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  • Thursday, April 16, 2020 10:00 AM | Jennifer Oetting (Administrator)

    Cultivating Kind Intention 
    Food for Thought Magazine | Spring 2020
    by Alice J. Rosen, MSEd, LMHC, TCME Advisory Council Member, Founder of the Conscious Cafe

    How many of us work with clients who still deeply believe that their happiness is conditional upon losing weight, and that until then they aren’t deserving of kindness? How do we support them in navigating a path towards kind and wholesome intentions for themselves?

    Intention affects the outcome, one’s experience, and the reality created. It is therefore essential to remain aware of one’s intentions and to identify whether they derive from kindness or aversion. Kind intention is the essential energy that steers us towards wellness. Susan” has made an intention to practice mindful eating but really, she is hoping to “get rid of her belly.” Because her intention is not based in kindness, it only promises more suffering. Given the power of the diet mentality, we must regularly remember, renew, and refine our clients’ intentions by helping them evaluate what they are truly longing for.

    The following is a loose guide for cultivating kind intentions in collaboration with clients:  Process is encouraged at every point. 

    1. Begin with a non-judgmental acknowledgment of the present reality of the client’s relationship with food.
    2. Wonder aloud what behavioral choices are attempting to do for the individual. In general, I hear that the intention is to get rid of unpleasant feelings and mind states that feel unbearable.
    3. Ask,  “What are you afraid might happen if you didn’t use food that way?”  Following that thread, we can continue to be curious about what they are truly hungering for in their lives. Often, themes of longing for safety, connection, kindness, and happiness emerge. These are universal yearnings that transcend time and place. They are the basis of the Loving Kindness meditation, a 2500-year old practice and a part of the Noble Eight Fold Path: the way to be free from suffering.
    4. Affirm their humanity by saying, “All beings long for and deserve to be safe. Why not you?”
    5. Entertain how the world would look if they and everyone else were safe. (Clients find this a positive contemplation.) 
    6. Ask clients to sit and “try on” how it would feel to be safe. For example inquire, “Where do you sense safety in your body… your face, your chest, your belly? What do you see, taste, smell, hear? Can you breathe into this state? Embody it? Envision it for yourself?“
    7. Ask, “What if you placed your longing and right for safety in the forefront?”
    8. Ask, “Might it make sense to regularly tune into this universal longing for yourself and all beings using the phrase, ‘May I/we be safe and protected?’”

    When “Susan” followed through with this process, she recognized that she was longing for belonging. The next week, she naturally reached out to people and also manifested a more attuned relationship with food. We continue to strengthen her understanding that kind validation of her longing makes better sense than self-aversion and trying to fix herself. Cultivating kind intention illuminates the path towards well-being.

    Want to keep reading? Find the full issue in the Food for Thought Store

    Members receive the full issue as a benefit of a membership, a $40 annual value. Learn more about all the benefits of membership and join us!

  • Saturday, March 28, 2020 10:00 AM | Jennifer Oetting (Administrator)

    Register NOW for Ten Week LIVE Online Eat for Life Program – Starts May 19, 2020

    There are many reasons to take a mindful eating program. You might want to understand why you keep eating even though you’re full. You might want to learn how to soothe your emotions without using food. You might want to learn how to make different food choices or understand the confusing messages you get about food. You might want to love your body more—or love it a lot. You might want to be a more conscious eater and learn to savor delicious food without guilt. All of these things, and more, are a part of the mindful eating program called Eat for Life.

    Mindful eating helps you learn to listen to your internal wisdom about what, when, where, and how to eat. It is NOT a diet plan and we do not focus on weight because that would be counter-intuitive and outwardly focused. A number on a scale does not define you or determine your health, but the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that you have will impact you, physically and psychologically, for better or worse. 

    In addition, if you are a professional wanting to offer mindful eating to your clients, this program will deepen your own experience of mindfulness which an essential skill for teaching mindful eating. You will also learn to use mindfulness to address the many challenges and obstacles to mindful eating that arise when you work with others.

    This program was developed by Dr. Rossy at the University of Missouri Wellness Program and is based on the four foundations of mindfulness, the principles of intuitive eating, research on the program and other current research, as well as 13 years of teaching experience to people around the world. 

    Due to the current COVID-19 situation, I am offering the following TCME discounts. Please use Coupon Code TCME50 at checkout for your 50% discount through April 30 and Coupon Code TCME25 for your 25% discount between May 1 - May 18.  

    Tuesdays -- 12 – 2:00 p.m. OR 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (Central Time); May 19 – July 28, 2020 

    Regular price: $249.00 ($124.50 through April 30; $186.75 from May 1 - May 19)

    Class is appropriate for both Professionals (CEs available) and the General Public


    We meet LIVE for two hours a week over Zoom to practice mindfulness, and you learn how to develop a personal mindfulness practice at home. We have a theme for each week which helps you pay attention to your body and how you eat with kind, curious attention. We practice mindfulness of the thoughts and emotions that keep you in habit loops and automatic behaviors and guide you, instead, to conscious choices. We place mindful eating into a larger context as we learn to explore the world of pleasurable food and make conscious decisions, including learning easier ways to make your own food at home. Above all, we have fun and learn to joyously embrace our best lives. 

    Won't you join me for a ten-week mindful eating program starting in May and find out what mindful eating can do for your life? You can go here for complete information on the class and how to register. At the orientation you will learn about the program and, if you decide it's not for you, I will refund your money before the first class. I hope you join me in this life-changing practice. 

    Read what participants have to say about the class: 

    "I found Dr. Rossy's book and her class to be a transforming experience. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I have knowledge about food and nutrition but that's exactly what often gets in my own way and in the way of assisting others! Dr. Rossy has shown me it's much more than what you eat. I became aware of my own food rules that I have clung to for years. I began applying mindfulness practices to other areas of my life and found more peace and happiness in daily living. If you want something lasting, I encourage you to sign up for Eat for Life and/or by the book. It's worth every penny!" -Nancy S. 

    “Eat For Life has been a transformational experience…my relationship to food has changed dramatically.  I actually think about food much less than before — now it’s rarely on my mind until I begin to experience hunger.  And I am savoring my food infinitely more. Eat For Life embodies an intuitive, gracious approach to living, and I am captivated by the gentleness and kindness inherent in the process.” –Linda D.

    “It is amazing that 10 weeks have gone past. I will use the “make peace with food” for a long time to come. That has been the most successful tip. I don’t have forbidden food, or food that is “bad.” I can have it just in the quantity that will satisfy. I thank you for the insight and the motivation.  You have made this a successful experience that has changed my life.” –Amy H.

    Sponsored post by:

  • Sunday, March 08, 2020 11:38 AM | Jennifer Oetting (Administrator)

    The BASICS of Mindful Eating and more

    By Lynn Rossy Ph.D.

    • Would you like to learn a basic tool for practicing and/or teaching mindful eating?
    • Would you like to deepen your own mindfulness and mindful eating practice?
    • Would you like to learn about the most recent research describing the benefits of mindful eating?
    • Would you like to know how formal mindfulness practice supports you physically and psychologically?
    • Would you like to know which facets of mindfulness most support mindful eating?
    • Would you like to understand how mindfulness reduces eating disorder pathology?
    • Would you like to join in a community of like-minded individuals seeking to further their knowledge of mindful eating?

    If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you should join me for the next two-part Foundational webinar series offered by The Center For Mindful Eating on March 19 and 26 from 1 - 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Even though the webinar is developed for professionals, anyone can attend. Registration for members and non-members is available here. (By the way, if you become a professional member, your webinar fee is cut in half). Two CE credits are available to dietitians and 1.5 CEs for psychologists and 1.85 for nurses, included in the fee.

    The BASICS of Mindful Eating is a component of the Eat for Life Program, a ten-week mindful eating program I developed at the University of Missouri. This tool can be used as a guide every time you eat. The steps of the BASICS take you from the pause before you eat to the point where you are guided internally to stop eating. The BASICS is a touchstone for being present with your body and your food through every meal, sprinkled with curiosity, kindness, and compassion.

    Based on the research conducted on the Eat for Life program (Bush, et al., 2014) as well as subsequent research, the skill of mindfulness is foundational in creating the benefits of mindful and intuitive eating. Mindfulness, practiced formally, is the key to being present with kindness while we feed our bodies but also key in determining how we interact with our bodies in other ways and in the choices we make at the dinner table and beyond.

    This webinar series will include a mini-seminar on mindfulness meditation and creating a mindfulness practice at home. Your home practice in-between sessions will be discussed at the second session so that you can start or jumpstart a meditation practice that will continue to serve you after the series is over. Of course, you can also join me on Wednesday, March 18, for the monthly TCME meditation from 12 – 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time to get ready for the webinar the next day! Register here for that. Personal and professional members attend free and there is a small fee for non-members.

    In the second part of the series, we will have the opportunity to talk about your questions and experiences with the formal mindfulness practice—the BASICS of Mindful Eating and sitting meditation. We will also review the overarching principles of mindfulness and mindful eating and review the latest research that highlights the benefits of mindful eating, the association of mindfulness to eating disorders, and the facets of mindfulness that most benefit mindful eaters.

    Don’t miss this opportunity to refresh yourself with the basics of mindful eating and understand the latest research that can help guide your own life and the lives of those you touch. See you soon! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

    Learn more and register for The BASICS of Mindful Eating here!

    Bush, H. E., Rossy, L., Mintz, L. B., Schopp, L. (2014). Eat for Life: A work site feasibility study of a novel mindfulness-based intuitive eating intervention. American Journal of Health Promotion, Jul-Aug; 28(6): 380-8.

  • Saturday, February 15, 2020 4:00 PM | Jennifer Oetting (Administrator)

    By Caroline Baerten MS, RDN, CDN

    What does Food Justice mean to health professionals and mindful eating teachers?

    A just food system is one in which the production, distribution, and consumption of food is unaffected by systemic inequalities based on race, class, ability, or gender.Through the lens of mindfulness and compassion, we are able to see clearly the injustice taking place on the level of agricultural pollution and harmful food production methods. When we look even deeper, we also become aware of the structural causes for food injustice. 

    For health professionals and mindful eating teachers, it is critical to recognize that food injustice affects those at the bottom of the “power pyramid” the most. For centuries, the Western world has been dominated by White men who prioritized themselves above all else.Women, children, and people of color (Black and NBPOC), in both Europe and the US, have had the least privilege and the least access to a rich variety and supply of food. Reasons could range from limitations on property ownership, where they might have cultivated their own produce, to socially-engineered financial dependence on a male relative.      

    In his  “Food for Thought” article, Chef Alex Askew draws attention to the conditions in which groups of people used to live, and are living now, which may explain in part why certain individuals in our society are less physically and mentally healthy than others. The nature of our relationships at home or in the community can be either supportive or trauma-invoking, and all of these relationships shape our daily food choices, overall health, and psychological well-being. 

    Food justice is social justice, as food is our most intimate connection with ourselves, our communities, and the food traditions that have been passed down through the generations. Unfortunately, many of the bonding and nurturing qualities related to cooking and eating were disrupted over the centuries. In many ways, the (cooking) fire was extinguished and replaced by a troubled relationship with foods, while the rich diversity of female bodies became ruled solely by measures of thinness and fatness.

    Mindful eating helps us look deeply into the belly of the food system and explore how it creates a world where human beings, and especially women, feel disconnected from their food and alienated from the needs of their bodies. The most feared word today is “obesity,” and to be fat is considered a morally repugnant failure. Unfortunately, in a perverse interference with appetite, restraint is offered as the only righteous path to redemption, by both the food and diet industry as well as subsidized health professionals. 

    Eating awareness starts by questioning the origins of food:

    Where is this food coming from and was it produced in a sustainable way? Most kinds of foods, depending on one’s individual body and blueprint, are absolutely fine if they are made with nutritious ingredients (real butter, cream, or cheese, whole-grain flour, free-range meat), instead of foods chemically-modified for a long shelf-life.

    Did the people working in the field, the food production plants, and distribution companies receive equal living wages compared with their male and/or White colleagues higher up the ladder? Food justice addresses racial and socio-economic issues because there cannot be equal access to healthy food without equal access to jobs, income, and transportation.

    What kind of foods and recipes are rooted in your own cultural tradition? Unlike the one-size-fits-all dietary rules certain nutritionists and health professionals are telling us, our behaviors around food and eating not merely individual choices, but expressions of a particular social and economic context. Sharing meals and eating heartwarming comfort foods (often those high in calories!) have been part of our food history for centuries. These recipes and moments of social gathering around the table are especially important for families who migrated, as food is often the only remaining bond they have to their home country.

    Food justice is woven into the fabric of mindful eating. The spiritual practice of mindfulness meditation creates the link between eco-friendly, sustainable food choices and individual wellbeing. It is not just about changing the way we eat, it is about changing the way we live and how we treat each other. 

    Originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of Food for Thought. 

    Get the full issue in the Food for Thought Store!

    TCME Members may access the full issue here.

    Consider signing up for the Food and Social Justice Webinar for more discussion on this topic!

  • Monday, December 30, 2019 5:57 PM | Jennifer Oetting (Administrator)

    By Lynn Rossy, Ph,D, TCME Board President

    Getting ready for your obligatory diet in January? Well, I have an alternative for you that I think you’ll like better. Even if you ate more than you usually do during the holidays (which is true for most of us and for good reason!), there is a much better way to approach January than a diet. The approach is called mindful eating and let me tell you why you should give it a try.

    This review article published in the Archives of Scientific Psychology makes it very clear that going on a diet might result in a few pounds lost, but those pounds will be regained, and often even more. Through a complicated process, the body has a way of finding a certain weight range that it’s comfortable in and it works to maintain that range.

    The good news is that, contrary to much of the press, being in a larger body does not automatically mean that you are less healthy. Aphramor (2010), who extensively reviews the literature, writes that the belief that weight loss, even if minimal, is related to improvements in health, is not valid and is not substantiated. In addition, weight loss efforts can result in a wide range of eating disorders. And, “yo-yo dieting” where you lose and gain weight over and over again, is related to heart disease, bone density loss, and all-cause mortality (coronary mortality, in particular), as well as a growing number of other health conditions.

    As a much kinder and joyous alternative, mindful eating provides a way of eating that allows you to relish in one of the greatest pleasures of life—eating without judgment. Instead of restricting, mindful eaters know they can have whatever they want to eat so they are less likely to find themselves overeating and then feeling guilty. You train to be aware of your body’s wisdom about what it wants, how much it wants, and when to start and stop eating. You train to be aware of the other needs the body has and you take care of them as well.

    Having taught mindful eating for thirteen years, I can say with conviction that mindful eating changes the way you eat and the way that you feel about your body so that you feel nourished and supported. The focus is not on weight, but wellbeing. Wellbeing is a state of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual attunement, and mindful eating is one of the practices that creates harmony in your body and life.

    Start your 2020 in community with people around the world who will be coming together for World Mindful Eating Month, sponsored by The Center for Mindful Eating. This year’s theme is “Growing your Mindful Eating Practice by Planting the Seeds of Self-Compassion.” We are offering a FREE guided Mindful Eating Program for the whole month of January. You can sign up here.

    When you learn to develop loving-kindness toward yourself, your approach to eating will reflect your growing friendship with your body, mind, and heart. Eating is not just a personal act, but an act of love for yourself, your community and the world.

    Join us for Mindful Eating Month and give up diets forever!

    Aphramor, L. (2010). Validity of claims made in weight management research: A narrative review of dietetic articles. Nutrition Journal, 9, 1–9. http://dx

    Rothblum, E. (2018). Slim chance for permanent weight loss. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 6, 63–69. 10.1037/arc0000043

    Originally published at

  • Tuesday, November 19, 2019 7:29 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    Raising Mindful Eaters (While Healing Your Own Relationship with Food and Body)

    By Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN

    In ancient cultures and for thousands of years, indigenous peoples have had a traditional relationship with local foods that includes a connection to the territory, a feeling of being responsible for the ecosystems and a spiritual kinship. 

    Children are born with the innate capacity for mindful eating. They naturally recognize and respond to hunger and fullness and, with skillful guidance from parents, can maintain this satisfying relationship with food throughout their lives.

    Unfortunately, many of us lose our connection with this natural ability as we grow up. The diet culture we live in tells us our bodies cannot be trusted to guide us to eat what, when, and how much we need. Intolerance for body diversity causes even the medical establishment to advise parents to control children’s and young adult’s food intake, ultimately altering their body trust as they mature into adults. Misunderstandings about the connection between eating, weight, and health distort our relationship with food, making it difficult to recognize and respond to what is arising in our present-moment body. Finally, disconnection from our emotions can make it difficult to discern whether the hunger we are feeling (and feeding) lies in our bellies, our hearts, or our minds.

    Such confusion presents an opportunity for mindfulness practitioners to be with what is. By connecting with our bodies, observing our thoughts without judgment, and staying present with our actual experience, we can eat mindfully, modifying our eating according to our body’s’ needs, and experience joy and satisfaction in our food choices. The following framework can help you address your own confusion about food and eating while nurturing and maintaining the mindful eating capacity of your children: 

    1. Model Mindful Eating and Body Appreciation

    No matter what we mean to communicate with our kids about food and our bodies, it’s what they hear us say and see us do that make lasting impressions. Refrain from speaking harshly about your body or anyone else’s body. Treat your body and all bodies with kindness and compassion. Feed yourself regularly and satisfyingly throughout the day. If you have work to do on your relationship with food and your body, now’s the time.

    2. Make a Variety of Satisfying Food Available

    Our bodies need carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to feel nourished and satisfied. All foods contain various combinations of these nutrients. By making a variety of foods available in the home - various fruits and vegetables, grains and cereals, snacks and play foods, proteins, nuts, seeds, and other energy-dense foods - kids are more likely to choose a variety to meet their ever-changing needs.

    3. Leave Morality Out of Eating

    Part of modeling mindful eating and body appreciation is not labeling foods as good or bad, not feeling “guilty” about “indulging” but in mindfully enjoying whatever we choose to eat. The carrot and the carrot cake have no inherent moral value; each is just a different combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and all foods can fit into a healthful and mindful way of eating. When we leave the morality out of eating, the focus can shift to what brings us pleasure and how we feel when we eat different foods. 

    4. Eat Mindfully Together When Possible

    Family meals are invaluable but they don’t need to be perfect or even happen every day to benefit your family. Do what you can, knowing that the connection formed through the cooperative planning, preparing, serving, eating, and cleaning up of a meal creates a lasting foundation for mindful eating.

    5. Demystify Heart Hunger

    Eating serves many purposes, including soothing a hungry heart. There is nothing wrong with comfort eating. Period. It can be empowering and illuminating to understand when and why we are eating to feed our bodies versus soothing painful emotions. Talking about emotions openly and non-judgmentally normalizes them and helps us all learn to tolerate the full range of our experience.


    Originally published in Food for Thought Autumn 2019: Pregnancy and Families

    In this issue:

    • Pregnancy: A Time to Listen Even More Closely to Your Body, by Dr. Cinzia Pezzolesi

    • Educating Parents (and Thereby Children) about Mindful Eating, by Dr. Claudia Vega
    • Raising Mindful Eaters (While Healing Your Own Relationship with Food and Body), by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD, CDN
    • Setting Your Mindful Eating Intention, by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD, CDN

    Available in our Food for Thought Store for non-members.

    Food for Thought is free for TCME members in the Member's Food for Thought Library!

    Not a member? Join Today! | Member Benefits

  • Monday, November 11, 2019 11:20 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    Setting Your Mindful Eating Intention

    by Jenna Hollenstein,MS,  RDN, CD

    Setting intentions can help us maintain an essential connection with our mindful eating practice. This issue [of Food for Thought] covered a lot of ground, from mindful eating in pregnancy to introducing the principles of mindful eating to parents so they can guide their children to maintain their own mindful eating sovereignty. From pregnancy to parenthood, when it comes to raising mindful eaters who trust their own intelligent bodies, intentions can be one supportive tool.

    Use the following examples as suggestions or starting points in developing your own intentions for yourself and your family. They can be conversation starters with your children in terms of how they would like to nourish their own relationship with food and their bodies: Sample intention during pregnancy: “May I receive and respond to the sensations my body sends to me. May I nourish my own body as it instinctively nourishes my growing child. May I trust that my body is accommodating, flexible, and wise.”

    Your own mindful eating intention during pregnancy:


    Sample intention for new parents: “May I trust the intuitive wisdom of my child’s body to guide them to eat what, when, and how much they need in order to feel nourished and satisfied. May I support them in maintaining a connection with this wisdom, meal to meal, day to day, year to year.”

    Your own intention in introducing mindful eating to your children: ______________________________________________________________________

    Sample intention for family meals: “May we enjoy this food together, savoring its flavors, nourishing our bodies, and appreciating the simple pleasure of sharing a meal.”

    Your own mindful eating intention for family meals: ______________________________________________________________________

    Originally published in Food for Thought Autumn 2019: Pregnancy and Families

    In this issue:

    • Pregnancy: A Time to Listen Even More Closely to Your Body, by Dr. Cinzia Pezzolesi

    • Educating Parents (and Thereby Children) about Mindful Eating, by Dr. Claudia Vega

    • Raising Mindful Eaters (While Healing Your Own Relationship with Food and Body), by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD, CDN

    • Setting Your Mindful Eating Intention, by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD, CDN

    Available in our Food for Thought Store Food for Thought is free for TCME members in the Member's Food for Thought Library

    Not a member? Join Today! | Member Benefits

  • Thursday, October 03, 2019 8:13 PM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    Food for Thought Autumn 2019: Pregnancy and Families

    In this issue:

    • Pregnancy: A Time to Listen Even More Closely to Your Body, by Dr. Cinzia Pezzolesi
    • Educating Parents (and Thereby Children) about Mindful Eating, by Dr. Claudia Vega
    • Raising Mindful Eaters (While Healing Your Own Relationship with Food and
    • Body), by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD, CDN
    • Setting Your Mindful Eating Intention, by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD, CDN

    Available in our Food for Thought Store

    Food for Thought is free for TCME members in the Member's Food for Thought Library

    Not a member? Join Today! | Member Benefits

    In this issue of Food for Thought, we discuss the essential role of clinicians and parents in fostering mindful eating in the lives of pregnant women and children, respectively. In truth, the capacity for mindful eating already exists in all of us. Our roles as dietitians, therapists, counselors, coaches, parents, and caregivers is to create the container in which that innate capacity can thrive. Communication is key and, in all four pieces, you will notice the emphasis on talking regularly about mindful eating as well as feelings, experiences, and discoveries. 

     In “Pregnancy: A Time to Listen Even More Closely to Your Body,” Dr. Cinzia Pezzolesi highlights the ways in which clinicians can partner with their pregnant patients to nourish and sustain body trust, quite possibly setting them -- and their children -- up for a lifetime of satisfying mindful eating. In “Educating Parents (and Thereby Children) about Mindful Eating,” Dr. Claudia Vega discusses the complexity and nuance of educating parents about how to bring this practice into the home. Both reassuring and practical, Dr. Vega’s guidance addresses the elusive issue of how to introduce these practices. 

     The next two pieces are written by nutrition therapist, Jenna Hollenstein. The educational handout “Raising Mindful Eaters (While Healing Your Own Relationship with Food and Body),” outlines five principles to bring mindful eating into the home, while “Setting Your Mindful Eating Intention” offers a contemplation for helping us all to maintain a connection with our mindful eating practice. Whether during pregnancy or parenthood, examples are given to help you create your own mindful eating intention. 

    Available in our Food for Thought Store

    Food for Thought is free for TCME members in the Member's Food for Thought Library

    Not a member? Join Today! | Member Benefits

  • Thursday, September 12, 2019 12:23 PM | Maggie Sewall

    Food, Sustainability and the Role of Mindfulness

    By Caroline Baerten, MA, RD

    The skill of ecological perception

    “The ecological crisis may be the result of a collective perceptual disorder in our species, a unique form of myopia which it now forces us to correct.” – David Abram

    I take Abram’s statement quite literally. Our “collective myopia” is one manifestation of psychic numbing – a psychological defense against witnessing the pain of the Earth.

    Full awareness can hurt. In response we build defenses, or we choose among a variety of convenient distractions. We become numb to our feelings, to what we might hear and see, and our myopic defense blinds us to the severity of current Earth conditions.

    In his book “The Voice of the Earth,” Theodore Roszak presents a theory in which he explains that the roots of our collective behavior toward the Earth can be found in the split between “in-here” and “out-there.” This thinking creates a large gap we feel between ourselves and the nonhuman nature (animals, plants, minerals). If we would experience ourselves as interconnected and with fluidity of boundaries, this would manifest in more empathy with family, friend, community, humanity and similarly with the whole of the nonhuman world.

    It is a shift of perspective from attention of my suffering (I, mine) toward more environmental, contextual awareness.

    Our sensory capacities – taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch – are the fundamental avenues of connection between self and the world. The deadening of our senses is at the heart of the environmental crisis and reawakening them through mindfulness is an integral step toward renewing our bond with the Earth and all living beings.

    Slowing down and learning to attend

    Attending is the flip side of psychic numbing. Focused attention produces a richness of color, a depth of sensory experience. The ability to fully use our attentional capacity is a learned skill, requiring the practice of mindfulness and awareness. When we slow down and eat quietly, we can really enjoy our food on a sensual level.

    We make behavioral (and subjective) choices based on what we see, smell, hear...

    In the context of our ecological situation and the need for sustainable choices, it would be wise to become more mindful of where we place our attention.

    According to Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, the first step is learning to attend, the cultivation of a “wakeful presence.” When the mind isn’t present in the body, we look, but we don’t see; we listen, but we don’t hear; we eat, but we don’t know the flavor of the food; we breathe, but we don’t feel alive.

    Cherish all life on Earth – cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect our people and the planet.

    In love with the Earth

    When fueled by beauty and sensuality, our relationship with the visual world may move our hearts. As what we see and perceive becomes meaningful and vital, we feel it in every cell of our bodies. Participation is felt by sensations in our bodies and shifts in our hearts. Participation in this way is essential if we are to care enough for the Earth; we need to take time to look and to view her through “love eyes.”

    The bread in my hand contains the universe

    While we eat we can be mindful of the food and mindful of the community. It is a chance to receive the many gifts of the Earth from which we would not otherwise benefit if the mind is elsewhere. Nothing comes from nothing. Bread comes from the wheat fields, which need rain and sunshine. So every slice of bread also contains sunshine, the clouds, the Earth, time, space, and the hard work of the farmer, supplier and the baker. The whole universe has come together in the piece of bread. Eating mindfully is a way of showing appreciation for all the hard and loving work that has gone into creating this meal.

    Interconnectivity and compassion

    Having the opportunity to sit with our family and enjoy wonderful food is something precious, something not everybody has because many people in the world are hungry

    Realizing this makes us aware of the unique eating moment, and care and gratitude naturally arise.

    This awakening through the energy of mindfulness and compassion is what we need to live in a sustainable way.

    It is only through clear understanding of the impact of our actions that we can see how unwholesome food patterns create suffering for the body and mind. Insight into what the short- and long-term impact will be for the body will bring a shift in awareness: Becoming aware of the negative tendencies, especially greed and the feeling of “not enough,” and learning to eat the right amount of food. In our Western society, a lot of food waste is often based on ignorance about what the effect may be on our food production system.

    Thanks to the correct view of our consumption, we will see more clearly the effect of eating behavior on:


          Our human body and emotional and mental states.

          Our production methods (industrial scale, methods, food supplies, forests, grain prices, global emission).

    Eating in a sustainable way is about the quality of our food and the determination to ingest only food that keeps the body healthy and compassion alive. It is eating in a way that doesn’t cover up the stressful feelings but acknowledges them and helps to transform them.

    Mindful consumption and eating involve recognizing exactly what we need to consume (in all senses of the word) and what not to consume to keep our bodies, minds and the Earth healthy.

    This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Food for Thought

    Food for Thought store

    Members Food for Thought library

    Caroline Baerten (Belgium) is a mindfulness-based dietitian/RD, qualified chef and integrative psychotherapist (i.t) specializing in work with disturbed eating behavior, weight issues and sustainability. Her passion is urban gardening in the heart of Brussels and organizing farm-to-table dinners in collaboration with local farmers. Comments on this article are welcome and can be reached at

  • Sunday, August 25, 2019 11:07 AM | Maggie Sewall

    The Center for Mindful Eating is thrilled to host a webinar with author and trauma specialist David Treleaven, PhD, “Becoming Trauma-Sensitive: Making Mindfulness and Meditation Safe for Trauma Survivors”

    This webinar will be held September 11 at 1:00 pm EST

    Learn more and Register (link to event on website:

    Designed for wellness professionals, this webinar will introduce you to the topic and begin to equip you with the tools you need to offer mindfulness in a safe, effective, trauma-sensitive way. 

    You will leave the workshop: 

    • Understanding why meditation can create dysregulation for people who’ve experienced trauma and specific ways you can prevent this; 

    • Prepared to recognize symptoms of traumatic stress while offering mindfulness interventions; 

    • Informed about current empirical research regarding mindfulness and trauma, including evidence-based interventions you can apply immediately to your work; 

    • Equipped with tools and modifications to help you work skillfully with dysregulated arousal, traumatic flashbacks, and trauma-related dissociation. 

    • Understanding the relationship between individual and systemic forms of trauma, including responsibilities to educate oneself about power, oppression, and social context. 

    Whether you’re a beginning or veteran practitioner, anyone engaged in offering contemplative practices will benefit from this webinar, including therapists, coaches, and meditation, classroom, yoga, or religious teachers. 

    Learn more and Register (link to event on website:


    David Treleaven, PhD, is an acclaimed author, educator, and trauma professional whose work focuses on the intersection of mindfulness and trauma.

    Utilizing contemporary research to inform best practices, David has offered workshops on trauma-sensitive mindfulness at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as well as keynote speeches at the Omega Institute in New York and the Institute for Mindfulness in South Africa in Johannesburg.

    Trained in counseling psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, he received his doctorate in psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and is currently a visiting scholar at Brown University. 

    You can find him at

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The Center for Mindful Eating

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Columbia, MO 65205

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