As many of you know, I have taught mindful eating through a class called Eat for Life for 15 years, so I am familiar with the topic. However, I just had the privilege and enjoyment of taking a mindful eating program with someone else. Chef Marcella Friel has a course on Shambhala Online called Mindful Eating –Joining Heaven and Earth at the Meal Table that I would highly recommend for almost anyone.
EFT Tapping to Calm Your Food Cravings
My interest in the course peaked when I noticed that she uses the EFT tapping technique to help people calm their food cravings. Given my recent training in Energy Medicine Yoga which also uses tapping, I was particularly curious how she would weave it into a mindful eating class. She taught an easy tapping technique to use as you look at trigger food. And, as she said at the end, “you can choose to eat it or not” but you can do it without craving it. In my experience, the emotional aspect of craving takes the pleasure out of food and tapping can help you calm that.
Findings from a world-first study aimed at scientifically proving a simple “tapping” technique have shown the method is effective in reducing food cravings. This study used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (fMRIs) to see the physical evidence of exactly how EFT self-help techniques work. After 4 weeks (two hours per week) of EFT Tapping, participants’ brain scans showed a remarkable reduction in activation. The control group that did not receive any EFT did not change. The findings indicated EFT might decrease limbic region brain activity and reduce food-related symptoms.
EFT tapping has been shown to quickly alleviate issues like depression, anxiety and insomnia, as well as severe PTSD, physical pain, and even illness. Its popularity has significantly grown in the past few years in clinical settings.
Mindful Eating Topics
Besides tapping, Chef Marcello addresses everything from releasing negative core beliefs about food and our bodies to recipes for serving yourself delicious meals that support your mood and body. Personally, I loved her discussions regarding the importance of the microbiome in our gut and feeding ourselves fermented foods. I can’t wait to try her easy recipe for water kefir. And, believe me, I never thought I’d be saying anything like that!
She has some simple instructions for mindful eating as follows:
- Bring all your attention to your food. Notice the colors, textures, shapes, and smells. What do you observe? How does your body feel in relation to this food? Take notes.
- Take a few more deep breaths. Bring one bite of food to your mouth.
- Be as fully present to that first bite as you can. What is your mouth saying about this food? What is your stomach saying? What other sensations are arising? Take notes.
- Continue eating, focusing as much attention as possible on every bite. How does your experience change as you eat? Take notes.
- Can you find the point where your body says “Enough”?
Or, even more simply, before you eat take three breaths, place your hands on your heart and look at what you’re going to eat. And then consider the following from Chef Marcella: “If you are what you eat, what would you want to be?”
Invited Guests at the Table
There are also a number of people that she brings into the course through articles from food journalist Michael Pollan, a short, humorous Tedx talk by Annemarie Colbin, founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and one of Marcella’s beloved mentors, and a video with Zen Chef Edward Espe Brown. I particularly liked her section on why home cooking matters. Michael Pollan points out, Americans spend an average of 27 minutes per day on meal preparation, and most of that involves heating a can of soup or microwaving a frozen pizza. Our favorite meal, for both lunch and dinner, is a sandwich and a soda. The consequences are numerous in terms of health, community, and overall wellness.
Chef Marcella doesn’t leave you there but leads you in the direction of the kitchen in a delightful, fun manner. As she says, rediscovering sanity with food is a simpler journey than we might believe. She suggests simple techniques for making eating more of a pleasing ritual like setting the table, inviting a loved one, and putting on music — small gestures to make mealtime one of appreciation and gratitude.
More about Chef Marcella
Chef Marcella is a mindful eating mentor who helps health-conscious women love and forgive themselves, their food, and their figure. She is the author of the book Tap, Taste, Heal: Use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to Eat Joyfully and Love Your Body. In 2018, Marcella founded The Women, Food & Forgiveness Academy, an online mentorship program to help women cultivate unconditional self-love as the path to conscious food choices and sustainable body-weight balance.
How to Take the Course
Simply go to Shambala Online https://shambhalaonline.org/calendar-details/?id=461224. The course is filled with great instructions throughout with very professional but personal articulation of the topics.
Savor and Enjoy!