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Good Health Is Knowing How to Eat

The American culture has developed an adversarial relationship to food, often concentrating on what not to eat. The age-old practice of 'mindful eating' may restore our body to health.

What’s the Latest Development?

Health experts, including a Harvard nutritionist, believe a healthier body is achieved by concentrating on how we eat, not just the kinds of food we consume. Called ‘mindful eating’, the practice has its roots in Buddhism and is catching on in some surprising circles. From the nutrition departments of ivy league schools to Google HQ, spiritual teachings are making their way into meal time. The process involves concentrating on the experience of eating, which means switching of the electronic gadgets, avoiding chatter and chewing patiently.

What’s the Big Idea?

As the pace of life continues to accelerate, the role of food in our lives is changing, says Dr. Lilian Cheung, a Harvard nutritionist who has co-authored a book on mindful eating with the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Too often, they say, Americans develop an adversarial relationship to food, viewing it as something which is destined, unless we have an iron will, to make us feel guilty and fat. But instead of focusing exclusively on what we eat, we should consider how we eat to be of equal importance.

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