What role might 'touch' play in a mindful eating training? Simply touching the food with awareness offers many insights. However, the felt sense of sensitive fingertips, lips or palate touching food with awareness is often neglected in daily life. In general, we have a strong tendency to see food and bite it as quickly as possible. Research supports the importance of tactile nurturing in the development of body image, especially among women. Most participants in mindful eating programs experience or have experienced ‘touch deprivation’, both during childhood and in their current lives.
By eating with ‘tactile awareness’ these hidden needs can be revealed.
This specific touch-focused mindful eating practice offers insights into unbalanced eating habits which are sometimes driven by the desire for connection and intimate touch. Besides the "8 Hungers" developed by Jan Chozen Bays (ear hunger included), maybe there is also a 9th hunger: ‘touch or tactile hunger’.
From the melting texture of chocolate to a smooth body cream, all are metaphors for how we want to be touched, from the surface of our skin to the depth our heart. The energy of mindfulness encourages self-care and to find alternative soothing activities to fulfill our human needs for tactile nurturing and the freedom to choose the best option for each moment.
Learn more about research and the role of 'touch'
2 Understand the intersection between touch, food and body perception
3 Experience touch-focused mindfulness exercises
Touch Hunger, and How it Affects Our Eating Behavior
Caroline Baerten, RD (Belgium)
TCME Members-Only Webinar
September 16, 2015, 10 AM EST
Caroline Baerten is the founder of MeNu, Centre for Mindful Eating and Nutrition, in the heart of Europe (me-nu.org, Brussels, 2009). She works as a Mindfulness-based nutritionist/RD and integrative psychotherapist (MBSR and MSC teacher).
In Europe she has created a platform for health professionals where the pioneers of mindful eating (J. Chozen Bays, C. Wilkins, J. Kristeller) can offer their teacher trainings.
As the first European, Caroline serves since 2013 at the board of The Center for Mindful Eating.
Caroline’s personal meditation practice is under the guidance of Vietnamese zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh at the European Institute of Applied Buddhism. Her meditation background encompasses a wide field of experiences in both Burmese Vipassana tradition and Japanese Zen Buddhism (Great Vow Zen monastery USA, led by Jan Chozen and Hogen Bays, Roshi).
Caroline’s interest for mindful eating is intimately connected with her passion for the Earth and expressed by urban gardening and pottery. In her life and work Caroline encourages mindful food choices based on culinary curiosity, compassion and sustainability.