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How to become a conscious eater

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

How to become a conscious eater

  • University of Toronto

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.

Conscious eating nourishes your body with food and your mind and heart with peace. It is grounded in caring and compassion. It involves listening calmly and overriding the often-frustrating pull of emotional eating.

To get started and help you focus, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is your body asking for?
  • What do you need to nurture yourself?
  • What is your energy level?
  • What type of fuel do you need now: food, motivation, inspiration, peace?
  • What are your emotional needs?
  • Where is your heart leading you?
  • Where can you get close to a balance among mind, body and heart?

It can be difficult to answer these questions thoughtfully in the beginning. Sometimes you are swept up by emotions, thoughts and memories, and are unclear which choice will calm the out-of-control thoughts and feelings. Longing for food can seem uncontrollable at times. Allow yourself a break to figure out what you need and how to nurture yourself as you experience it.

The 3 keys to conscious eating are:

1. Mind: How do you feel emotionally?

Most of us have basic feelings down such as mad, sad, happy, and bored. One of the great things about conscious eating is that you can get more specific. You develop more options with increased emotional awareness. For example, there are many ways to describe happiness: joy, elation, glee, delight, well-being, and merriment, for a few.

Each of these feelings has a different quality and is a different experience of happiness. You can work with the emotion to identify it clearly, so that you no longer need to emotionally eat to cope with it. It is possible to find fulfillment, happiness and peace in your relationship with food.

2. Body: How do you feel physically?

Conscious eating requires you to check in with yourself regularly and get to know your subtle physical cues. A healthy relationship is built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect. Your relationship with your body’s hunger and satiety signals needs trust and respect too. To be a conscious eater you need to stop, listen, and take good care. Allow yourself the time to check in and wait for an answer.

Denial or snap judgments lead you away from consciousness. To clear your mind, take three deep breaths. Then simply listen to your body to get a sense of what you need. If you are hungry, eat. If you are not hungry, do something else.

3. Heart: Quiet reflection.

The third key to becoming a conscious eater is to be quiet and listen to your heart with the freedom of consciousness. Take a thoughtful, centered perspective, rather than an unconscious, greedy, “I just want it” attitude. Choices are no longer difficult; they just are. So often, you may be encouraged to do what is best for other people or risk being selfish: a black or white perspective. Thinking of life as less black or white and more gray is more realistic.

Stop for a moment and put yourself into the equation. Take into account what you need: caring for your emotions, feeding yourself, space and quiet time, engaging in a physical activity which you find nurturing. Being kind and gentle to yourself deepens your relationship with yourself and makes a big difference in the end.

The three keys to becoming a conscious eater are uncomplicated and you can start today. Like all good things, conscious eating takes time to develop. With practice, you can learn to nurture your relationship with your mind, body, and heart throughout your life, with consciousness and peace.

Related Articles

Tracie Strucker, LCMFT, PhD

Tracie Strucker, LCMFT, Ph.D. specializes in helping women become Conscious Eaters and end emotional eating for good. You can find out more about how she works, get updates on workshops and trainings at her website traciestrucker.com. You can also download a free copy of the Conscious Eater’s Notebook at consciousmindbody.com and begin the process of becoming a Conscious Eater today!

Are you on autopilot when you eat? Do you often find yourself struggling to remember what you ate for the day? After 20 years of working with teams and athletes, nutrition guru Craig Harper has found the biggest challenge people face when it comes to good nutrition is eating unconsciously. If this sounds like you or your clients, keep reading to find out how to re-establish healthy eating habits.

Many people eat what they don’t need, and then they wonder why they struggle to maintain their weight. They eat processed food. They eat socially, they eat because it’s expected, because it’s there. They eat emotionally or reactively. They reward themselves with food. They fantasize about food, or lie about it. They eat to give themselves instant physical pleasure. And then when they’re finished, they curse their lack of self control. If you recognize yourself or your clients in this viscous cycle, you’re not alone.

We live in a society of fast food, meals on the run and TV dinners, which sabotage healthy nutrition. We rarely take the time to prepare meals, eat together and enjoy our food. But we can stop this cycle if we focus on conscious eating.

What is Conscious Eating?

Conscious eating is the art of bringing mindfulness to eating. Through self observation, you can gain insights, self awareness and a deeper understanding of the root causes of unconscious over-eating. When you begin being mindful during eating, you become aware of the root causes and patterns that lead to unconscious over-eating. Once you become aware of these patterns, you can change them and get back in the habit of just giving the body the nutrition it needs for optimal health, function and energy. Nothing more or less. So, what’s the most conscious and responsible question you and your clients can ask in relation to your eating habits?

“Why am I eating this?”

If the answer is not “because I need it,” then you’re eating unconsciously.

Drug of Choice

For many people, food has become their drug of choice, 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 as well as emotional and psychological changes.

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 rationalized, 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.

We were trained to celebrate with excessive eating. We were taught to overeat on certain occasions. It was the rule and still is. Christmas, birthdays, reunions, anniversaries, engagements, New Years and Easter were (are) all legitimate times to abuse our bodies with food. We were encouraged to over-ride the “full” signal and ignore what the body was telling us.

The first step in conscious eating is being aware of your triggers. If you think you or your clients are guilty of unconscious eating, here’s something to put on the fridge:

  • 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 rationalize poor eating.
  • I will not lie to myself or others about my eating behaviors.
  • 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.
  • I will eat consciously.

Conscious eating is about reconnecting with the body. It’s about stopping the cycle of lies and excuses. It’s about slowing down and paying attention. It’s about honoring and respecting the gift that is the body. When we eat consciously, our body, mind and emotions all work in perfect harmony.

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.

Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet
  • Paperback
  • Ebook

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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Books also available at
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  • Barnes & Noble
  • Books-A-Million
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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

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

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Are you on autopilot when you eat? Do you often find yourself struggling to remember what you ate for the day After 20 years of working with teams and athletes, nutrition guru Craig Harper has found the biggest challenge people face when it comes to good nutrition is eating unconsciously. If this sounds like you or your clients, keep reading to find out how to re-establish healthy eating habits.

Many people eat what they don’t need, and then they wonder why they struggle to maintain their weight. They eat processed food. They eat socially, they eat because it’s expected, because it’s there. They eat emotionally or reactively. They reward themselves with food. They fantasize about food, or lie about it. They eat to give themselves instant physical pleasure. And then when they’re finished, they curse their lack of self control. If you recognize yourself or your clients in this viscous cycle, you’re not alone.

We live in a society of fast food, meals on the run and TV dinners, which sabotage healthy nutrition. We rarely take the time to prepare meals, eat together and enjoy our food. But we can stop this cycle if we focus on conscious eating.

What is Conscious Eating

Conscious eating is the art of bringing mindfulness to eating. Through self observation, you can gain insights, self awareness and a deeper understanding of the root causes of unconscious over-eating. When you begin being mindful during eating, you become aware of the root causes and patterns that lead to unconscious over-eating.?Once you become aware of these patterns, you can change them and get back in the habit of just giving the body the nutrition it needs for optimal health, function and energy. Nothing more or less. So, what’s the most conscious and responsible question you and your clients can ask in relation to your eating habits

“Why am I eating this?”

If the answer is not “because I need it,” then you’re eating unconsciously.

Drug of Choice

For many people, food has become their drug of choice, 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 as well as emotional and psychological changes.

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 rationalized, 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.

We were trained to celebrate with excessive eating. We were taught to overeat on certain occasions. It was the rule and still is. Christmas, birthdays, reunions, anniversaries, engagements, New Years and Easter were (are) all legitimate times to abuse our bodies with food. We were encouraged to over-ride the “full” signal and ignore what the body was telling us.

The first step in conscious eating is being aware of your triggers. If you think you or your clients are guilty of unconscious eating, here’s something to put on the fridge:

  • 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 rationalize poor eating.
  • I will not lie to myself or others about my eating behaviors.
  • 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.
  • I will eat consciously.

Conscious eating is about reconnecting with the body. It’s about stopping the cycle of lies and excuses. It’s about slowing down and paying attention. It’s about honoring and respecting the gift that is the body. When we eat consciously, our body, mind and emotions all work in perfect harmony.

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

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

Shipping to the U.S. only. Please see our International FAQ for more information.

Also available at

  • Amazon
  • Bookshop
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Books-A-Million
  • IndieBound

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

“…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

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.

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.

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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.