Be Organic Podcast Season 3 – Episode 9 WHAT’S YOUR FOOD STORY? // Foods & Moods

When it comes to food, everyone has a story. The way you feel about food, think about food, deprive yourself or overindulge, the specific things you crave…There’s a story behind it. Your food story is a big swirl of many things: how you were raised; the messages you received from influential people and absorbed from the media; your positive memories and your painful memories about food. All of it comes together to create thoughts and patterns that directly impact your health and happiness. The bottom line: Finding peace with food isn’t about eating more kale, drinking more water, or doing more yoga. It’s about unlocking your inner narrative about what you eat and why you eat what you do.  

Here to talk to us today about food stories is Elise Museles! Elise Museles holds four certificates in holistic health and integrative healing. A frequent speaker,  Elise is also host of the popular Once Upon a Food Story podcast. Her work has been featured in Forbes, O, The Oprah Magazine, Health, Self, ELLE, Well+Good, and more!

6:25 What the Term “Food Story” Means and What it Encompasses (jump to section)
11:22 Elise’s Pivotal Food Story Moments (jump to section)
18:00 Food and How it Relates to Emotional State (jump to section)
20:00 “Food Noise” and Why It’s So Harmful (jump to section)
29:23 How Stress is an Anti-Nutrient (jump to section)
34:50 Food and Mood – Recipes for How You Want to Feel (jump to section)
38:07 What “The Chocolate Meditation” Is (jump to section)


Transcription Below

Kat Eckles: Welcome back, Be Organic listeners. We are so excited to have you today. As always, we thank you so much for joining us and making the decision to spend a little bit of your day learning more about living a more organic, healthy, and positive lifestyle. Today I’m really excited to have author Elise Museles on our podcast today.

She wrote a book called Food Story, and I’m really excited to talk to her about this, share a little bit of my food story, and just hear her perspective on things. As we know, when it comes to food, everyone has a story. The way you feel about food, think about food, deprive yourself or over-indulge, and the specific things you crave, there’s a story behind all of that. Your food story is a big swirl of many things, like how you were raised, the messages you receive from influential people and absorb through the media, your positive memories, and your painful memories all about food. All of that comes together to create thoughts and patterns that directly impact your health and happiness.

The bottom line is finding peace with food isn’t about eating more kale, drinking more water, or doing more yoga. It’s about unlocking your inner narrative about what you eat and why you eat what you do. Here to talk to us today about food stories is Elise Museles. She holds four certifications in holistic health and integrated healing. She’s on the board of directors for the Environmental Working Group and has been a National Institute of Health grant recipient for five years in a row. That’s some amazing accomplishments. 

For those of you who have not heard or heard of the Environmental Working Group, they release “The Dirty Dozen” every year and have an amazing online resource for finding non-toxic options. As a frequent speaker, Elise is also the host of the popular “Once Upon a Food Story” podcast, and her work has been featured in Forbes, O, the Oprah Magazine, Health, Self, Elle, Well + Good, and more. We are so thankful and so blessed to have her today. Thank you so much for joining us.

Elise Museles: Hi Kat, thanks for having me. I’m honored to be here. 

Kat: I have to laugh because I was stumbling over my words a little bit there. It’s because I just ate a donut because there was a birthday celebration. This is so appropriate that we’re talking about Food Story because I ate a donut. Now my brain’s not working well, whether that’s programming or not, I just don’t function as well when I’m eating stuff like that. It’s just ironic that you would be on with us today. 

Elise: Wait, is it your birthday? 

Kat: Yeah, my birthday was last week. We do a big monthly celebration for everyone in the office. It was our March celebration today, but yes, my birthday was the 14th, so I guess Monday.

Elise: Wow. Well, happy birthday. 

Kat: Thank you. 

Elise: That’s exciting, and I’m glad that you allowed yourself to enjoy and celebrate. 

Kat: Yes, I know it’s all about balance. I’ve gotten there, but it has to be all about balance. 

Elise: Right, or knowing what makes you feel good and deciding, is this going to fill my soul? Sometimes we eat food for soul nourishment, for the memories, or to be connected to memories of people who are no longer with us. Sometimes food represents that in addition to, of course, all the nutrients, which you are very good at providing with your clean juice.

Kat: Yeah. It’s funny, we had a shirt when we first started and it said, “This morning I juiced, so tonight I can taco.” That’s kind of our philosophy about food. Like you said, I feel like it’s really important. I’ve learned to have a really good balance with nourishing, using organic ingredients, and making sure I get some plants and meat, but I don’t function well if I don’t get heartier stuff, if I can’t have a donut when it’s someone’s birthday and I want to celebrate, or pizza on a Friday night. That’s just really important to me, my lifestyle, and my family. I’ve had to get there through my food story, just to be able to have that good balance. 

Elise: I love it, and I love that you realize that the deprivation wasn’t working. Like you said, it is about finding what works for you. Everybody’s different. You might go through different phases in your life where you are more focused on eating less of that for whatever reason, a health scare or something else, so it’s about really just being connected to what feels good to you right now. 

Kat: Absolutely, and I think that’s such an important point too. I’m actually an integrative health coach through IIN and I loved the program, but I would say the thing I got the most out of it was there isn’t a formula. I think that everybody wants to look to whoever they’re looking to for keto or paleo. Not to drop those, but everyone’s looking for this exact formula, the exact time of day to eat, what to eat, this, and that. I believe we’re all just individuals. 

Our bodies are all so different, so we all do need different things and that might change during people’s lifetimes. I’ve read so many stories about people that were super vegan or super vegetarian, they did that for a decade, and they felt great during that time, but then they started to feel awful and they really had to go back on, basically, this huge principle that they’ve built their life around. They had to go back and say, “This isn’t working for me anymore, and I have to acknowledge and accept that.” Then they have to go a different route. I really respect those people that can pivot when their body’s telling them. 

Elise: It can also change with the seasons. You crave different things in the colder weather versus warmer or what’s happening. I remember at the beginning of these last few years, everyone was craving comfort food. It really comes down to listening to what’s happening right now inside of you. You were mentioning the people who had to pivot. I was just thinking about how there were some public figures who did that and they would get backlash for it. That is just so inherently wrong, that people would get backlash for listening to their bodies, but they were no longer vegan so there was a big community of people who, actually, were disappointed in them for doing what felt right to them. 

What the Term “Food Story” Means and What it Encompasses

Kat: I know, I know. It’s unfortunate. It’s the downside of social media for sure. I’d love to talk about your term “food story”, and I know that your principle is that how we relate to food is so impacted by many things in our past and in our lives. I can attest to this. Many things are impacted by media, influencers, family members, and past experiences. You kind of bundled them all together and created the term “food story”. I would love to just start off kind of by discussing why it’s important to think about our personal food story, especially as it relates to our past because I think that’s probably something that we don’t think about all that often. We’re thinking about like the future and what we can change, but why are we telling ourselves the things that we are? 

Elise: Well, first I want to start with how I came up with food story. You did a really good job of explaining exactly what it is. So often we talk about our relationship with food and that can feel like a dead end because most people think of their relationship with food as them and food. I was asking clients when I first started doing this work, “So tell me about your relationship with food.” 

I would get the same answer from most people. These were really savvy people who could probably write their own books and blogs and had tried everything. They would just slump their shoulders or be like, “Oh gosh, don’t ask me. Let’s not go there.” I knew that I had to change the way that I asked that question because the way we relate to food is so much more dynamic than just us and food. It’s not just you and food, so I ended up just really thinking about a new way to ask. 

Back in 2012 or 2013, Oprah and Brené Brown were talking about story, and there was a lot of conversation about money story and love story. I’m like, “Wait, we have all these stories, of course, we have a food story.” I would go back to my clients and say, “Tell me about your food story.” They’d say, “Well, I never thought about it.” 

Then I said, “Well, it’s about the messages you received growing up and you’re still receiving. It’s about the memories that you have and the many meals you’ve had during your lifetime, and all of it comes together to create your food story. There are chapters, villains, and different characters. Suddenly, the way that they connected with food became so much more dynamic and interesting, and this is really key: people would feel less responsible because they realized that there were other factors that influenced how they related to food. It wasn’t just about them, that they didn’t have the willpower, or whatever we all say to ourselves all the time. It really opened things up for people and it stuck.

When you think about it, we all have a food story. I love how at the beginning of this conversation you mentioned that it’s your positive memories too, because so often people think, “Oh well, my food story…”, and they hone in on just the negative parts of it. I mean, obviously, that’s what you want to heal, but it’s positive too. There are so many beautiful memories that we all have around food. 

Kat: I love that, and it’s so funny. I just turned 36, so I was a nineties child and so much of that was processed. My mom was a great cook and I don’t think we ever ate out except on our birthdays, but still, she was making the oil taco shells, or it was just a lot more processed food during that time because it was that shift. So, I have this weird aversion in my spirit to processed food. For some reason, I think it’s so bad or so criminalized just because that’s what I was fed so much as a child. 

It’s interesting, when I get sick, all I want is the old noodles in a packet chicken soup that has absolutely nothing fresh in it, but it just has all chemicals and all processed food. It’s so funny probably from my childhood, I was having that when I was sick. That’s what I crave when I’m sick when I know in theory it should be the fresh, good stuff. It’s really funny to think about how that works. I’ve never thought about it before. 

Elise: Yeah. It is true that most of us crave food, like comfort equals things that we had in our childhood that made us feel really good. Even if you find the updated versions, I don’t know if it does the same thing, for some people it does. It’s true that we have it in our body that when we are sick, okay, this is what you do to feel better. 

Kat: Absolutely. Well, I would love to hear about some themes or pivotal moments of your own food story and how you’ve gotten to where you are today.

Elise’s Pivotal Food Story Moments

Elise: Sure. I’ll try to keep it brief because it’s a lifetime of messages, meals, and memories, but I’ll give you three pivotal moments of my food story. The first one is that I want to give you context that I grew up in L.A. in a time when everyone was focused on being skinny. You probably know that a little bit, before we really switched the conversation to more about health and wellness, which in and of itself can be diet culture and disguise. I grew up around where people were very concerned about that. 

I went to an all-girls school, and when I was nine years old, I went to a doctor’s appointment. This is when everyone was getting their ears pierced by the doctor. The doctor said, “If you lose five pounds,” which I’m not quite sure I really needed to, especially not for health reasons, “then you can get your ears pierced.” I learned at a really young age all about dieting, and at the same time, my dad was locking the refrigerator at night. 

I know that probably sounds absolutely nuts, but he didn’t do it because of his kids. He did it because he had this terrible habit of sleep-eating and not even realizing that he was doing it. Because he felt so horrible in the morning and had no recollection of getting up in the middle of the night, he started to lock the refrigerator. This is a really good example for all our listeners that sometimes we get messages that are harmful, but they’re unintended.

Most of our parents, caregivers, or whoever took care of us in fetus didn’t plan to harm our relationship or the way we relate to food, but sometimes that happens. The combination of those things really gave me the message about control and that food is best kept under lock and key. My whole teenage years and from there on, I was really in search of the perfect diet and controlled what I was eating. 

In my whole food story, I always talk about being really cloaked with eating perfectionism. I became obsessive at that time. I didn’t have an eating disorder, but I will say to you now that it definitely was borderline orthorexia, just trying to do everything right and control what I was eating.

The second pivotal moment came when I was graduating from law school. That was my first career before I joined the health and wellness field, and I was having a celebratory dinner with my then-boyfriend. We had been together, and we talked about potentially getting married, having a family, and all of that. We were at this very fancy restaurant that didn’t have the food that I was used to eating or that was the food on my “plan” or my allowed list, it was French and saucy. I was visibly uncomfortable, just using my fork and not really eating so much.

The chef came out and said, “Is there something wrong? Because nobody comes here and doesn’t eat.” That led to my then-boyfriend breaking up with me at the table. He said, “I just can’t take this anymore.” It wasn’t just that meal, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was just enough. The interesting part I think, and this is what I think other people might relate to, is that we think our food story exists in our own mind, but really everything is the energy. When we’re uncomfortable around food, even if we’re eating it and later having those thoughts, “I shouldn’t have eaten it,” or whatever we do to beat ourselves up, your kids are absorbing that. Whoever you’re dining with is feeling it, so this was a huge wake-up call. 

I didn’t have the terminology and the language for food story yet, but it was the first time I really understood that it wasn’t just about me. What I was doing was impacting other people too. That led to really trying, not to get better for him, but it just was a big wake-up call. I needed to heal. I needed to get better. I moved back to California. I was in DC at that time, and the end of that story is that person is now my husband. We got back together and I started cooking and doing a lot of things that felt really nourishing around food. I worked on my mindset and later ended up leaving the law practice and pursuing a career in health and wellness. I was really helping people with what was on their plate. I was thinking a lot about what was on my plate, and then I felt really frustrated like there was a missing piece of the puzzle.

This is my third pivotal moment. Even though I felt good about helping people and giving them ideas to eat food that was nourishing, felt good, and all of that, I discovered this book called The Slow Down Diet. Long story short, it wasn’t a diet at all, but it talked about what the stress response is and what happens when you have stressful thoughts while you’re eating. Basically, it affects the cortisols you release, and that affects your metabolism. It lowers your metabolism, turns your digestion off, and you don’t assimilate the nutrients as well. Not to mention that you miss out on the pleasure of a meal.

I realized I’m eating all this kale, quinoa, superfoods, green smoothies, and all of that, but it didn’t matter because I was still worried. Am I an example to my kids? Am I an example to my clients? Am I growing a community? I ended up getting certified in eating psychology, going to that next level, and healing the way that I related to food and my own food story. It gave me the tools to be able to help other people too. I like to round this all out, I always say that I help people with what’s on their plate and what’s on their mind. 

Food and How it Relates to Emotional State

Kat: I love that. It’s so beautiful. I know we’ll talk about this a little more later, but I love how you relate food to what’s going on with your life, your emotional state, and your mood. I think it’s so important to realize how intertwined that all is.

I even realize sometimes when I’m cooking, if I’m doing it with joy andI’m happy to serve my family, excited to have a family meal, we’re laughing and it’s good, positive energy, the food tastes better. I can just feel it going into my body better,  but if it’s Tuesday, I’m exhausted, I didn’t get enough sleep, everyone’s cranky, I don’t really want to be making dinner, and I wish I could have just ordered DoorDash, but there’s nothing healthy on DoorDash, so I have to make this stupid meal, the whole energy of the meal, not even just for me, but for my whole family, is completely different. I love when people bring up the energy piece, because to me sometimes it’s the most important, and I know it’s easier said than done. You can’t necessarily force your mind to think a certain way, but I think the first step is understanding that intention and the root of things really matter, especially with food. 

Elise: I love that you said that. I agree one hundred percent. You can feel it, so if you are in a bad mood, stressed out, or just that life is challenging especially when you’re playing so many different roles, try to do something a little calming. Even just taking three deep breaths before you start cooking or imagining where the food came from, the farmers who grew it, and how it got to you and taking a moment to connect to the food that we are so lucky to have and share with the people we love. I feel like that little two seconds of doing the breathing and the visualization can flip that energetic switch.

“Food Noise” and Why It’s so Harmful

Kat: That’s so good. Something else you talk about, which I really like, is the term “food noise”. I would love to define that a little bit and then dissect it. I’m assuming that’s what you’re referencing when we’re getting advice from all these different people. I laugh because sometimes I try not to get on Instagram that much, but I do. I’ll be swiping and I’ll have like one doctor that’s like, “You should be drinking four cups of coffee a day, it’s healing your body, and this and that.” Then literally the next post is like, “Cut out coffee. It’s killing you.” It’s like there are so many mixed messages and so much information out there right now, which can be great in many ways, but I’m sure can really create confusion for us as consumers of food. 

Elise: I love that you said it can be great too because we always want to evolve and grow, not be like, “Okay, I’m going to tune the world out and not learn about anything new.” There is that tricky balance of being able to try things and explore, but also not to get sucked in with the latest and greatest that’s going to have you looking a certain way. 

Let me go back to food noise. Food noise, we touched on it a little bit, is really the term that I’m using for all that conversation that you hear and see about food that can be conflicting. Really the bottom line is it takes you away from connecting to your body. It’s everything from social media, which is probably right now in this day and age the worst to even books. Here I am, I have a book out there, but just even listening to podcasts. I think the thing is, you want to be connected to yourself enough to know: Is this something that I want to try and explore? Or that’s good for you, but not necessarily good for me. You just want to be discerning with what you let in.

The thing is, food noise is everywhere, and I can’t imagine that we are going to reduce it. I think we might be getting better about the message that we know best more than anyone else, and I ask people to think about how they respond to it so you can’t reduce it. You can find ways where it’s seeping into your life that it’s not helpful. Like you said, you don’t go on that much social media. Maybe it’s setting boundaries or just following accounts that feel more trustworthy and not ones pushing cleanses that you know are just going to leave you not feeling great and spending a lot of money.

I have in the book an exercise that I have people go through where they literally have this list out and, throughout their day, check off where the food noise is coming in. You can say to yourself, “This is noise. I don’t need to listen to this.” You can say, “Okay, I am really actually curious about this supplement.” You have to be connected to your body enough to know that you’re doing this because you really feel like this is something that can support you in your own health and wellness on your journey. Or is it something you’re doing because you’re influenced by someone else?

I think it’s about really being honest with it, with yourself, and with whatever sort of information you’re taking in. I think the most dangerous thing about food noise is that, like you said, it’s really confusing, but when you’re absorbing it, it becomes part of your internal dialogue. Then it’s very confusing about what feels right to you versus what you’re hearing and absorbing from other sources. Does that make sense?

Kat: It makes total sense. I’m having a spiritual moment because I’m like that. Isn’t that everything? Do you know what I mean? We get so bogged down with everyone’s opinions, thoughts, and messages. I’m a reader, so it’s funny that you say books because I’m the same exact way. I can read all this stuff in a book and take it as gospel almost. You really, really just have to be in tune with yourself and what is sitting right with your spirit, I guess in this case, stomach, right? What’s really working for myself? The first step in all of this is just knowing yourself and your own convictions. 

Elise: Part of the problem with having been surrounded by a lifetime of food noise is that it takes you away from being connected to your body. You do want to do things, whether it’s journaling – For me, practicing yoga always reconnects me back to my body. I can quiet down whatever voices are in my head and just feel – and trusting your gut. Our bodies speak to us all day long. I’m sure you’ve had plenty of guests and you believe this too.

You don’t talk about it, but we have this tendency not to hear. How many times have you said to yourself, “I should have listened to my gut”? Whether it’s going out something as simple as that, or saying yes to something big when you know your body is like, “Oh, no, not now.” That’s just not right. You feel all those signs. 

Kat: Oh, absolutely. 

Elise: We tend to ignore them. I know so much of the way we relate to food can be made simpler and easier if we started to hear those signals and pay attention to those messages. 

Kat: Absolutely. I had an experience. There was a group of girls (I say they’re girls, but they’re probably girls and boys) that were early on Instagram like health influencers and health accounts. I really enjoyed them and got some great information from them. They seemed all be friends and were putting out similar stories, information, et cetera, et cetera. They, at one point, were really into plant-based, smoothies and juices, and organic. Doing what I do, that’s what has always worked for me and my body, so I just loved listening to them. 

Then they all did this shift, I would say, over the last year or two to a pro-metabolic diet, and it seemed like it was really working for them. All of a sudden, they went from plant-based to super animal-based, super heavy dairy, heavy raw dairy. They said dairy should be in everything, and all of a sudden we should be having meat all the time. I was kind of like, “Oh, maybe I need to try this because they had become a trusted source to me.”

I started eating like that. I switched up my coffee routine, my fasting routine, and all of these things that had worked for me for so long and started doing that. I would say in the span of six months, I put on 10 pounds. I was bloated all the time. I just felt heavy and drugged down. I kept pushing through and I was like, “No, they say that happens, and then you start to feel good.” I just never felt good. I remember one morning, a few months ago, I woke up and I was just like, “I’m just not doing this anymore. I’m going back to what works for me, which is intermittent fasting and black coffee.” I eat animal stuff, but eat primarily fruit or plant-based and heavy vegetables.

I’ve slowly kind of gotten myself back a little bit, but I was a perfect example of that kind of food noise and influence, I didn’t listen to myself. I said, “Listen to others,” and it led me down a path that wasn’t right for me.

Elise: Did you hear your body say to you, “Hmm, I’m not sure you should do this,” but you ignored it?

Kat: Yeah. I remember thinking, “You’re fine. You’re feeling good.” It’s not like I was feeling bad, you know what I’m saying? I was feeling great. I was my normal self, but I made this change completely based off of something that someone else told me. It’s not like I was searching for a change, I guess is my point.

I was doing great, and then they said to change, so I did. Yes, I definitely had red flags during that. I guess I just thought, “They’re doing it, it works for them. I trust them. I should try it.” I wish I had listened, but it was good. I think there are always learning lessons and things. Like you said, it’s good. I tried it and I can know that it didn’t work for me. It reiterates what does work for me and that I feel good doing those certain things, so there’s always positive to it. 

Elise: Yeah. It’s interesting that you said that because while you were saying that, I was thinking, “Wow, so now that reinforces that what you are doing is good for you right now.”  It makes you feel even more of a conviction to that lifestyle and instead of, “Well, I’m just not sure.” Like you said, there are always lessons in everything. I do believe that. 

How Stress is an Anti-Nutriet

Kat: Absolutely. So one thing you talked about and you mentioned is how stress or negative energy, in general, can really be an anti-nutrient and something that brings down the quality of your food, your digestion, or what it does for your body. Something I like that you do as well, you base your book and recipes off of different moods or how you want to feel. You say that’s how you start most of your work with your clients. How do you want to feel? What foods can we start integrating into your diet that might make you feel happy, focused, strong, or all these different things? I’d love to talk about how you really look at a person, and then how you can decide which foods you would give to them for these different types of moods.

Elise: Okay. Those are good questions. Let me just address the stress as an anti-nutrient and then we can talk about the food and mood. I already explained that our thoughts can create a stress response that goes back to fight or flight. You know that our bodies are really good at taking care of us, so when we’re having stressful thoughts, our body recognizes it as a stressor.

It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. So if you’re eating a meal and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this isn’t going to agree with me. I know that this is not right. I’m going to feel bloated, I’m going to feel tired.This is going to my thighs.” Whatever those thoughts are, or you have the guilt afterward, that is considered a stress. We don’t really often think like that because we’re like, “Okay, it’s just about the food I’m eating or not eating.” 

Then I explained what happens. You go into the stress response where you just shut down and your cortisol is released. That affects your digestion, metabolism, nutrient assimilation, and pleasure. The opposite is true. One of my ultimate goals, I don’t even like that word, but what I always hope, is to help people learn to relax around a meal because that makes all the difference on so many levels. Iit makes a difference on a physiological level. That’s called rest and digest, and that’s really about quieting all the noise, not multitasking while you’re eating because that creates a stress response.

That’s a whole other conversation, but most of us check our phones. I like to say this is a good summary: We eat, and… We eat and listen to whatever, we’re on a Zoom call, we listen to a call, we eat and scroll through social media, we eat and answer emails, and we eat and run out the door, but what about just eating? That makes such a difference in the way that you metabolize and digest your meal. Not to mention that you actually can be connected to your body and know how it feels. That’s such a huge principle for me in my teachings and in all the clients I work with, because if you think about it, it only takes like 5-10 minutes to sit down and get that full nutritional benefit from your meal.

That’s why I say stress is an anti-nutrient because you don’t get all of that when you’re having those stressful thoughts. Just to clarify, we have a lot of stress in our lives, and of course, we want to do things to mitigate it. When I talk about stress as an anti-nutrient, I’m talking about those self-imposed stressors that come from your own mind. Does that clarify it for you? 

Kat: Yes, it makes total sense. 

Elise: Yeah, and we all do it. We have to change that. That’s what happens during mealtimes, just like you said, changing the energy that goes into the meal. This is all part of that.

Kat: I have to laugh. I have teenage girls and our big joke is if we’re eating something, like I just had the donut or whatever, if we were to eat that all together, we’d be eating it. We’d be like, “It’s okay because this is all going to my butt. So it’s totally fine.” We just make it a positive experience, say where we want it, and then move on. It’s not a negative experience with what we’re eating because I think it’s hard for teenage girls. It’s like they’re taught to drink Celsius all day and have these perfect figures. 

I can remember being a teenage girl where, at the time, the big thing was the diet pills with the ephedra. I would take those and hide them in my room. My mom would be searching my room for them because she knew I was taking them. It’s hard, you’re expected to look this certain way and have all this pressure, and I don’t want that for my kids. 

Elise: It’s also a lot of pressure on you as a mom because you know that they’re watching you and you want to influence them in a positive way. Right? We all have stuff that we’re working on. At the same time, you can influence them in a really positive way like you’re doing with having the upbeat conversation when you have fun with donuts instead of it being “That’s so bad” or whatever kind of conversation that we all grew up with.

Kat: Exactly, exactly.

Food and Mood – Recipes for How You Want to Feel

Elise: Now to address your food and mood. When people are struggling and not feeling totally at peace with food, oftentimes the conversation or the thoughts are more about what food is going to do to you. Is it going to affect me in a negative way? Am I going to feel all those things that I mentioned before? Tired, bloated? Is this on my list? There are a whole bunch of thoughts that we have that aren’t always so positive. I really felt like I needed to do something different for people reading the book and for my clients who I work with.

I wanted to give them a more empowering way to look at food. Instead of thinking about what food can do to you, think about what food can do for you. That’s where all the conversation around mood comes in. Food can boost your mood. We’ve been talking about immunity, it could bring you comfort, and so there are so many connections to food and what it can do for you. When you think about how you want to feel, it’s all about what food can do for you. That’s the question I want everybody to ask themselves. How do I want to feel?

In the book, I have seven different moods and explanations of why certain nutrients support different moods. The moods are: happy, focused, calm, radiant, sensual, comforted, and strong. Strong was really another way to say healthy, and it’s in more immune-boosting foods, but healthy is a little overplayed, so that’s where it came in. I don’t know if you have specific questions about it. 

When I wrote the book, the process of writing a book is such a long one. When I wrote the book in 2019 and 2020 (it just came out at the end of 2021), people were not talking as much about food and mood, but now I’m seeing it more. Do you see that conversation? 

Kat: Oh, absolutely. It’s funny, you talked about not taking things away necessarily, but talking about the benefits. I’ve always told anyone that’ll listen to me, everyone needs to stop talking about dieting and they need to talk about adding. It’s not a diet, it’s an add-et. I almost don’t even care. Eat your Chick-fil-A and eat what you need to eat, but add a green juice to your diet, add a maca to your smoothie, and add these certain things. Over time, you’re actually going to want Chick-fil-A less. You’re not going to have to think about depriving yourself from it because you’re nourishing your body, putting these things in your body, and focusing on, like for you, adding fat so you feel focused. You’re going to feel great, and you’re going to feel really bad when you eat that Chick-fil-A.

Over time, you’re going to naturally be drawn to having the healthy fats that make you feel focused. I’m totally in line with what you’re saying. I think people are starting to really realize, like you said, “Hey, if I eat this certain food, I’m going to feel sluggish, I’m not going to feel vibrant and strong, or I’m not going to feel happy and elevated. I’m going to feel down, confused, and sluggish.” I think, like you said, more and more people are realizing that they feel a certain way when they eat a certain way. 

What “The Chocolate Mediation” Is

Elise: I love what you said about the add-et, adding foods in and also when you start adding in foods that make you feel good and noticing that connection. Your body naturally craves it because we all, at the end of the day, just want to feel good. A really simple example of that is when you go on vacation or something and you haven’t been able to eat the way you normally do. Let’s say you haven’t eaten as many vegetables or salads, you come home, and that’s all you crave. That’s just our body saying, “Give me the foods that make me feel good.”

Kat: Absolutely. Well, I would know that. I feel like we could talk for hours and hours. The last thing I wanted to talk about before we wrapped up is something that you call the chocolate meditation, just because that sounds amazing and I feel like everyone needs a little chocolate meditation in their life. So, we could talk about that significance to you and what that means. 

Elise: I’m glad you asked about that, and I feel like you would love it, Kat. We’re going to have to do a chocolate meditation together. The chocolate meditation is something that I do in all the workshops and I try to give as many people as possible the experience because it is so transformative. It’s a very exaggerated way to bring all your senses to the table. We use chocolate because who doesn’t love chocolate to illustrate it? You bring a piece of chocolate and you do everything from smelling the chocolate, looking at the chocolate, and slowly tasting it. Like I said, it is just so exaggerated the way you experience the chocolate.

In the book I have it written out, but when it can be guided, people are closing their eyes and they’re just in it. At one point I’ll say, “So just be here now. Don’t think about the next piece of chocolate, just taste the one that you’re eating at this moment.” People will finish the meditation, they’ll open their eyes, and say, “I’ve never tasted chocolate like this. It’s so creamy and it’s so satisfying, and I don’t even need that second piece that I always have.” It just shows you that most of the time we are busy doing other things and we’re not really experiencing our food. I know that it’s exaggerated and people can’t do this every single time they eat, but it just shows you how satisfying it is when you do slow down and when you are present with your meals. That’s why I do it, and included it in the book because I don’t think it’s that hard, once you get used to it, to bring your senses to the table. The rewards just keep on multiplying, you’ll feel so much better while you’re eating, and be more connected to your body and your food. 

Kat: I love it, that’s very beautiful

Elise: Yeah, so we’ll have to do that with chocolate one day. 

Kat: Yes. It’ll be fun. We make it out to California a lot. That’s about my favorite place in the whole world, so I beg my husband every day for us to move there.

Elise: Well, I’m actually in DC, but I’m originally from L.A. so that’s probably where you thought that. 

Kat: Gotcha. We’re in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is great as well. Well, let our listeners know where they can find you besides DC, online, and, like I said, your book is called The Food Story. I’m sure it’s on Amazon, but any other information you can give them will be awesome.

Elise: I’m on all the social media platforms, my name Elise Museles, and I’m sure you’ll link everything in the show notes. My website is also my name, My book is wherever books are sold. If you can’t get it online, or if they don’t have it at your local bookstore and you want to purchase it that way, you can always ask.

I’m just so honored to have been a part of this conversation. I also, if you’d like to give your listeners, have a food mood pantry guide which lists the seven moods and some of the key ingredients to support those feelings. I can give you that link if you want. 

Kat: Yeah, that’d be great.

Elise: Yeah. Kat, thank you so much for being here. I’m sorry we missed Landon today, but we’ll have to get his food story another time. 

Kat: Yes. Well, I’m so appreciative of talking to you, and I love your energy. It’s calming, you’re like a human dose of dark chocolate. I love your insight and I’m appreciative of all the work that you do around this, so grateful for your time today, and for sharing with our listeners. Thank you so much and be blessed. I’m sure our paths will cross in the future. 

Elise: Of course, and thank you. I love the work that you’re doing too.

Kat: Thank you so much for tuning in today to Be Organic. We’re so excited for you to become healthier in body and stronger in spirit. 

Landon Eckles: So if you like what you heard today, please be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts to never miss an episode. 

Kat: We’d love to connect with you over on Clean Juice’s Instagram. Give us a follow, and slide into our DMs with any suggestions for guests or topics that you might want to hear more about. 

Landon: All right, y’all. Thanks for listening. Have a great week and remember to be organic.

Kat: Just a quick legal disclaimer, we are not doctors. While we absolutely love discussing wellness and nutrition with our expert guests, you should always talk to your physician or other medical professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. They can assess your specific needs and come up with a plan that works best for you.

In addition, this is for educational purposes only. Clean Juice Franchises are only offered by delivery of a franchise disclosure document in compliance with various state and federal laws.