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Touch Hunger, and How it Affects Our Eating Behavior

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.

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.

Participants will:

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 (, 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.

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

The Center for Mindful Eating

P.O. Box 4286

Portsmouth, NH 03802

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