Moderation: Sensible or Slippery Slope? with Pamela Fergusson, RD PhD


When making a big life change, especially around healthy eating, is it better to go all in or leave room for moderation?

We posed that question to Pamela Fergusson, RD PhD, who — as a nutrition consultant — knows a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t.

… Should you allow for cheat days?

… Should you relax your guidelines when going out to dinner?

… What about when cooking for your family?

Pamela shares her advice and experience on the topic, so you don’t make the same mistakes as many new plant-based eaters.

Click the button below to listen now:

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  1. I really appreciated this conversation with Dr. Fergusson, thank you both! What is missing, though, is a consideration of eating COMPETENCE ( — an idea that suggests that we all have an ability to re-learn what we all had as infants, but gets lost along the way, which is a competent relationship with any and all foods as well as an intuitive relationship with our food. I agree with you that there is a spectrum of personalities — some tend toward addictive, others tend toward moderation, and many in between — but I do not see personality as a fixed thing. Acknowledging my starting place is important, but from there I think we can develop more competence around any food we choose, and that this leads to more sustainability and less deprivation and disordered eating than an approach that assumes personality is so fixed. Those who have thoroughly studied eating competence (Ellyn Satter chiefly) show that this can be developed and regained among people, and I think it is a worthy goal to reach for. Because we can never shield ourselves 100% from any given food, our food system and social culture does not work that way, I think we are supporting people as healthy, balanced eaters when we view eating competence as within reach for everybody — and then it becomes a very conscious and intentional choice to avoid certain foods some or all of the time if we still choose to do that. I think this works with any dietary change no matter how “extreme” the change may sound to others. Thanks again for the fascinating conversation!!

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