Nutritional Principles for Health and Wellbeing
RAVES is an acronym which describes eating principles seen as being integral to development and maintenance of a positive relationship with food. The RAVES model was developed by FMB Wellbeing Dietitian, Shane Jeffrey, as a response to working with many clients who presented with strong dieting histories and troubled relationships with food. The goal of the RAVES model is to bring eating back to basics, without dietary rules, and to support overall health and wellbeing. The principles begin with the R, and progress down to the S in a structured way, allowing the model to be applied to individual needs and circumstance. So what is RAVES?
Regularity | Adequacy | Variety | Eating Socially & Mindfully | Spontaneity & Flexibility
Development of a regular eating pattern is the foundation of the model. Regular eating provides a foundation to support adequate nutrition Is characterised by eating 3-6 times per day, assists in improvement of digestion and gut function, supports and maintains an efficient metabolism and assists in reducing overeating/binge eating.
Once a regular pattern of eating has been established, the model looks to the issue of adequate nutrition. The principle of adequacy assists in supporting health and wellbeing by meeting the nutritional needs of the body. This element consists of two components, namely food groups and quantity. Are foods from all food groups being included? This refers to grains and other carbohydrate sources, fruit, vegetables, dairy or non-dairy alternatives, meats and alternative protein sources, fats and oils, and discretionary choices. Are foods being consumed from across the food groups in an appropriate quantity to meet requirements?
While regularity and adequacy support physical health and wellbeing, they may not necessarily support emotional health and wellbeing. An individual could essentially meet nutritional requirements by eating just one food from each food group, if enough was consumed. However, it is important to honour the pleasurable functions of food, including taste, and social and cultural connectedness, and also food availability. These quality of life elements are addressed by the V, E, and S of the RAVES model.
All food has its place in a healthy diet, and maintaining variety among food choices reinforces this. Variety sets a platform for enjoying the taste of different food choices, sets a platform for eating socially, challenges the need for dietary rules, assists in reducing dichotomous thinking surrounding food and recognises the changing availability of foods.
Eating Socially and Mindfully:
This element of the RAVES model is integral to enhancing satisfaction, connectedness and enjoyment surrounding eating occasions. Eating socially and mindfully also allows enjoyment of foods people may not prepare at home, encourages enjoyment of celebrations and social events involving food, supports sustainability in dietary change, challenges social isolation and eating concerns and encourages people to value the many aspects of an eating experience
Spontaneity and Flexibility:
Spontaneity and flexible eating allows people to engage with the body’s intuition and innate wisdom. This principle challenges many external messages about food and nutrition in modern society. Spontaneity and flexibility accommodates for uncertainty, allows unplanned activities and meals, respects the dynamic nature of food choices and eating patterns.
The final and arguably most important component of the RAVES model, is self-compassion. Each step of process is underpinned by the notion that individuals should strive to take care of themselves as they would a friend or loved one. Practice self-care, rather than self-control. Regardless of weight, current health state, or attitudes towards nutrition, the RAVES Eating Model can be used to begin building a more positive relationship with food.