Eat Mindfully

When you eat, eat.

Put the food on the table. Cut off the music. Light a candle. Stop talking. Take a deep breath. Again. Again.

Silence the drunken monkey that is your consciousness. Be calm. Take another breath. Live in the moment.

Feast your eyes on the food before you. Be still. Take a minute. Contemplate. Picture the farm where the food was grown. Smile as you think of the farmers. Close your eyes for a few moments. Don’t rush. Relax.

Slowly lift a morsel on your fork. Focus on it. Notice its scent. Put it in your mouth. Nibble. Savor it. Enjoy the texture. Explore the flavors. Chew slowly. Taste it as you would a fine wine. Swallow. Put down the fork. Slowly. Take a deep breath. Enjoy the moment.

Resist the urge to shovel in more food immediately. Enjoy the moment. Tune in to your senses. Pleasant moment, wonderful moment. Take another minute. Be here now.

Perhaps you’re ready for the next bite. Go ahead, but resist the temptation to gobble. Enjoy the experience of eating. Focus. Follow the advice of this delightful article in today’s New York Times:

Continue this way throughout the course of a meal, and you’ll experience the third-eye-opening pleasures and frustrations of a practice known as mindful eating.

My wife’s friend Rita grew up hungry in post-war Germany. As a little girl, she never knew when the next meal would arrive. Despite the fact that times were now flush, Rita would scarf down lunch before you finished your second or third bite. Potatoes, wurst, whatever: now you see it, now you don’t. Rita ate like a Dyson vacuum cleaner. I doubt that she ever tasted her food. She certainly didn’t have time to enjoy it.

We joined good friends in Mill Valley for dinner shortly after their return from a week with the Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn at his retreat center outside Paris. We sat at the table in silence, gazing into one another’s eyes. The soft sound of a gong wafted through the air. No words were spoken as we thanked the farmers, the land, and mother earth for the bounty before us. Then we broke the silence and dug in, for our friends are always loaded with great stories and we needed to catch up with one another. You can be mindful without being slavish about it.

Eating Mindfully will become a plank in the Berkeley Diet.


Mindful Eating As Food For Thought, New York Times.

Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, Jan Chozen Bays, MD

The art of mindfulness can transform our struggles with food—and renew our sense of pleasure, appreciation, and satisfaction with eating. Drawing on recent research and integrating her experiences as a physician and meditation teacher, Dr. Jan Bays offers a wonderfully clear presentation of what mindfulness is and how it can help with food issues.

Mindful eating is an approach that involves bringing one’s full attention to the process of eating—to all the tastes, smells, thoughts, and feelings that arise during a meal. Whether you are overweight, suffer from an eating disorder, or just want to get more out of life, this book offers a simple tool that can make a remarkable difference.

In this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Tune into your body’s own wisdom about what, when, and how much to eat
  • Eat less while feeling fully satisfied
  • Identify your habits and patterns with food
  • Develop a more compassionate attitude toward your struggles with eating
  • Discover what you’re really hungry for

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, Brian Wansink

Performance Support

Check the video

“The best diet is the diet you don’t know you’re on.”

Savor, Thich Nhat Hahn and Lilian Cheung

Thich Nhat Hahn at Google, YouTube

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