Page to Patient: The Mindful Diet

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“What are you reading now?” is a question I am often asked.  Followed by “can I borrow some of your books?” I confess that I have a … moderate... addiction to books.  Real books with pages that you turn, dog ear or even highlight (yikes!).  I tried the whole electronic book thing when it was gaining momentum about 10 years ago, but quickly found that I preferred the comfort of curling up with a good book, turning pages, and taking notes.  Unless of course, I was taking an online reading quiz in grad school, in which case having a searchable e-book was “clutch,” as my son would say.  Reading quizzes in grad school?  please. 

So, not only do I mark my books, which would alarm many a Librarian – I take notes, place tabs/posts in places I need to remember, and sometimes even type my notes.  While it is a super-nerdy thing to do, it is really helpful in finding information quickly for a client!  I am also one of those people who immediately go on Amazon during a webinar and check out the book that was just mentioned.  And probably order it.  This results in a small stack of books that I need to read but haven’t set aside time to do so.  Enter -this NEW regular blog post commitment – as much for me as it is for you, to guarantee I will get my reading done and share it with you.  If you are a client, prospective client, Dietitian or just family who want to support me by reading my posts (smile!), I hope you will find this information helpful, so you can decide if you wish to dig deeper into the many great reads I have on the shelf. 

To start us off, I chose The Mindful Diet:  How to Transform your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health.  Written by Ruth Wolever, and co-author Beth Reardon, a Dietitian who used to practice at Duke Integrative Medicine, this book is a must read for anyone who just wants to feel better and more in control of our emotions, even more so than our nutrition.  I will highlight a few things I loved about this book:

What it is

  • an approach to wellness that includes all components of the Wheel of Health ranging from spirituality to movement and nutrition
  • insights into how our core values drive our behavior and thoughts
  • how to set reasonable and achievable goals (It’s not what you think)
  • three pillars that should drive our food choices

What it is not

  • a diet book
  • set of complex time consuming suggestions
  • a book that will take you a month to read and understand -I think I read it on a weekend – and took notes (of course!)

To start us off, Beth accurately summarizes the work of an Integrative Dietitian, which I think is largely misunderstood by the public in general.  This work includes the science – biochemistry and functional medicine as well as the heart – helping people get in touch with who they are and want to be as they move through this world.  It boils down to helping people live their best life with our greatest asset being our health.  Health is wealth, right?

The Wheel of Health is a tool used by many integrative practices and helps guide an individual’s decisions about which areas need the most immediate attention.  We are often so busy with life that it becomes difficult to stop and conduct a personal inventory periodically so that we can recalibrate.  Doing the same things over and over often yields the same unsatisfying results.  Resets are both natural and necessary – in nature and in life – and this book is very helpful in creating focus.

Building on the Wheel of Health, this book walks you through identifying your core values – what is very important, moderately important and not at all important?  You are guided through dozens of prompts to help you think about these values without starting from scratch.  Super helpful.

Once you have done that, you can begin to set goals.  Now, I have seen where goals can be a double edge sword.  If you set a goal and do not meet it completely, or in the timeline you had in mind, people often get frustrated, deflated and begin to allow the “monkey mind” to take over with negative self-talk.  On the other hand, I have seen goals be a very powerful tool for people to begin to work realistically toward an objective.  In Beth’s book, she discusses three goal settings, which I think is very helpful, so you can land somewhere along your goal continuum, rather than developing the feeling of failure if you don’t meet your own expectations.  Set three goals for your objective:

  • optimal goal
  • desirable goal
  • minimal goal

Remain mindful by being Here now, tease out judgment from fact and be use kindness often toward others which I have seen reciprocate inward as self-kindness as well.

Finally, I wanted to highlight the 3 pillars mentioned in this book because they are really a great way to boil down the key strategies all people should have regarding meal choices:  eat to manage inflammation, eat to manage blood sugar and eat whole foods.

There are many more golden nuggets in this book, and it is a short 300 pages, so if you want to know more I highly recommend picking up a copy. 

I will rate each book I review so you will know if it is worth the money or if you should save your dough

The Mindful Diet is… worth the money.