Jan 25, 2014


Village Cafe in Bishop, CA.


Have you ever noticed that changing a habit can become a sparring match! Samuel Johnson is quoted as saying, "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." I personally believe that no habit is invincible, but changing one can feel like pulling a weed, only to find out that it is attached to your neighbor's refrigerator!


My previous post, "Mindful Eating," mentioned slowing down meals in order to naturally arrive at satiation. Chewing seemed like a good place to start, so I prepared a splendid breakfast and sat down to eat. My objective was to chew 26 times, hands free of utensils.

I took my first bite and began to chew. I immediately noticed that I was still holding my fork, so I laid it down. I took a second bite and this time my fork was parked. Before arriving at 26 chews, however, I picked up the fork, began reloading, put it back down, and then picked it up again. On the third bite, I ignored my fork, but I began chewing faster in anticipation of my next fork-lift. I even thought of things I needed to do and walked away from my plate several times until my 26 chews were over! I eventually began to focus on the flavor and texture of my meal, but oh what a battle!


I have observed people as they shovel food into their mouths. Their chewing seems obligatory and minimal. They quickly swallow and then reload. Twenty minutes later, they have sometimes eaten the equivalent of 3 or more meals and their appestat is out of a job. 

I am not an assembly line eater, but the mechanics of my own meal glared back at me. Plainly, I was uncomfortable not managing my fork between bites and I recognized that I was robbing myself of pleasure.


While shopping, I often see something I want and give myself full permission to come back the next day IF my desire is still strong. I rarely return. So, I recently tried this with 3 small, spicy chicken sandwiches. I ate one and wanted another. I gave myself permission to indulge again in 15 minutes if I was still hungry. In 15 minutes, I was full. My 8th grade son, Brock, picked up where I left off.

As I introduce more whole, fresh, and seasonal foods into my lifestyle, you might say that my chew-chew train is on track.

P.S. My inspiration comes from Darya Pino Rose, author of Foodist.

Jan 19, 2014

Mindful Eating


I look forward to women's ministry potlucks. The food is scrumptious and the conversation entertaining. The topics of religion and politics rarely create problems because we most often agree. I cringe, however, when an enthusiastic dieter uses mealtime to detail their latest diet and weight loss — usually while abstaining from what the rest of us are enjoying. I can sweep my eyes around the table and see people becoming more aware of their plates. And there are plenty of leftovers.

I mentioned this scenario to my husband and his reply was, "You sure don't have this problem at men's retreats."

My internal dialogue does not wish the dieter failure, but I am predicting that the diet will end soon and the weight will return. I am usually right. Being that most diets are unnatural in the first place, they are almost doomed to failure.


I was a chunky toddler when it was considered healthy to be so. In later years, it was discovered that early weight determines how one will deal with pounds for the rest of their life. For me, that was true. I have always struggled with weight gain; and I am certain that Wonder and Weber's bread were not my friends.

I have tried most popular diets, only to have my success erode as soon as I got bored and let up on the restrictions. In fact, I hate the word "diet" because I enjoy the diversity, culture, and creativity of food too much to abandon an entire food group, eat like a caveman, or pretend to like ChicharrĂ³n (fried pork rinds.)


My ultimate desire is to experience real food without deprivation. Yes, life is too short to be fat, but it is also too short not to enjoy the bountiful food choices that God saw fit to stock the planet with.

I have concluded that my healthy pursuit needs to focus on balance and better habits. So, I am not on a diet. I am not following a prescribed meal plan. I am not counting calories or weighing food. I am simply forging a healthier relationship with fresh, in-season, whole, organic, and unprocessed food. I am employing habits that slow down and increase the pleasure-factor of eating, while bringing my body back to a healthy rhythm.

I am grateful to authors Michael Polan (Cooked, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, and In Defense of Food) and Darya Pino Rose (Foodist) for offering common sense and affirmation. Due to their illumination, I am employing the following new habits...

     26 Chews while Utensils are Parked
     Less Distraction
     Mindful Eating
     Farmers Market
     Whole Foods
     Organic Food Co-ops
     Frozen when Fresh is Unavailable

Cafe Karen
     Real Food and Seasonal Ingredients
     Minimal Processed Food (especially sugar and flour)
     Batch Cooking
     Advance Preparation
     A High Protein Breakfast
     Meals of 50% Vegetables
     Fruit as Snacks
     Palm Sized Meat, Fish, and Poultry Portions
     Non-Sugared Beverages
     Sweets: Worth-the-splurge

Dining Out
     Dining: Worth-the-Splurge

     1000 Footsteps (with the aide of a FitBit)
     Strengthening Exercises