Change the Narrative to Change Your Life

We all have a story. There are moments in our lives and in our upbringing that make us who we are and that guide our unconscious behaviors. This interview with Elise Museles helps us bring those behaviors to the forefront so we can make more intentional decisions around food.

Elise is the author of Food Story: Rewrite the Way You Eat, Think, and Live. She shares her story about healing from eating perfectionism, something many of us get sidetracked with when trying to follow a healthy diet. Her training in eating psychology transformed her outlook on food and she no longer stresses about her dietary choices, and she shares her wisdom on how you can do it, too.

You’ll learn about how “food noise” and diet culture disconnect us from our body’s signals, how stress (especially about eating) plays a role in how well you’re able to absorb nutrients, and the benefits of intuitive eating for having a more relaxed and intentional relationship with food.

Plus, Elise and JJ talk about how to avoid slipping back into old habits like emotional eating and stress eating—because changing your routine might be easy at first, but sticking to it is the real challenge.

Discover your own food story to change your narrative and change your life.

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ATHE_Transcript_Ep 478_Elise Museles
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Welcome. And thanks so much for joining me. This is ask the health expert here. I put the power of health in your hands and give you access to the top. People in health and wellness. In each episode, I share safe ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox and lots more. So if you wanna get healthy and get off the dieting for life Merry go round, I’ll give you strategies that will help you look and feel better fast.
Have you ever wondered. You choose some of the foods you do, or if you’re like Russian eating or not Russian eating, but rushing while eating, or maybe you just kind of do some, some things with food that you wish you didn’t, but they just seem to be ingrained. Well, that’s what we’re gonna be digging into today.
We’re [00:01:00] gonna be talking about how to rewrite your food story and. All based on Elise Museles’ new book, the food story rewrite the way you eat, think and live. So Elise who actually was an immigration attorney in her past life is now deep into holistic health and integrative healing. She’s on the environmental working group board of directors and has been a national Institute of health grant recipient for five years in a row.
She’s a sought after speaker and host of the popular Once a food story podcast. Her work’s been featured in O the Oprah magazine, Forbes, health InTouch, self L the chalkboard, mind, body green in other outlets. And you will be able to download her pantry list. And it’s, this is really cool. You’ll hear about this during the interview.
What this pantry list is all about. You’re definitely gonna want to get it, and you can get it at And I will be right back with Elise. Stay with me.[00:02:00]
All righty, Elise, I’m so excited to have you on the show and to get to know you,
Elise Museles: I’m so happy to be here. And I’ve been a big fan of yours for years.
JJ Virgin: Ah, well, that always warms my heart. I appreciate that. What I would love to know, cause I really literally. Know, nothing about you. However, I was so intrigued with what you do, and I think the audience is gonna be intrigued with it too.
And it’s super helpful. So, and this whole idea of, of discovering your food story and changing your life. So we are gonna be digging into this today. And what I really wanna know is like, how, how did you get into this? Like, where’d you.
Elise Museles: Where did I start with food story? Or just get into
JJ Virgin: nutrition? I mean, you know, I could say how’d you get into food, but we’ve all been into food since the moment we were born, but yeah.
You know, what got you into nutrition and then down this path. Okay.
Elise Museles: That, well, that’s a really good question. Well, I grew up [00:03:00] in LA, so that is very telling and, you know, it says a lot about where my passions came from, but I didn’t at, this is actually my second career. I practiced immigration law before I got into nutrition.
And when I. First started with nutrition. I was very fixated on the food, the, what you’re eating. And I soon discovered I was working with all these really smart and savvy people who could, you know, practically write their own books on nutrition, that there was just this missing piece. And I really think that the missing piece for me, because I was eating all the right things and doing the.
Things was the mindset part, you know, just like how and why we eat. And so I got certified in eating psychology and it completely changed my perspective on how I approach food and how I don’t stress around food anymore, because I used to stress about everything I suffered from what I. It’s [00:04:00] not a real technical condition, but I call it eating perfectionism.
I wanted to listen to everyone else and do all the right things. Mm-hmm . But in doing that, I stressed myself out about food and became so confused and didn’t always look at everything food could do for me. I was worried a lot about what, what food can do. To me, if
JJ Virgin: that makes makes sense. So I, so I, first of all, I love the eating perfectionism term and I think we like a lot of this stuff.
You just, you just figure out what makes sense around it, make it up. Right. so it makes a ton of sense and it kind of follows what I see happening out there. And I think it started way back when I’m gonna like shout out and say, I think it might have started with weight Watchers or one of those types of groups where we are counting points and we’re totally disconnecting ourselves from.
How we feel when we eat things, like, how does this make you feel? Do you feel better eating this? Or are you just eating this cuz you want your points? You know, it’s like, doesn’t make any sense. So I like this idea of coming back, I’m all about like [00:05:00] connecting the dots between what you’re eating and how you feel and creating like great, healthy rituals around all of this.
So I think it all makes a ton of sense. So again, I think we have to go past. If, if it was as simple as knowing what to eat, first of all, you could go to the bookstore. And be completely confused. I always say, you get, you get 10 nutrition experts, nutritionists in a room, and they’re gonna have 10 different opinions and it could make more.
Right. And I go, how does the public sort through this? They go to the bookstore and they’re like, am I supposed to be a carnivore vegan, keto? Like, are plants good? They’re bad. What the heck do I do? So I think when you can kind of shift away from that and go and look this way, it’s super helpful. you came up with this idea of a food story.
What the heck is this?
Elise Museles: Okay. I love that you asked that. So what happened is I was starting to work with people on their relationship with food, and I’d say, so tell me about your [00:06:00] relationship with food. And I would get all these very similar clipped responses like, oh no, let’s not go there. Or that’s such a loaded question, you know, and people would think about them and food and it was.
Static, you know? And so I knew that I had to reframe the question and I, that was, this was in 2010 mm-hmm . So there was a lot of people, a lot of experts even talking about like your life story, your money story, your love story, you know, there were so many story was really in our collective conversation.
I’m like, well, we have a food story. And so when I started to reframe it and ask people about their food store and start to think about it myself, It made so much more sense and it helped people release, release a lot of the shame and blame that they felt around food because they realized there’s different characters.
There’s heroes, there’s villains, diet culture, you know that there are so many different chapters in their food story. There’s. Themes. And so, and it’s always evolving. And so you’re never really stuck because it’s a story and this really helped people to [00:07:00] see why they do certain things, why they have certain mindsets and beliefs, some limiting around food, and you could trace it back because your food story doesn’t just start.
Where you are right now, if you’re having challenges or issues, it goes back. And so this really gave a really nice framework for people to see how they related to food and to realize, you know, what I can, I’m the author of my story. So that’s really where it came about. Mm-hmm and even. People like, you know, you like, we all have different chapters, like, I’m sure you can think about a chapter in your food story that you wouldn’t want.
You wouldn’t be living right now, you know, but it worked for you then, or it didn’t work.
JJ Virgin: true. You know, that’s true. I think I think back I I’ve You know, I’ve been doing this for gosh now, like 40 years, which is crazy. And I think back to one person who would always say, first of all, I, I watched him eat and you can see so much by just watching someone eat.
And this was someone who didn’t wanna share [00:08:00] their food and it’s like that food was down on the table and he. In it in it to win it. Right. And I’m watching this and anytime you’d get hungry, he’d say I’m starving out of my mind. And I’m like, wow. You know, talk about creating your reality, starving outta your mind.
Really. That’s a little lextreme, but came to pass. As we dug into this, that he grew up in a family. Where, you know, money was tight. And so when they put the food on the table, that was the food there. Weren’t right there. Wasn’t more coming. And it was like every kid for themselves. and he was the baby.
Right. And so he like grew up with lack and scarcity and not having enough. And if you didn’t get in there fast and gobble it down, you weren’t gonna have yours. And until he realized that way later. Cause I watch I go, what the heck is going on here? You know? Wild.
Elise Museles: It’s amazing how that’s all so [00:09:00] ingrained in us and you don’t, you become sort of, it’s just becomes like a pattern or a habit that you’re not even aware of.
Right. Totally. And so what happened when he was able to connect the dots?
JJ Virgin: Yeah. When he was able to connect the dots, it became a non-issue. And so I talk a lot about connecting the dots between what you’re eating and how you feel, but it’s also connecting the dots between why you’re eating the way you’re eating.
I’ll give you another one. That’s kind of funny is I had a mom who you had breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Well, We had, you know, you go to school to have lunch. I was a super athletic kid and I’d come home around five and dinner wasn’t until 7, 7 30, because my dad would come home and they’d have cocktails.
And when you’re a kid and you ate lunch at noon, and then you did a ton of sports and now it’s five 30. Like, you know, when you’re a growing kid, this is, this is not okay. Right. And so I had to sneak. otherwise I wasn’t gonna, [00:10:00] I couldn’t wait till dinner. So I got used to sneaking. And that’s not a good one either.
Like we don’t need to sneak and scarf. Right. so, you know, you realize that way later, it’s like, why am I sneaking food? I don’t need to sneak food in my own kitchen. It’s totally cool. But it is, it is interesting to look at it’s like, why are we doing these. Bizarre weird things that we do. Well, there’s always a reason.
Elise Museles: Right. And I think that when people realize it and like you said, you connect the dots, it, it just can help you feel like, oh, so that’s why I do what I do instead of having shame about it. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: And there’s so much, first of all, food eating and, and early on, do you know who Janine Roth. Of course, I know who she is.
So Jeanine Roth. Yeah, she’s amazing. And I went to one of her workshops probably 20, 30 years ago. And it was, you know, right. I think when food is love was really big, then that was her big book. And I walk in this room and she had [00:11:00] pieces of paper, large pieces of butcher paper all over this room. And there were like couple hundred people in there and they had to write down like all their food shame and body.
on these things. I was like, wow, this is truly something, but there’s so much shame around weight, around what you eat around, you know, trying to be perfect, especially if you’re a woman and you sit down and, and you don’t have the salad and the, you know, sparkling water, you know, it’s like, Crazy.
Elise Museles: So like, yeah, we, we always think we’re being judged, but what, what I wanna say about that exercise that Janine Roth had you do, it’s so powerful to write it down, even if you’re just writing it down for yourself, because when you actually write something down, you’re physically releasing it from your body.
So. You know how like your body keep in your cells, keep all of that inside, but when you can release it, then you can also look at it and see it and, you know, and then confront it [00:12:00] instead of just suppressing it. Yes. It’s such a powerful exercise
JJ Virgin: better out than in, right. So with that good sayings what, like when you did this for yourself, cuz I’m assuming that’s where it started.
What did you.
Elise Museles: Wow. I mean, I have so many different pivotal moments of my food story, but, you know, I understand now why I had such a like controlling relationship with food. You know, I had thought I had to be rigid and have all the rules and I could tie it back to two. Events really. I mean, there are so many our food stories, so, you know, multidimensional, but it, it has so much so it’s complex, but when I was nine years old, I went to the doctor and the doctor told me I could get my ears pierced if I lost five pounds.
And this is also like Weight Watchers. Count crazy too. And it wasn’t like I medically needed to lose weight or anything like that.
JJ Virgin: Wait, the doctor said you could get your ears pierced if you lost five pounds, because I had
Elise Museles: been begging at [00:13:00] that point. Do you remember that doctors used to
JJ Virgin: Pierce with their, those guns?
Well, no, I remember, no. We went to like. You, you had the gun, but you went to like some jewelry shop in the mall, but why would the doctor say you had to lose five pounds, get your ears pierced. Did your mom put him up to it or what? I don’t,
Elise Museles: you know, I’m sure adult conversations,
JJ Virgin: but
Elise Museles: my God. Yeah, no, it was really bad, but then my dad would sleep, eat.
At night, and this is gonna sound pretty unbelievable and it is really extreme, but he would sleep, eat, be totally like unconscious of his eating. And he’d wake up in the morning and feel terrible. And he, when he realized what was going on, he started putting a padlock around the refrigerator and we give my mom the key.
And so every night it had nothing to do with us, but he’d say, do you want anything before I lock up? So it was just sent this message. And so sometimes our parents’ food challenges. They impact? Well, not sometimes I was gonna
JJ Virgin: say sometimes I
Elise Museles: know, [00:14:00] well, I, I always wanna say that like, most parents are they’re, they’re doing the best
JJ Virgin: they can with knowledge, right?
This is exactly. We’re not, this is not a, this is not a slam. They didn’t know this either. Everyone’s trying their no, no parent says, you know, I’m gonna eat a bunch of crap. So my kids will eat crappy.
Elise Museles: Right. Or like, I wanna mess up my kids’ relationship. Right. The rest of their lives. Yeah. yeah. So, but, but it’s just really interesting how, you know, I didn’t put two and two together until later on when I really, you know, went through that eating psychology program and started to, you know, Mark David, I think that I’ve seen you on some of his, his summits, but so until I.
healed my own relationship with food, but it just, it’s amazing how far back we can trace some of our mindsets and habits. And then when we know why it, it just, it it’s like your client, you mentioned who was eating, you know, so fast because of the scarcity, you know, then we can say, okay, that’s not my story anymore.
That that’s not who I am now. And so I could let [00:15:00] go of that sort of rigid, controlling behavior around food, but it’s kind of crazy. Well, so,
JJ Virgin: so here’s the big question though. So let’s take my, my friend who grew up that way. Is it as simple as going, oh, recognizing the situation or how do you break something?
That’s now so ingrained in you like with you thinking you need to eat something. You know, the fridge is gonna get locked down or not eat right control. So whichever one, what, like, how do you then now that you’re aware, like, oh, okay. How do you break it? . Yeah,
Elise Museles: that’s a really good question. So an example that a lot of our list, the listeners might be able to relate to is like, did you grow up with the clean, the plate club?
You know how so many of us grew up and were like, oh, you have to eat
JJ Virgin: the starving children somewhere, wherever those starving children are. Yes.
Elise Museles: In India or China, or yes, we all like a lot of us have that. And so I think it’s [00:16:00] really asking you. Is this true for me now? And even though it’s something so ingrained my husband still will eat everything on his plate, no matter what, not paying attention to whether he’s full or not, because he just grew up like that.
And we’ll talk about it. Like, but could you put this like into a, in the fridge and use it? In a salad the next day. And you know, it, it takes a while and he feels guilty when he doesn’t do that. But I mean, now we’re past that, but he felt guilty when he didn’t wouldn’t do that because of the clean, your plate club.
And so I think really it’s just asking, is that my story now is that is like with the scarcity, if that’s not really the issue anymore, then you can, you are in charge of you’re the author of your story. You can write a new chapter. You know, and it doesn’t mean like the past shouldn’t have happened or it was a negative thing.
It’s just, it, it just isn’t who you are today or your circumstances anymore. And I think really questioning like your [00:17:00] beliefs around food. So many of us have limiting beliefs, like where they came from and understanding all that gives us the like empowers us to make
JJ Virgin: a change. Right. So we all have limiting beliefs.
right. I had a great mentor early on. It was like the only limitations to the limitations in your mind. And I remember thinking, well, of course there are limitations, you know, and it’s just one of the biggest challenges is actually seeing them. Right. Because they’re just in there. So it’s great that you are just shining this light.
Now I wanna talk food noise, but first we’re gonna take a little break and then we’re gonna come back and talk about this food noise and why it’s so harmful. So stay with us.
Food noise. What is this? Why is it such a problem?
Elise Museles: Okay. This is a good one. So food noise is everywhere. And I wanna start out saying that you cannot eliminate it, but you can change the way that you respond to it. So food [00:18:00] noise is everything from like the messages you’re receiving on social media, the message you’re, you’re getting.
When you walk into your kitchen and you see like the books of the diets that failed, or, you know, or, you know, that creates some sort of noise, but it’s just loud. I mean, diet culture is the biggest culprit of food noise. And do you talk a lot about diet
JJ Virgin: culture on here? And so I have a, I have a philosophy on diet culture.
I am not anti diet at all. I’m anti diet, the way that they’re being used. I believe that we have a big, the problem with diets is that we. two very diverse things with the same word in that we have, I believe diets are tools, just like a scale is a tool. Although I think we should only do body composition.
We have to know what our weight’s made up of, but I believe that and you know, a, scale’s not a, a mean shameful friend. It’s a, it’s a biometric tool to tell us if we are holding onto and building muscle, which is the key problem [00:19:00] that we have right now in our health is that we’re not doing that. And then with diets, diets always work.
We’re just trying to get the wrong information from, ’em see if I go on, let’s say a vegan diet and I feel crappy. That’s fantastic. I just got really important information of this didn’t work well for me, or let’s say I tried a keto diet and it never, I, it didn’t work. Okay. That’s great.
That’s not something that works well for me there is bioindividuality I think we need to reframe all of this and say, you know, We have the way we, we ultimately, and this is a moving target, have what’s gonna work best for us in terms of when we eat and, and how much we eat and you know why we’re eating and it might shift, maybe you’re dealing with a health issue, maybe you’re, you know, working on some kind of shift, you know, running a marathon or whatever.
And so we use a diet therapeutically to [00:20:00] learn things about us. Like Virgin diet was not written as a thing you’re on forever. It was written as something that you do for three weeks. right. And then you go and challenge to see which foods work for you and which foods don’t right. So that you can design an eating plan that works for you.
Yes. I that’s my reframe on diets, the diets. I like
Elise Museles: that. Right. I think we’re on the same page, but the thing that people have to know though is how to be connected to their body and understand the information exactly that they’re getting from. The diet or whatever. So lifestyle or food plan or whatever you wanna call it doesn’t matter what you call it.
But, and that’s where I think the problem lies. So food noise disconnects you from your body and you, you are listening to everyone else’s opinion instead of saying. How does this feel to me? So I, there are experts. Like I listen to you, JJ. You know, there are people who know a whole lot, there’s a lot of research being done, but like you said, there’s bioindividuality.
So the only way to understand whether those [00:21:00] things work for you is to be connected enough to your body and not to accept it as gospel, but to be curious about it. So I wanna try this new. Whatever it is super food, new plan or, or intermittent fasting, whatever it is that like peaks your curiosity. But to know like you’re trying it right, and that, and that you’re gonna test it out and see how it works for you.
And if it doesn’t work exactly what someone else’s roles are. Maybe you can figure out how to modify it and make it work for you. And like you said, you have to have some sort of measure. How does it feel like there’s also the external measurements that can give you information, but it always comes back to how’s this feel to me in my mind.
JJ Virgin: how, how do you feel like how’s your energy? How’s your focus, headaches, gas bloating all that. However, it’s interesting. Like I was just listening to a podcast today. Peter Atia I’m kind of obsessed with him and he was talking. To another guy about the carnivore diet and talking about how Paul [00:22:00] Saladino’s
lDL cholesterol shot up to over 500 on it. And he had a lot more small dense particles. And I was like, uhoh, you know? And so you look at that and go, it’s also like, Hey, you might feel great on a diet. And then you look at your blood markers and now you’ve got insulin resistance or whatever. So we have to also check in with, and that’s why I have an issue with intuitive eating works when you’ve done a reset.
So you can truly. Because if you can’t truly hear, we’ve got a food industry that has created a obescegenic food to make us crave it. Right. And so it’s one thing. If you’re intuitively eating and getting into, you know, vegetables and clean protein and healthy fats, it’s a whole other thing. If you’re eating processed foods, dirty processed foods, you know, ultra processed foods, cuz they’re built.
To make you crave them and you’ll think, oh wait. You know, and you’re not. So that’s, that’s where [00:23:00] I think we have to make those distinctions and it all does come down to that, connecting the dots and realizing like, you know, all my friends are diet book authors. Right. Well, and what I see in common is that people write the book for them.
right. So they write the book that worked really well for them. And there’s probably pieces of that that will work for you. But you know, the chance that one thing is gonna be the all end, all be all for everyone is zero. It’s never. You know, right.
Elise Museles: So, yeah. And to add on to that, it also may work for you in a certain season.
You know, when I say season, season of your life, and that’s the whole thing about a food story is that it may work for you when you’re really active, something might work for you, but then you have a different time period where. You’re doing more gentle movement and you’re not, you know, as active. And so you would have a different balance of macronutrients that could work for you, or you have a health issue that popped up.
And so you always wanna just be like connected [00:24:00] enough to yourself getting, you know, the, the, like you said, checking on your blood levels and all of that, but it really. Goes back to that question you said, and the person, how does this make me feel and how do I wanna feel too? Right.
JJ Virgin: And that’s, and, and diets are tools.
diets are tools like, you know, it’s just like any other tool that we would have. It’s a tool and not an absolute. So I, we are totally on the same page with that. And I just think it’s important in the intuitive eating world. Cause I, I get afraid of intuitive eating meats. You know, big food companies
Elise Museles: well, it also feels bad.
Be crazy where people will show like, you know, a bunch of like, like a bunch of junk food and say, well, I’m eating intuitively. I’m feeling real, really proud of it. I think like it’s important to be proud of letting go of rules that are making you miserable and you can’t socialize and that are affecting your mental health, but at the end of the day, you wanna feel good in your body.
And whole real foods are [00:25:00] gonna make you feel better than any processed foods. Right. And also, I, I, I interviewed Michael Moore who wrote that whole book on what actually the process food industry,
JJ Virgin: right. How addictive it is. yeah. And it is addictive. Right. It’s set up to be that way. So you can’t use. I call ’em dirty processed foods in the industry.
They’re called ultra processed foods. You can’t use those as intuitive eating tools because they are set up to make you a food addict. They’re set up. Like I was just listening to something interesting about the Huds tribes and, you know, they take like a gazelle and throw it on, on the charcoal and then cut off the charred parts and eat that.
They’re not gonna be like, no, one’s gonna pig out on that. Like, it is like, no one. When I did the freaky eater show, we didn’t get one person that said I’m addicted to salmon. Never happened. Right. So really look at how do I just incorporate more whole foods because we’d be doing you a [00:26:00] disservice to not say that with now 5% of the population being metabolically healthy in the, the, you know, That change starts at the end of your fork.
Elise Museles: So, yeah. And then the other thing with, with whole foods, there are foods that, you know, some whole foods that like your grandmother’s lasagna, like it might be made with whole foods, but you know, that you’re, that it’s gonna nourish you in a different way and you can make a choice to have it, you know, at a special occasion or whatever, because it.
It nourishes your soul, you know, but that’s not what you’re eating day in and day out. And I, I hope that people don’t feel guilty about, you know, choosing to eat something that’s like, you know, part of their culture, or even if it’s not like as clean, you know, as the food that you would choose.
JJ Virgin: Well, and it’s also, I think, I think you go for an, a minus on your diet.
Now, if you’re, if you’re going through something, if you are going through a health concern, This is not what I’m talking about, but once you’ve gotten to that stable place, like we just went off to Italy. We had this opportunity to go to Andrea [00:27:00] Bocelli’s private theater for his once a year opera thing he does.
And we’re like, oh yes, we’re going. But some of the dinners we went to were pasta and that was it. Like, that was all pasta and cheese. And I’m like, oh boy. And it’s always interesting in Italy cause none of the food hurts me like it does in the us because they know do do to the food there. But you also go, that’s a podcast episode.
That’s a whole nother, that’s like a whole series, but you also look at and go, I, this I’m not in a plus, you know, I’m in Italy, I’m in Tuscany. I’m at Andrea Bocelli’s farmhouse and this is what I’m having. That’s it, you know? So that’s the important thing. People, when, when I start talking about like, let’s go through the Virgin diet, let’s pull these foods out, see how you feel.
They’re like, but what about my birthday? I go, you know, it’s not your once a year birthday. That’s the challenge here. right. Like, right. That’s not the problem. The problem is, is the 364 other days. So you know, this is, go ahead. I was gonna
Elise Museles: say that on your birthday, that if [00:28:00] you choose to have the thing, the cake, the, whatever, enjoy it, because the guilt does so much harm to your.
I mean, you know, when you stress yourself out and you create a whole stress response in your system, and then you don’t even enjoy it. So if you make that decision to have it, enjoy it, how
JJ Virgin: about it? And, you know, you brought up stress and it is such a key thing. Like you look at the blue zones and what really is going on in the blue zone.
Cause I know there’s all this talk about diet, et cetera. And one thing, one thing it sounds like is lots of olive oil. And, but when you really look at. and just coming back from Italy and being around this where dinners were three hours. and you sat down for lunch and it’s like, you know, I, we, we tend to, when we go on vacation, eat brunch and then we eat dinner.
And so at two o’clock we’re out like walking all over the place and every, everything is shut down and everyone’s sitting down for a two hour lunch. , you know, it’s like, Such a different culture [00:29:00] and then you go to dinner and it’s the three hour dinner and they’re not stressed out trying to, to eat in the car.
You don’t see people unless they’re tourists walking down the street, eating, they, they take time for it. So what happens when people are stressed? And stress and trying to eat fast and do all that. What does it do to us?
Elise Museles: Yeah, that’s a good question. And that, so you create a stress response and I wanna also add a caveat to that because it’s not just like the stress that we have in our daily lives, because there’s no way to avoid it.
It’s also the undo. Like selfimposed stress that we put on ourselves. Becoming that a plus eater, or whether we’re following the rules or doing the right thing or eating too many carbs. And even if whatever you’re thinking will this bloat me, you know, and all that stress, those stressful thoughts, whether they’re true or not, you can create a stress response in your system.
And so I’m sure you’ve talked about it here on this podcast, but you probably can’t hear it. Much. It’s just what happens is, is you’re [00:30:00] you, you create that whole cascade of hormones when you release cortisol and then your metabolism is, you know, work, isn’t working as efficiently. You don’t digest as well, and you aren’t assimilating all the nutrients.
In addition to not having pleasure from your meal, which I think is a huge part of that relaxation is when you’re actually enjoying yourself that like they do in Italy as you discuss. So if like one of my goals when I work with people is to have people understand that the opposite is true. The rela how you, you wanna feel relaxed before you sit down to your meal, because then you’ll get the full nutritional benefits of it, you know?
And when you’re in. Not in the fight or flight or not in that stress response, your body. Rest and digest.
JJ Virgin: You see it. I’m always reminded when I go outside the United States or even if you’re in the United States, but eating in more of traditional culture areas that you can get to. [00:31:00] I always like it when I’m the only person.
Who’s not of whatever, if I’m going to eat like. Indian food or Thai food or Chinese food. And I’m the only person who’s not Indian or Thai or Chinese. I’m like I’m in the right place. And you always see such different food because of what they’ve done, cuz food is medicine for them. But one other thing that I, yeah, you see there is families eating together.
And another thing that you can do and you know, I was reminded of, I never remember to do this. Yet, but we were on our trip and, and our group did, it was to sit down and they did a gratitude. You could call it saying grace, a prayer gratitude, but that can shift that stress down too. And again, you’re not gonna digest well, if you’re stressed, You’re gonna have lower stomach acid.
You’re like, it’s gonna be a problem. Exactly. Yes. And
Elise Museles: then the other really easy way to, to shift your body into more of a relaxation relaxed state is to just take three deep breaths wherever you are. If you’re in the car, which isn’t an ideal place to [00:32:00] eat, but if you’re just sitting at the table, even if you’re with other people, you just take three deep breaths and it instantly kind of, you know, brings you back to your body and.
Helps, you know, all those stress chemicals dissipate too. So it’s amazing how that, how it does that. Can I just say one thing you were talking about how we eat and you know, like you were saying, we, we hardly ever just sit at the table. Mm-hmm and I’ve been saying this a lot, but we, as a culture, we tend to eat and, you know, we eat and drive, we eat and scroll through social media.
We eat and watch the news we eat and, you know, catch up and whatever it is or eat and. Like if people could just put that stuff away, even just to have like your shake, you know, for five or 10 minutes, it makes such a difference when you are present at the table and you just eat there’s no, and , so
JJ Virgin: that’s a good one eat.
And so what happens and, and I think back to. You know, used to be, when I would go home in [00:33:00] college, I would slip right back into all the old crappy patterns I had. And it took a while to really break that, to be able to go home and not do that. So what do you say to someone who’s like, all right, I’ve totally nailed this, but then I’d go back into that situation where it started and I slip right back in.
How do you have them not have that continue to.
Elise Museles: Yeah, that’s a really good question. Cuz we saw that a lot over the last few years, I think with people being stressed, they would slip back into old ways and you know, everything’s a teacher, right. So, I mean you just have to like. Why, why am I doing this right now?
And start like, instead of not judging yourself, but being curious about your behaviors, why am I doing it? Does this work for me anymore? Does this work for me now? And how do I even feel? And most of the time you’re probably beating yourself up and you feel crappy and you’re upset with yourself or doing something that you know, isn’t serving you.
And so it’s really about. [00:34:00] You know, just being an observer and asking yourself, why, why am I doing this? Because usually there is a why and, and like, how, how do I really wanna feel instead of how do I feel also, how do I wanna feel and being really proactive because you know, what makes you feel better?
I’m sure when you go home and do the things that from however many years ago, how do I wanna feel and what can I do to make myself feel that. You know, and I always find out little things like taking a walk, you know, and can help you clear your head and not stay in. You know, and give you a fresh perspective
JJ Virgin: too.
Taking a walk is just an easy solution for a whole lot of things. yeah. Sending the mean email, making the phone call, just go out and take a
Elise Museles: walk. Right. But just break that whole, like, cuz otherwise you stay stuck. You’re ruminating and just like get outside, go for a walk, you know? And like that shifts everything, but, and, and empower yourself to.
You can decide [00:35:00] how you wanna feel and what is gonna help you feel that way. And it’s probably not what, whatever you just did.
JJ Virgin: So speaking of that, you have a food mood pantry list that we’re gonna put at And tell us about that. What are they gonna get?
Elise Museles: Okay. That, that is really also about, I mentioned this earlier.
A lot of times we think about what food is going to do. To us, you know, and that oftentimes brings a negative, like, is it gonna make me bloated? Am I gonna, you know, gain weight, whatever it is. Mm-hmm, some, you know, we worry about that. And so when you, when you think about how food affects your mood, you’re thinking about everything it can do for you.
So it’s really just giving people a new mindset around food, and I have seven different moods and I picked some of the really easy, very accessible food to put on the list. And so the pantry list will help you stock your pantry with foods that have nutrients and that can support [00:36:00] your, your gut health and to help boost your mood.
There’s calm. There’s calm, happy. Oh my God. Sensual strong, which is really like more of you boosting food. And oh my gosh, I’m forgetting like there’s 7 million that’s okay. They’ll,
JJ Virgin: they’ll go to it and get it. And I love get it. I always love anything shopping list. Like we all love that and it’s always fun to see what someone else has put on the list, cuz you know, you just forget things.
So we get in food ruts, right? That’s a whole nother. Whole nother podcast. So I love that you did that. Yeah. And again, it’s to get, get the list. And then you can stock up based on the moods that you want to elicit and feel. That’s very cool. How
Elise Museles: fun? Yeah. Yeah, so that it’s really easy and, and it’s accessible too.
So I hope that everyone enjoys the pantry
JJ Virgin: list. Perfect. Thank you. And I’ve enjoyed having you here, so thank you so much for your time. Thank you
Elise Museles: so much for having me and for all the work that you do and love this conversation and [00:37:00] all your stories too.
JJ Virgin: All right. Thank you for tuning into another. Interesting episode. I was super excited about this one because I had like really no clue what we were going to get into here. I knew it was gonna be talking about more kind. Food and why we do what we do. And I think that it’s really interesting to start to take a look at some of these things so that if you’re are doing something that you wish you weren’t doing now, you know how to break that cycle.
And again, I wanna remind you to grab her food pantry list that helps you buy foods based on the mood you wanna elicit. And that is at JJ If you have not yet subscribed to the podcast, come on, we have so much fun stuff going on and you never wanna. An episode. So be sure to
It is that simple. Just go to See you next episode.[00:38:00]


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