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How to become a conscious eater

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How to become a conscious eater

Food-Ology

For many of the people I’ve mentored, coached and educated over the last two decades (yep, I’m that old), their biggest day-to-day challenge is managing their food intake in a healthy, intelligent and responsible manner. On a practical, emotional and psychological level, it’s also been one of my biggest challenges over the years. If you happen to ‘live’ somewhere on the scale between disordered eating and eating disorder, then today’s post is for you. It might be time to pay attention.

While I don’t have an eating disorder (as such), it’s fair to say that my eating has been disordered from time to time over my journey. Especially when I was a fat teenager. Who became an obsessive skinny teenager. Who became an obsessive bodybuilder in his late teens and early twenties.

Knowing Isn’t Doing

Sure, I might seem mild-mannered, measured and disciplined from the outside but not too far below the surface lives an eating machine that’s capable of caloric suicide and dietary behaviours which belie my alleged intelligence and knowledge. I keep that guy in check most of the time, but we all understand that knowing isn’t doing, so even somebody like me still has to work at being a conscious eater. Being an exercise scientist and coach doesn’t mean that I don’t have the ability to make stupid, irrational or irresponsible decisions. Or to eat my own bodyweight in cheesecake.

Nutritional Dysfunction

Many people eat unconsciously. They eat on autopilot. They eat what they don’t need. Every day. And then they (strangely) wonder why they’re fat. And unhealthy. They eat processed crap. They eat socially. They eat because it’s expected. Because it’s there. Because it’s free (wouldn’t want to waste anything). They eat emotionally. Reactively. They reward themselves with food. And their children too. Sometimes they bribe (motivate, manipulate, control) their kids with food. “If you do… (insert task)… I’ll take you to McDonalds for dinner”. Awesome parenting! They fantasise about food. Lie about it. They eat to ease the pain. To give themselves instant physical pleasure. To numb out. To escape. To fit in. To forget.

And then when they’re finished, they hate themselves all over again. Until the next episode. And the cycle continues.

What is Conscious Eating?

“Conscious eating is giving our body the nutrition it needs for optimal health, function and energy. Nothing more or less.”

Simple huh? In theory anyway. If only we lived in the theory – we’d all be freakin’ amazing. So, what’s the most conscious and responsible question you and I can ask in relation to our eating habits?

“Why am I eating this?”

If our answer is not “because I need it” then we’re eating unconsciously. Irresponsibly. Emotionally. When we eat consciously, our body, mind and emotions are all working in harmony.

How to become a conscious eater

Drug of Choice

For many people, food has become their drug of choice. Their medication. Their refuge. And don’t think I’m being melodramatic when I use the term drug. Food is indeed mood altering. It can produce high highs and low lows. It can be addictive and destructive. Over time, we might need more of it to produce the same ‘high’ or feeling. It affects our nervous system. And our endocrine system. It (like other drugs) produces biochemical changes. Emotional changes. Psychological changes. It can be both life-enhancing and life-destroying. Sometimes, the distance between ‘use’ and ‘abuse’ is not far at all.

The Psychology of Overeating

Many of us were raised in a situation (environment, mindset, group-think) where eating food that we didn’t physically need (that is, consuming excess calories, salt, sugar, fat) was rationalised, explained, justified and even expected. The fact that we weren’t hungry or actually requiring food was irrelevant. We often ate because that’s what the situation, circumstance or moment dictated. And when we didn’t eat (the food we didn’t need) we were criticised. “Don’t you dare leave anything on your plate.”

No wonder we have issues.

We were trained to celebrate with excessive eating. That is, disordered eating. We were taught to overeat on certain occasions. It was the rule. Still is. Christmas, birthdays, reunions, anniversaries, engagements, New Year and Easter were (are) all legitimate times to abuse our bodies with food. Apparently. We were encouraged to over-ride the ‘full’ signal. To ignore what our body was telling us. To unbutton our pants and keep eating.

Such an intelligent species.

Justifiable Gluttony

I’m still amazed at how many people become defensive, emotional and even angry (in my presentations), when I suggest that none of us need to overeat on Christmas day (for example). Amazingly, it’s actually possible to have a great day (maybe even a better day) without having to gorge ourselves on food that our body doesn’t need. Apparently, some people can’t celebrate that way. The date (on the calendar) determines the behaviour. The notion of avoiding excess calories seems almost irrational to them. This is simply another easy-to-understand example of the dysfunctional attitudes, beliefs and expectations that so many of us have around food.

Conscious eating is about reconnecting with our body. It’s about stopping the abuse. The lies. The excuses. It’s about slowing down. It’s about paying attention. It’s about honouring and respecting the gift that is our body.

I’m not really an affirmation kinda guy (no shit Sherlock) but when it comes to this issue, I’ll make an exception.

Here’s something you might want to copy and put on your fridge (pantry, forehead) for a month or ten.

  • I will not eat food I don’t need.
  • I will not reward myself with food.
  • I will not medicate with food.
  • I will not allow situations, circumstances or other people to influence or dictate the way I eat.
  • I will not rationalise poor eating.
  • I will not be a food martyr; I will simply do what I need to.
  • I will not lie to myself or others about my eating behaviours.
  • I will not eat in secret.
  • I will not repeat the mistakes of my past.
  • I will not allow my mind or emotions to sabotage my physical potential.

In her new book, health and sustainability expert Sophie Egan shares how to make practical food-related decisions that you can feel good about.

By Rebecca Heaton

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There’s no denying that we are living in unprecedented times. But one thing that remains constant is the need to eat. In her latest book, How to Be a Conscious Eater (Workman, 2020), Sophie Egan, M.P.H., a Stanford lecturer and regular contributor to the The New York Times Health section, offers a holistic, easy-to-follow framework on how to navigate the sometimes overwhelming world of food to make healthy choices and become a conscious eater.

What inspired you to write this book?

Through touring for my first book, Devoured (William Morrow, 2017), and writing for The New York Times, I’ve been fielding reader questions about conscious and healthy eating. I discovered that 8 in 10 Americans are confused about how to make good food choices and align those with values, like sustainability and supporting local, because of an overload of nutritional, environmental and scientific information and misinformation. My book aims to be a prescription lens to navigate that overload, save time, and make smart, informed food choices that are science-based.

During these uncertain times, what advice can you offer on eating consciously?

I suggest asking yourself three questions in evaluating a given food: 1) Is it good for me? 2) Is it good for others? 3) Is it good for the planet? Conscious eating is not a diet or about missing out on all the foods you love, but rather it’s the lifelong intention to align your food choices with your values. This mental checklist is evergreen and meant to empower you over the long haul. In the time of the pandemic, I call it “coronaconscious” eating. During this time, I encourage you to think about how new definitions and new factors have emerged.

When it comes to what’s good for you, this may now include eating to support your immune system. How does what you eat affect your sleep? That’s one of the most important things we can do to keep our immune systems humming. Think about foods that may upset your stomach and make you uncomfortable as you try to fall asleep. Sugary foods deserve extra caution, both for inflammation as well as for potential sleep disruption. And so on.

When it comes to good for others —whom I define as all the animals and people affected throughout the supply chain (from the farm to the processing plant to the storage facility, to the distributor, to the grocery shelf, to your delivery worker)— think about a whole new set of “others” hopefully now on your radar: slaughterhouse workers, farmworkers, grocery delivery drivers, restaurant workers, small-business owners struggling to hold on.

How can you use your food dollars to support fair wages, paid sick leave and humane work conditions for these essential workers?

How can you raise your voice at a policy and company level to raise the bar for these issues, not only for your specific meal or specific ingredient but on a systems level?

And lastly, when it comes to good for the planet, on a very hopeful note, let’s all take heart in the continued urgency and power of food as a tool for climate action. Think about creative ways to continue the great cultural momentum around minimizing single-use plastics and emphasizing reusability—and the increasingly popular notion of circularity, or keeping materials in use as long as possible—while also being safe in terms of minimizing the spread of the virus.

You mention ways to avoid food waste. It seems like now, more than ever, that’s so important to address. Do you have some tips?

Food is truly a gift—each and every bite you have access to and that you have the opportunity to enjoy—so try to do what you can to minimize your household food waste.

How to become a conscious eater

–> To say our current world is overwhelming is an understatement for most. With over-packed schedules, work deadlines, family responsibilities, long commutes and regular day-to-day tasks, many of us are left feeling overwhelmed and out of time. When your day feels full and you barely have a minute for yourself, seemingly simple health concepts like mindful eating suddenly feel impossible. My clients often share that they don’t know where to start and, when and if they do try, they worry they are failing.

While it can seem arduous to create a space and time to allow for conscious eating that brings attention and awareness to the act of consuming food, research shows time and time again that there are so many benefits that come from applying mindful practices to mealtime.

So, what are the basics? Where do we start and how do we create an environment that allows us to become more mindful of our eating habits in a world that demands quick responses and fast action?

1. Change the Focus

Our relationship with food is extremely important; the way we view food and the reasons we consume food matters. Simply changing our focus on food and our reasons for eating can help us become more conscious eaters. Many people are often focused on weight loss and while that can be important and necessary for various health reasons, some approaches can create a negative atmosphere in relation to our consumption of food. When you are in a “weight loss” only mindset, you may find yourself eliminating macronutrients, attempting unsustainable diets or demonizing specific foods.

I encourage clients to instead focus on nourishing their bodies. When we view each meal and snack as an opportunity to nourish our bodies, to fuel our active lifestyles, to help our bodies heal and grow, and to physically feel our best each and every day, then eating becomes a positive experience and a time to do something beneficial for our physical self. We are able to focus on the abundance of nutrient-dense foods that will fuel us and help us to accomplish our many tasks, rather than allowing our thoughts to be consumed by the foods we feel we must avoid.

2. Dine When You Eat

We are all guilty of eating on the go sometimes, attempting to consume our entire lunch in a two-minute break between meetings or standing and multitasking while eating as we encourage our kids to sit nicely and eat their meals. Life happens and sometimes that may mean that structured mealtime does not. But as much as possible, it is important to sit down and slow down in order to fully experience our meals.
Research shows that it takes 20 minutes before our brains receive signals from digestive hormones indicating feelings of fullness and satisfaction. For many, though, mealtime may be much shorter than 20 minutes, meaning we unintentionally deny ourselves the opportunity to recognize fullness before scarfing down our entire meal. This becomes even more problematic when we allow mealtimes and unwinding times to intersect, an action that leads to mindless eating and, usually, an overconsumption of calories.

By creating a dining-specific space for our meals—whether that is at home or at work—we allow ourselves the opportunity to sit down, slow down and become more conscious while we eat. We are able to dedicate mealtime to actually eating; something we may rarely do. The space we create should be a place separate from the chaos of our desks, the clutter of our kitchen counters and the various technological distractions competing for our attention. When we truly give our meals the time and focus they deserve by sitting and being aware of the food in front of us, we allow ourselves the opportunity to taste, appreciate and enjoy our meals. In doing so, we can also become more in tune with our bodies’ signals and learn how to recognize and respond to those feelings of hunger and fullness.

3. Discover Your Eating Schedule

I’ve heard it all, from eating three square meals a day (or was that six small meals?) to only eating between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., with each idea claiming to be the “right” one. But the truth is, there is no one “right” way. We are all physically different and all have different nutritional needs, meaning there is not a single correct way to consume food throughout the day. Rather, we each need to work to discover what the best eating schedule is for us at this point in our lives. It may not be the easy answer, but it is the truth.

When we feed our bodies at the appropriate times based on our own hunger cues, rather than a set timetable, we can learn to become more conscious of what types and quantities of foods our bodies require and then honor those needs. Next time you go to eat a meal or snack, ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” If the answer is yes, then ask “What does my body need right now to feel and function at its best for the rest of the day?” By taking the time to answer these two questions, we are more likely to appropriately respond to the body’s needs rather than acting on an idea of how and when we think we should eat.

4. Eat Food You Like

From time to time I will hear this: “I just really don’t like [insert whatever food this may be for you].” My answer is always: “You don’t have to eat it!” There are so many healthy food options available to us, so if there is one specific food that you really do not enjoy eating, know that you can get your nutrients from another source. This is not to say any of us can eat deep-dish pizza every day for the rest of our lives and bypass all vegetables, but it does mean that we can incorporate a variety of foods into a healthy diet, even ones that we may have thought were off limits. As long as we are mindful of portion sizes, making healthy choices the majority of the time and working to be aware of the body’s hunger and fullness cues, we really can eat the foods we enjoy and still achieve our health goals.

Eating foods you like allows you to look forward to nourishing your body day after day and can help create conscious eating in creating that desire to truly experience your food at mealtimes. It can also help us to recognize how certain foods make us physically feel, both during and after consumption, which can play a significant role in how much and how often we consume that particular item. Remember to try new foods and cooking techniques every now and then, as well—you may be surprised to find that a food you previously thought you did not enjoy, you do now or when prepared in a different way.

5. Plan to Eat

One of the most important steps of becoming a conscious eater is having a plan for when and what we are going to eat. This does not have to be complicated, overwhelming or time-consuming. Putting together a simple strategy for what and when you are going to eat can help you be more mindful about the food choices you are making and help to ensure that, when your body does signal that it is in need of nutrients, you have healthy and filling options available. Starting with a simple grocery list and a few meal and snack ideas is all it takes. If you are looking to take meal planning a step further, try preparing and portioning out snacks or prepping parts of larger meals in advance. These small steps can help eliminate some of the stress that comes with mealtime so that when it is time to eat, you can sit and enjoy your food.

Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet
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By Sophie Egan

A radically practical guide to making food choices that are good for you, others, and the planet.

Is organic really worth it? Are eggs ok to eat? If so, which ones are best for you, and for the chicken—Cage-Free, Free-Range, Pasture-Raised? What about farmed salmon, soy milk, sugar, gluten, fermented foods, coconut oil, almonds? Thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or somewhere in between?

Using three criteria—Is it good for me? Is it good for others? Is it good for the planet?—Sophie Egan helps us navigate the bewildering world of food so that we can all become conscious eaters. To eat consciously is not about diets, fads, or hard-and-fast rules. It’s about having straightforward, accurate information to make smart, thoughtful choices amid the chaos of conflicting news and marketing hype. An expert on food’s impact on human and environmental health, Egan organizes the book into four categories—stuff that comes from the ground, stuff that comes from animals, stuff that comes from factories, and stuff that’s made in restaurant kitchens. This practical guide offers bottom-line answers to your most top-of-mind questions about what to eat.

“The clearest, most useful food book I own.”—A. J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author

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Look Inside

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

How to become a conscious eater

Meet the Author

How to become a conscious eater

Sophie Egan

Review quotes

“…smart and sensible approach to eating consciously…” — Michael Pollan, New York Times bestselling author

“If you’ve ever stalled out in the refrigerated aisle debating the environmental merits of oat vs. almond milk, add this book to your bedside table. Sophie Egan provides clear, non-judgmental information. It’s a practical guide that empowers readers to understand the plethora of labels and claims out there and make informed food choices every time you go to the store.” — Bon Appetit.com

“The clearest, most useful food book I own. Thank you, Sophie, from my stomach, farm animals everywhere, and my great-great-grandchildren.”
—A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author

“Thought-provoking… Egan displays a talent for making the environmental complexities of food choices comprehensible… [A] thorough primer to combining health consciousness and environmental responsibility.” – Publishers Weekly starred review

“Egan ( Devoured: How We Eat Defines Who We Are ) presents a voice of reason in the cacophony of advice about food and diet that surrounds us…Recommended for everyone who eats, particularly those who hope to improve their own health and the planet’s by doing so.” — Library Journal starred review

“Readers will find much to take away, including reminders that our consumer behavior can drive change and that what’s good for us and good for the planet often align.”— Booklist

The book is a practical guide to picking foods that are good for both people and planet.

How to become a conscious eater

Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto.

How to become a conscious eater

  • Harvard University Extension School

How to become a conscious eater

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Grocery shopping used to be easier for me. Years ago, before I starting thinking about carbon footprints and animal welfare issues and plastic packaging and ethical labels, it was fairly straightforward to grab a package of bread, a carton of eggs, or piece of meat off a store shelf. All I considered was the price per unit.

Now I know too much about too many things, and this information overload can lead to analysis paralysis. Shopping has become a slower and more exhausting process as I weigh one evil against another in order to make the most eco-friendly, ethical, healthy, or zero-waste choice – and, ideally, all of those in one.

If you can relate to this sense of overwhelm, then perhaps you should pick up a copy of Sophie Egan’s new book, “How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet” (Workman, 2020). Egan, who works for the Culinary Institute of America and is a director of strategy for the Food for Climate League, has written a highly readable guide to making food choices that tick as many of the boxes on your list as possible.

Egan’s guiding principles, mentioned in the title, are that foods be good for oneself (this includes enjoyment and cultural elements, in addition to health), good for the people who produce them (leaving the best possible mark on farmers and animals), and good for the planet (making choices that don’t damage, and perhaps even repair, natural ecosystems). These are ambitious principles, but necessary ones if we hope to alter our food habits in order to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis, as we’ve been told is necessary by numerous scientists.

“How to Be a Conscious Eater” is divided into four parts – “stuff” that comes from the ground, from animals, from factories (a.k.a. prepackaged, processed foods), and from restaurant kitchens. Within each of these categories, Egan addresses the main foods and the issues associated with them that would influence your decision to buy.

I appreciated her emphasis on the the importance of putting environmental issues into context. Take almonds, for example, which have a notoriously high water footprint that has led many people to avoid them in recent years. Egan writes:

“With every food choice you make, ask yourself, As opposed to what? If we’re talking about a handful of almonds versus a stick of string cheese, which wins? The handful of almonds has a lower water footprint. Almonds also win for health and carbon footprint.”

While there are other nuts with smaller water and carbon footprints and comparable health benefits to almonds, the point is that we shouldn’t consider items independently; everything must be put into the right context.

Egan is a strong proponent of “plant-forward” eating, rather than veganism or vegetarianism. She challenges the common misconception that foods are automatically healthier just because they don’t contain animal products and points out that many vegan substitutes are highly processed food products. It would be more effective to “readjust the ratios of plant and animal foods compared with typical American diets,” and eat more beans and legumes than red meat.

” data-caption=”Author Sophie Egan” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Workman Publishing (used with permission)

The best vegetables are the ones you’re eating, so Egan urges people not to get hung up on expensive organic produce and just start trying to get those recommended five servings a day. She dedicates a chapter to “beans, the humble heroes” that improve the earth not only through their protein- and fiber-packed tastiness, but also by fixing nitrogen in the soil when growing.

“This boosts soil health, which can boost yields. And most altruistically of all, because of the way legumes enrich the soil around them, they actually lower the greenhouse gas emissions of crops planted there after they are gone. Like a beachgoer who cleans up not just her own picnic spot but the sand surrounding her area, legumes are pros at paying it forward.”

Many pages are dedicated to reading labels and packaging, and making sense of the countless logos and seals that appear on supermarket products. Some are helpful, others are misleading, and Egan offers clear advice on what to look for and what to avoid. She discusses specific certifications, including USDA Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, American Grassfed, Seafood Watch Best Choice, MSC Certified Sustainable Seafood, and numerous egg carton labels.

She warns against falling for “health haloes,” which portray foods as being healthier than they are, usually by stating something has been removed that we tend to view as unhealthy, i.e. “low-fat” or “gluten-free,” when in reality it hasn’t improved the product’s nutritional profile. She uses “veggie sticks/straws” as an example:

“Those products are typically about the same calorically and the same or worse nutritionally (depending on the replacement ingredients, which are often higher amounts of salt and sugar). As a result, most of us will unwittingly eat more of products like these than we would have of the original product.”

The book includes extensive advice on how to reduce food waste through meal planning, using a shopping list, storing food in ways that make it highly visible, and incorporating leftovers into subsequent meals. Egan is a proponent of plastic reduction, avoiding bottled water, favoring glass packaging whenever possible, and shopping with reusable containers.

In striving to address its three principles of doing good for eaters, others, and planet, the book is a curious mishmash of dietary science, environmental information, eco-frugality, and cooking advice – but it works well. It answers the ordinary, practical questions that many of us have, offering resources for follow-up if wanted. It can be read either in its entirety or used as a reference book when you have a burning question about specific ingredients and production methods.

If you want to feel more confident in the grocery store and in knowing that you’re feeding yourself and your family to the best of your ability, then this book is an excellent place to start.

You can order the book here or request it at your local library.

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10 Tips to Become a More Conscious Eater

How many of us are truly present during the ritual of eating? Over the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time eating absent-mindedly: in front of my computer, on the phone or while watching television, rushing through lunch on the go, snacking without realising and sometimes skipping meals altogether. Wanting to change my relationship to food I went along to a ´conscious eating’ workshop to find out how to eat more mindfully.

How many of us finish our food and don’t even notice what it smelled or tasted like, or whether we’ve even enjoyed it? How many of us were taught to finish everything on your plate as a child rather than listening to when we feel full?

While my love of food and cooking is a healthy passion, I’ve realised that how I eat is less so. That’s why, last month, I went to a workshop called ‘alimentación consciente’ (conscious eating) organised by Frutopía in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to learn how to create better personal eating habits. I went with an open mind and a desire to build a healthier relationship to eating: to appreciate, celebrate and take time to enjoy my food, using all my senses to become a more conscious eater. The workshop both fulfilled my aspirations and my belly also!

While we were studying Frutopía provided us with some healthy snacks…

What is conscious eating?

Conscious eating is closely linked to the practice of meditation: being aware and present while one eats. For example, noting how your body reacts when you smell and see the food in front of you, its touch and texture. How does the flavour change as you chew? What happens to your appetite when you take time to savour every bite? Conscious eating is the practice of thinking about where and how we eat, what to eat and why.

Ofelia Valle, the nutritionist who led the workshop, had plenty of advice to help us on our way to becoming healthier, conscious eaters. Below I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 tips to get us started!

10 Tips to Become a More Conscious Eater

1. Remove any distractions that are likely to divert you away from eating consciously. Leave your computer and phone in a different room and turn the television off

2. Always sit down to eat, never eat standing up. Maintain a good posture while eating (sitting down, back straight) and if you can focus on your breathing while eating, this will help keep your mind focused

3. Pause before you grab a snack. Reflect on why do you need to eat right now? Are you really hungry or is there another reason? Boredom? Are you thirsty? Learn to read your body’s signals on what it needs and when?

4. Take a moment to appreciate the food you are about to eat. Reflect on where your food came from, who produced it and how blessed you are to be enjoying it. This will help grow your appreciation and awareness

5. Allow at least 20 minutes to eat for each meal. It takes 20 minutes for us to feel full. If we rush our food, we are more likely to carry on eating and eat too much

6. Before you dive in, take time to really relish in your food: spend a moment smelling the aroma and savouring how appetising the food looks, this will help satisfy your palette

7. Concentrate on every mouthful, putting the fork down between bites. This will help prevent rushing and will motivate you to finish one mouthful before beginning another. To slow you down further, you can try using the opposite hand to which you are used to using

(papas chorreadas, recipe via lasalsainglesa.com/recipes)

8. Save the best for last. Leave your favourite food type on the plate until the end. You’re likely to be more satisfied and won’t want to continue eating having left your favourite food until last!

9. Try to source sustainable, organic and high quality ingredients making it easier to appreciate and celebrate your food

(one of the delicious smoothies on sale at Frutopía)

10. Have patience! Breaking old habits and creating new ones takes time. It’s said to take 21 days for new habits to stick. Set yourself a three-week challenge, even it’s eating consciously for just one meal a day.

Check out Frutopía’s Facebook page in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for upcoming workshops.

How to become a conscious eater

Read Next

How to become a conscious eater

Wellness Care

By Leslie Dotson

I’m going to tell you the secret right from the start about how to become a conscious eater: notice the thoughts about the foods you’re about to order or prepare. Chances are they’ve also created emotions around your eating habits that once examined, can be controlled with very little effort.

That’s it! Put your attention on your “food-thinking” before you put it in your mouth and your life will change forever.

I realized this deceptively simple (although I didn’t say easy—it takes practice!) solution when I had a severe case of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). It caused extreme pain and discomfort, so I was forced to learn to control my food intake just to live a normal a life. Here’s what I learned: control comes easier when I realized I had certain thoughts attached to food that I could simple “detach” from.

And you can too.

Once we realize that we can control our thinking, it becomes easier to eat the best foods at the best times and the best amounts.

So why are we not fully Conscious when it comes to eating? I think people are somewhat conscious and at some point of when the food is ordered/prepared and on the plate, and then traveling to the mouth, there is a breakdown or lack of control of what is good for our bodies.

As we get older and our metabolisms slow down, the fat starts to pile on inch by inch if we do not watch our portions of food, time of eating those foods and what kinds of foods we are eating. I frequently share a meal with my wife at restaurants, for instance.

Dr. Bronner’s Cosmic Circle

We also have to be active in our lives with proper exercise, movement in our bodies, like Yoga, Cardio weights, biking, walking, skating, surfing, dancing, etc. Whatever is appropriate enjoyable to you is essential in keeping a conscious mind.

Sometimes you literally have to question yourself before placing the food in your mouth or ordering/preparing:

  • I do not need to eat this much, I am satisfied with half of the plate
  • This food is going to break my diet cycle and I want to keep to my exercise program
  • I just have to say no, even if a little more
  • I know it is good, but I do not have to eat it or order it
  • Simply, I really do not need it!

Create this new habit of Consciousness BEFORE EATING and you will get good results toward your goals. Most important your will cultivate a feeling of wellness in your mind, body and soul.

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10 Tips to Become a More Conscious Eater

How many of us are truly present during the ritual of eating? Over the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time eating absent-mindedly: in front of my computer, on the phone or while watching television, rushing through lunch on the go, snacking without realising and sometimes skipping meals altogether. Wanting to change my relationship to food I went along to a ´conscious eating’ workshop to find out how to eat more mindfully.

How many of us finish our food and don’t even notice what it smelled or tasted like, or whether we’ve even enjoyed it? How many of us were taught to finish everything on your plate as a child rather than listening to when we feel full?

While my love of food and cooking is a healthy passion, I’ve realised that how I eat is less so. That’s why, last month, I went to a workshop called ‘alimentación consciente’ (conscious eating) organised by Frutopía in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to learn how to create better personal eating habits. I went with an open mind and a desire to build a healthier relationship to eating: to appreciate, celebrate and take time to enjoy my food, using all my senses to become a more conscious eater. The workshop both fulfilled my aspirations and my belly also!

While we were studying Frutopía provided us with some healthy snacks…

What is conscious eating?

Conscious eating is closely linked to the practice of meditation: being aware and present while one eats. For example, noting how your body reacts when you smell and see the food in front of you, its touch and texture. How does the flavour change as you chew? What happens to your appetite when you take time to savour every bite? Conscious eating is the practice of thinking about where and how we eat, what to eat and why.

Ofelia Valle, the nutritionist who led the workshop, had plenty of advice to help us on our way to becoming healthier, conscious eaters. Below I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 tips to get us started!

10 Tips to Become a More Conscious Eater

1. Remove any distractions that are likely to divert you away from eating consciously. Leave your computer and phone in a different room and turn the television off

2. Always sit down to eat, never eat standing up. Maintain a good posture while eating (sitting down, back straight) and if you can focus on your breathing while eating, this will help keep your mind focused

3. Pause before you grab a snack. Reflect on why do you need to eat right now? Are you really hungry or is there another reason? Boredom? Are you thirsty? Learn to read your body’s signals on what it needs and when?

4. Take a moment to appreciate the food you are about to eat. Reflect on where your food came from, who produced it and how blessed you are to be enjoying it. This will help grow your appreciation and awareness

5. Allow at least 20 minutes to eat for each meal. It takes 20 minutes for us to feel full. If we rush our food, we are more likely to carry on eating and eat too much

6. Before you dive in, take time to really relish in your food: spend a moment smelling the aroma and savouring how appetising the food looks, this will help satisfy your palette

7. Concentrate on every mouthful, putting the fork down between bites. This will help prevent rushing and will motivate you to finish one mouthful before beginning another. To slow you down further, you can try using the opposite hand to which you are used to using

(papas chorreadas, recipe via lasalsainglesa.com/recipes)

8. Save the best for last. Leave your favourite food type on the plate until the end. You’re likely to be more satisfied and won’t want to continue eating having left your favourite food until last!

9. Try to source sustainable, organic and high quality ingredients making it easier to appreciate and celebrate your food

(one of the delicious smoothies on sale at Frutopía)

10. Have patience! Breaking old habits and creating new ones takes time. It’s said to take 21 days for new habits to stick. Set yourself a three-week challenge, even it’s eating consciously for just one meal a day.

Check out Frutopía’s Facebook page in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for upcoming workshops.

by Sunshine · February 19, 2019

How to become a conscious eater

Most of us are unhealthy because of what we eat. How do I know this? Diseases like Diabetes Type 2, High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol are due to our bad eating habits. Healthy eating is not a habit for most of us. Some of us think we know what it means to eat healthy but do we?

What exactly is meant by a healthy eating? Healthy eating involves being conscious about food properties such as ingredients, micronutrients and macronutrients. It is also someone who is aware of what they’re eating, when they’re eating and why they’re eating. They have a good understanding of their relationship with food to their well being. Much like a car needs gasoline for fuel to keep it running and performing the task for which it was intended, our bodies need fuel to keep them up and running too. Unfortunately, we expect this to happen on french fries and hamburger. You will not get the best utilization of your body if you are not conscious about what you eat and how it affects your performance and mood in the long run.

There are all kinds of reasons the unconscious eater eats. Emotions tend to drive us, and we satisfy that emotional distress with whatever we might consider “comfort foods” like donuts and potato chips. Anxiety, boredom, anger, loneliness, sadness, and fear are just a few things that may drive us to the fridge or pantry hoping for relief for the emotional distress. We hope food can ease the pain, but it never does. In fact, post bingeing we add guilt to the emotion that causes us to binge making us feel worse.

But happiness also causes us to eat. We celebrate holidays, birthdays, birth and death with food. We enjoy food in good and bad times. And the selection of food is usually not the most nutritious.

Becoming a conscious eater simply means thinking about what you’re putting in your mouth, why and when and considering what exactly your body needs for fuel. Unconscious eating is not an easy habit to break, but it can be done, and not only will your body thank you for the improved nutrition it’s getting, but you’ll reap the benefits of increased strength, stamina and sense of well-being. This will take some effort on your part to exchange the bad for the good.

Start by incorporating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into your daily diet. Make a commitment to do a food swap every week. Have brown rice instead of white rice. Or replace french fries with sweet potato fries. Explore the produce section in the grocery store and you will discover a variety of nutritionally dense food. Begin to educate yourself about the nutritional needs of your body and as you become a conscious nd healthy eater you will feel the difference physically and mentally.

Drink Up

Water makes up more than half of your body weight, and you need plenty of fluid to function. It recommended drinking at least 8 cups of water every day. I say to drink enough water until your urine is as clear as water.

Our bodies lose fluid every day through urine, feces, and sweat. In fact, we lose fluid with every breath we take as we exhale. We need to replace it regularly to maintain blood circulation which carries oxygen and nutrients to the trillions of cells in our bodies as well as carrying off waste. Proper digestion and maintenance of body temperature also rely on adequate fluid intake.

While you can certainly get fluids from many sources like milk, juices, coffee, tea, soda, and a number of other beverages, nothing can beat pure water’s health benefits. Perhaps most importantly it’s calorie, caffeine and sugar-free. If you’re a soda or coffee junkie, the very thought of drinking plain old water may leave a bad taste in your mouth. Try replacing at least one of your regular beverages with water each day and strive to increase it. Adding a splash of fruit juice to your water might make it more palatable and help you get in the habit of drinking more H2O on a daily basis.

Some people complain that drinking a lot of water send them to bathroom at the most inconvenient times. Its a pain in the neck that when you are driving and you want to urinate. I suggest to time your water intake when you know you will have easy access to the bathroom. In addition, stop drinking water a few hours prior to bedtime.

Your first few cups of water won’t send you to the bathroom frequently because you were probable dehydrated. However, as you drink more water and become hydrated you will be making frequent trips to the bathroom. Therefore, be prepared.

Hunger Triggers

It’s no secret that keeping your body limber and strong is important to good physical health and mental well being. There is a multitude of ways we can attain and maintain a good level of strength and stamina to meet our daily needs at any age. Our bodies were made to move, lift, push, pull and stretch and when we spend the majority of our days not performing in those ways we are bound to lose those abilities. Thus, the old adage, “use it or lose it”. We already have all that we need to strengthen and maintain our bodies without having to use any special equipment or a personal trainer.

However, many people complain that exercising can induce their hunger. This might be because your glucose decreased due to the utilization of carbohydrates during an intense workout session. If this happens to you take note . This way you can be prepared to eat right after working out.

It is recommended that you eat a healthy post workout snack within 30-60mins of your workout.

The snack should be a complex carbohydrate and protein. It’s best to have something available so that you are not tempted to binge. Smoothies are ideal choices because you can easily combine protein, carbohydrates and throw a cup or two greens in.

In conclusion, commit yourself today to implement one of the above then add another. Attempting change too much at once can backfire causing you to become discourage and give up. Let food be thy medicine and won’t have to take any pills.

As our understanding of nutritional and environmental sciences continues to evolve, it is becoming more clear that raising and eating animals is essential to the health of both humans and the planet. This may sound like a bold statement but if we return to our natural state of living pre-agriculture, animals and humans lived in harmony and our wise ancestors knew that without animals we would not have survived very long.

Unfortunately there has been a strong vilification of eating meat and raising livestock with the widespread belief that both are major drivers of human disease and destruction of the planet. As per usual, the devil is in the details and in our binary way of thinking we often label all animal products as “bad” basically assuming that 1 pound of grass-fed beef raised on a regenerative farm is equivalent to 1 pound of factory farmed beef in a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO).

Obviously when you frame it like that, both options have dramatically different nutritional content and environmental impact. Therefore, the conversation needs to shift from ‘how can we reduce the consumption of animal products’ to ‘how can we find ways to eat animal products in a conscious way that is both ethical and responsible’.

Seek Out QUALITY Animal Products

In terms of human health, the first thing we need to do is ensure we are consuming the best quality animal products possible. If you’re an ethical hunter/fisher, you can probably skip this section as you already have access to the Rolls Royce of animal products. For the rest of us, it’s essential that we find animals that live a life as close to nature as possible. Just as twinkie’s aren’t real food for humans, GMO corn and soy (and God knows what else is fed to animals in CAFO’s) are not proper foods for cows, chicken, pigs and other domesticated animals. The conditions that these animals live in is horrific and their health is a direct reflection of the environment they live in. If you eat sick animals, you will become sick. It’s as simple as that!

Look for farmers that raise grass-fed (and grass-finished) beef, and pasture raised chicken, pork, lamb etc. For seafood, always opt for wild-caught. Unfortunately the term organic alone doesn’t mean much when it comes to animal products as the animals are usually just fed organic grains that still aren’t part of a natural diet for them. To make things more difficult, there is no stringent “grass-fed” or “pasture-raised” certification that ensures quality so it’s best to find a nearby farm yourself and see first hand how the animals are raised.

If you think you don’t have access to a local farm, look harder. If you still don’t have access to a local farm, look for products at the grocery store that are labelled grass-fed, pasture-raised, certified organic, free-range, or at the very least, free from hormones and antibiotics.

Eat Nose to Tail

After you have found top-notch quality animal products, the next thing to do is eat a wide variety of them. When I say wide variety, I’m not only referring to different animals but different parts of the animal. When was the last time you ate organ meat? Most of us in western culture turn our nose up to the thought of eating chicken liver or beef heart yet organs were the MOST highly valued foods of our ancestors. We have developed a liking to muscle meat and muscle meat only but the problem is that other parts of the animal are far more nutrient dense. Brain, heart, kidney, liver and bone marrow (and many more) were the OG superfoods! There are several key nutrients in organs that are very difficult to obtain from other food sources and are commonly deficient in today’s society.

Eating nose to tail provides a complete nutrient profile as each part of the animal works in synergy with one another to help with absorption & has a balancing effect. For example, ever heard of red meat being “bad for you”? This is because the methionine in muscle meats isn’t being balanced with the glycine in connective tissues, which raises homocysteine levels (a risk factor for heart disease). Homocysteine recycling also requires B6, B12, folate, betaine and choline which are found in organ meats, and not as abundant in muscle meats. Or, for a more straight forward example, many nutrients found in muscle meats need fat in order to be absorbed which are lacking with the “lean” cuts we often find in grocery stores.

So, eat your organ meats! A great place to start is bone broth – it is delicious and packed full of nutrients! Just remember that toxins are stored in fat, so we really don’t want to be eating an animal raised in a poor quality environment as we will just be eating their stored toxins. This is another reason to find a local farmer as it is nearly impossible to find good quality organ meats in a grocery store! And honestly, you will be pleasantly surprised at how cheap some of these superfoods are!

Beef tongue is a another great organ meat to try because it is actually quite tasty and packed full of nutrients. Check out our recipe on Beef Tongue Tacos!

Support Adequate Farming Practices

Beyond meat quality, we must consider the environmental impact of the animal products we choose to consume. There are several myths surrounding the impact of raising livestock such as “cow farts are the #1 contributor of carbon emissions globally.” 125,000 years ago the average mammal was 500kg, now it is 9kg. If animal farts were really the leading cause of climate change surely these megafauna would have destroyed the planet during the millions of years they inhabited Earth. Though we certainly wouldn’t argue the detrimental impact of conventional farming practices, Netflix documentaries often paint an inaccurate unscientific view of current environmental issues and provide incomplete solutions.

Fortunately there ARE solutions such as regenerative and biodynamic farming which not only reduce but REVERSE environmental damage. These farming practices focus on restoring soil and ecological health by mimicking nature. They typically include a wide variety of plants and animals to promote diversity and resilience the way nature intended. (Shameless hypocritical Netflix documentary plug- check out “The Biggest Little Farm” to see how regenerative farming can restore ecosystems). Some regenerative farms have demonstrated that they actually have a net NEGATIVE carbon impact due to such healthy soils that sequester large amounts of carbon. This may be our only way out as our current farming practices for both plants and animals are simply not sustainable. Find a farm near you that uses regenerative or biodynamic farming practices, not only is it some of the highest quality food for your body, but your dollars are going towards saving the planet.

Practice Gratitude

Lastly, we must be grateful for the animal that we are consuming. Gratitude is a powerful practice that should be extended to all food we consume, as life is also taken when we harvest and eat plants and fungi. The convenience of being able to purchase perfect boneless pre-packaged meat from the grocery store has disconnected us from the reality that an animal was killed in order to feed us. Even the labelling of most meats (beef, pork, veal) disconnects us from the animal on our plate. If we were involved in the killing or butchering process, I’m sure we would have a much greater appreciation for the food on our plate. Next time you sit down to eat, take a deep breath and thank the animals, farmers, plants, microorganisms in the soil and any other living being involved in the process of putting food on your plate.

Sometimes, it feels like there are more questions than answers about healthy eating. But in her new book, How to Be a Conscious Eater, Sophie Egan narrows it down to just three:

Is it good for you?

Is it good for others?

Is it good for the planet?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re on the right path to becoming a conscious eater. Egan’s book provides the information you need to make sure you can answer “yes.” The book includes guidelines for what we should eat more of and eat less of, and importantly, what to pay attention to when choosing food in the grocery store. Important indicators include the Nutrition Facts Panel and labels like USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, and the Whole Grain Stamp.

Whole Grains: Our Unsung Health Heroes

How to become a conscious eater

Egan says whole grains are our Unsung Health Heroes. “As part of a healthy diet, eating whole grains has been tied to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and oh, overall chance of death,” she writes.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half the grains we eat are whole. Aim for three servings of whole grains per day. A serving is 16 grams—but no need to measure it out in grams! Common examples of a serving of whole grains include one piece of 100% whole wheat bread, a half-cup of oatmeal, or a half-cup of cooked brown rice.

And how can you be sure that the grains you’re buying are whole? ”To check the whole-grain content of packaged foods, I recommend looking for one of the stamps from the Whole Grains Council,” Egan writes.

Here’s the run-down on the different Whole Grain Stamps you’ll see on products in the store:

For products where at least 50% of the grain is whole grain.

In addition to the health benefits (and they are numerous!) there are so many reasons to enjoy whole grains as a staple part of your diet. Egan’s “Tips for Enjoying Grains” include:

How to become a conscious eater

  • Buy Local. Help support farmers, your community, and your local economy by buying grains from local sources. Find grains near you with our Local Grains Map.
  • Buy from Manufacturers Whose Growing and Milling Processes are Aligned with Your Values. Egan points out that many whole grain manufacturers commit to environmental health, fair labor practices, and more practices that align with your values. Find and search through a comprehensive list of Whole Grain Stamped products and their manufacturers using this database of Stamped products.
  • Taste the Rainbow. Egan says it’s time to venture outside of whole wheat, oats, and brown rice! There is a wide selection of whole grains and whole grain products, many of which you may not have tried or even heard of before. ”You’ll be floored by the variety available to you,” writes Egan. Get familiar with more than 20 different whole grains with ourA-Z list.
  • Mill it Yourself. Yep, you can mill (grind) your own flour from whole grains! Why do so? You’ll be amazed at the difference in taste compared with prepackaged flours. Learn more about at-home flour milling in this Q+A with Maria Speck.

Win a Copy of How to Be a Conscious Eater

If you’re eager to learn more, you can win your own copy of How to Be a Conscious Eater! Follow Oldways on Facebook and Instagram and stay tuned for giveaway posts throughout the month of April. We will select winners on April 29, 2020. Read the full entry and contest rules.

Good luck! In the meantime, check out all the great resources and recipes we have posted on our website — our site is among Egan’s ”10 Sources I Trust” list in the book.

How to become a conscious eater

Wonder where your weight is coming from?

Are you paying attention when you eat?

Too many people find themselves eating throughout the day without even realizing they are doing it. By day’s end, their calorie count has gone through the roof, the weight comes on and they wonder “how and why.”

Eating, like any other important task you do throughout your day requires conscious attention.

Conscious eating is habit you need to adopt.

Here’s some daily habits you can adopt that will help you become a “conscious eater.”

Sit Down When You Eat

Seems logical and something we do automatically, but you’d be surprised at how many people “eat on the run”…literally eating while they are moving. When you consume foods while standing or moving, most likely you won’t be paying attention to how much you are consuming. The calories you’ve consumed won’t be registered or fill you up like they should.

Make a concentrated effort to be seated whenever you eat a meal or snack. This helps you to focus on the foods you are consuming.

Avoid Distractions During Meals

Distractions are well, just that – a distraction from what you should be paying attention to. In regards to meals, too many people engage in unhealthy eating habits like sitting in front of the TV while they eat, or browsing the Internet while at work as they quickly…without conscious attention, down their lunch.

The moment you focus on anything but the food you are eating is the minute that you reduce the psychologically satiety that comes with eating. Get into the habit of focusing on eating when eating!

Sit at the table and consciously enjoy your food…every bite. Put your attention on your food not on a book, cell phone or TV.

Put Your Fork Down Between Bites

Putting your fork down between bites helps to ensure you are not rushing through your meal and potentially consuming more food than you would otherwise. It takes a while before your body registers that you are full, so give yourself a chance to get those signals by slowing down. Putting your fork down between bites helps you to do just that.

Pay Attention to Taste and Texture

Make a conscious effort when you sit to stop and notice the taste and texture of the foods you are consuming. Do this first thing when you begin so that it sets the tone for the entire meal. The idea is to help make you feel satisfied so that you stop eating when you are full. Those that consume foods without noticing the texture and taste, typically end up going back for seconds even if they are not really hungry.

Psychological satisfaction is a very real thing and you must strive to satisfy that along with physical hunger to really see optimal health and weight control.

Rate Your Hunger

Rating your hunger before eating will help you to see if you are in the habit of eating despite not actually being hungry so that you can make adjustments. Only when you hunger levels reach 7 or 8 on a scale of 1-10 should you be reaching for food. If you begin before that, you’ll be consuming too many calories and open the door to weight gain.

Eat Until 80% Full

As you eat, you should be keeping tabs on your hunger. Once you are 80% full, put your fork down and push away from the table. Because it takes time for your brain to register “full,” if you keep eating beyond this point, you’re in danger of reaching 100% full and you’ll end up by the price later in terms of weight gain and how you feel. By stopping at 80% after digestion finishes up, you will be satisfied and saved yourself from becoming over-stuffed with too much caloric intake.

Once you have your nutrition and eating habits in check, the next thing to focus on is building great activity habits that ensure you stay fit, active, and healthy.

All my products support a whole body approach that supports both the body and the mind. If you are serious about achieving a truly healthy lifestyle, one of youth and vitality – “Reclaim Your Longevity“ was created for you.

It will absolutely help you in every area of your life to stay as young, healthy and vibrant as possible.

Sometimes, it feels like there are more questions than answers about healthy eating. But in her new book, How to Be a Conscious Eater, Sophie Egan narrows it down to just three:

Is it good for you?

Is it good for others?

Is it good for the planet?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re on the right path to becoming a conscious eater. Egan’s book provides the information you need to make sure you can answer “yes.” The book includes guidelines for what we should eat more of and eat less of, and importantly, what to pay attention to when choosing food in the grocery store. Important indicators include the Nutrition Facts Panel and labels like USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, and the Whole Grain Stamp.

Whole Grains: Our Unsung Health Heroes

How to become a conscious eater

Egan says whole grains are our Unsung Health Heroes. “As part of a healthy diet, eating whole grains has been tied to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and oh, overall chance of death,” she writes.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half the grains we eat are whole. Aim for three servings of whole grains per day. A serving is 16 grams—but no need to measure it out in grams! Common examples of a serving of whole grains include one piece of 100% whole wheat bread, a half-cup of oatmeal, or a half-cup of cooked brown rice.

And how can you be sure that the grains you’re buying are whole? ”To check the whole-grain content of packaged foods, I recommend looking for one of the stamps from the Whole Grains Council,” Egan writes.

Here’s the run-down on the different Whole Grain Stamps you’ll see on products in the store:

For products where at least 50% of the grain is whole grain.

In addition to the health benefits (and they are numerous!) there are so many reasons to enjoy whole grains as a staple part of your diet. Egan’s “Tips for Enjoying Grains” include:

How to become a conscious eater

  • Buy Local. Help support farmers, your community, and your local economy by buying grains from local sources. Find grains near you with the Whole Grains Council’s Local Grains Map.
  • Buy from Manufacturers Whose Growing and Milling Processes are Aligned with Your Values. Egan points out that many whole grains manufacturers commit to environmental health, fair labor practices, and more practices that align with your values. Find and search through a comprehensive list of Whole Grain Stamped products and their manufacturers using this database of Stamped products.
  • Taste the Rainbow. Egan says it’s time to venture outside of whole wheat, oats, and brown rice! There is a wide selection of whole grains and whole grain products, many of which you may not have tried or even heard of before. ”You’ll be floored by the variety available to you,” writes Egan. Get familiar with more than 20 different whole grains with the Whole Grains Council’s A-Z list.
  • Mill it Yourself. Yep, you can mill (grind) your own flour from whole grains! Why do so? You’ll be amazed at the difference in taste compared with prepackaged flours. Learn more about at-home flour milling in this Q+A from the Whole Grains Council.

Win a Copy of How to Be a Conscious Eater

If you’re eager to learn more, you can win your own copy of How to Be a Conscious Eater! Follow Oldways on Facebook and Instagram and stay tuned for giveaway posts throughout the month of April. We will select winners on April 29, 2020. Read the full entry and contest rules.

Good luck! In the meantime, if you have more questions about whole grains, head over to the Whole Grains Council. This website is among Egan’s ”10 Sources I Trust” list in the book.

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Abstract

Have you noticed that we spend $3.5 billion on medical bills in the United States every year, and this could be significantly reduced by simply eating consciously? This lecture by Huan Xia will give a brief introduction to a relevant, powerful, and no-cost solution to reducing those costs—conscious eating. We will use personal storytelling and historical evidence-searching from various ancient cultures to support the benefits of conscious eating. We will touch on how to best utilize our human body to enjoy the state of conscious eating, and general techniques to create a conscious meal plan through balancing nutrition, digestibility, and flavors. We hope to inspire students to advance evolution of food as a metaphor—from survival fuel to macro and micronutrients into the conduit for holistic wellbeing linking our body with our mind. We’ll leave students with a tangible, time-bound, and actionable path of conscious eating, a gateway to become healthy and blissful in 21 days.

Bio

Huan Xia holds a masters of science and a Ph.D. in food science from the Pennsylvania State University. She has been serving the food industry—including Roquette, Mars, and McCain Foods—for the past decade in various segments, from pet food to human foods, specializing in food value chain innovation and commercialization from farm to fork.

In 2020 she founded LusOasis and is dedicating herself to her passion to improve our holistic wellbeing and planet sustainability. Xia resides at Naperville, Illinois, with her husband and two lovely children. You can find out more about her online.

You join the virtual event two ways:

  • Via Google Meets
  • By phone at 716.261.9576; PIN: ‪808 375 109#

Mindful eating is a way and method to get control over one’s eating habits. Mindful eating is generally shown as binge eating, a weight-loss or general well-being. This essay delves into what mindful eating is, how it works, and how to get started.

What does mindful eating entail?

The Buddhist principle of awareness underpins mindful eating. Mindfulness is a sort of meditation in which you learn to recognise and control your emotions and physiological sensations.

It’s used to treat a wide range of issues, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and a variety of food-related behaviours. Mindful eating entails paying close attention to your moods, urges, and bodily markers when it comes to food.

Mindful eating entails the following:

  • consuming healthy food slowly and without interruption
  • discriminating between actual hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating listening to physical hunger cues and eating only till you’re full
  • Colours, smells, noises, textures, and flavours can all be used to engage your senses.

What are the benefits of mindful eating?

A plethora of food options tempt people in today’s fast-paced environment. Eating has become a mindless, frequently hurried activity. There can be issues when you realise that you eating or you are full. If you eat too quickly, the fullness signal may not appear until you’ve consumed too much food. This is a regular occurrence of binge eating.

By eating thoughtfully, you can refocus your attention and slow down, making eating a deliberate act rather than a reflex. Furthermore, you will be able to distinguish between emotional and true physical hunger by enhancing your physical hunger and fullness signal detection. You become more conscious of signs that make you want to eat even when you’re not hungry.

Weight loss and mindful eating

Most weight loss programmes are well-known for failing in the long run. Within a few years, 85 per cent of obese people who lose weight regain or exceed their former weight.

Weight gain and regaining after weight loss have all been linked to binge eating, emotional eating, external eating, and eating to fulfil food cravings. Chronic stress may also have a significant impact on overeating and obesity.

The great majority of researchers agree that mindful eating aids weight loss by modifying eating habits and lowering stress levels. People with obesity who attended a 6-week group mindful eating session lost an average of 9 pounds (4 kg) between the course and the 12-week follow-up period.

Another 6-month seminar resulted in a 26-pound (12-kg) average weight loss, with no weight gain in the following three months. Negative sentiments linked with eating can be replaced with awareness, increased self-control, and happy emotions by changing how you think about food. Your prospects of long-term weight loss success improve when you address undesired eating behaviours.

Binge eating and mindful eating

Binge eating is when you eat a lot of food in a short period of time without thinking about it. It’s been related to weight gain and eating disorders, with one study finding that over 70% of persons with binge eating disorders are fat.

Binge eating episodes may be less severe and occur less frequently if you practise mindful eating. According to one study , binge eating episodes in obese women fell from 4 to 1.5 times per week after a 6-week group intervention. Each episode’s severity dropped as well.

Healthy eating habits vs. mindful eating

Mindful eating has been shown to reduce binge eating in addition to being an effective treatment for it:

  • Emotional eating is when you eat while you’re upset. This is when you consume in response to a specific mood.
  • External consumption. This happens when you consume in response to food-related environmental cues like the sight or smell of food.
  • These types of unhealthy eating habits are the most typically reported behavioural issues among obese people.
  • Mindful eating provides you with the tools to deal with these urges. It gives you control over your responses rather than relying on instinct.

How to Be Mindful When Eating?

A number of activities and meditations are required to develop mindfulness. Attending a mindfulness or mindful eating lecture, online course, or workshop can be beneficial to many people.

There are, however, a variety of easy ways to begin started, some of which can provide significant benefits on their own:

  • Eat slowly without rushing for the meals.
  • Chew carefully and eat fibre-rich foods.
  • To avoid distractions, turn off the TV and put your phone down.
  • In solitude, eat.
  • Always be careful that how much you eat and how you feel after eating.
  • When you’re full, stop eating.
  • Consider why you’re eating, whether you’re actually hungry, and whether the food you’re consuming is nutritious.
  • To begin, it’s a good idea to focus on these themes during one meal per day.
  • One can also have a weight loss supplement to lose weight.

Mindfulness will become second nature after you’ve mastered it. You can next concentrate on incorporating these behaviours into more healthy meals.

Take Away

Mindful eating can help you recover control of your eating habits. This strategy is worth investigating if traditional diets haven’t worked for you.

Making Better Meat-Eating Decisions

CAAWO is about making conscious decisions in life including becoming a conscious carnivore and making better meat-eating decisions. Read more below.

Making better meat-eating decisions isn’t only about which cut of beef you prefer. You can also make decisions that lead to becoming a more conscious carnivore. It all comes down to knowing where your meat comes from and making better decisions about which food supply chains you support.

Less conscious choices often come about due to us choosing the cheapest options because groceries can amount to a lot every month. In only looking at the price of our meat, we often have to turn a blind eye to the conditions that the animals have been reared in. Were the sows that were slaughtered to deliver that bacon to my plate kept in positive living conditions? Were the chickens kept in battery cages or were they allowed to roam free?

You can start making better meat-eating decisions by paying attention to the packaging. Some of the key terms you can look for include:

  • Grass-fed
  • Free-range
  • Cage-free
  • Animal welfare certification
  • Pasture-raised
  • Antibiotic-free
  • Hormone-free

All of these terms are a step in the right direction however, they can still be misleading. You might need to pay a little more for food that is farmed in ethical ways, but you will be supporting farmers who are trying to farm quality food. The next step in your journey to becoming a conscious carnivore is doing your research. Find out more about the farmers that supply your local grocery stores. You can go so far as to contact the farmers yourself to find out more about their farming practices and what level of care goes into looking after their animals.

No one can or should tell you what to eat, but it’s up to us as individuals to decide how we want to impact the world. By making simple changes such as checking food labels, possibly paying a little more for more sustainable meat options, and knowing what practices your food was farmed under, you can contribute to better living conditions for the animals that are eventually used for our benefit.

Are you ready to begin? Start the journey towards becoming a conscious carnivore today.

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  • ISBN 10 1523507381
  • ISBN 13 9781523507382
  • Published Mar 16 2020
  • Page Count 281
  • Language English
  • Edition 1
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Workman Publishing

Publishers Text

Is organic really worth it? Are eggs OK to eat? What does it mean if something’s labeled “Fair Trade,” or “Biodynamic,” or “Cage Free”? What about all the noise around farmed fish, fake meat, coconut oil, almonds – not to mention fat, carbs, and calories?

Using three criteria – is it good for me? is it good for others? is it good for the planet? – Sophie Egan, an expert in health, nutrition, and sustainability, revolutionises our understanding of food in a way that will change the way we shop, cook, and eat. To be a conscious eater is not about diet, fads, or hard and fast rules. It’s about having the information to make informed choices amid the chaos of hype and marketing. For instance, plastic water bottles are convenient but contribute to a massive patch of garbage floating in the Pacific. A reusable container saves money and the environment.

Organised into four categories – food produced by plants, by animals, by factories, by restaurant kitchens – A Radically Practical Guide to Conscious Eating covers everything: tips for buying produce, diet and cancer risks, the truth of sell-by dates, cutting down on food waste, the great protein myth, and much more.

Grocery shopping used to be easier for me. Years ago, before I starting thinking about carbon footprints and animal welfare issues and plastic packaging and ethical labels, it was fairly straightforward to grab a package of bread, a carton of eggs, or piece of meat off a store shelf. All I considered was the price per unit.

Now I know too much about too many things, and this information overload can lead to analysis paralysis. Shopping has become a slower and more exhausting process as I weigh one evil against another in order to make the most eco-friendly, ethical, healthy, or zero-waste choice – and, ideally, all of those in one.

If you can relate to this sense of overwhelm, then perhaps you should pick up a copy of Sophie Egan’s new book, “How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet” (Workman, 2020). Egan, who works for the Culinary Institute of America and is a director of strategy for the Food for Climate League, has written a highly readable guide to making food choices that tick as many of the boxes on your list as possible.

Egan’s guiding principles, mentioned in the title, are that foods be good for oneself (this includes enjoyment and cultural elements, in addition to health), good for the people who produce them (leaving the best possible mark on farmers and animals), and good for the planet (making choices that don’t damage, and perhaps even repair, natural ecosystems). These are ambitious principles, but necessary ones if we hope to alter our food habits in order to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis, as we’ve been told is necessary by numerous scientists.

“How to Be a Conscious Eater” is divided into four parts – “stuff” that comes from the ground, from animals, from factories (a.k.a. prepackaged, processed foods), and from restaurant kitchens. Within each of these categories, Egan addresses the main foods and the issues associated with them that would influence your decision to buy.

I appreciated her emphasis on the the importance of putting environmental issues into context. Take almonds, for example, which have a notoriously high water footprint that has led many people to avoid them in recent years. Egan writes:

“With every food choice you make, ask yourself, As opposed to what? If we’re talking about a handful of almonds versus a stick of string cheese, which wins? The handful of almonds has a lower water footprint. Almonds also win for health and carbon footprint.”

While there are other nuts with smaller water and carbon footprints and comparable health benefits to almonds, the point is that we shouldn’t consider items independently; everything must be put into the right context.

Egan is a strong proponent of “plant-forward” eating, rather than veganism or vegetarianism. She challenges the common misconception that foods are automatically healthier just because they don’t contain animal products and points out that many vegan substitutes are highly processed food products. It would be more effective to “readjust the ratios of plant and animal foods compared with typical American diets,” and eat more beans and legumes than red meat.

Author Sophie Egan.

Workman Publishing (used with permission)

The best vegetables are the ones you’re eating, so Egan urges people not to get hung up on expensive organic produce and just start trying to get those recommended five servings a day. She dedicates a chapter to “beans, the humble heroes” that improve the earth not only through their protein- and fiber-packed tastiness, but also by fixing nitrogen in the soil when growing.

“This boosts soil health, which can boost yields. And most altruistically of all, because of the way legumes enrich the soil around them, they actually lower the greenhouse gas emissions of crops planted there after they are gone. Like a beachgoer who cleans up not just her own picnic spot but the sand surrounding her area, legumes are pros at paying it forward.”

Many pages are dedicated to reading labels and packaging, and making sense of the countless logos and seals that appear on supermarket products. Some are helpful, others are misleading, and Egan offers clear advice on what to look for and what to avoid. She discusses specific certifications, including USDA Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, American Grassfed, Seafood Watch Best Choice, MSC Certified Sustainable Seafood, and numerous egg carton labels.

She warns against falling for “health haloes,” which portray foods as being healthier than they are, usually by stating something has been removed that we tend to view as unhealthy, i.e. “low-fat” or “gluten-free,” when in reality it hasn’t improved the product’s nutritional profile. She uses “veggie sticks/straws” as an example:

“Those products are typically about the same calorically and the same or worse nutritionally (depending on the replacement ingredients, which are often higher amounts of salt and sugar). As a result, most of us will unwittingly eat more of products like these than we would have of the original product.”

The book includes extensive advice on how to reduce food waste through meal planning, using a shopping list, storing food in ways that make it highly visible, and incorporating leftovers into subsequent meals. Egan is a proponent of plastic reduction, avoiding bottled water, favoring glass packaging whenever possible, and shopping with reusable containers.

In striving to address its three principles of doing good for eaters, others, and planet, the book is a curious mishmash of dietary science, environmental information, eco-frugality, and cooking advice – but it works well. It answers the ordinary, practical questions that many of us have, offering resources for follow-up if wanted. It can be read either in its entirety or used as a reference book when you have a burning question about specific ingredients and production methods.

If you want to feel more confident in the grocery store and in knowing that you’re feeding yourself and your family to the best of your ability, then this book is an excellent place to start.

You can order the book here or request it at your local library.

Not everybody can or wants to become a vegetarian. But for those of us who insist on eating meat, that doesn’t mean we have to be complete dicks about it. Here are some helpful ideas on how to be a conscious carnivore.

Right off the bat I want to make it excruciatingly clear that eating meat is in no way more ethical or justified than vegetarianism. This article is as much an exercise in pragmatics as it is an effort to get people to be more conscious of their food choices. The world is nowhere close to adopting an exclusively plant-based diet — though we may eventually be forced to do so ; and in our meat-pornographized society, there really isn’t huge impetus behind efforts to do so. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work to minimize the degree of animal suffering and the detrimental impacts of factory farming .

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And sure, the argument can be made that so-called conscious carnivores are in denial . It’s a claim that may even be true. But as noted, this article isn’t about taking an absolutist position; it’s about raising awareness and working to reduce — not eliminate — the suffering of farm-raised animals.

How to become a conscious eater

Non-compressor system
The indoor portable evaporative air cooler distributes cool air through the honeycomb cooling media while the dust filter cleanses the air.

Eat With Thoughtful Intention

Which leads nicely to the first point: The recognition that eating meat causes harm.

Indeed, it’s harmful to the animal, it’s harmful to the environment, and it’s harmful to developing nations (i.e. issues like food justice and food security ). In most cases, an animal’s life is taken prematurely — a life that’s experienced in often less-than-ideal conditions.

We eat meat for various, often highly personal, reasons. But justifying it on the grounds that it somehow makes us feel more masculine (a disturbingly common attitude among men — and one that feminist animal rights advocate Carol J. Adams took apart in her seminal book, The Sexual Politics of Meat ), or that it’s our prerogative — or even a basic right — given that we’re atop this mythical thing call the “food chain,” is wholly inadequate. We eat meat on account of our privileged status as the dominant species on the planet, and that needs to be recognized.

While I’m not trying to suck the life out of the meat eating experience, the act itself should be considered a serious, if not sober, event. We should always approach the dinner table with no small amount of gratitude as we think about the animal whose life was taken for our benefit.

And make no mistake — intentions matter. A society that extols carnivorousness with no sense of the consequences can scarcely be considered an enlightened one.

Take the Dalai Lama, for example, the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism — and person who, on paper, would be the last person we would suspect of eating meat. But owing to health concerns, the Dalai Lama is a carnivore. Still, he has this to say:

It is always dangerous to ignore the suffering of any living being, of whatever species, even if we think it necessary to sacrifice an animal for the benefit of the majority. To deny the suffering involved, or to avoid thinking about it, is a convenient solution, but such an attitude opens the door to all kinds of excesses as we witness in wartime. It also destroys our own happiness. As I often say, sympathy and compassion always end up proving beneficial.

Buddhists, while striving to alleviate suffering, still recognize that moral perfection is impossible. (Image: National Geographic)

Relatedly, Catherine Friend — author of The Compassionate Carnivore — put it this way :

Most of us have distanced ourselves from our meat, protecting ourselves from the truth that we are eating animals. Yet we don’t need to protect ourselves. Ignorance is not bliss. Being a carnivore who’s asleep at the wheel means someone else is driving. Being a carnivore who wakes up, looks around and engages means you’re in charge. Being in charge is good.

Friend, along with her partner, have their own farm where they raise their own meat.

Minimize Meat Consumption

Like the Dalai Lama, many of us can’t give up meat even if we wanted to. Some people, after experimenting with vegetarianism or veganism, experience sub-optimal health or other medical concerns (like low levels of iron, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, calcium, and other nutrients). It’s also socially and culturally difficult to give up meat given that we live in a meat-obsessed world. Of course, that’s no justification for it. But the inconveniences of vegetarianism can often be overwhelming, whether it be while traveling or visiting relatives.

But we can certainly work to minimize meat consumption. And indeed, we need to get over this false dichotomy our culture has created which says we need to be one or the other, a carnivore or a vegetarian.

Take semi-vegetarians, or flexitarians, for example. These folks have a diet that’s primarily plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat. Flexitarians typically choose this sort of diet for health, environmental, food justice, or economic reasons.

There are other dietary options as well, including pollotarianism (chicken or other poultry, but no meat from mammals), pescetarianism (fish or other seafood, but no poultry or red meat from mammals), and pollo-pescetarianism (you can figure this one out).

Another thing you can do to minimize your consumption of meat is to designate a specific day (or days) of the week when meat is not served. Meatless Mondays is a good example.

Lastly, there are alternatives to traditional forms of meat that are more ethical, such as insect meat . It would be good to see people support these sorts of initiatives.

Insect meat is the new beef

Cattle and other livestock create tons of damaging greenhouse gases, particularly when you consider

How to become a conscious eater

Certified New York City Feng Shui Expert Laura Cerrano provides weekly Feng Shui Tips and insights to help inspire and support a new engagement with your daily surroundings internally and externally. She also explores the latest overlaps between the metaphysical sciences and modern-day sciences. In addition, Laura shares guidance into a variety of healing modalities, such as with Reiki, Dowsing, and Meditation to help support you with healthier lifestyle choices for the body, mind, and spirit.

August 30, 2021 Laura Cerrano

When you hear the words Feng Shui, many tend to associate that with furniture vs food. However, for those of you who are active Feng Shui consultants, and really, anyone who is seeking an easier more open connection to spirit, their higher self, and intuition, please keep this Feng Shui Self-care tip in mind.

An important, yet overlooked aspect to any successful energy work, is being a conscious eater. Food in its own regard carries certain vibrations that can either support or drain your energy and focus. A more tangible way in how to translate this is choosing to eat foods that are lighter vs denser in feeling during, and after consuming them. In the holistic healing community, it’s said lighter foods leave your body more open and receptive, while denser foods help ground you (when eaten in moderation) or could shut you down (making you feel heavy, sluggish, and tired).

Laura Cerrano is not a medical doctor, so it is strongly encouraged to know your own body and discover what foods work for you vs not. When in doubt, perhaps team up with a trusted certified nutritionist to find out on a scientific level the types of foods that specifically support your body type. It’s also understood, you can go even deeper into this conversation about the choices of eating meat vs not. The information provided is a starting guideline and each person will need to come to their own conclusion on how they choose to define consciousness eating for themselves.

How to become a conscious eater

Photo by NY Feng Shui Consultant Laura Cerrano

This article originally ran as part of our Food Weekly newsletter .

Staying on top of a healthy and sustainable diet that incorporates individual needs and preferences can be daunting. Sometimes, I wish eating well was just like installing solar panels or buying an electric car: making a choice once that sets you up well for the next decade or so.

Unfortunately, it’s just not how eating works — it requires intention and discipline several times a day. Sticking to principles such as buying products that are organic, fair trade certified or plant-based and establishing a meal planning and prepping routine can somewhat ease this burden. Still, a lot of decisions go into evaluating ingredient labels, finding good recipes and researching the health and environmental impact of various options.

An appreciation of this complexity — and often frustration with making such choices in their own lives — is leading entrepreneurs to build consumer-facing apps that facilitate and incentivize better habits. I’ve taken a closer look at apps in three categories — shopping, cooking and reducing waste — and am excited to share my top pick in each.

GreenChoice takes the headache out of shopping

This first app was born out of the frustration Galen Karlan-Mason experienced as an undergraduate in grocery aisles when trying to shop with his nut and gluten allergies in mind.

“I was destined to read every single ingredient label and realized how hard it must have been for my mom to buy food for our family that caters to both my dietary restrictions and her focus on health and sustainability,” the founder and CEO of GreenChoice said.

Fast forward to today, Karlan-Mason and his team have analyzed and rated over 350,000 food and beverage items commonly found in U.S. grocery stores. Products can be awarded up to 100 points, based on four categories: nutritional value (balance of good and bad nutrients); level of processing; food safety (use of pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics and toxic additives); and environmental footprint (greenhouse gas emissions and water use).

These ratings provide the backbone of an app and online grocery platform on which users can input up to 90 dietary filters to get personalized product recommendations. The app can also be used as a barcode scanner in physical grocery stores to gain immediate insights into a product’s impact.

Beyond merely providing consumers with information, GreenChoice is also using its product design to nudge them toward better choices. For example, it places products with the highest scores on top of search results and suggests healthier and more sustainable alternatives to consumers while they shop. While its online platform is only integrated with a few retailers, the startup is planning to launch a large proprietary online store before the end of this year.

Kuri serves as a personalized recipe-whisperer

“I was just a clueless omnivore when starting to work on Kuri,” Baptiste Malaguti, co-founder and CEO, told me. He wanted to get around the tedious search for recipes on long food blogs that would match his skill level and equipment. But in the process of building the app, he got sucked into the world of carbon footprinting and ended up founding the climate-friendly startup. Malaguti’s primary appreciation of good food shows in the aesthetics of the app, its food photography and the quality of the recipes.

Similar to GreenChoice, the cooking app comes with a huge selection of filters, making using it a breeze for all types of eaters and cooks. It allows users to build a personalized profile based on their dietary choices (omnivore, pescetarian, vegetarian or vegan), allergies, cooking skills and even the spices they have available. When choosing a specific recipe, users can additionally sort for types of meals, cuisines, preparation time and ingredients.

While all of these make life in the kitchen a whole lot easier, I particularly appreciated the feature to choose ingredients. For one, I’m not organized enough to first plan my meals and then go shopping. So my dinners always start with a look into the fridge and pantry. Secondly, cooking based on the ingredients at hand helps users reduce their food waste.

Kuri’s data show that a well-designed app can go a long way when it comes to slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

In contrast to GreenChoice, seasonality plays an important role for Kuri’s sustainability rating, which in turn influences the recipes it suggests to users. According to Kuri’s analysis, out of season ingredients tend to have much larger carbon footprints than seasonal ones — mostly due to the growing practices, not food miles. It also reflects consumer interest, particularly in the startup’s home country. “French people are a lot more excited about seasonal cooking than their climate impact. So it’s a good way to draw in new people,” Malaguti told me. “We are careful not to over-communicate on sustainability to not rule out users who just come for a good cooking experience.”

No matter users’ initial intention, Kuri’s data show that a well-designed app can go a long way when it comes to slashing greenhouse gas emissions. The startup reports a 60 percent lower carbon footprint of the meals people cook when using Kuri, compared to an average meal in the U.S. While more than two thirds of its users are omnivore, 79 percent of what they cook with Kuri is meatless. The startup credits this success to its use of carbon labels, choice architecture and a strong emphasis on beautiful and original meatless recipes.

Too Good to Go helps you save money and food at the same time

My last recommendation is based on a simpler but nonetheless essential premise. Food should be eaten, not wasted. Too Good to Go’s app allows businesses — ranging from grocery stores to bakeries, restaurants and farmers markets — to sell food they would otherwise throw away at a discounted price. The savings can be quite significant. In my neighborhood in San Francisco, items are offered at a third of their original price.

Philippe Schuler, global impact manager at the startup, told me the benefits went beyond cost savings for consumers: “Businesses win big, too. They can attract a new consumer base, generate revenue for food they would have thrown away and save costs on waste hauling. This matters particularly in Europe where hauling fees can be quite expensive.” The environmental benefits are critical too, given that food waste accounts for about 8-10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Danish app already has over 46 million users, mostly in Europe, and is expanding rapidly across the U.S. Having been spoiled by the expansive filters of the other two apps, I was disappointed with the level of choice I had. All products come in “surprise bags” put together by participating businesses. The app recommends getting in touch with the business directly if users are concerned about certain ingredients. While this isn’t an outrageous request, I fear that even such a small barrier will hold back many people from taking advantage of an otherwise fabulous service.

Overall, the three apps provide a great experience and a valuable learning opportunity for eaters around the world. While it’s certainly harder to quantify, I’d like to see GreenChoice and Kuri incorporate social impact into their sustainability ranking in future versions of their products as that’s noticeably absent now.

[Subscribe to our free Food Weekly newsletter to get more great analysis on sustainable food systems news and trends.]

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Becoming a Conscious Eater

How to become a conscious eater

Listen, we’ve all been there. We’ve overindulged and lived to regret it. One too many glasses of wine and you feel like absolute garbage the next day. A sliver of chocolate cake that turns into 3 slices and everyone’s favorite cheat meal turns into a long “I just don’t care month!”

I feel you. And I also know how frustrating it can be to feel like you aren’t in control of your cravings or how much you indulge. I know what it feels like to finally get on track with your nutrition, and then feel like a failure when it all goes to pieces in the blink of an eye. I work regularly with clients looking for moderation and balance–who want to put an end to the yo-yo cycle of binge, berate, restrict, and repeat.

Think about what we are up against here in Texas? Everything is BIGGER, BETTER, more flavor and who wants to hear the words, diet, restricted, low calorie, no carbs or fat/ sugar free? We want to sip and taste and never feel deprived because life is about living to the fullest and what better way to self indulge than to eat things that make us feel good! We want to indulge without the requisite guilt that comes along with it. After all, if food is meant to be pleasurable, why should we feel so bad about it?

As a trainer and health coach I often find myself in discussions with clients that center around their thinking. Many things they are unable to stick with any given program or overcoming poor eating habits because they just don’t have the right motivation or discipline. While that is partial true, the bigger question becomes what will cause us to change is our MINDSET. Mindset can seem like a vague concept or intangible term but it’s actually pretty simple: Your mindset is your Truth.

It’s your perspective, the way you view your environment, and how you choose to perceive your world and your boundaries. Your mindset guides how you think about food and fitness, and your mindset ultimately determines lasting success.

While there are some clear cut industry foods that certainly cause overeating and insurmountable cravings the list isn’t that long considering the many choices we have on a daily basis? Here’s just a few.

*Packaged snacks and cookies

Yes, there is an actual scientific reason you just can’t eat one and the food industry is banking on your success for not caring why.

On the other hand, if what you need are some simple strategies to help you take control of possible over eating, I can certainly help make it simple but it requires you to be conscious about your food and your food choices. Are you ready?

Each time you ask yourself, do I need this food to support my well-being or do I just want it?

Will I feel guilty after I eat it and will it help me meet my health and fitness goals?

If I eat this food, will it some how make my experience in someway better and if I don’t eat it what will I benefit?

How to become a conscious eater

Get in meh belly.

It’s a new year with new diet resolutions and now seems like as good as time as any to evaluate our connection with our food. Before we evolved into our present day forms, we used to have to hunt and gather food for survival. We had a direct connection with where our sources of energy came from. In the present day hustle, we seem to have lost this connection, often not giving second thought to the toil and labor that it took for us to have a slurp of tomato soup. Reconnecting with our food and being a conscious eater can help us focus on slowing down and taking in all the pleasures life has to offer. Building a positive relationship with food can be a stepping stone in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

Discover the Complexity of Taste
There is so much that goes into tasting and in actuality, we rely on all of our senses when we taste food. Your basic taste sensations are sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. If you want to capture all the complexity of flavors that are present in your food, put your fork down and keep the bite in your mouth as long as possible. Since we not only smell food through our nose as well as through our mouth, try swishing that bite around your mouth and take a careful breath to fully get the range of aromas; similar to how a wine taster taste wine. Our sense of smell plays a prominent role in our ability to taste. Just think of anytime you have had a stuffy nose, think about how food seems to lose flavor. According to Barbara Stuckey’s Taste What You’re Missing, between 75 and 95 percent of what we taste can be attributed to smell. Also take a moment to focus on the texture. Our lips and tongue are our most sensitive body parts after our hands. For example, part of the experience of a perfectly ripe apple is that crisp texture when you bite into it and if the apple is mealy, that can ruin the whole experience.

Be Present
A part of reconnecting with your food is being 100 percent present in the moment. Turn off all distractions and really pay attention to the flavor, texture, and smells of what you are eating. Do you ever really notice the creaminess of mashed potatoes? Or the texture of a perfectly ripe tomato? This is a part of the whole experience of eating. I have a greater appreciation for my plate when I take a moment to take in the whole experience. Another part of being fully present is to slow down, eat at a table, and check in with yourself during your meal. Ask yourself if you are enjoying your food. Check in with your belly, ask it if it is full. This sounds silly, of course, but being fully present and aware of your body helps you not only enjoy your food but also helps keep you tuned in to your body’s fullness signals. Too often we are in a rush and just shove whatever we can find in our mouth, being present helps to slow us down and encourage us to make better food decisions.

Be Grateful
Take a moment to give thanks to your plate. No really, tell those plants that you appreciate the energy that they will give you. Again I know it sounds silly, but giving your food positive thoughts helps create a healthy, loving environment. According to Pam Grout, author of E-Squared, everything in our environment is affected by our thoughts. Giving our food positive thoughts and thanking it for the nourishment, not only will change how you view your plate but also stop negative self-talk in its ugly tracks. When indulging in that slice of cake, just be grateful that you get to experience something super delicious and don’t beat yourself up about how it’ll go straight to your thighs. Indulging once in a while is one of the great pleasures of life. The diet industry has taught us to fear and blame food for our bodily imperfections instead of encouraging a balanced healthy diet where we embrace food and give thanks for its life giving nourishment. So next time you eat a salad, say “Thank you veggies for being awesome and tasty and for repairing my body and giving me life.”

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Becoming a Conscious Eater

]’ bylines0= ‘Jade Gold’ bylines bylines slug= ‘jade-gold’ byline one_off =” –> Jade Gold | 9/10/2015, 10:45 p.m.

How to become a conscious eater

Listen, we’ve all been there. We’ve overindulged and lived to regret it. One too many glasses of wine and you feel like absolute garbage the next day. A sliver of chocolate cake that turns into 3 slices and everyone’s favorite cheat meal turns into a long “I just don’t care month!”

I feel you. And I also know how frustrating it can be to feel like you aren’t in control of your cravings or how much you indulge. I know what it feels like to finally get on track with your nutrition, and then feel like a failure when it all goes to pieces in the blink of an eye. I work regularly with clients looking for moderation and balance–who want to put an end to the yo-yo cycle of binge, berate, restrict, and repeat.

Think about what we are up against here in Texas? Everything is BIGGER, BETTER, more flavor and who wants to hear the words, diet, restricted, low calorie, no carbs or fat/ sugar free? We want to sip and taste and never feel deprived because life is about living to the fullest and what better way to self indulge than to eat things that make us feel good! We want to indulge without the requisite guilt that comes along with it. After all, if food is meant to be pleasurable, why should we feel so bad about it?

As a trainer and health coach I often find myself in discussions with clients that center around their thinking. Many things they are unable to stick with any given program or overcoming poor eating habits because they just don’t have the right motivation or discipline. While that is partial true, the bigger question becomes what will cause us to change is our MINDSET. Mindset can seem like a vague concept or intangible term but it’s actually pretty simple: Your mindset is your Truth.

It’s your perspective, the way you view your environment, and how you choose to perceive your world and your boundaries. Your mindset guides how you think about food and fitness, and your mindset ultimately determines lasting success.

While there are some clear cut industry foods that certainly cause overeating and insurmountable cravings the list isn’t that long considering the many choices we have on a daily basis? Here’s just a few.

*Packaged snacks and cookies

Yes, there is an actual scientific reason you just can’t eat one and the food industry is banking on your success for not caring why.

On the other hand, if what you need are some simple strategies to help you take control of possible over eating, I can certainly help make it simple but it requires you to be conscious about your food and your food choices. Are you ready?

Each time you ask yourself, do I need this food to support my well-being or do I just want it?

Will I feel guilty after I eat it and will it help me meet my health and fitness goals?

If I eat this food, will it some how make my experience in someway better and if I don’t eat it what will I benefit?

From carbs misconceptions to the pleasures of a good meal: An interview with the author that helps us make the right food choices for our health and our planet.

One of the hardest and most confounding things we do every day is figuring out what food to eat, whether it’s good for you, and how to be conscious about where it all comes from. Author Sophie Egan is here to help.

Egan’s book, “How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet,” is a one-stop shop for the practical ways to eat, purchase, and think, and covers everything from food allergies to how to read confusing labels in the store.

Egan took part in a webinar to celebrate World Sustainable Gastronomy Day alongside Barilla VP of Nutrition and Wellbeing Dondeena Bradley, Peter Klosse from The Academy for Scientific Taste (TASTE), and Sara Roversi from the Future Food Institute.

We wanted to dive deeper into Egan’s practical guide, especially when it comes to Italian food and the Mediterranean diet, so we spoke to her after the conference to get her thoughts on eating all things Italian and how to make more conscious eating decisions in general.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to pasta in particular. What are your thoughts around pasta when it comes to gluten and when it comes to carbs, and how should people think about it?

The gluten situation actually remains a bit of a mystery but there’s a good amount of information that’s come out. One is that the number of people for whom gluten is a genuine issue is relatively small. It’s about 1% that have celiac disease. I think it’s 6% at last check, that have some kind of gluten sensitivity. And yet numbers as high as a third of Americans are trying to avoid gluten. So, it’s that disconnect that I think is really at the root of your question. Where is the villainizing of pasta or maybe carbs more generally, coming from?

For example, with gluten, the substitutes and gluten-free processed foods are often either as bad or even worse for you nutritionally than the gluten in the first place. There’s also been data suggesting that gluten-free products are more expensive. So, in many cases, you’re actually paying more for a less healthy option that you may not actually need.

Why is it that people who seem to have gluten issues in America have no problems at all in Italy?

Some of the theories are that it has to do with fermentation, not just the grains themselves, but how you’re making bread. So, essentially that some of the glutens are sort of broken-down through long fermentation. And that may be just baked into the traditional methods of bread baking in Europe. There could be a healthy bacteria component to this as well. The other interesting thought is that it’s the grains themselves and the way wheat is produced and is there something going on with pesticides? Long story short, I think it’s an interesting anecdotal observation that enough people have brought to light that it definitely merits further exploration.

You talk a lot about food fraud. What are some of the biggest scams in the Italian food world?

Product adulteration has come to light with some really premium products. Like with Parmesan cheese, there is a scandal I described in the book that maybe is close to home with Italy. I had the chance to go to Parma, Italy, and I remember eating Parmigiano Reggiano in this delightful piazza and the waiter said, you don’t want to take the next train stop because the further you travel from Parma, the worse the Parmigiano Reggiano will be. And I thought this was fascinating because this is a cheese that has been perfected for literally over 1,000 years. And it deservedly garners a high price, right? What had been happening in the US was that cellulose was being added to it as a filler. So, you’re better off buying it whole, as a chunk. The original chapter title in my book was, ‘Is that sawdust on my penne?’ I think the interesting takeaway is that the more whole the food is, the more transparency there is.

What are your thoughts on the Mediterranean diet?

One of the things I really emphasize in the book that relates to this category I call ‘Good for you.’ Yes, it’s about nutrition, but there’s a lot of nutrient centrism, especially in the US and UK, where we reduce food to a tally of this or that many grams of protein that I’m accumulating throughout the day or grams of fat that you’re avoiding at all costs or carbs, and counting calories and so forth. And that nutrient centrism really can get in the way of what I suggest is what’s good for the whole you. Things like happiness, joy, and pleasure. Some people are very uncomfortable talking about pleasure in the context of food and that’s something with the Mediterranean diet and the lifestyle of the Mediterranean diet, it is a big part of it, it is the celebration and the appreciation of the simple pleasures and the sensory aspects.