Category Archives: Healthy Eating

With No Added Sugar On Top Please

sugar-258113_960_720The new Federal Drug Administration food labeling rules are a big win for the consumer.  According to their May 20, 2016, announcement, the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods will “reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.”  In essence, you will be able to make better informed decisions about what you eat in order to be and stay healthy.

The highlight of the new rules is that big business, especially The Sugar Association, lost their fight to keep the “added sugar” content off of the label.  Instead, all labels will now specify what percentage of the total sugar content has been added by the manufacturer. A lot of food has naturally occurring sugar, so this new label will help the consumer see how much extra they would be getting.  We can thank the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization, Michelle Obama, and others for their recommendation to decrease the intake of added sugar.  This recommendation is based on lots of research that indicates added sugars raise the risks for obesity and other chronic conditions.

Mindful eating helps you to be aware of those extra sugars by attending to your taste buds.  Train yourself to pay careful attention when you eat and you will be more aware of extra sugar and other chemicals. Over time you will notice that your taste buds are great detectives. For me, I will take the food with no added sugar on top. Thanks!

Other highlights of the new rules include updating the serving sizes so that they more accurately reflect how people eat, putting servings in larger, bolder type, listing the calories in larger type, updating the daily values that you need based on newer scientific evidence, eliminating the calories from fat but leaving in the type of fat that is in the product, adding nutrients such as Vitamin D and potassium to the label along with calcium and iron but letting Vitamins A and C be included on a voluntary basis.

Things move slow on these types of changes, but I am elated that we are moving in a direction that helps instead of tricks people. Large manufacturers will need to use the new label by July 26, 2018, so it will still be a while before you see these labels come into effect.  Click on this link to see get more information on the FDA website.  And see the labels below for a comparison of the old (on the left) and the new (on the right).


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Eating for the Right Reasons

Young woman enjoying ice creamHow many of you eat even when you’re not physically hungry? My guess is that would be all of you. And, from time to time this is not a problem. Once in a while it is nice to have a special treat just because something tastes good. I particularly savor my first trip to the ice cream parlor in the spring when the weather starts getting warm. However, if you commonly eat to reward and entertain yourself and to ease emotional distress there is a chance you lose control over eating and think about food a lot.

The Eat for Life class that I teach at the University of Missouri is a mindfulness-based intuitive eating program that helps people discover why they eat when they’re not hungry and how to be more in control of what, when, and how they eat. In addition, the program shows how to turn exercise into fun and eating into a healthy joy. The research I conducted indicates that after the program people are more mindful, they eat based on physical instead of emotional cues, they appreciate their bodies more, and they binge less often.

My research indicates that mindfulness training was the key to success in all of the other improvements that people experienced. To support that finding, recent research by Mason and colleagues published in the journal Appetite demonstrated that adding mindfulness training to a diet and exercise intervention called Supporting Health by Integrating Nutrition and Exercise (SHINE)significantly improved weight loss.  This randomized controlled trial adds to the support of mindfulness training as an important part of any weight management or weight loss program.

Summer classes for the Eat for Life program are now registering.  This is great opportunity to learn to eat and live in a way that supports your physical and emotional well-being. There is an in person class in Columbia, Missouri, and an online class that you can take from anywhere in the world.  I hope you can join me.

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Mindful Eating at a Hotel Breakfast Buffet–Hold The Sugar Please!

Sugar2I recently traveled out of town and found myself scanning a typical hotel breakfast buffet to find something I could eat. Imagine my horror! If you immediately know what I’m talking about then this blog will be old news for you. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then please continue to read, for your health’s sake. Continue reading

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Better Eating and Living through Mindful Self-Compassion

BE KINDWhat better way to start the new year than with a dose of self-compassion. Instead of letting the winter blues set in, find out how to warm the heart and shut out the cold.

What obstacles arise as you try to practice self-compassion? Find out how to overcome them in the latest issue of Food For Thought, a publication offered quarterly through the Center for Mindful Eating is now available.  Self-Compassion: Nourishing the Heart helps you to take a compassionate approach to your relationship to food and eating.

This article will help you

a) understand how a compassionate mind influences our brains, bodies and the way you relate to yourself  and others,

b)  try practical suggestions for a compassionate approach to relate to heart hunger in a way that allows true nurturing of the body,

c)  identify self-compassion as a key motivating factor for taking care of ourselves, including eating, and

d) learn four steps to adding self-compassion to your meals.



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A Mindful Halloween Meditation

Tick or treating is so much funYes, anything you bring your attention to turn it into a meditation—even Halloween! So, let me tell you a little story and share my meditation on Halloween.  Last year for the very first time I was struck by the irony of me giving out full size, sugary candy bars to innocent children as they paraded up to my door on Halloween.  I also was struck by the irony of me then thinking about taking the left over candy to work to perpetrate the sugary treats on my innocent co-workers.  These behaviors were ironic because I teach a mindful eating class which raises the awareness of the impact of loads of sugar on our emotional and physiological well-being.  And, here I was inflicting it on others because of Halloween. Continue reading

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