Are You a Sensitive Nutritional Soul? – with Marc David

Are you the kind of person who’s a little more sensitive to food? Do you notice that your body seems to be more affected by the world when you compare yourself to others? Or perhaps you know someone who falls into this category. Well, consider that some of us may very well be “Sensitive Nutritional Souls.” In this video, Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating discusses this fascinating phenomenon and looks at some of the hidden metabolic and psychologic factors that drive the sensitive nutritional soul experience. This is a topic that’s becoming more and more important these days. This brief video comes with some great insights.

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In the comments below, please let us know: What factors do you believe are influencing your own sensitivities to food? We love hearing your thoughts!

Greetings friends, this is Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s topic: Are You a Sensitive Nutritional Soul?

For the longest time, since I’ve been in the business of coaching, counseling and teaching in the fields of eating psychology and nutrition, I’ve noticed something that’s consistently caught my interest: there’s a certain group of people that seem to be what I would call a sensitive nutritional soul.

Meaning, they feel things. They have a more sensitive body, a more sensitive chemistry, they feel things more in their digestion, they might have more food sensitivities than the average person, they might be more sensitive to chemicals, perfumes, irritating music, loud sounds, poor air quality, and more.

Sensitive nutritional souls need to be continuously aware of what they’re eating. They oftentimes know what foods don’t serve them, and they’ll react very quickly when they consume something that doesn’t serve their body.

If this doesn’t describe you, it may very well describe someone you know, someone close to you, or a certain portion of your clients if you’re a professional.

In its extreme, such people are diagnosed as having multiple chemical sensitivities, and often live a very challenged life. And there are many people who don’t fall into this extreme end of the spectrum but are still quite sensitive.

In addition, many sensitive nutritional souls can pick up on the feelings of others, they don’t fare so well with stress, and people around them don’t always quite get it. They might have additional symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, joint or muscular pain, sleep challenges, breathing issues and more.

Sensitive nutritional souls don’t have it so easy. If you know someone like this, in my experience it’s important to understand that they might not be blessed with the same kind of constitution or strong immunity that others have. Sensitive nutritional souls might simply be born this way, or they grow into their sensitivity over time.

Many people who are supersensitive have had a past history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Others may have a past history of drug use, prescription drug use, alcoholism, intense eating disorders, or were raised on a very poor diet, and even exposed to poor quality foods or toxic substances while in utero.

But let’s talk about the good news of being a sensitive nutritional soul.

First – if this describes you or someone that you know – there may be absolutely nothing wrong with you. There are all different kinds of people, body types, metabolic types, and personality types across the globe. Some of us are more sensitive than others. Some people are very sensitive to animals, some people have an exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, some people are excellent at picking up on other people’s feelings, others have a sensitivity to children, to the elderly, you name it.

The sensitive nutritional souls often need to simply embrace their sensitivity rather than see it as a ball and chain. Granted, their plight isn’t necessarily easy, but in a strange way they are like the canaries in the coal mine. Meaning, such people are quite aware and sensitive to the very substances and toxins that over time, could eventually take the rest of us down. The sensitive ones are simply the first responders. Sensitive means smarter, more aware, more sophisticated, and more exquisite in picking up details and nuances. How cool is that.

The bottom line is this: it’s okay to be one of the sensitive ones.

That’s a compliment. It means that we can sense things better than most others. So again, whether this describes you or someone you know or a client, it’s time to honor the sensitive ones, respect them, embrace them, learn from them, and even throw a little love their way.

Now of course, it’s also possible for sensitive nutritional souls to strengthen themselves and create a better immunity in the world. There’s a long list of ways to do this. I’ll mention a few of the strategies and distinctions that we teach here at the Institute and our premier professional program – our Eating Psychology Coach certification training:

Sensitive nutritional souls often need to be tested for food allergies or food sensitivities. Strong allergies or sensitivities to certain foods such as gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and others can often be contributing to their metabolic challenges.

For others, they often need to check for mold in the home or in the workplace. This is often an extremely potent, debilitating, and hidden immunosuppressor that’s more common than most people realize.

Of course, it’s important to work on digestive health and gut ecology, as a compromised digestive system, such as in the condition called leaky gut, can often lead to what we describe as the highly sensitive person.

Others may be living in areas that have been affected by industrial pollution, whether through the air or the soil or the water – and they need to notice if indeed they feel better when they’re away for extended times from their home or workplace.

And lastly, even if you’re not a sensitive nutritional soul, it’s always a good idea to be a little more sensitive – again meaning more alert, aware, and open to receiving feedback from the body, and feedback from our environment. Notice how the world impacts your body. Notice the places that are healthy for you. Notice the foods that give you energy. Notice the people that uplift you and help you feel more empowered. Notice the kinds of music that makes you feel better. And notice the kind of relationships and the ways of communicating that help you feel stronger.

I hope this was helpful my friends.

To learn more about us, please go to

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating offers the most innovative and inspiring professional trainings, public programs, conferences, online events and lots more in the exciting fields of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition! In our premier professional offering – the Eating Psychology Coach Certification Training – you can grow a new career and help your clients in a powerful way with food, body and health. You’ll learn cutting-edge skills and have the confidence to work with the most compelling eating challenges of our times: weight, body image, overeating, binge eating, digestion, fatigue, immunity, mood, and much more. If you’re focused on your own eating and health, the Institute offers a great selection of one-of-a-kind opportunities to take a big leap forward in your relationship with food. We’re proud to be international leaders in online and live educational events designed to create the breakthroughs you want most. Our public programs are powerful, results-oriented, and embrace all of who we are as eaters – body, mind, heart, and soul.

Please email us at if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.

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In the comments below, please let us know: What factors do you believe are influencing your own sensitivities to food? We love hearing your thoughts!


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  • Suz

    In regard to the symptoms of sensitive nutritional souls, I have all the sensitivities described here, including picking up other peoples emotions in the room, even though I try hard to shut them out, I cannot. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, all of the symptoms are the same as what you have listed here. The source for my fibro is trauma to my body when I was 15 from an accident. Most of the people in my fibro awareness group have the symptoms from trauma from car accidents.
    Have you studied people with Fibromyalgia?

    • Hi Suz,

      Fascinating insights! I don’t so much study Fibromyalgia as I observe people who have it. Doing any kind of useful trauma work or therapy is often helpful. Best of luck on your journey….


  • Very interesting topic, reminds me of my healing journey with my sensitivity, picking up others’ emotions, feelings, attitudes, rather quickly, to the point it affects my well-being, especially to others ill intentions and inconsiderate comment, which could invoke a full blown mood swing or depression in me. In my journey of healing, i have learned to use it to serve a purpose, sensing it before hand, and use it in helping others feeling better, in addressing the deeper issues of their concerns, fears, or inadequacy. As a health coach, and a sales professional, it is actually a quite helpful trait, now understanding it for what it is. Thank you for your insight, Marc. Great work there. love and blessings, sue

    • Hi Sue,

      Glad you connected with the video. Thanks for reaching out to let me know…


  • Tim

    I have universal food allergies and I do hours of hyperventilating a day in order to reduce the muscle and joint pain that I experience. Giving up the foods I’m allergic to is not a solution. I also believe that krill oil reduces my arthritis pain which is caused by eating allergenic foods.

    • Hi Tim,

      Sounds like you are a indeed a sensitive nutritional soul. Good luck with everything going forward…


  • Peggy Berling

    Not eating in a relaxed and self-aware state often provokes eating sensitivities with foods.
    When I do not check in with myself, or pull my energies within, I often am not consciously aware. My body takes in the unspoken emotional content of the room and tenses up, OR my own unacknowledged feelings are held tensely in my body, OR my mind will be aware of the feelings of myself or others and be carried away by them, and my body is tight and tense. When I take the time to breath in those moments, I become aware of my mind and/or body tension and am able to relax into it, without having to figure it out mentally. I can choose to let go.
    I know this to be true, and yet I find that it is so difficult to self-remember while sitting down at a meal, and difficult to relax. I know it takes practice. I may have to make a little reminder sign at my table for this.

    • Hi Peggy,

      Thank you for sharing! These are some powerful insights. Breath can indeed be such a powerful tool to release tension and bring our awareness back into the body. I love the idea of creating a sign on your table as a remembering practice for eating in a relaxed and self-aware state. If you create one, I’d love to see a photo!

      Warm regards,
      Marc David

  • Isabelle

    Hmmmm, not sure about the part where you include being sensitive to others. There are many people (usually with unprocessed trauma) who think they know what others think and such but are not actually on the ball most of the time. I see it all the time when people like that ask me if I am angry. I don’t do angry. Its a waste of my energy. If I do, it usually lasts a minute or so. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that these type of sensitive people, have ptsd and have become hypervigilant as a result of their trauma. They observe more and read body language because they are scared or afraid for one reason or another. They have trust issues. They are the kind of people who try to please and/or look for approval. This is not a soulful way to be. If anything, it is a malfunction, very maladaptive. There is a big difference with being able to tune into the actual frequency. Trauma people see a mirror of their own frequency, because that is what they are projecting. Not sure this is relevant but sensitivities comes in many flavors I guess..Personally, I am sensitive to beauty such as nature as well as loud noises. I like to eat my food mindfully as often as I can. Thank you for doing this work, there is a lot to say about our connection to food. Everything is connected anyway one way or another. Cheers!

    • Hi Isabelle,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I would certainly agree that there is a range of sensitivity among individuals and that its important to have consciousness and awareness around your areas of sensitivity. Those who are very sensitive to the subtleties of their experience can bring awareness to the tendency of seeking out signs of danger or threat in their surroundings and learn to relax into a more trusting approach to life with practice. Others, however, have a keen sensitivity to fellow humans and we often call them empaths. I deeply appreciate you furthering the conversation on such an important topic.

      Warm regards,
      Marc David

About The Author
Marc David

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. His work has been featured on CNN, NBC and numerous media outlets. His books have been translated into over 10 languages, and his approach appeals to a wide audience of eaters who are looking for fresh, inspiring and innovative messages about food, body and soul. He lectures internationally, and has held senior consulting positions at Canyon Ranch Resorts, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and the Disney Company. Marc is also the co-founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.