📲 Instagram: @gardenofeden_rd
🖥 Website: www.tetonperformancenutrition.com
Hello, everybody. Welcome back. I’m so excited. Today we have Eden as a guest on the Food Freedom Lab to chat about all things sport nutrition, dietetics, building a healthy relationship with sport, with food also, and all of that good stuff. So Eden, thank you so much for taking the time to come on and chat with me today. I’m so excited to have you here.
I’m excited to be here. Before we get started, I have a question for you.
Okay, go. This has never happened to me before.
Since you’re the coffee girl, how do you take your coffee?
Oh, I’m just like a classic black coffee and cream, or if I have the time where I can really enjoy it, I’ll go a latte. But what’s really funny about that is, I had this very irrational food fear of whole milk for the longest time. Like that was one of the hardest food fears that I had to go over, which made no sense because I was okay with ice cream so much further before, but I had this thing about whole milk that was like, cannot, will not, 2% is fine, skim is fine, but not whole. And so once I actually started working at a coffee shop, I was able to challenge that fear and now fully enjoy a latte with full milk, whole milk. It’s so good.
It’s interesting you say that. Unintentionally, I bet that food fear started when you were a kid because when we’re children, we’re told to eat whole milk to a certain age and then it’s skim milk, 2% only, always. And then, you know, in diet culture, it’s like never get the full fat latte. And so it just kind of like, I think it just starts in childhood and keeps going. I’m the same way. Like if I just want a latte, I just want real milk.
I mean, I go back and forth. I really love oat milk in my coffee and it’s not because it’s healthier, it’s because I like the taste of it. It’s not a health reason, it’s a taste thing.
So how do you take your coffee?
This morning, I’ve been liking the almond milk, coconut, pumpkin spice creamer, so I do a little bit of that, French press coffee and frost oat milk.
Oh, so good. Now I feel like how someone takes their coffee already kind of gives you an idea of what they’re like. I feel like it says a lot about the person. So I feel like that kind of segues us into the perfect starting point in the sense of for anybody that doesn’t know you yet, can you give us a little bit about your story? How did you get started in this? What is your relationship with food and fitness? Drop all the tea.
I would actually say I had a good relationship with food growing up, but not necessarily a good relationship with my body. And I think that stemmed from my mom’s relationship with her body, which we see a lot. But then I was a college athlete. I played softball at Texas A&M. And I became very strict with food because I wanted to be the lightest and fastest I could ever be. And I started just being too strict to the point if I ever had a food that I thought was quote unquote bad, I would binge it. And then sometimes I would purge or sometimes I would go in my room and do like mini workouts to try and work it off. And I just was so strict around food for years.
But then again, I looked good. So society was telling me, wow, you look so great. And so it kept me in this cycle for a long time. And what I found disturbing was my teammates, some of them had the same health issues, other athletes on other teams, they also did the same things. We were all just doing these small little things that weren’t quite an eating disorder, but they were disordered eating. And what happened was my senior year, I ended up being diagnosed with chronic bone injuries. I had osteopenia just from under fueling for several years.
I didn’t have a period. I was just like, oh my gosh, this is all just stemmed from like just this bad headspace I was in for several years. But then again, I just kept getting the reinforcement to stay there. So I decided to become a registered dietitian to learn the actual function of food and how all foods really are necessary in our lives, whether it’s carbs, protein, or fat, they all have a place. And so I went to get my master’s degree at Georgia State and I started working in clinical dietetic, like I was a clinical dietitian when I first graduated. And I was like, this is not for me. It’s kind of like the front lines of health. When somebody comes into a hospital and you only have 15 minutes with them, it’s very hard to make a difference in their life.
And so I thought I’d picked the wrong career. Fast forward a few years, I got into mountain sports. Me and my ex-husband started climbing. And then I noticed in the climbing community, several athletes doing the same things that I had done years before, being afraid of carbs, being afraid of gaining weight and then underperforming because of that. And so a few years later, I moved to Jackson, I got divorced. So even though I wanted to start my private practice, I was like, I don’t have the energy to do this right now. And, but it was always in the back of my mind, pandemic hit and I had the time, I had the creative time to be like, this is what I wanted to do all those years ago when I was a college athlete, this is why I got into nutrition.
Now’s the time to do it. And so I found in my private practice last year in the pandemic, I think just like you start building your business last year and here we are, it’s about a year later and I’m a private practice dietitian in Jackson Hole. And I really try to help our community and people beyond our community understand how all foods fit. And that, especially if you’re an active individual, letting go of that restrictive mindset will help your performance.
Amazing, amazing. And I so appreciate your story because I think it’s really important to be able to highlight the fact that you grew up with a pretty healthy relationship with food and still got sucked in and I feel like that is something that isn’t emphasized enough the innocence of how we can get sucked in and how easy it is to get sucked in even if we grew up with a healthy relationship around food so I want to know from you like once you started to realize you were going down, maybe not the best path, how did you pull yourself out of that?
I was very devastated when I learned about the injuries that I had. I would say that was very black and white for me. I was like, this is because of food fear. For example, when I say I have bone injuries, like I had shin splints that would never go away. I had stress fractures in my feet. I have permanent hip deterioration. I have a damaged vertebrae in my back. It’s all these injuries that just showed me like you have got to do something. And when I was trying to recover from those injuries, I had one sports dietician give me the simplest advice to get back to homeostasis. He said, I want you to eat every three to four hours. Even if you’re not hungry, this is not about you being hungry, this is about you healing your body. And your body needs calories and the way that you’re gonna rebalance your hormones and get better is by gaining a little bit more weight, is by fueling your body even if you feel like you don’t need it. You do, you’ve been chronically under fueled for years, this is how you heal it. And it was a simple piece of advice, but it gave me the permission I needed to eat at the time.
Yeah, yeah. So going off of that, I mean, how did you navigate those body changes throughout recovery? Because you were under feeling and you were such a strong athlete. Obviously your body needed to change to get you to that place of homeostasis. How did you mentally cope with that? Because I feel like that’s the piece that keeps a lot of people stuck is they realize, okay, I’m not going down the best path. However, the body changes is so overwhelming, is so hard, it doesn’t allow them to actually experience true food freedom. So how did you personally navigate that?
So with those injuries, I was actually told I couldn’t do certain activities. So I had to kind of rediscover which kind of movement I actually liked. It wasn’t about being the most elite athlete anymore. It was moving because it was fun. So I still trained, I still would work out, me and my ex-husband would work out together, but we’d go for walks, those kinds of things. But moving away from that athlete identity, what really helped me kind of come back to like inner peace with myself, was I had to remember who I was outside of being an athlete. Because as a child, I was a very well-rounded kid. I was artistic, I was in choir, I made good grades, I lived on a farm, I loved playing with animals, I had all these other aspects.
And when I went to college, they were like, nope, you’re just an athlete now, you can’t go do this, you don’t have time to do that. And so I think coming back to the identity I had before I was an athlete and just moving because I enjoyed it, it really helped me. So for example, like when you’re a kid, you play because it’s fun. You play a sport because it’s fun. You ride your bike because it’s fun. And so I kind of feel like I got a chance to rediscover that as an adult after my softball career ended.
I love that so much. And now you’re a dietician changing the lives of others.
Yeah, but actually that’s why I love mountain sports. It sounds, I don’t know, cheesy to say, but it’s fun to be a beginner because you get to go back and be a kid again. Okay, I’m bad at this, but if I try, if I’m consistent, I get better. So I started skiing in 2019. I had never skied before in my life. I did not grow up in a family of skiers. And now I tell people I’m a beginner and they go ski with me, and they’re like, you lied, you’re not a beginner. And so I ski over a hundred days a year, but the mentality that helped me improve in that sport wasn’t about trying to keep up with other people. It was, I’m doing this because it’s fun and I love it, and I get to go play every day. That is a much better attitude to have towards a sport.
I love that so much. So I want to take a step back with you. And earlier you said, or you kind of made a differentiation between eating disorder and disordered eating. Can you kind of define the difference between those and your mind, like how you differentiate those? Because I feel like they get kind of very much intermixed and a lot of people just think of eating disorder. I don’t have an eating disorder, but what isn’t emphasized enough is this element of disordered eating. So how do you kind of differentiate those?
First of all, I learned the difference when I was diagnosed with female athlete triad, when I talked about those bone injuries. That was the first time I’d ever actually heard a definition of disordered eating. So it’s these behaviors that are slightly unhealthy towards food, but it’s maybe not the full on combination of an eating disorder. Things that I noticed in myself was food labeling, giving food morality, saying this is good or this is bad. And one thing I tell myself now is food is food and it doesn’t have a moral code. It’s not trying to hurt you. It’s not evil. It’s not good. It’s just food. But I was very strict about those labels, which is why if I ate something that I had labeled as bad, I felt so much guilt around it. And I just was like, I have to get rid of this and but what’s interesting about I would eat foods that were good they just weren’t satisfying because of those food labels.
I see those labels everywhere here where we live in Jackson. It’s just kind of an orthorexic community. So that’s like food labeling is a thing. Food behaviors actually is something I pay attention to in my friends and my family kind of everyone. I’m an observational learner. And when I say food behaviors, it’s like the speed of eating. I notice people that are usually a little bit disordered around food eat very quickly, because usually they feel guilty for eating in the first place, versus somebody that has more of a freedom mindset around food, they take their time, they take in their surroundings, they limit their distractions.
Yes, so I noticed the speed of eating. I noticed how people use their utensils. Do they ever put the utensil down or are they always biting? Are they always taking bites? Seems simple, but it’s those little behaviors that I pay attention to because I did them too. Or I can’t stop. Once you start eating something you think is bad, you can’t stop because you feel like you’ll never get enough of it. And then social anxiety around food or events. I still struggle with this. Like sometimes if I go to a concert or something, you just notice the food options and you’re like, there’s nothing good here. So that anxiety around social events, those are things that are, it’s not an eating disorder, but it is a slightly disordered way of thinking around food.
And why are there technically no good or bad food from a body perspective. Can you kind of clarify that so we can start to hear, break down some of those labels?
People may disagree or agree with how I label this or how I define it. As a dietician, you learn what your metabolism does, how it breaks down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and it doesn’t know the difference between certain ones. It’s like, well, this is a carb. Now there are different properties to each one. So for example, like a starchy carbohydrate versus a non-starchy carbohydrate. Non-starchy might have more insoluble fiber versus the starchy carbohydrate has soluble fiber, but your body, it’s still a carbohydrate. I think learning the biological need for all of them really helped me get rid of the labels of this is a bad carbohydrate. Does that answer your question?
Yeah. Can you kind of tell us the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?
Yeah. I like to explain it to people, like go back to chemistry in high school when you’re learning about solvents and you learn about insoluble solvents and soluble solvents. So insoluble ones don’t mix with a liquid and soluble ones do. So soluble fiber will bulk in your GI tract, it will soak in water and it’ll keep you fuller for longer, but insoluble fiber doesn’t absorb water and it just goes right through you. So it keeps you regular.
So can you give us some examples of some foods that have that soluble versus insoluble fibers just so like people that are listening can connect?
Yeah, so the reason why whole grains are usually recommended is because they’re higher in soluble fiber. They will stay in your stomach longer, they’ll bulk up, or beans are another example of that. They have soluble fiber as well. In soluble fiber, I like to think of like your greens or carrots or celery, spinach, those things, they won’t absorb the water as quickly and they just go right through you.
Okay so going off of that, can you kind of explain a little bit more about Metabolism and how metabolism works because I feel like in Sport nutrition there is a lot of talk about this is gonna speed up your metabolism And this is gonna help your metabolism and do fasted cardio because it helps your metabolism or don’t eat this or don’t eat that because it all goes back to this idea that like fast metabolism is the best thing ever. So can you just first of all give us a better understanding of what metabolism actually is and kind of break through some of that noise for us?
The simplest answer I have is an equation. Metabolism equals catabolism plus anabolism. And there are things that impact both. That is the simplest thing I can break it down to. It’s like the addition of things that your body is doing to where it’s burning calories and things where your body is doing to like build calories. But the issue there is that certain things impact catabolism and certain things impact anabolism. But in sports nutrition, there’s a concept called energy balance. Basically, if you have a line throughout, and that’s your day, and let’s say you eat breakfast, and so you have this, you know, like, I’m trying to like explain it.
We’re on, you know, it’s gonna, people aren’t gonna be able to see like me doing this, but basically there’s a line there, and you wanna stay within 400 calories plus or minus of that each day to keep your metabolism running at the best rate. But the things that impact metabolism are sleep quality, hormones, age, environment, living in a colder environment versus a hot environment. All of these things impact that equation. That’s why it’s not just calories in, calories out for metabolism.
Right, so if someone is trying to get away from calories and not think about calories, how can you kind of put that equation in a way where they can still kind of apply that information without focusing on numbers?
So if I have a client that wants to increase their metabolism, I actually usually don’t talk about numbers. I talk about the things that can help increase their metabolism, which is not counting calories. It’s eating very filling meals every four hours. It’s strength training because they enjoy it or moving in a way they enjoy it. Non-exercise activity, thermogenic movement, walking, doing something they enjoy, sleep quality. You can have alcohol, but don’t drink a ton of it. It’s those things. It’s not, let’s focus on the calories because this will impact your metabolism. I actually hardly ever talk about calories with a client. I talk about their daily behaviors that will help boost their metabolism.
Yeah, yeah, totally. So breaking through some of that noise and whether it’s true or a myth, what about warm lemon water? Does that really do anything to your metabolism?
No, it’s just water with lemon. I don’t know. There’s just nothing special about it. I’m not one of those people that wakes up in the morning and drinks lemon water. I do get up and drink water, but if somebody enjoys lemon water and they like doing that in the morning, I’m like, go for it. Because it gets them to drink more water and most of us are dehydrated. So I’m like, sure, that’s fine.
What about apple cider vinegar?
I actually just did a big thing about this one last week. I have never been on board with apple cider vinegar because I have very sensitive teeth and I have a sensitive GI system when I get really stressed. So a very acidic liquid like that causes more damage than any good that it has. And the research behind it is very, very minimal. There’s no research for immunity at all. And I asked my dental hygienist, she goes, I hate it when people do this. So my recommendation is if somebody wants to do apple cider vinegar and incorporate it, dilute it a little bit, use it in a salad dressing, something else to where it doesn’t damage your esophagus or your teeth.
Yeah, what about fasting? That is kind of a hot topic right now, especially with the now incorporation of intuitive fasting and all of that intermittent fasting. Can you talk to me about how that may affect metabolism and if that really does promote a fast metabolism?
The only kind of fasting I would recommend to anyone is maybe a 12-hour fast. So think about if you stop eating dinner at like what time, like, you know, 7 the night before you go to bed, gives your time, your gut time to rest. You wake up the next morning, it’s time for breakfast, that’s an appropriate amount of time to fast. But for most of us who have irregular schedules, I don’t find it realistic. So let’s say you go to bed at eight or nine, well, sorry, not eight, but if you go to bed at nine or 10 and then you wake up and you like to get your workout in in the morning, I never recommend people to do a fasted strength training workout. It’s not as good for you.
And so I would please have a pre-workout snack. So that doesn’t comply with that 12 hour fast. I think what intermittent fasting does is it eliminates like the food necessarily, like I’m trying to think, it’s just a restriction around time versus a restriction around food. So that doesn’t work for me. There is some research to show that it disrupts hormones, especially in the morning when you have an increase in cortisol. What helps is to actually eat breakfast to bring that down to a normal level. So that’s what I just, I could never get behind it. Also for people that are active, it’s just, it doesn’t, it’s not realistic. I don’t find it to be, I just don’t want any more restrictions in my life, especially if it’s around time.
Totally, so you mentioned cortisol. Can you kind of break down what cortisol is and how it may affect metabolism?
Yeah, cortisol is the stress hormone. I feel like we hear about it a lot. There is a normal amount, there is amount that’s too low, there is an amount that’s too high. And I will say, if you’re restricting calories for a long time and you are over-training, that’s when your cortisol production goes up. And what can happen when cortisol goes up and you’re over-training, that’s when injuries start to set in. That’s what happened to me, which is why I had to pull back from that and actually bring those cortisol levels down, stop training so hard.
Another thing that happens when cortisol is increased, it’s muscle damage, like I already said that, but it can also increase fat storage. So you’re doing all these things to try and lose weight. You’re working out super hard, but your cortisol is super high. Your body’s going to try and hang on to fat because it’s in fight or flight mode. It’s like, please stop starving me. And so it’s trying to hang on to anything that will help it survive.
Yeah, yeah, that’s really helpful. And I think it’s super important to be able to recognize that even working out a ton can create stress on the body. And I know for me, and I think I talked about this in the last podcast is I used to do Orange Theory like five days a week. And I was like, this is what I love. This makes me feel good. This is great. And then I didn’t understand like why, you know, there were no changes happening to my body. Not necessarily that that needed to happen, but just like out of curiosity, like why am I working out so hard?
And like, I look the exact same, like not even building muscle or anything. And then I read this article that was talking about how these kind of workouts create so much stress on the body, increasing cortisol. And what’s really interesting is when I took a step back and started incorporating some more lower intensity movements, like Pilates or just walking, then it was like my body finally had that chance to chill out and I felt so much better and started to become stronger.
Exactly, because you’re giving those muscles a chance to reset, you’re giving them a chance to heal. And exactly what you said, working out does create inflammation. The act of working out creates small tears in your muscle. That’s how they get bigger because they have to rebuild after that. And if you never give them a chance to do that, then you won’t see the changes that you want. I really struggle taking rest days, but what I find helpful is exactly what you just said. It’s like, well, maybe I, my body hurts today. I’m gonna go for a walk instead.
I totally meant to get up this morning and go for a hike and I did not, but it’s okay. I’m gonna go for a walk this afternoon.
Nice. And it looks like it’s gonna be a nice day. So that’ll be really great. So for anybody that is struggling to tone down their workouts out of fear or struggling to take those rest days, what do you recommend to kind of help kind of calm those nerves and kind of have a better understanding of what actually happens when you do allow yourself to take those rest days?
One thing I would ask yourself is your why of why you’re working out. Is it for aesthetics or is it for mental health? Is it for community? I actually think that is a great reason to join Orange Theory or there’s a couple, there’s a few local gyms I really enjoy. The community is a reason to work out. So come back to the reasons that are non-aesthetic for being active because that will help you go a little easier on some days. So why am I going for a walk today instead of strength training? Because my body is still sore from two days ago from that strength workout. And so it probably needs another day to recover. I’ll strength train tomorrow and I’ll go for a walk today. And if I go for a walk today, like you said, it’s gonna be a beautiful day. That will help my mental health. That will, I’m gonna go do it with a friend. It’s a social experience. It is so much more than about the steps taken and the calories burned. It’s about the entire experience of being active.
Yeah, yeah. So I want to know from someone who went through this and then is now on the other side, I think that what doesn’t get talked about enough is kind of this identity alignment and trying to shift that as you are healing in the sense of aligning your identity to this intense athlete that never misses a workout, that is super fit, you know, whatever the case may be, and having the need to kind of change that identity but having a hard time with that. Can you kind of share what that was like for you and kind of how maybe you help your athletes in sport nutrition kind of just realign their identity going off of that why piece?
Something I kept in mind when I was growing up, I played softball, you know, yes, there are upper levels to softball, but the chances of making the Olympic team are very slim. So one thing I kept in mind is what will I do after? Who am I without this sport? And one thing me and my dad would talk about, or even my pitching coach would be like, one day softball will end. That’s why it’s important to get a good degree or maintain your identity outside of the sport. So even when I’m working with athletes now, I still like to maintain, who are you beyond this activity? Who are you beyond skiing?
And the reason that’s important is because if somebody gets injured, sometimes they have this complete identity crisis and they sink into depression because they’ve built so much of their identity into a sport. So I really try to help people understand that they are so much more than just an athlete. Yes, it’s a major part of their life, but they’re more than that. And if they can focus on that, when their career ends, they won’t have that complete identity crisis and they’ll feel a little bit more okay with moving into the unknown, versus if they’re just like, this is all I am, this is all I’ve done since I was four, I don’t know what I am without this. You feel lost, you feel just broken and don’t know where to go. But yeah.
Yeah. Yeah, and I really appreciate you putting it that way because I feel like that’s something that not a lot of people talk about. So it can feel like, what is wrong with me? Why am I having such a hard time letting go of this extreme exercise or whatever the case may be. And usually it comes back to having a hard time letting go of that identity. And when we can recognize that, get back to our deeper why and kind of realign that identity outside of sports and fitness and body, it can help kind of bring you back to who you actually are.
A good example, recent example is Simone Biles. We all look up to her because of her willingness to speak up about her mental health. Not because she’s this amazing gymnast. She has this identity outside of gymnastics that we all found so inspiring this year. That was way more important to me as a former athlete, former collegiate athlete, to see her talk about those issues than if she had won four gold medals.
Totally, totally. Oh my gosh. So to wrap things up, I would love to know from you, what are some things that you wish everybody knew about nutrition? Just some things that you find yourself saying over and over and over again, wishing everybody just knew.
I just did a big post about this yesterday and I’ve decided I’m gonna make a free guide about it. But I wish people knew the difference between non-starchy carbohydrates and starchy carbohydrates because every time I hear somebody say, oh, I’m cutting carbs, but you’re eating a piece of fruit. So that’s one thing, it just bugs me. I learned more about those definitions when I was doing outpatient education for diabetes management. And I just feel like the general public really needs to know that difference. They need to understand that carbohydrates make up the bulk of their diet and there’s so many different types. It’s not just starchy carbohydrates. It’s not just your bread, your pasta, and your rice. It’s your greens. It’s your veggies. It’s your fruit.
Those are carbs too, and they’re awesome, and they give you so much energy to live a beautiful life. The next thing, nutrition is so much more than eat this, not that. The relationship that you have with your body and nutrition starts before you’re born. You start being fed before you’re born. And so I think it’s important to know yourself and know your attitudes towards food. And as a parent to understand how your attitudes are impacting your child, we all have a relationship with food and it develops throughout our entire life.
Everybody’s a little bit different with their experiences but that relationship is important to recognize. And then the last thing is that I know we trust doctors so much when it comes to health advice, but I wish that people knew that MDs have zero nutrition training when they go through grad school, sorry, when they go through med school. There are some that do their own research later and that’s wonderful, but be very leery if you see a doctor that’s not an endocrinologist or a gastroenterologist recommending anything for nutrition?
Ooh, that last point is huge. If somebody is facing a doctor that is recommending a diet or weight loss or whatever the case may be, what would you recommend as a response for them to have, or just an approach for them to take, for them to maybe do their own research, or to maybe take that with a grain of salt?
If it’s in a clinical realm, I would ask the doctor if they know a dietician they would recommend. Because I think most doctors that are worth their salt will know somebody. Also, a lot of clinical practices have a dietician on staff. Like if an outpatient clinic, for example, the one I worked in in Atlanta, there were doctors within the clinic, but I was a dietician in the clinic. And so I would get referrals from the doctor. So ask your doctor if there’s a dietician that they know. I think that’s the best step you could take. Also advocate for yourself. You can ask why they’re recommending the diet, where’s the research behind it. And that, as far as doing your own research, ask where the research is. Because a good practitioner will say, you know what, I don’t know, let me go find it and I’ll come back to you.
Oh, so well said. I think that’s super important because it is really hard to question a professional, and I think that knowing that a lot of doctors don’t have that dietetic background is something that we just don’t think about. We just assume that they’re doctors, they must know. They have this halo around them. Yeah, I really appreciate you saying that.
Thank you so much for all of that information. Now to wrap things up, what I love to do with everybody is just ask you a few random questions for everybody to get to know you a little bit better? So just answer whatever comes to mind. This is outside of what you show on Instagram so people can know Eden. First, which is, I feel like, just so perfect because you’re a dietician, what is a snack that you absolutely cannot live without?
Peanut butter banana toast with honey and cinnamon.
And are you a crunchy or a smooth peanut butter?
Crunchy. I love them both. I mean, right now I have smooth peanut butter because they were out of crunchy, but I love them both. I used to be only smooth growing up. And then I feel like as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a rebel. I’m like, no, no, no, give me more texture.
Same, same. Okay, fill in the blank. The thing I know way too much about is?
Man, I feel like this is, okay. My problem is I feel like I am a Jane of all trades, master of none. So I know a lot of things about, I know a little about a lot of things, but I don’t feel like I’m an expert in a ton of, obviously I’m an expert in nutrition, but I’m always thinking that people know more than me. I’m like, oh, they know more. So, oh gosh, I think I know way too much about being a beginner now. Since I moved to Jackson, I’ve picked up so many new sports, so I know how to be a beginner and how to get over that beginner mindset and to push myself beyond that. I like that. I like that. I mean, just like with the Jackson, I started climbing, hiking, mountain bike riding, skiing, and I’m a beginner in like all of those sports. Yeah, yeah.
Ooh, I like that twist. What is your number one beauty product?
Right now, this is gonna be an unpopular answer. It’s my Anastasia Brow Wiz. I like to like make my brows look a little bit fuller.
Yeah, I love her stuff. So good. Okay, this is one of my favorites. You just won a contest and now get an endless supply of a product of your choice. What would you choose?
Probably peanut butter.
Love that, love that. What is your favorite way to move your body?
I like to strength train in my garage. I straight train solo. I mean, I will probably join a gym someday so I can push myself a little harder, but I really like working out at home alone and doing it because I enjoy it and no one’s there. I think it’s great that people go to a gym because they need someone else to push them. What I found was after training with a team for so long, I just always felt like I was mediocre and like I was being compared to my teammates. Another thing, I hate to say this, but they would weigh us in front of each other too. And so I always kind of felt like we were being pitted against each other. And so what I find is when I go to group fitness classes, whether it’s yoga or I went to a slide class yesterday on the like burn slider, you know, where you look like a skater. I love that, but I love working out at home. I love jumping rope. It’s probably my favorite way to work out is to jump rope.
I love that. And I’ll always do what works for you. How many alarms do you snooze before you get up in the morning?
Two. Okay, that’s not bad, that’s not bad. It was two today. It was two.
And my last question is, what does food freedom mean to you?
Food freedom to me means fueling my body in a way that is functional, but also provides joy. So I eat to keep going, to move in my, you know, the ski season’s coming up, so I can ski all day. But I also really want to fuel my soul too. I think about the memories that come from food and the social memories I’ve created, the friends, the family. I just wanna fuel my body for joy and for function. And I think the magic happens between the two. Like it’s important to have both. You can’t just say food is fuel, because that’s boring. We always ate for food is fuel. We just drink, you know, smoothies all day.
Right, I hate that line. I hate that line.
I do too. I’m like, no, no. And it’s so pumped up in the athletic community. Food is fuel. I’m like, yes it is, but it does more than that.
I always say like, let’s think about birthday cake, for example, to pull us away from this mindset of food is fuel. Like if we take birthday cake, okay, does not serve a purpose like nutritionally in our lives. Like could we live without birthday cake? Yes, but having that social, emotional, memory connection with it, like food is so much more than fuel. And without that element of social emotional connection, it just takes the purpose away from it.
I know several sports dieticians that in the mountain community, and we all love to bring a baked good with us when we go do a mountain bike ride or a ski tour. And exactly what you just said, that food is fuel in the moment, but it provides so much more than that. And because you like it, you’re going to eat it to fuel your body. But it’s also supporting a local business. It tastes good. The ingredients are simple. And just going off of chocolate chip cookies here, you and I talk about stress and our bodies.
And I mean, you’re a therapist, so you’ll understand this. Last year, I went through a very, very stressful time in town and my appetite just went away. And even if I had it, I had increased mouth sensitivity and issues. And me and my psychologist, we came to this plan. She’s like, okay, Eden, what sounds good today? Was it a chocolate chip cookie from Persephone, the best bakery in Jackson? She’s go get it. You need the calories, you need the function, but I know it’ll also bring you some mental peace. It’ll just give you that nostalgia, make you feel warm. Go eat that. And that’s where we go. It’s beyond food dysfunction. It does so much more for us.
I love that so much. Eden, where can everybody find you if they want to connect with you, know more about you, all the places.
Instagram is my favorite platform. It’s Garden of Eden underscore RD. And then my website is ttownperformancenutrition.com.
Yay! Thank you so much, girl. That was so good.
Thank you so much for having me. This was lovely.
Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach
Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.
I understand—it can be overwhelming to figure out where to begin. Let's simplify things and have you start right here:
Why Am I Overeating?
First Steps To Stop Binge Eating
The Food Freedom Lab Podcast
the food freedom lab podcast