Feeding the Seven Hungers

I attended a workshop given by Barbara Meyer of Green Mountain at Fox Run. The lecture was titled “Mindful Eating: Feeding the Seven Hungers.” The information present was based upon the book Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays, a Zen teacher.

Barbara asked each of the participants to explain mindful eating.

My definition of mindful eating is composed of:

Eating without distraction, while being fully present with my food;
Exploring it through the five senses.
Truly tasting my food with gusto.
Staying in touch with my internal cues of hunger and satisfaction.

The 7 Hungers include:

Eye, Nose, Stomach, Cellular, Mind, & Heart.

We can nourish each of these hungers with and without food. These hungers can be fed through nature, art, & connection.

This was one of my take-aways from last summer at GMFR. I was out of balance with food. Most of the joy my life was derived from food. I learned that I needed to add more joy in. Now I get joy from exercising, sleeping well, being with friends, and having good boundaries.

We were asked to take an item of food, either a raisin or an almond. I chose an almond, as I had already done this exercise with both chocolate, and then later with a raisin.

We had to pretend that we were an alien from outer space. We had to look carefully at the almond in our palms. Observe it. Does it have a smell? It smelled great! We investigated how it looked. Then we put it in our mouth, without biting it. We rolled it around. THEN, we bit in. I thought the almond tasted better once I bit into it. Slowly, we chewed. Interestingly enough, the taste and texture of the almond changed throughout the eating process.

This exercise really made me evaluate my eating behaviors. I really struggle to eat in a distraction-free environment. Typically, I eat at home with the television and the computer on. I’ve been pretty successful at eating with just one form of media on, so that is progress.

I eat really fast. Like shoveling. I’ve had this habit since I was a kid. I don’t know why. I didn’t have a shortage of food supply growing up. However, it was mandated that we finish everything on our plates, regardless of our hunger/satisfaction levels. I’m working on slowing down. Putting my fork down between bites. But, I think there is more to it than that. Do I take time to prepare my body to eat by smelling and enjoying the textures of my food?

I do pray before eating, but I don’t always thank God for the hands that prepared my food, nor the farmers who raised it, or the animals that supplied it.

I will leave you with a quote from Marc David, who said,

“Be Awake at the Plate.”

For more information on mindful eating you can read about my May Mindful Eating Marathon.

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About eatingasapathtoyoga

Learning to savor food, yoga, & life.
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9 Responses to Feeding the Seven Hungers

  1. Kari says:

    This is very interesting! I am also a fast eater and I basically inhale my food which is such a shame sometimes. I need to be more mindful and allow myself to enjoy my food without distractions.

  2. Thanks for posting about this! Mindful eating is difficult in the context of meals with other people, but I’m trying to at least do it when I eat on my own. Slowing down to say “thank you” as I think about all the people and animals that contributed to my meal has been helpful. Thanks again!

  3. Reblogged this on One Day at a Time: Thoughts on Getting Out of B.E.D. and commented:
    Just wanted to share this terrific blog post from another blogger I read regularly. You’ve heard me talk about mindful eating, but I like the reminder to slow down and be grateful for all that went into the meal. Enjoy!

  4. Great post! I also have the terrible habit of eating mindlessly (and too fast). I’m going to try to keep this in mind today to see if I can be conscious about my eating… and slow down!

  5. sexyflexi says:

    Just coming to tell you that I nominated you for an award on my site. You don’t have to do it, no hard feelings, I know these things take up a lot of time.
    http://sexyflexi.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/theylikem/
    🙂

  6. Debbish says:

    Great post. I seriously have GMFR-envy!

    I just read another post by someone who said something like, ‘when her soul is nourished she doesn’t feel the need to over-eat’ and I think that’s like the point you’re making about finding joy in other things.

    That’s a huge problem for me!
    Keep up the great work. Am participating vicariously through you!

    PS. Am listening to my CD every night when I go to bed! Hoping it infiltrates my thinking!

    • Sending you sweet thoughts! Yes, I think it’s about adding things that bring you joy, subtracting things that don’t, and finding joy in the things you can’t subtract from your life.

  7. Pingback: Your Hungry Mind | eatingasapathtoyoga

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