It sounds ridiculous: ‘intuitive eating’. What else have we done in the last few million years? How did we survive?
It’s not so easy anymore though. We are bombarded with advertisements for foods which were never meant to be eaten; for foods which were fabricated by machines. There’s wise – and well-paid – advise from experts who studied with other experts. Intuition has disappeared down the drain.
Only to be dragged back in 1995 by a book called “Intuitive Eating’ by Tribole and Resch, the “go-to book on rebuilding a healthy body image and making peace with food”. It all sounds too fashionable. Too American.
But can we, down-to-earth Europeans (yes, we are, and will always be, Europeans, whether we like it or not) learn something from this? Something we don’t know?
Here are some tenets of the book.
* Reject the diet mentality. Indeed. My attitude to ‘dieting’ is: don’t. See Thought for Food of January 2015. 
* Listen to your hunger. Pay attention to your body. If you haven’t got time to pay attention, or indeed to eat, your body, and you, will suffer.
* Make peace with food. Restricting certain foods can lead to uncontrollable urges and overeating. People who diet often end up gaining weight, instead of losing it.
* Challenge the food police. Those experts who said that butter is bad for you, have recently had to change their tune. How long will the advertisements for Country Life, Utterly Butterly and the like, go on lying to us? Till the stocks are all gone, the machines reprogrammed, and the people in charge have retired. Unfortunately they are cheaper as well, but isn’t nice butter, eaten with a clean conscience, one of the good things in life? 
* Respect your fullness. Try avoid extremes of both hunger and being stuffed. Realise when food becomes less enjoyable and stop eating. A surplus on your plate is better off rotting in the compost, than wreaking havoc in your tummy.
* Discover the pleasure of eating. Take your time. Sit down, pay attention, share a meal. Knowing that you can eat whatever you want, when you want, can help you to stop when you’ve had enough.
* Try not to use food if you really want something else. If all you really want is sit still for a bit, read a book, watch the telly, you can do this perfectly well without eating. If you’re upset, go for a walk. If you’re bored, think of something new to do.
* Respect your body – yes, as it is, now! Don’t be too critical of yourself. You got where you are for a reason.
* Move. For the fun of it, for the fresh air, for the change. Walking, dancing, playing, refresh you more than that gym.
Much easier said than done. And better not take all this too seriously, mind, or it will be just another diet ….. 
Veg: Brussels’, beet, sprout tops, cabbage, celeriac, celery (with stilton!), corn salad, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, salsify, kale, kohlrabi, landcress, leeks, parsnips, pumpkin/squash, rocket, spinach, swede, turnips, winter radish, endive, winter purslane, cavolo nero.
Fish: megrim, clams, crab, cuttlefish, mussels, oysters, scallops, whiting.
Meat: wood pigeon, pheasant, wild duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison. For (Christmas) game recipes, see www.gametoeat.co.uk/.
Sow broad beans and peas. You can still try sow American landcress, Chinese leaves, winter lettuce and corn salad. Plant rhubarb sets, autumn onion sets, spring cabbage. And garlic: it likes sun and woodash.
Give brassica’s attention before the winter. Firm the soil around the stems, mulch with rotted manure, maybe support with canes. Pick off yellowing leaves.
If you leave veg in the ground, apply a thick mulch (straw, bracken), both for protection and to get them out more easily.
As ground becomes vacant, dig it over and spread manure. Leave roughly dug in large clumps and the worms will break them up.
PEANUT BUTTER COLESLAW
Apple, cabbage, carrots, raisins, mayonnaise, peanut butter.
Scrub the carrots, grate. Chop the apple into small chunks. Slice the cabbage finely and chop. Mix the veg. Mix mayonnaise and peanut butter. Combine, season.
ROSEMARY BRAISED RED CABBAGE
½ red cabbage, 1 tbsp olive oil, knob of butter, 1 sliced red onion, 30ml red wine vinegar, 6 tsp soft dark brown sugar, 1 chopped red chilli or powder, 2 rosemary sprigs, 1 large cooking apple roughly chopped.
Halve the cabbage, remove the tough stem and slice thinly. Place in a pan with all the other ingredients, then mix in 300ml water and some salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover with a well-fitting lid and gently cook for 1 hr, stirring frequently. If it gets too dry, add a little more water. Serve with simple mash or boiled potatoes. Very good with pheasant! Or just sausages.
LIME CRUSTED COLEY (also called pollack, pollock or lythe)
4x175g coley fillets, 2 limes, 200g fresh or 150g old breadcrumbs, 50g melted butter, salt, pepper, 1 tblsp olive oil, lime wedges to garnish.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grate the lime zest. Mix the crumbs with butter and zest. Cook gently for 2-3 mins, stirring until the crumbs are pale golden. Put fish in a shallow dish. Season and squeeze a little lime juice over it. Brush with oil. Pat crumb mixture on top and bake for 10-12 mins until cooked.
500g fresh spinach or 600g frozen, 200g cream cheese, 120ml melted butter, 240ml seasoned bread crumbs (paprika powder).
Press the spinach to remove water, thaw first if frozen. Combine spinach, cream cheese, and half the melted butter. Spoon into a dish. Sprinkle with crumbs (and paprika), drizzle with the remaining butter. Bake at 180°C for 25 mins. Very nice with potatoes and squash which are just cooked together.
LAMB NECK STEW
2 lamb necks sliced into 4 (the butcher will do this), plain flour, salt and pepper, 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks leaves included, rosemary.
Roughly chop all the veg. Coat the necks in seasoned flour. Heat oil and butter. When it starts to sizzle, add a few lamb slices – don’t overcrowd! Once both sides are brown, remove. Do the same with the rest of the slices. Set the meat aside. Add onions, carrots, celery and rosemary to the pan. Let soften but not colour before putting the lamb back in. Cover with water and stew, on very low fire, for an hour or until it falls from bone. If you can let it cool overnight, this will enrich the flavour. Reheat. Put meat into bowls along with veg and broth. Serve with steamed potatoes.
SPICED APPLE and BEETROOT CAKE
300g grated cooked beet, 300g diced cooking apples, 100g cream cheese, 185g self-raising flour; 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp nutmeg, 200g brown sugar; 185g melted and cooled butter, 3 eggs, honey, softened butter.
Sift flour, spices, sugar. Whisk eggs and butter, add grated beet. Add to the dry ingredients, stir in gently. Add the apples, stir again. Grease a cake tin, pour in the mix. Bake at 180° for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Cool. Mix the cream cheese, softened butter, honey and vanilla extract or something like that. Smear on, and decorate with apple slices if you like.
ESCAROLE SALAD (or radicchio or chicory) with ANCHOVY DRESSING
1l bite-sized pieces escarole (or similar greens), grated raw beetroot, 2 minced anchovies packed in oil, 1/2 tsp mustard, 2 tblsp cider vinegar, 4 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil, pepper, 3 chopped spring onions, olives or raisins, sunflower seeds.
Mash anchovies, add mustard, vinegar and olive oil, whisking to create an emulsion. Add everything else and mix.
 The good old Daily Mail puts it clearly (and this one is true!): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2946617/Butter-ISN-T-bad-Major-study-says-80s-advice-dairy-fats-flawed.html. See also the Thought for February 2012 at http://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/february-2012-joys-of-butter_1.html.
 See also http://www.refinery29.com/intuitive-eating-myths#slide,
http://laurenfowler.co/intuitive-eating-101/, and www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-turner/food-cravings-listen-to-y_b_664561.html.
Another interesting read, in this respect, is this: http://www.livingthenourishedlife.com/7-healthy-habits-that-stress-your-metabolism/.
Next month: eggs is eggs – or are they?