Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung

What do you think of this quote?

“There are hundreds and thousands of stems linking us to
everything in the cosmos,
supporting us and making it possible for us to be.
Do you see the link between you and me?
If you are not there,
I am not here”…. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Understanding (1988)

or this one?

” The entire world is inside an orange. Think about all the things that go into making an orange. The tree it grows on, the ground it grows on, the water that nourishes it, the sun that gives it energy to grow. If any of these things are removed, the orange won’t exist. Remember that everything is connected and that the whole world is inside us.”

and my favorite:

A student asked Thay, ‘There are so many urgent problems. What should I do?” They answered calmly, “Take one thing, and do it very deeply and carefully, and you will be doing everything at the same time.” 

The whole book is full of such reflective and mesmerizing quotes. I wasn’t initially planning on doing a book review on this since it’s not directly related to sustainability, but I ended up enjoying and learning so much from the book that I felt I had to share the key points I got from it. Consider this more of a book summary than review..

Basic hypothesis:

  1. We have to learn the art of stopping stopping our running so that we can be present for and embrace our habit energies of worry, blame, guilt, and fear, and calm the strong emotions that dictate us. We have to learn to live fully in the present moment. We need to practice breathing in and out with all our awareness. We have to learn to be mindful.
  2. There are 4 noble truths of healthy weight:
    1. First is that all of us have suffering in our lives
    2. Second is that we can identify the causes of our suffering
    3. Third, we can put an end to our suffering and that healing is possible.
    4. Fourth, there are paths to free us from suffering. We can cultivate our well-being by concretely applying mindfulness to our daily living.
  3. A teacher cannot give you the truth. The truth is already in you. A teacher can only offer you the chance to awaken your true self.
  4. Often time when we indulge in mindless eating, we are using food to fill an emotional void, relive loneliness, or cope with anxiety, fears or stress.
  5. We are more capable of helping ourselves if we treat ourselves with compassion and a loving heart.
  6. Don’t deny your suffering caused by being overweight. Touch your suffering. Face it directly, and transformation from depression, fear, despair, or anger is within reach and into peace and joy.
  7. The three means of achieving that are: Mindful breathing, mindful eating, and mindful walking.
  8. These three comprise what’s called Mindful living..sense of being more centered, more joyful, more at peace with yourself.


Mindful eating:


  1. Eat less meat and dairy. Instead eat more vegetables, grains, and beans.
  2. It is important to realize mind and body are not separate. To achieve our goal of a healthier weight, we need to eat mind fully.
  3. Many people eat without feeling hungry either because the food looks good or because they are trying to soothe their difficult emotions. Practicing mindfulness will ensure we eat when and what our stomach needs, not what our cravings push us to eat.
  4. Here’s a list of good fats, bad fats, and very bad fats.
  5. Choose healthy drinks and be mindful of sugar content in soda.
  6. The seven practices of a mindful eater:
    1. Honor the food
    2. Take small bites and chew thoroughly
    3. Eat slowly to avoid overeating
    4. Don’t skip meals
    5. Eat a plant-based diet, for your health and the health of the planet


Mindful moving:


  1. Most people who want to lose weight need to get at least five hours of moderate physical activity each week.
  2. To develop concentration, physical stability, strength, and flexibility, practice the following simple exercises: Ten Mindful Movements
  3. Goals for being active each day:
    1. Goal 1 (beginners): 2500 steps/day- 20 minutes/day
    2. Goal 2 (intermediate): 5000 steps/day – 40 minutes/day
    3. Goal 3 (lifelong habit): 7500 steps/day- 60minutes/day
  4. Our bodies and minds truly crave activity. To appreciate the physical capacity that we have been uniquely endowed with requires us to reconnect with our active selves, however out of touch with them we may be.


Mindful Living plan:

  1. Keep a mindful Living Log. I plan to use it..It looks very doable and gradual (refer to the below image).
  2. Get a good night’s sleep
  3. Get back to nature
  4. Do something everyday to nurture yourself
  5. Practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings: They represent Buddha’s vision on spirituality and ethics
    1. Reverence for life
    2. True happiness no happiness at the cost of others
    3. Practicing True love- non abusive and with continued future
    4. Loving speech and deep listening think before speaking
    5. Committed to cultivating good health: both physical and mental
  6. Reach the point of No Failure- only awareness of what works and what doesn’t.


 Additional Resources:

1. Mindfulness Practice Centers
. What to eat by Marion Nestle
3. Animal, vegetable, miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
4. Year of No Sugar by Eve Schaub
5. Savor the book..contains an amazing amount of additional resources and tips


Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 12.44.23 AMsavor


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