Food is part of our daily life and an integral piece of our culture. It brings us together, nourishes our bodies, and is vital to our well-being. Yet millions of people struggle with their relationships to food. Countless fad diets parade through the media each month, and Americans spend more than $60 billion on weight-loss programs every year.
Choosing what we eat and how we live is a complex process that entails a host of daily decisions. When we are overwhelmed with the pace of daily life, it can feel impossible to make the good decisions that lead to well-being. A mindfulness practice can help to root us in the present and empower us to be conscious of the lifestyle choices we make.
for Women’s Health from October 15 – 20, 2017
Similarly, wisdom and suggestions from folks who spend a lot of time thinking about food, nutrition, and well-being can help quite a bit. Think of these five books as guides to help you nourish your mind, body, and spirit, as well as develop a mindful relationship to food.
1. Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong
Why It’s Compelling: Eating a nutritious diet doesn’t mean you have to take all the fun out of the kitchen. Michelle Tam puts a fresh spin on the paleo diet with a humorous approach to healthy cooking, complete with cartoons. In this cookbook inspired by her wildly popular blog, Tam offers more than 100 family-friendly recipes free of gluten, soy, and added sugar. Parents will especially appreciate her advice on feeding kids, packing nutritious lunches, and saving time in the kitchen. Hello, Instant Pot!
Great Takeaway: “Prioritize whole, unprocessed, nutrient-rich, nourishing foods. Eat vegetables, grass-fed and pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and some fruit, nuts, and seeds.”
2. Well Nourished: Mindful Practices to Heal Your Relationship with Food, Feed Your Whole Self, and End Overeating by Andrea Lieberstein
Why It’s Compelling: In today’s fast-paced world, we can often feel distracted and disconnected from our bodies. When energy is flagging, we may seek out quick fixes like caffeine or junk food. What if we lived a life where we felt well-nourished emotionally, intellectually, physically, psychologically, spiritually, socially, and creatively? Just imagine! This book will show readers how to develop a mindful relationship to food and craft a well-nourished life with step-by-step examples, tools, and mindful practices that can be individualized to match your unique needs.
Great Takeaway: What are you hungry for? Many people use food to nourish themselves when what they really need is other forms of nourishment. Before reaching for something to eat, take a mindful pause—a few deep, relaxing breaths—and focus on the natural rhythm and movement of your breath. Broaden your awareness to include thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, and discover new insight into what your body really craves.
3. Full: How I Learned to Satisfy My Insatiable Hunger and Feed My Soul by Kimber Simpkins
Why It’s Compelling: In this inspiring and captivating memoir, Kimber Simpkins captures the all-consuming hunger she felt on a daily basis as a result of an eating disorder. Sick of dieting and hating her body, Simpkins decides to get to the bottom of her unhappy relationship with her body. She discovers the healing power of yoga and Buddhism, begins to wrestle with her inner demons of hunger and perfectionism, and learns how self-acceptance can soften even her toughest inner critic. This book chronicles a voyage of self-discovery.
Great Takeaway: During her journey, Simpkins realizes her hunger isn’t simply physical, but that it comes from a place deep inside her. Through the teachings of yoga and meditation, Simpkins discovers she doesn’t have to live in a prison of self-dissatisfaction. In fact, by understanding the root of her pain and learning to love herself in body, mind, and spirit, Simpkins is able to truly set herself free from anorexia.
4. The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet: 10-Minute Fixes to Get the Body You Want and a Life You’ll Love by Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead
Why It’s Compelling: The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet is not a diet book. It’s a confidence-boosting program to create lasting change in your life. For women looking to lose weight, people who want a healthier relationship with their bodies, and anyone in search of a fun way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle, this book’s for you. By making 10-minute healthy lifestyle changes, you may be able to train your brain to listen to your body and overhaul your relationship with food and exercise.
Great Takeaway: The first step is to cut the drama. Yes, being healthy is about eating well and exercising, but it is also about feeling good about yourself: “No matter what activity you want to do, do it with a whole lot of self-love.”
5. The Joy of Half a Cookie: Using Mindfulness to Lose Weight and End the Struggle with Food by Jean Kristeller and Alisa Bowman
Why It’s Compelling: Dr. Jean Kristeller has developed a paradigm-shifting alternative to traditional weight-loss programs that focus on willpower and guilt. Her Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training Program helps readers manage their eating habits by using the power of the mind to tap into the body’s satiety signals. Written for anyone who wants to lose weight, this book delivers a proven way to find peace of mind and a healthier relationship with food, for life.
Great Takeaway: By exploring the elements of “enough,” readers learn when and how to stop overeating. Rather than battling cravings or struggling with deprivation, mindful eating explores the appreciation of taste and how to use mindfulness techniques to savor flavors and gain mastery over tempting foods and triggers. Learn to love every bite without denying yourself those favorite and forbidden foods.