30 then things changed when I went to work at a doctor’s office. There I was taught to enjoy food again. The brain can do a lot of things, but it’s up to you to make the change because after all you control it.

  6. Thank you for doing an episode on this. I think I have orthorexia as I am so worried about what I eat and classify food as bad and good. It only became worst when I started researching on how diet can affect eczema and did an elimination diet. I was so scared that if i ate this or that that I would flare up or my body would react. I like how you mention villifying food and that really resonatrd with me. That is what I do and after reading so many resources and view points everything sounds bad.

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