Food Psych #168: Gentle Nutrition vs. Diet-Culture Nutrition with Heidi Schauster


Health At Every Size® dietitian, eating-disorders specialist, and author Heidi Schauster returns to discuss her new book, unlearning diet-culture messaging, connecting with our body’s inner wisdom, gentle nutrition as an act of self-care, and so much more! Plus, Christy answers a listener question about what to do when it seems like your disordered eating behaviors have more to do with individual mental-health issues than with diet culture.

Heidi Schauster, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S is a nutrition therapist with over 20 years of experience in the field of eating disorders and emotional eating issues. She is a writer, consultant, and certified eating disorders registered dietitian, based in the Greater Boston area. Heidi is the founder of Nourishing Words Nutrition Therapy, facilitates the No Diet Book Clubs, and supervises other nutrition therapists in the field of eating disorders. She is the author of the new book Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Self. Heidi lives in Arlington, Massachusetts with her partner David and twin daughters, Ava and Kyla. Heidi and her family enjoy hiking, swimming, herb gardening, tea-making, storytelling, and professional stilt performing. Heidi enjoys most food that is lovingly and consciously prepared, especially if it’s followed by a dishwashing dance party. Find her online at

We Discuss:

  • Heidi’s new book, Nourish: How to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Self, and what inspired her to write it

  • Why I created my Intuitive Eating Fundamentals course

  • The different chapters within the book, which are based on how Heidi works with her clients

  • Becoming aware of our eating habits in a non-judgmental way

  • Creating a resource that presents nutrition in a non-triggering way

  • How she defines “nourishment,” and the concept of “nutrition common sense”

  • Why intuitive eating requires some planning

  • The role of intention in our relationship with food

  • The contrast between abundance and scarcity, and how they affect eating disorder recovery

  • How small changes in our eating habits can sometimes make a big difference in how we feel

  • Joyful movement and gentle nutrition as acts of self-care

  • Overcoming fears around food and carbohydrates

  • Unlearning the patterns of restriction from diet culture

  • What guides her work in nutrition counselling

  • Why gentle nutrition is often considered “advanced” intuitive eating

  • Connecting with our body’s wisdom through mindfulness practice

  • The benefits of recovering from diet culture, and what motivates our work in helping others in this process

  • Anger as part of the recovery journey

  • Arriving at a positive relationship with food


Resources Mentioned

Some of the links below are affiliate links. Affiliates or not, we only recommend products and services that align with our values.

Listener Question of the Week

Is it just easier to take aim at diet culture rather than focus on individual mental health? What if a person’s disordered eating behaviors have more to do with individual mental-health concerns as opposed to diet culture? Can recovery at the individual level happen without addressing diet culture and fatphobia? How can cultural factors affect individual mental-health concerns? Does binge eating always happen in response to restriction? What are some subtle ways that diet mentality might be showing up for me?

(Resources Mentioned: Intuitive Eating Fundamentals online course, Judith Matz’s Food Psych Podcast episode)

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