Fall In Love With Food Again: Overcoming Food Addiction With Nutritionist, Jennifer Helene Popken, MS

Fall In Love With Food Again: Overcoming Food Addiction With Nutritionist, Jennifer Helene Popken, MS


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Food is a celebration, but it can also become a source of pain and suffering if we’re not careful. Today’s episode tackles overcoming food addiction by changing that relationship with food and falling in love with it in a healthier, sustainable way. Here to expound and share her wisdom on the topic is Jennifer Helene, M.S. She is an international expert in health and wellness on a mission to empower people to succeed in revitalizing their life, relationships, and businesses. Jennifer joins host Corinna Bellizzi to dissect this relationship with food and how looking into our bodies is key to turning unhealthy compulsions into healthy consumption. She shares key mindset strategies and practical tips on finding healthy alternatives and getting in tune with our bodies. Don’t miss out on this eye-opening and insightful episode by tuning in.


Key Takeaways:

  • The different triggers of food cravings
  • Benefits of an intuitarian approach to eating
  • Ways to “scratch the itch” with healthier alternatives
  • Changing our relationship with food
  • Preparing healthy food as a life skill


Fall In Love With Food Again: Overcoming Food Addiction With Nutritionist, Jennifer Helene Popken, MS

Thanks for joining me for another discussion around nutrition and health without compromise. Have you ever battled food addiction or been close to someone who did? Food addiction can even look like an extreme diet exclusively made up of one thing. It can be a carnivore diet, vegan diet, or omnivore diet. It doesn't have to look like bulimia, anorexia, overeating, or even exercise bulimia, which is something we can talk a bit about as well. This is when someone may overeat and obsessively work out to fit into that swimsuit.

To discuss these issues and help redefine how we can approach our health and nutrition while erasing food issues, I'm joined by Helene Popken. Helene is an international expert in health and wellness immersed in cutting-edge nutrition, fitness, and spiritual thought leadership. She's on a mission to empower people to succeed in revitalizing their relationships and businesses. Helene activates change through her high-level life-changing programs, breaking down the debilitating cycle of toxic habits and leading you to vitality. She is a former Ford model, MasterChef cast member, mother, and Principal of Purposeful Ventures. Helene, welcome to the show.

Thank you. It is an honor to be here talking about a topic so near and dear to my heart.

Let's start with a simple question. What does nutrition without compromise mean to you?

First of all, I love that you use that because there are some debatable truths that are out there in public, things that are trending and flexible. I believe there are absolute truths that I, after my entire life of seeking, but especially since I've turned eighteen, deeply seek truths about healing through nutrition, which is a gap in the medical industry and our worlds. We need to get educated. I took it on myself.

Without compromise, to me, means adhering to a couple of universal rules. That means not negotiating because we're always negotiating. It's like what can we get away with? How can we outrun our forks? Is it like, “Maybe I can have this?" As we age, we realize that you can't get away with a lot of things. It all catches up to you over time. Nutrition without compromise means adhering to being honest about those truths that I have been able to unveil, thankfully.

I understand that your personal story also includes a direct connection to someone who you believe lost their life due to complications related to obesity, your own mom at a young age. I say young because I'm in my mid-40s. I don't intend to expire anytime in my 50s. Fifty-nine seems young.

Fifty-nine was too young. It's my judgment. Who am I to say? My mom died, and on her death certificate was written severe obesity. That was a shocker to me. She'd always yo-yoed. My first WeightWatchers meeting was at age five. My mom was a WeightWatchers lecturer. She was steeped in that methodology and then shifted to Overeaters Anonymous. It was called Food Addicts Anonymous, FAA back then. The kitchen table was always having the Twelve-Step program on it. The backdrop of my upbringing was around food compulsion and food addiction.

Food was a celebration and a source of joy, but food was also a source of pain and suffering—it was an obsession.

Food was a celebration, a source of joy, but the food was also a source of pain and suffering. It was an obsession any which way you look at it from my perspective growing up. My daughter put on almost 200 pounds around age fourteen. It's somewhere between 150 and 200. I don't know the exact number. At this rate, she's already lost 120 of it and is on a massive journey of healing. I believe it's multi-generational. It's not so genetic as it is habitual or perhaps how we're raised. It's the general thread of conversation and energy.

Some people overconsume a few simple foods that don't truly nourish your body. If you think about having a frozen pizza, chicken nuggets, or French fries, all of these things that my kids would like to eat daily, ultimately, if you make a lifestyle of that, even if you have those foods once a day, that can be once a day too much for many people.

Certain foods will activate the addictive brain. Everyone's got their food. It doesn't necessarily need to be chicken nuggets or pizza. It could be tomatoes. It's a very unusual one. The whole foods will trigger the addictive brain, but I know for myself it is pasta. It doesn't matter if it's mung bean pasta, chickpea pasta, or lentil pasta. It's a food that doesn't matter how much I make, I will eat it all if I'm full. I wish that it was as simple. Maybe for some people, it is, but I wish it were as simple as saying like, "I know this isn't good for me. I'm not going to eat it."

Food is so emotional. It's the first thing. We cry, and then we go to digress. It's such an emotional thing. It stems back to in vitro, at birth, and every moment thereafter. It's a very deep yearning. It's so much more than what we know is right. That's the journey that I've been practicing and that I'm on. It's becoming more of an intuitarian, trying to get out of the extremes and be in this moderation, which is the hardest practice for me. It's the one that's most rewarding.

This is a term I'm not familiar with as it relates to diet. I can intuit. What do you mean by intuitarian? Talk to me about that word. What does it mean to you?

It means that our bodies have an intelligence of their own. I've had Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Nutrition, studying food as medicine internationally, training health coaches, and helping thousands gain their health through diet and food is medicine, culinary programs, cookbooks, you name it. I've been into institutions, organizations, and universities. I know a lot about food and nutrition.

In the last few years or so, I've been like, "I need to take my brain off the shelf and get back into my body because my body has a greater intelligence than my brain ever could." When I can learn to listen to what my body needs instead of what my tongue wants or what my emotions are calling for, and I can tend to the hunger in a different way that isn't food, for example, then the hunger change. I'm able to tap into this deeper innate wisdom that all of our bodies hold. We haven't been taught how to read that intelligence and tap into it.

What I've found is that there are a few trigger foods. For me, it might be a little bit different than most. I find that anytime I've had beef in particular, so any cow, essentially, I suddenly crave all sugary foods. It comes out of nowhere. There's something in that food that is a trigger to me. When I don't eat red meat, I don't crave those things. You follow what intuitively works for you. Perhaps you have a trigger that is something that would otherwise be healthy, and for you, it isn't. I took a food sensitivity test and was surprised to learn that I apparently have a mild food sensitivity to both beef and chicken.

NWC 22 | Overcoming Food Addiction


Even though I've been an omnivore, I am now making a pivot to say, "Are some of these food sources healthy for me?" Sometimes that question is one that may be a little bit more complicated than you'd like. It might make choosing foods a little harder, especially if you have picky children you're cooking for. I've been adamant that I don't want to cook separate meals for the kids at the same time. We make do.

Sometimes they don't like to eat what I have. We made some food that they simply refused. They might've had extra apples after dinner and perhaps a frozen yogurt to appease them. Ultimately, we made the meal we made. It was a healthy, nutritious meal, and they turned their noses up at it. These are the things that we combat. I would like to hear from you what your advice would be to someone who's noticing one of these things. Perhaps it's a food trigger or even something that makes them feel like they are suddenly craving something in an almost uncontrollable way.

I know so many people who are hardcore health enthusiasts and feel hungry all the time. It's so tricky because we aren't what we eat. We're what we absorb. It's important to look at what's happening in our gut and the enzymatic activity of our bodies. Those are two core areas where we absorb. My first offer of advice would be to get curious about that food. Not everyone can afford thorough blood testing to see food sensitivities.

You can also do muscle testing, which I find to be extremely effective for a lot of people. It’s where they test themselves by holding their thumb and pinky finger together, asking a question with a yes answer, asking a question with a no answer, and trying to pull those two fingers away. You then can ask your body, "Does this make me stronger? Is this something that I have an allergy to? Is this a sensitivity?"

Sometimes avoiding that food is helpful. I did a food sensitivity test not too long ago. It looked like cilantro and lemons I was showing an allergy towards, which is something shocking to me because I eat tons of those foods. I backed off, and now I probably don't have that food sensitivity. I want to say that what we're sensitive to now is not the same thing that we might be sensitive to in 3 months, 6 months, or even in a year. You're constantly changing and evolving. Cells are dying and being reborn. Keep that in mind as well. Get curious and get to the root of, "Is this an emotional desire? Is this an emotional trigger? Is this a physical trigger?"

Distinguishing the difference between the two is valuable. Get underneath the surface, first of all, acknowledging, "This food makes me voraciously hungry. I need to look at it. This food makes me feel bloated. This food makes me feel sick. This food makes me feel tired. This food is making me feel amped up." Pay attention to what is in your food. If you're not making it from scratch, chances are there's some stuff in there that your body might not like.

Let's talk about some things that everybody should avoid for a moment. There are a few. For one, we often decide if you have an issue with food to do something like, "I'm going to take out sugars, but I will have a sugar replacement." I'd like to know your thoughts on that, even the naturally sourced ones like monk fruit and stevia. What are your thoughts? What do you counsel people you work with if they're trying to get rid of it? Let's say it's something that spikes their blood sugar and replace it with something else that may scratch the itch but isn't quite as extreme as omission.

There are some foods not to eat in general, and I'll get to the sugar thing. Sugar is such an insidious thing. It's incredible. That is Food Addicts Anonymous abstinence. It's no flour and sugar, which is so fascinating. Some things that I would recommend everybody avoid would be things like canola oil in the United States. That is, if you're abroad, it's different. Canola oil is genetically modified. You have to buy organic and look for non-GMO. That's extremely important as a ground rule. All oils that are refined are not giving energy to you. You want to be eating food that's going to give you energy, not take energy away from you.

Food is so emotional.

Reduce or eliminate refined flours, sugars, and processed foods that are the luncheon meats, hotdogs, and things far away from how they're grown in nature. One rule of thumb is eating to the ground. I'm sure you talk about this all the time. You want to eat whole foods in their original form, packaged by nature. That's going to be your best bet. Things like that are not intact. They're fibers. They're going to spike your blood sugar.

I can talk about this topic for a very long time, but that's broad-based. We want to try to eat foods that are not genetically modified. We want to be eating foods that are whole and fresh and try to avoid dangerous salts and fats that are unnatural foods. Ideally, organic food, even though it's becoming so expensive, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are not good for you. They're going to wreak havoc. Sugar is a big topic. A lot of us want to negotiate with sugar too.

People will go to a gummy vitamin in place of one you would swallow because they like it. It scratches that itch. I don't know a single gummy vitamin out there that I would necessarily say, "Take this to anybody."

I'm a big proponent of not eating sugar. It's a big deal for me because sugar is you're either on it or off it. I look at it as addictive. For me, I use stevia. I'm very specific about the stevia that I use. I even have a plant in my garden. I tend to use the whole leaf stevia to blend into things. I dehydrate it and sometimes grind it myself. Sometimes I don't know what I'm getting in the package. I use stevia. With monk fruit, I use it occasionally on holidays to make cranberry sauce or have a baked good. For me, that's the occasion.

I go back to whole foods. That's why the whole stevia leaf, to me, is something that feels right and resonates. I don't have this ongoing need. I made a replacement coffee beverage. It was so delicious. It surprised me. I put a little bit of stevia and thought, "This is such a treat if people could know that this existed." It's with chicory root, kara, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

They're all delicious things. I love that approach. I personally do also use a bit of stevia. I like mine in a liquid form. I've done things like grow a stevia plant, also lemon verbena, and some peppermint. You then make an ice tea and can put the whole leaves in the ice tea. It will get sweet enough like that. You don't necessarily even have to grind it up or do anything like that. You have them in for flavor and a sun tea that you would even make, which is minimally processed by the sun, some steeping of teabags, and you're good to go. These are all great ways to scratch certain itches. I have sworn off anything in a sweetened soda form for years.

While I don't completely deprive my kids, I will let them have one now and then because there can be this taboo thing that develops in children, where if they're forbidden from trying something, they will lean into it whenever they are in a social setting with friends. I believe that in some cases, you need to have a little bit of balance like that when you're raising children. You're right. That sugars are addictive. When somebody becomes addicted to alcohol, they will often replace the alcohol addiction with a lot of sugar.

You see it all the time. Please forgive me for anyone reading who struggles with addiction. We're all in recovery on some level, but it's harder to kick the food compulsive eating disorder or food addiction because it's not like we can just give it up. If it was alcohol, we could just give it up and never have to look at it or go to it, but we eat food every day, three times a day or more. It's tricky, and extreme dieting takes its toll.


Talk to me about what your specific plan tends to be. How do you help people when they're recovering from food addiction?

This is going to sound perhaps counter-intuitive, but it's the thing that works. The compulsion that we have is the teacher itself. We lean into not identifying with it but being clear about what it is trying to teach us. It's changing our relationship with it and acknowledging what's in the space, accepting and integrating it, so we're in a place to let it go. It absolves at that point. It's no longer the swelling, festering wound that's infected under the skin. It becomes part of the skin. That's the approach.

We do a ton of education about what's good for you, how to take care of yourself, how to feel more comfortable in your skin through delicious recipes, learning about food as medicine, and learning different embodiment practices or exercise fitness, like different breathing exercises combined with movement and sound. There's an integrated approach with nourishment or nutrition embodiment or fitness, and then the spiritual aspect, which is non-denominational, but there's this mindset piece that's also connected to spiritual practice, a relational competency with self and others.

That's the basis of it. It sounds big because it is. It's life-changing. It is the thing that I realized lasts forever. Early in my career were diet programs, meal plans, and small groups in six weeks. This is what works. That brings me so much joy. People whose lives changed many years ago when we worked together called me and said, "Now, I'm still using the things you taught me. You are with me in the kitchen." That brings me so much joy.

Going head first into what the addiction is and why is essentially what you work to tackle.

I would say so. Yes, you could say those words. What is it trying to show you? What is it teaching you? It's there for a reason, but it's hard to look at.

When we talk about comfort foods, this is something that we covered somewhat in depth when I was covering the content of Dr. William Li's book, Eat To Beat Disease. People develop strong, emotional connections to those foods that they look at as comforting as a child. Often, those are unhealthy things, but for me, it was something like saltine crackers with mustard. I'm talking like the yellow mustard because I liked the flavor of the mustard and loved saltine crackers. I would coat them in mustard and eat them like a snack.

It's probably not the worst thing in the world, but we develop these attachments that are emotional that sometimes relate to our family practices, what we ate in the winter months when it was cold out, how we were able to splurge on the weekends or some like that. Our relationship with food isn't always developed in the most healthy ways. We're scratching an itch with that consumptive practice. If we can be encouraged to replace some of those less healthy comfort foods with a healthier version, that sometimes helps people get over that hurdle as well.

We aren't what we eat. We're actually what we absorb. 

I believe there are also some supplements that can help. There are core reasons for that. A lot of times, people have an issue with the absorption of nutrients. They might not be getting enough of a specific fat like omega 3s, or they might not be getting enough of the proper probiotics to digest their foods well. Suddenly, they aren't getting the nutrition that their body needs. Therefore, they have out-of-control cravings, which they have a harder time managing.

There are certain foods that everybody should have on hand to help them manage their satiety issues. If they're having an issue with feeling full, there's one that I keep on hand that I love, which is walnuts. I can't seem to eat more than a handful of them. I know people who could consume a little bit more than a handful of them, but for me, I can eat a handful, which is a serving of walnuts, and that's it. I feel satisfied.

You have to find those things that work for you, and you can develop a healthy plan that won't feel like it's, "This was so hard for me." When you talk to somebody who says they're constantly hungry, usually it means that they're not nourishing themselves in some small way that could change things for them.

I also keep chlorella on hand and liquid chlorophyll. Those things are, for some reason, I take them and feel satisfied. Not everyone experiences that because their need is deeper than that. We will always have time to reflect on the moment about, "What am I hungry for?" I love walnuts. I soaked and then dehydrated walnuts with a little bit of stevia and cinnamon. They are so good. I got to make another batch because everyone walks by and takes it. It's so fun.

It's like a healthier version of spiced walnuts that you would see handed out as a holiday treat even.

You can put it on salads. That's what I like to do with salty, soaked almonds, tamari, and dates, or soaked almonds with rosemary, garlic, and lemon. That's also a delicious way to have some seasoned nuts on hand, things that are delicious and abundant. One thing my clients always say to me is that, "It was so much fun because it was so abundant. I didn't feel deprived." That's key for long-term change, especially when it comes to diet. One of my favorite foods in childhood was fu tang.

I didn't hear that word for so long.

It's an orange powder. It was so tasty. I used to eat hotdogs with white tortillas and Velveeta cheese. That was so intense. I haven't found a veggie dog yet. That makes me feel good. I haven't had a veggie dog in an eon. I don't even remember. There are emotional ties to our childhood that are so important. If you have cravings, it's important to get curious and look deeper, "Is this emotional? Is this physical? Is it both?" and then get supported to figure it out. That means testing, observing, and trying. It's not like you figured it out like that. It's not usually like that. For the readers out there, have patience with yourself and look at it as an inquiry to work with because it's there to teach you.

NWC 22 | Overcoming Food Addiction


Another thing I will say is, often, we're not drinking enough water. It's such a simple thing. If you wake up first thing in the morning and drink a full glass of water, that is the best way to start your day, even before you have your coffee or anything else, especially before. Even though when I was nursing my babies, and they were waking up in the middle of the night, I might have started my day with a cup of black coffee. These are the realities of motherhood.

That being said, we should be drinking 2, 3, or even 4 liters of water a day. Doing so can support your body's ability to cleanse out the things that can be gunking up your system. That is consuming more than your body technically needs. That doesn't mean that it is going to harm you in any way. Often, that's something that helps people get rid of stubborn pounds and take care of any hunger issues. You can eat smaller meals throughout the day and not feel like you're under-eating.

It's so true. Do you read the book Your Body's Many Cries for Water?

No, I have not.

It's a great book. I recommend reading it. Everything from depression to anxiety, headaches, and menstrual irregularities is cured simply by adequate hydration with pure water. It sounds so simple, folks, but I know very few people who are adequately hydrated. I go by this rule, and let me know if you agree. If you go to the bathroom every two hours, you're probably pretty well hydrated. If your urine is not dark yellow and is clear, maybe tinted a little bit if you're taking the D complex, those are two indicators. You use a prevention method. You don't wait until you're thirsty. You drink water so that you don't get thirsty. Some people disagree with that, but I'm curious what you think about those indicators for people to hold onto.

I'm a big believer in hydration. It gets somewhat complicated when you're talking to people who spend a lot of time working out or using saunas because what can happen is your electrolyte balance gets thrown off. Most people don't need a daily supplement of electrolytes, but if you get to the point where your sweat doesn't have a salty taste to it, it's time to ensure you get more electrolytes.

It's a good reminder. I don't have a sweaty taste to my sweat these days.

It's something that I noticed when I was training for marathons because I did a lot of distance runs. You're taking 30 to 40 miles a week in addition to other weight training and everything else. I would get to the point where my sweat did not have remotely a salty taste. It was one of the things that would contribute to bonking, as they call it. It's an intense exercise where you feel like you have hit a wall. It can happen from not having enough carbohydrates stored within your muscles, but that usually isn't it.

One rule of thumb is just eating to the ground.

It's usually that you have had too low of a sodium level. We're not just talking straight salt. It's all of the salts, essentially, all of those electrolytes. There are a few great products out there, but generally speaking, listen to your body. If you start to crave salty foods because you're drinking so much water, are exercising, sweating a lot, or doing sauna routines to help detoxify, you need to consider perhaps supplementation with some of your water-soluble nutrients, which can mean things like the B vitamins but also electrolytes.

I appreciate that reminder. C plasma is what I've been on the lookout for. I found one good company. Thank you for reminding me of that. I've slacked on my electrolytes. I saw it about every day of the week.

It's one of those things that's a little-known secret because sometimes people will be low energy too when their electrolytes get off balance. It's with a lot of things. Our bodies need salt. There's a reason we mostly evolved wanting to live close to the sea, to get our salt from the ocean. What are your go-to's when it comes to supplementation? I imagine you're getting most of your nutrition from food. You're beautiful. You look healthy, strong, and all these things you want to achieve throughout your life. Let's talk about that.

I believe that our soil is depleted of micronutrients. The micronutrients perhaps are intact, but it's very expensive. If anyone's ever had a garden, you know how expensive it is to nourish and mend the soil or how hard you have to work for the compost to have the nutrients it needs outside of the phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and whatnot.

It's important that we take into consideration that our foods do not have everything we need. That's an unfortunate reality, but they've tested the food, and it's true. We have to take responsibility. Every day, I take a number of different things. Now, I'm working on my adrenals and thyroid as I'm going into menopause. I'm taking a lot of care of those. Those are some carve-out supplements that I'm using for me personally.

I imagine you are heavy on the B vitamins.

It's B complex, Omega-3 fatty acids, and B12 because I'm primarily a plant-based eater. I also take NMN these days, which is a precursor to NAD. I used to take NAD. I take a liposomal Vitamin C.

Let's stop for a second because I want to make sure people understand liposomal. Liposomal Vitamin C is something that is essentially better absorbed into your system. You can get the benefits of Vitamin C more easily because otherwise if you're consuming them from foods, you tend to also be consuming them with things that enable your absorption of them. Liposomal Vitamin C would go right into your skin for one if you were to put it on topically, which can be very healthy for your skin. You can also consume them on a regular basis.

NWC 22 | Overcoming Food Addiction


I also take Marine Phytoplankton and Shilajit, which is a resin. Those are ways I get micronutrients. That's important to me. There's one other that I take. I take some other things from time to time when I notice I'm getting weary or needing a little extra this, that, or the other. Those are some of the basics. I also take different enzymes. I'm taking enzymes for digestion, not all the time but from time to time. I take systemic enzymes to help absorb and macrophage, eat up things, and do some cleanup work. I did that on an empty stomach.

In that case, for clarity's sake for our audience, you typically consume enzymes to help you digest food when you eat or a little bit before. When you're trying to do that cleanup, you have to consume them on an empty stomach. Let's say you've got a bad bruise on your leg. It's like a hematoma. You then want to be able to consume those enzymes on an empty stomach with regularity to help break away the tissue that needs to heal and ultimately be repaired.

If you eat a lot of high protein diet, it also goes in and absorbs that excess protein that helps to keep disease at bay. It helps promote a strengthened immune system and graceful aging. Their enzymes, if you go to the store and look, it's a high protist, proteolytic enzymes. I take other enzymes to reduce biofilms and things like that. I've been into enzymes these last years. I take high doses of enzymes. I then go through phases where I stop and start. Now, I'm not taking probiotics. I'm taking a little break from all mushrooms and probiotics from now until probably November 2022, or maybe even the New Year. I like to stop certain things and start others.

If you're listening to your body, you can tell what's working and when it might be time to try it again. I used to do a flat of Bio-K about once a quarter, which is a yogurt-style probiotic. It's supercharged with all these acidophilus and everything else in its living state. It's like liquid yogurt. You shake it. Instead of having one of those little containers last four days, I would do it almost like a mini meal and have the whole thing.

What I found was that it supported my digestive health. I try to do a reset like that with probiotics periodically, but I also don't consume them every day unless you're considering the probiotics that come from the foods I consume. It's important for people to know about fermented foods like kombucha. These are all natural sources of probiotics. You can get them from your food too. You can even get some probiotics from eating vegetables, fruits, and grains. They're in your food.

The research that I've been reading in the last years has been talking about probiotics being generated from a variety of fibers. New research came out from Italy that said we need to eat over 30 different varieties of fiber. It's not about getting your grams of fiber. It's about getting a variety of fiber because apparently, the probiotics, the good bacteria that proliferate in your gut from an apple, pear, or squash, are all different. We need each of them. The more variety of soluble and insoluble fiber we can eat from fruits and vegetables, the stronger and more fortified our microbiome is, which is going to be everything.

This is why it's also critical that we eat the skins of fruit because the skins of fruits have all of that in there. They tend to be much higher in the fibers. The micronutrients that are present in fruit, more of them exist within the skin of the fruit than in the flesh of it. Be mindful of that. If you like to peel your apples, perhaps eat the apple skins separately.

If it's organic, yes.

The compulsion that we have is the teacher itself.

It's very important to choose organic fruits. You're going to be eating the skin of them because it's almost impossible to clean them well enough to remove all the pesticide residues.

Can I go back to one of your earlier comments? We all get that hankering for something, like scratch that itch. You said two handfuls of walnuts. I want to mention this, and I alluded to it earlier. Even to have some homemade nut milk with some cinnamon and stevia is a nice, satisfying, fulfilling thing. I've been doing a lot of soups as well, believe it or not. Something about soup is so nourishing. At the same time, it's cleansing and satisfying as well.

The results I get from having a soup ready to go or knowing how to make a soup quickly have been extremely valuable for me when I want or need something. Sometimes roasted vegetables can also scratch that itch, especially if it's cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or squash. Squash has got to be one of the tops. I'm so excited coming into squash season. I wanted to plug those things in for people who are looking for creative ideas.

There are some spices that are so super helpful too. There's cinnamon, for example, which is often in sweet treats and helps modulate your blood sugar. You won't get the same spikes off of even natural sugars, which means you'll be more even keel, which means you won't enter this state of being in this addictive cycle the same way. You can even take cinnamon and put a little bit of the powder in your coffee grounds and brew your coffee that way. Get a nice cinnamon flavor and add some nut milk. It's such a fabulous treat. I loved using turmeric in foods. I add some turmeric to that nut milk that you made with stevia. It's delicious and divine.

I've been doing so many herbs. I'm starting to realize herbs are perhaps more important than nutrition. They make me feel so good, like parsley and cilantro, but also Shivratri. It's maca root and ashwagandha. I've been doing a lot of lattes, like golden milk, but with other herbs. They satisfy me. Ginger is another one that I use a lot.

It sounds like you're also inviting our audience to fall in love with food again, which is a topic we hit on so many times in our conversations around Dr. Li's work. When you get to real whole foods, get into your kitchen, and start to explore the bounty of foods that are available to us, something magical happens. Eating shouldn't just be putting the food in your mouth. Part of the joy of it is the preparation.

It is. I have to say that it's a life skill. For the longest time, you spoke about raising kids. I was strict with my daughter, and it perhaps led to some of her food issues, perhaps. I think it did. That's also bringing the kids in the kitchen with us and hadn't seen the life skill they need. I don't know how we can entrust the health of our future generations to restaurants these days or prepared foods because that's what it's about. You're eating genetically modified foods, which is pretty much what's happening whenever you eat at a restaurant that doesn't sell organic food, which is rare even in Northern California, where you'd expect there to be organic restaurants everywhere.

There are just a few. As a priority in your life, if you commit to eating organic food and eliminating genetically modified food, including oils, it is a huge step forward for future generations. It is a life skill to know how to satisfy yourself and your family in your own kitchen. It's also not complicated. You just got to find a couple of recipes you love, get those down, get a couple more, and then keep building on that.

NWC 22 | Overcoming Food Addiction


One of the things I like to encourage people to do if they have young children is to involve them in grocery shopping. Here's what I would do with my oldest son. I would take him to the grocery store and say, "I want you to pick food. Pick something from the produce area, and we're going to design a meal around it." This particular time stands out to me in my memory. We were in whole food, visiting my older sister in the Colorado area. We're in Colorado Springs.

He picked up a Buddha's hand, and I had never cooked with a Buddha's hand. I'm like, "What is this food? What are we going to make?" When we got home, we had to end up doing some googling, finding out what a Buddha's hand is, how to prepare it, and what to use it in. It's citrus. It's a lot like a lemon in flavor. It has a ton of piths.

We ended up creating something that would leverage the fact that you could zest it forever seemingly and create a nice rice and chicken dish that my kids ended up loving. It was fun for them. It wasn't incredibly complex. It engaged our creativity as a group. If you could look at shopping that way, try to find something you've never cooked with before, and then design something around it, it can be liberating.

I agree with that. That was a challenge that your son presented.

He was like, "I know I'm going to stump her with this," which is also fun. These are things that you'll remember later. There are stories that I like to tell. When my son will say at bedtime, "Mommy, tell me a story," sometimes I'll pull that one out.

As my daughter got older and was on a path to health, she had her own cart at the grocery store. She was doing her own meal planning. Although we did eat together, she also wanted to take responsibility for a large portion of what she was putting into her body. She also learned how to budget. Our children also need financial competence. That was a huge help for her now that she's on her own to know how much groceries cost every week and what she can work with in the kitchen with her finances. There's a huge opportunity for learning.

I know we are all so busy, and the gradient can be so steep to getting us in the kitchen together and co-creating something. We're making it sound like it's like graceful and easy. Sometimes this doesn't look like that. Be mindful of that for the parents out there, have patience, and keep trying, because the more you can expose your children to kale and other foods that seem unusual to them, later on it pays off.

I want to make sure I touch on your show because I've also been a guest on your show. You have a show where you share a lot of this knowledge with the world. You know a lot about these subjects. I'd like for you to talk for a moment about Vitality, your show, and what your aim is. How do you like for people to reach you? Where can they find out more?

It is a life skill to know how to satisfy yourself and your family in your own kitchen.

Thank you so much. I have a podcast called Vitality: Women Leading Audaciously. You are a guest on the show because there are some amazing women with who we have meaningful conversations about their self-care rituals because this so-called balance that we talk about can be challenging at times. We don't always give ourselves permission, so it's wonderful to share and co-create these ways to recharge ourselves.

Vitality, for me, is something more than health. It is the essence of you. Vitality shines through when you're aligned with the core of who you are in its non-negotiable truth of what is. I love how you said uncompromised because it's similar to that audaciousness. To achieve vitality, we have to start aligning with that. You can get a podcast on Apple, Vitality. My website is Jennifer-Helene.com. You'll find recipes on my blog and information on how to contact me.

I also want to invite you, if you're open to it, to share a recipe or two that I can include with our blog. Is that something you'd be open to?

I have to think a little bit more closely about which ones to share. There are so many. I'm so inspired these days. I've been getting the CSA boxes. It's abundant.

Those are a lot of vegetables. There are so many things to think about. Another topic I wanted to be able to get to, but we should come back to in a future episode, relates to the power of movement to contribute to your overall health. I'd like to invite you back on a future episode so that we can dig into this a little bit more deeply. Thank you so much for your time.

It's a pleasure. Thank you.

It has been such a pleasure to have Helene with us. Visit OrloNutrition.com for our complete blog about this episode, including features you won't find anywhere else. I know we talked for a moment about omega-3s, so I want to remind everyone. You can go to OrloNutrition.com and receive an extra 10% off your order for that powerful omega 3s. All you have to do is use the coupon code NWC10. Thank you for joining us on this journey. If you have questions about what we covered, please feel free to reach out via our social channels @OrloNutrition, or send me an email directly to Hello@OrloNutrition.com. I hope you'll join me as I say with Helene my final closing words, "Here's to your health."


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About Jennifer Helene Popken

Jennifer Helene, M.S. is an international expert in health and wellness, immersed in cutting-edge nutrition, fitness, and spiritual thought leadership. She’s on a mission to empower people to succeed in revitalizing their life, relationships, and businesses. J. Helene activates change through her high-level life change programs—breaking down the debilitating cycle of toxic habits leading you to vitality. She is a former FORD model, MasterChef (FOX TV) cast member, mother, and principal of Purposeful Ventures.


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