Book review + Flash Sale: Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Jan Chozen Bays, MD)

Via Todd Mayville
on Jan 10, 2009
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It’s no secret that our relationship with our food is pretty screwed up.  Between genetic modifications, factory farming, and our “eat and run” mentality, it’s rather sad that the one thing that can not only fuel us but nurture our relationships with others and ourselves is relegated to an afterthought.  Through her book, Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, Dr. Bays seeks to change that. Without the use of complicated charts and statistics, Bays encourages the reader to adopt a more healthy attitude and approach to eating and drinking.  Mindful Eating contains not only a great deal of information around why it is important to eat more mindfully, but also a series of exercises designed to make the reader more aware of food on a variety of levels from the physical to the mental to the emotional.  Bays fully explores our relationships with food, including how we become conditioned to approach it based on various factors like our culture, gender, and so forth without condemning any particular form of conditioning.  In fact, through Mindful Eating, she offers a new way to “reprogram” the way we think about and consume our food.  While the author uses Buddhist principles this definitely isn’t strictly a “Buddhist book;” her intended audience seems to be those who have various issues and even disorders around food, but this book truly is for anyone who would like to take a step back and gain a greater sense of enjoyment from a cup of tea or their holiday meals.  Includes a cd of guided exercises; on sale this February from Shambhala Publications and at your local, independent bookstore. (Tell ’em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)


About Todd Mayville

Todd is a single dad of four diverse and lively kids, and is an English teacher and climbing team coach at a local public high school. A rock climber, cyclist and avid reader, Todd also practices yoga and meditation as often as he possibly can, which helps him stay at least a little centered and sane.


5 Responses to “Book review + Flash Sale: Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Jan Chozen Bays, MD)”

  1. juniper leifer says:

    well, it sounds like this book has a fluffy, new age perspective and is probably overflowing with cosmic simplicities. my general tendencies toward the more realistic and slightly cynical side of things would probably have me rolling my eyes and giggling throughout. this is not to say that the content would not be intriguing – perhaps just obvious. i do, however find the subject of man’s relationship with food as it has evolved from necessity to obsession to be a fascinating one. on the other hand, i think that the individual’s relationship with food has become anything but an afterthought – i think it has become the controlling force or factor for many.

  2. Robin Yost says:

    todd, your review piques my curiosity about “mindful eating”. i agree with juniper that simple concepts sometimes become hard to take seriously when they become overly expanded. if you are quite in control of you culinary tendoncies, then i can see how a whole book on this issue would seem superfluous.
    however, if this topic is pertinent to your current situation,as it is for me, i would think this would be a great read. she might lose me with the cd exercises though.
    for me, food, shopping and meal time is on my mind becuase my daughther is recently to an age where she finally eats three meals a day. i take her to the grocery store, and though she’s only 10 months, i try to explain to her that we are part of a fortunate few. to walk into a grocery store loaded with asiles, loaded with choices, tons of fresh produce from all over the country (and central america)… anything we can think of, it’s available to us. not knowing anything else, it would be easy to take our “plenty” for granted. it’s important to me to convey to nora that these options are not available to everyone.
    when it comes to sitting down to eat, i spend a lot of time on the mechanics of eating with her, since she has no teeth but a great desire to try all kinds of new foods. not rasberrying with a mouthfull is high on the list of manners to achieve too. it seems i can have some influence on how she perceives new flavors etc when we talk about them. she likes anything if i raise my eyebrows and say enthusiastically “isn’t that great? what do you think of the unusual texture?” ha.
    i think it’s important to take a moment to enjoy your food, not to be distracted by your cell phone or the t.v. same goes for babies, in my opinion, they don’t need to toddle around and eat mindlessly on the go. our meals shouldn’t be taken for granted. the more i emphasize this to nora, the more i appreciate whats on my plate. it has been a nice experience and an unexpected breakdown of a daily activity that, previously, didn’t warrant too much consideration.

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