September 16, 2015 | Caroline Baerten, RD (Belgium)
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.
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’.
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
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
Caroline Baerten, RD (Belgium) 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).
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.