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  • 03 Apr 2019 7:00 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    A Calm Mind at a Busy Workplace

    by Caroline Baerten, MA, RD

    From Food for Thought: Mindful Eating at Work, available in our Food for Thought Store

    “I can only eat in a mindful way when I’m relaxed and on vacation. ”

    Have you ever heard this before? At work, when they may be overwhelmed and distracted, many people feel that they are somehow controlled by an automatic pilot who decides what, when, and how they eat.  

    Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh describes mindfulness as “the energy of being awake to the present moment." This definition means that the

     Mindfulness is the continuous practice of touching life deeply, in every moment of the day.
    energy of awareness is not dependent on the context of where we work or live. Mindfulness is the continuous practice of touching life deeply, in every moment of the day. We are mindful when we are truly at one with what we are doing, when we do it consciously and with focus. When we answer a phone call, for example, and put all of our attention into the call, or when we talk to our boss about a project and put all other considerations on hold during the discussion. And when we eat, well…we simply eat, we don’t juggle emails or files or errands while we do.

    Although the context of a white, sandy beach and still, blue sea is much different than a busy workplace, we actually do very much the same things at both: walking, sitting, talking, and eating. And yet on vacation we notice the different spices in a dish, while at work we gulp down our food in front of the computer. The act of eating is the same, but it seems that there are different mental states at work. Would it be possible, then, to learnno matter how relaxing or stressful the environment might beto eat, to sit, and to work with concentration, with the full awareness that we are doing it? We could practice mindfulness and mindful eating throughout every moment of the day, not just when "the perfect conditions" are available.

    1. Bringing balance between “being” and “doing” mode

    At work it is especially easy to find ourselves distracted by everything that calls for our attention. Instead of mindlessly reacting to each of these environmental triggers, we should cultivate stillness and the awareness of two aspects—what’s going on around us and what’s going on within us.  Mindful eating at work means being consciously present in what we’re doing, while we’re doing it, as well as monitoring our physical, mental, and emotional states. Mindfulness at work helps us become focused on single tasks, including setting aside some quality time for a lunch break without the mobile phone, newspaper, or computer nearby.

    2. Switching off the automatic pilot

    We each have deeply ingrained eating habits, an automatic pilot that tell us what, how, and when we want to eat. Waking up to the present moment will help us recognize and embrace conditioned patterns which are good for us and to let go of those which prevent us from making healthy choices. On automatic pilot, we might reach for any food that’s within reach. Off of automatic pilot, we pause to consider our choices.

    3. Slowing down and centering

     Even one minute of consciously connecting with our senses and the food on our plate can be classified as “a mindful exercise.”

    A recurring theme in our world seems to be, “I don’t have time when at work.” Luckily, the energy of mindfulness is available anywhere and anytime. Even one minute of consciously connecting with our senses and the food on our plate can be classified as “a mindful exercise.” During times of stress, slowing down for a minute and connecting with the physical act of eating can help to rebalance our nervous system. Instead of numbing ourselves with comfort foods, eating itself can help us wake up to the sensory joy of tasting food and the need to show compassionate care for ourselves.

    From Food for Thought: Mindful Eating at Work, available in our Food for Thought StoreCaroline Baerten (Belgium) is a mindfulness-based nutritionist/RD, qualified chef, and integrative psychotherapist who specializes in work with disturbed eating behavior and nutrition ecology. In her centre MeNu, in Brussels, she offers Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion, and Mindful Eating, Conscious Living courses. She has served on the TCME Board since 2013.

    She welcomes comments to this article and can be reached at

  • 28 Mar 2019 5:01 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)
    Overcoming the Wanting Mind

    by Lynn Rossy, Ph.D.

    One of the most common statements I hear at the beginning of my mindful eating classes is “I can’t stop eating because it tastes so good even when I’m full.” My question is “Are you listening to your belly or to your mind?” After a short pause, I hear the response “From my mind!”

    People get it. They immediately recognize that we get different messages from our bellies (which register the amount of food we put in it) than we do from our minds (which is almost constantly seeking pleasure). Our bellies don’t want to have too much food, no matter how tasty, and our mind wants more and more pleasure, even if it makes us sick!

     The belly actually has great wisdom about when to stop, if we would listen to it.
    The belly actually has great wisdom about when to stop, if we would listen to it. However, our mind tells us all kinds of things about why we should keep eating—“I’m never going to have it again,” “I’m already a failure, so I might as well keep eating,” “It tastes so good, I don’t want to stop.”  The mind is rarely satisfied.


    The wanting mind is clearly described in the Eastern teachings of Buddhism. The first noble truth says that we experience suffering in life. That’s pretty easy to acknowledge, yes? The second noble truth says the cause of suffering is craving, attachment, longing, and wanting. However, our happiness comes in the moments of not wanting, not trying to make anything different, non-clinging.

    Let’s relate that to eating. When we want too much pleasure and comfort from food we end up eating more than we need, then we feel guilty about it, and then we eat more. And this happens over and over again. This definitely sounds like suffering to me.

    But we can jump off the hamster wheel. We can recognize that we have this “wanting mind,” that it is never satiated, and we don’t have to let it be the decision-maker. Instead, we can pay attention to the wisdom of our body (particularly our bellies) and let it decide when it’s had enough based on actual fullness.

    It helps when we know we can always have more later. When tasty food is not forbidden it doesn’t all need to be eaten in one sitting.  As a result, after a few weeks of practicing mindful eating, I hear over and over again how much easier it is to respect the wisdom of the body and much less food is needed to satisfy.


    Five Ways of Skillfully Addressing the Wanting Mind


    Mindfulness helps us to become aware of this wanting and protect ourselves against it. Try these tips:

    LABEL IT. First we recognize when the wanting mind is present and we name it.  When we label the emotion we activate the left prefrontal cortex, quiet the limbic system, and calm the mind.


    DO ONE ACTIVITY AT A TIME. Combating the pull of wanting can be supported by letting go of multi-tasking. Instead we must do one thing at a time in a calm and gentle manner whenever possible. In particular, the next time you eat, “just eat.”


    MEDITATE. Establish yourself in the present moment even for a short time. Feel your feet on the ground, your breath and your body, the weight of your hands. Ground yourself physically. Cultivate awareness so that you can see when you are caught in habitual states of mind.  Through practice we begin to see the thoughts that lead us to obsessing or wanting and we come back to the present.

    NOT NOW. We can tell the mind that’s wanting “Not now, later.” Noticing instead of indulging. You can actually begin to feel the relief that comes from not giving in to the wanting mind. “Wanting” doesn’t last and we can surf the wave of wanting until we reach the shore.

    GENEROSITY: One of the best methods for reducing craving and wanting is to practice giving. The act of generosity can be practiced in many ways—giving thanks, time, money, food, service, understanding. When our focus is on giving instead of wanting, happiness is available to us without external pleasures.

    To learn more, join me for the two part foundational series: Beyond the Basics (April 10 and 17) which explores in more depth the Foundations of Mindfulness and how they are related to eating.


    Lynn Rossy, Ph.D., is an author and health psychologist who specializes in offering mindfulness-based interventions for mindful eating, moving, and living. She is the Executive Director of Tasting Mindfulness, LLC. after spending much of her career at the University of Missouri System.

    She developed an empirically validated mindfulness-based intuitive eating program called Eat for Life which helps people have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies—decreasing binge eating while increasing body image, mindfulness, and intuitive eating. She teaches her class live onlive over Zoom to professionals and the general public and travels nationally and internationally to train professionals. 

    Dr. Rossy published the concepts from the program in a book entitled, The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution: Proven Strategies to End Overeating, Satisfy Your Hunger and Saor Your Life (New Harbinger, July 2016). Her book was named on of the top ten books of 2016 by Mindful.Org.

  • 22 Mar 2019 9:45 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    Food for Thought is The Center for Mindful Eating's quarterly journal written by mindful eating experts. Food for Thought is free to TCME members, but we now have several years of back issues available for purchase. Each topic-oriented issue is $5.00 and includes the downloadable journal and educational handout.

    Even better, they are on sale until March 31 with the discount code Take20%off.

    Find them at our Food for Thought store.

    If you'd like to learn about membership for access to the entire Food for Thought archives, check our our membership information:

    Not a member? Join Today! | Member Benefits

  • 19 Mar 2019 7:00 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    The Practice of Self-Compassion and Eating

    by Darith James

    Self-compassion is an inherent trait that belongs to us all.  In its essence, the practice of self-compassion is understood as treating ourselves the way we would a good friend in a time of need or suffering.  Self-compassion is grounded in the three tenants of self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.  Self-kindness is being kind and loving towards ourselves, not harsh or critical.  Common humanity is understanding that we all have places of challenge and flaws; being imperfect is part of the human experience.  Mindfulness is non-judgmental present moment awareness.  Woven together, these components are the foundation of self-compassion. 

    Sometimes the experience of eating, or perhaps our relationship with food, can feel challenged.  Perhaps we don’t feel great about the food choices we’ve made or how our body image/perception- maybe we’ve eaten due to tough emotions, not true hunger.  Many of us learn to use food as a way to cope with difficulties in life, which can leave us feeling out of balance- and perhaps even shameful or remorseful; this place is known to many.  When faced with this uncomfortable situation, instead of being critical and beating ourselves up, we can embrace the gift of self-compassion and turn towards our suffering in a loving and attentive way, rather than turning against ourselves. 

    Think of how you would treat a good friend who is struggling with food or eating- perhaps they have been using food to cope with stress or they feel confused by messages about what they should/shouldn’t eat- or simply feel out of balance with their eating motivation and behaviors.  Think of the words you would say to your friend, the support you would offer, the warmth you would naturally feel towards your friend who was suffering in the moment.  Imagine that you would gift your friend sincere kindness, a sense of common humanity through connection, and a loving reminder to stay in the moment (non-judgmentally).


    Self-compassion is always available to us as a practice we can return to again and again.

    Remember that the practice of self-compassion is simply to treat ourselves the way we would treat a good friend.  Close your eyes for a moment and take a few deep breaths.  Allow yourself to arrive right where you are, bringing your attention to the here and now.  Begin to slow down your breathing, perhaps inhaling and exhaling a bit longer than usual.  Now call to mind a time when you struggled with food or eating- allow yourself to recall and feel this, but not get lost or caught up in it.  Recall the compassion you readily felt for you friend and begin to imagine that you bring the same kindness, connection, and mindfulness to yourself.  Allow yourself to feel the same warmth, caring response, and supportive words that you gifted to your friend.  Breathe into this for a few minutes- allowing a felt sense of being nurtured from within.  Self-compassion is always available to us as a practice we can return to again and again.  As you are ready, bring your attention back to your breath and slowly open your eyes.

    Dara James is a Doctoral Candidate and Research Assistant in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University.  Her research focuses on evidence-based interventions and program development specific to mindful eating and self-compassion in various populations.  Dara is a certified instructor in Mindful Eating, Conscious Living through the University of California San Diego and Koru Mindfulness through Duke University.  Dara’s current work explores the psychology of stress, mindfulness and self-regulation in the context of eating behaviors as related to potential disease outcomes.  Additionally, Dara serves as a Consultant at ASU’s Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience designing and writing curricula for mindful eating and self-compassion courses.  Dara is passionate about the work she does and finds joy in sharing it with others

  • 11 Mar 2019 8:51 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

      Lion's Roar, the Buddhist magazine and blog, interviewed TCME Board member Jenna Hollenstein about her recently published book, Eat to Love.

    "Non-diet dietician Jenna Hollenstein’s new book Eat to Love paves a Buddhist path toward transforming our often troubled relationship with food and body. Lilly Greenblatt spoke with Hollenstein about how her revolutionary approach can guide us away from chronic dieting, food anxiety, and disordered eating with mindfulness and compassion."

    Read more at Lion's Roar:

  • 08 Mar 2019 10:21 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    In honor of International Women's Day we offer this Self-Compassionate Body Scan by Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, CDN

    Adapted from the forthcoming book, Eat to Love: A Mindful Guide to Transforming Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Life

    Printed in Winter 2019 issue of Food for Thought: Weight Inclusivity

    To rebalance your perspective on your body, try a self-compassionate body scan. Wear comfortable clothing and lie down on a supportive surface such as a bed or yoga mat. Take a few embodied breaths, focusing on the feeling of the breath entering and leaving the body. Bring the following statements to mind as you do your body scan:

    My body is doing its best.

    My body does not want me to suffer.

    Feet. Skin, tiny bones, muscles, nails. Support, adaptation. Working together. Finding balance. Bunions, hammertoes, blisters, warts. Often unappreciated. Ankles. Bones, ligaments, skin. Bending, adapting. Accommodating.

    Shins, calves. Skin texture and hair. Bones, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels. Muscles that carry me.

    Knees. Bones, skin, tiny muscles, ligaments, tendons. Flexible. Absorbing shock. Communicating pain. Always adapting.

    Thighs. Front and back. Body’s longest bones and biggest muscles. Workers. Storing fat for my safety. Skin, hair, stubble, cellulite. Stretch marks. Change, adaptation.

    Hips, pelvis. Skin, hair, bones, muscles, fat. Protection. Center of gravity. Source of power. Vulnerability. Home of my sexuality. Creation, birth, pleasure.

    Buttocks. Skin, fat, muscle. Cushioning, supporting, protecting.

    Abdomen. Skin, hair, muscle, fat. Stretch marks, scars, freckles. Internal organs I never think about. Stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, bladder. Adaptation, accommodation, change. Nourishment and growth.

    Torso, chest. Skin, bones, ligaments, fat. Tiny muscles stretch and support. Ribs that protect. Heart, lungs. Breasts that grow and change over time.

    Back. Bones, skin, muscle, fat. Freckles, skin tags, acne. Spine, vertebrae, nerves, sensory receiver, accommodator, shock absorber, workhorse, pain meter.

    Arms. Upper arms, forearms, hands, fingers, nails. Skin, hair, fat, bones, ligaments, tendons. Biceps and triceps. Shoulders, underarms, nerves, and muscles. Connection.

    Neck. Throat, voice, breath. Skin, bones, fat. Eating, swallowing. Constantly changing skin. Spine, turning, adapting.

    Face. Skin, oily, ashy, dry. Acne, scars. Bones, hair, fat, muscles. Eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, eyelashes, ears. Cheeks, chin, forehead. Connection, expression, communication.

    Head. Hair, color, texture, thick/thin, skull. Protection, perception, learning, change, connection. Home to the senses.

    Close your self-compassionate body scan with a few more embodied breaths.

  • 25 Feb 2019 6:35 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    by Konstaninos Zervos

    This article was originally posted at ME-CL. It is reprinted with permission.

    Values are central to a person sense of self. They work as standards that guide thoughts and actions. We might define values as verbal descriptions of what people are personally invested in, regard highly and seek to uphold and defend.

    Where do we get our values from?

    Our values develop out of our attitudes. They are expressed in behavior, through preferences based on beliefs about objects, persons or situations and are accompanied by feelings of approval or disapproval.

    For example, we each have beliefs about how we should take care of our health. Health is a value in its own right, affecting both personal and social aspects of life and is important to make human nature flourish. As Plato states “Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree which requires to grow and develop on all sides according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing”.

    What are the values that are components of a flourishing human life?
    • Self-determination, the ability to be able to choose and formulate one’s own plans. That means a person to be able to know what he wants, to have aims in one’s life and to be able to make decisions for himself.

    • Self-governing, the ability to be detached, to stand back and to take into account one’s own needs and the needs of the others.

    • Self-responsibility, which make people responsible for their own actions.

    • Self-realization or self-development acquiring life skills. The ability to make decisions and to take control of one’s own life rather than be at the mercy of circumstances.

    Values like creativity, friendship, health, love, peace, simplicity, success, autonomy, understanding and much more are parts of the above bigger pillars.

    What can help you lead yourself and live a life according to your values?

    You can develop a relationship with your intuition or inner wisdom and have the courage to follow that guidance. The mindful self, is feeling, sensing and experiencing, as opposed to the place where we are being driven by our narratives, our conditioning, and our critical voices. When we are judging we separate from ourselves and from the others. Through understanding we grow.

    So how do values relate to food and eating?

    In one of my mindful eating coaching sessions I asked the coachee to share her personal life values and how those those values are connected to her eating behavior. She mentioned:

    Vitality: eating foods that give me energy and make me feel good

    Positivity: eating for pleasure and satisfaction

    Balance: less guilty, eating according to my stomach hunger

    Honesty: willing to recognize and respect my true needs

    Freedom: eating without following certain rules but in a frame, I will create

    Kindness: eating better as a form of self-care

    And she summed up saying: “I would like to eat whatever I want without feeling guilty or worries. To be able to regulate my motivation to eat and regulate the food portions. My body weight is not a primary goal anymore!”

    Is eating a chore or can it be enjoyable?

    Many people think of food in terms of ticking off boxes: milk for calcium, orange juice for vitamin C, steak for iron or protein, fish for omega 3, tomatoes for lycopene, broccoli for antioxidants, capsicum for . . . etc. Eating become a chore.

    As Gyorgy Scrinis’ critique: “Not that nutrients are unimportant, but that focusing on them undermines other equally valid, commonsense ways of understanding food, such as flavour, culture, tradition, levels of processing, seasonality, locality and freshness.”

    The emphasis in calories take people away from the ingredients, processing methods, and the overall quality of their foods. It’s a barrier for creating an authentic relationship with the food because, knowledge usually creates criticism.

    Finally, what really satisfy people is not getting slim or rich, but feeling good about their lives. Attention shapes the self and it is in turn shaped by it. If a person can be aware of his instinctual desires not because he has to, but because he wants to, he can enjoy himself, his life and his food.

    Health, is the outcome of living well and finding a balance in your life.

    So, take a moment to think:

    What are your personal values? Why do they matter?

    Does your way of eating reflect your personal beliefs?

    ~ Konstantinos Zervos


    Downie, R. S., Fyfe, C., & Tannahill, A. (1991). Health promotion models and values. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Pr.

    Kashdan, T. B., & Ciarrochi, J. (2013). Mindfulness, acceptance, and positive psychology: The seven foundations of well-being. Oakland, CA: Context Press.

    Scrinis, Gyorgy. “Big Food and the Calorie Trap | Gyorgy Scrinis.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 30 July 2013,

    About Konstantinos Zervos

    Konstantinos holds an ΜSc in Ηealth Promotion and Health Education, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens/Greece, is a registered Nutritionist-Dietician, Master Practitioner on Eating Disorder and Obesity, Certified Wellcoach, and International bodyART instructor Level 1&2.

    His work focuses to inspire and motivate people to make sustainable changes in their eating behaviors by improving their holistic wellbeing. He has twenty years of working experience with specialization in obesity and disordered eating behaviors. The last five years he specializes in the field of mindfulness and its application in eating behavior. He is the founder of the program “EATT*”, a scientific and evidenced based mindful eating intervention who has helped more than a hundred of people to change their relationship with food and their body.

    You can find Konstantinos at



  • 19 Feb 2019 6:25 AM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    My journey to make mindful feeding a joyful experience.

    by Greg Christian, Chef, Author, Sustainable Foodservice Consultant and Entrepreneur

    A ham sandwich prepared mindfully encourages oneness, compassion and love. Through the practice of mindful feeding, we can influence not only the health of humanity, but we can inspire eaters to become their best selves, erase the invisible lines of separation placed in our minds, and contribute to a world that works for everyone.

    I cooked for my family as a young adult, worked in many renowned restaurants in New York City developing my culinary skills, and owned an upscale catering business in Chicago for seventeen years before I decided to truly care about the way I fed others.

    After many years of doctor’s visits and emergency room stays, my youngest daughter ultimately found relief from her illnesses through a diet centered on clean, unprocessed foods.

    What began as a journey to heal my daughter emerged as a passion to serve not only the bodies of the world, but their minds and spirits as well. Seeing the world anew through the eyes of a dad with a child healed by food, I spent years transitioning my catering business to a mindful feeding program.

    A mindful feeding approach requires deep listening from both cooks and eaters. It necessitates a vision and continual reminders of what matters. It accounts only to the present moment. Mindful feeding guides eaters into the process of dining while bestowing the cook with purpose and vitality. It takes care of the land and the people, and supports the community.

    I work in schools where I conduct countless taste tests and surveys to refine menus that meet nutritional standards and kid palate standards. I remind kids they are the customers and their opinions are valued. And I ask the cooks what dishes ignite their passions. Through listening and engagement, kids hearts and minds open to trying new foods and eating healthy while the people who prepare the food transform from workers and mothers to warriors.

    A child heard sees the power of using her voice, feels the joy of contributing to a better world, and learns how to blend their wants and desires with others. In a room full of heard children, school administrators see hope that all schools can change to mindful feeding programs, and influential politicians witness joy never seen in a school cafeteria.

    I frequently hear from confused parents who are unable to process their child eating tofu or green beans or ratatouille when they won’t touch the same foods at home. When we engage in any part of the food process - growing, cooking, planning, shopping, knowing the farmer, sharing in community, distributing - we are more likely to make healthy choices that benefit ourselves and the planet.

    I asked a group of students what they liked about lunch at school. A brave fifth grader raised her hand and explained, “I like to talk to people and tell them about my day.” I asked if she liked to hear about others’ day. “Oh yes,!” she said “That’s the other part - listening to my friends talk about their day.” Whether in the school lunch room, the family dinner table, or hospital cafeteria, a meal provides an opportunity to connect with the people around us as we share in the intimate exchange of ingesting food and the possibility of much more.

    About Greg Christian: Greg Christian is a highly successful consultant, chef, author, and entrepreneur offering solutions to help transform food service into a more sustainable entity. Greg’s efforts as founder and developer of the Organic School Project have been recognized on a national as well as local level. His involvement with the Organic School Project and strong background in the food service sector led him to launch Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners, a sustainability consulting firm, which provides organizations in the food service industry with in-house dining services, sustainable solutions, implementation strategies, and the expertise to adopt sustainable operations. You can find Greg at

  • 18 Feb 2019 2:18 PM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    Many Moore, the actress who plays Rebecca Pearson on This is Us, spoke to Huffington Post about her favorite food and approach to eating, which is very much in line with mindful eating. Check out the article and look for a quote by TCME past President, Marsha Hudnall.

    Read the full article here.

  • 29 Jan 2019 3:47 PM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

    Health Canada released its new food guide last week, and it included mindful eating in its recommendations. Great! Or is it? Dietician, mindful eating author, and TCME member Vincci Tsui weighs in on the new guidelines, including the mindful eating section of the recommendations. Read more at Eat North.

TCME is a member and donation supported 501(C)3 non-profit organization. We depend your generosity to make our mindful eating programs available. Make a tax deductible contribution on our donation page

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