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Reinventing the Meal: How Mindfulness Can Help You Slow Down, Savor the Moment, and Reconnect with the Ritual of Eating [Paperback]

Donald Altman

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Book Description

18 Oct 2012
Everyone wants to feel more relaxed and connected with their bodies, but how? And more importantly, when? Many people's busy schedules leave little time for lengthy meditation practices and when life is most stressful and meditation most needed, many of us dispense with quiet time first. Reinventing the Meal offers a new way to get mindful moments in-by centring these important and beneficial practices on mealtimes. At least three times a day, readers can practice the art of becoming present, mindful, and relaxed. This "three course" approach introduces strategies for practicing relaxation and breathing, moving forward into meditation techniques, and, finally, learning to eat mindfully. The book offers intriguing exercises, rituals, and meditations rooted in ancient and modern traditions that make mindful eating appealing and possible for anyone. The book also brings global awareness to eating practices and encourages readers to consider the source of their food.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger; 1 edition (18 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608821013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608821013
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14.8 x 22.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,549,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Pavel Somov brings together mindfulness practices and wisdom from Eastern traditions with scientific insights to thoughtfully challenge and inspire the reader to higher consciousness, all within the arena of the most basic of human activities--eating. He delivers a bounty of food for thought that compellingly assists us in re-imagining ourselves, as well as the meal. In an era of fast-food and fast-paced living, "Reinventing the Meal" offers a well-needed path toward health, serenity, and a meaningful connection to life."

--Jeffrey Weise, PhD, psychologist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders with a private practice in Pittsburgh, PA

Book Description

This book teaches us that we can have all of it at the same time if we just slowed down and used our mealtimes as a way to get back in touch with the present moment.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than a diet plan--a fresh perspective. 3 Sep 2012
By Rachel - Published on
Dr. Pavel Somov has a unique voice, and it results in a book about food, eating, and healing that is unlike any other I have read (and as an overweight person that has long struggled with binge eating, I have read A LOT of what's out there).

The book blends philosophical discussions with exercises that the reader can try. Personally, I find the discussions--of energy, ethics, culture, mindfulness, nature, obesity, evolution, and so much more--to be the most helpful aspect, as those discussions have shifted my perspective in a way that has gradually and naturally led to a less tortured relationship with food. The biggest downside to "Reinventing the Meal" also has an upside: readers may have to revisit Somov's ideas several times before they stick, because he presents a VERY different way of looking at eating and nutrition. But that also means that the text remains interesting and fresh even after multiple readings; there is so much to discover and ponder in this book. I like to pick it up now and then and peruse sections at random. It recalibrates my thinking about food and self in a great way!

If you are in need of a fresh perspective that will help you feed yourself with more peace, enjoyment, and intelligence (instead of yet another unsustainable diet/weight loss plan), give this book a try!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of my comfort zone, but interesting philosophy 5 Sep 2012
By HeyDinero - Published on
I recently finished Reinventing the Meal and while I have to say I am not the most 'zen' person, many of the tactics in this book spoke to me. Yes, there are things that I will not be able to implement in daily life but I found many of the suggestions and methods useful (particularly paced eating). Overall, my main takeaway after reading this book has been to realize that I have become an eating 'zombie' at most meals- and well, as 'they' say, admitting/identifying the problem is the first step in the battle.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a new relationship with mealtimes 3 Sep 2012
By AP MOUNTFORD - Published on
When I first began this book I couldn't imagaine myself following all the steps in there. I felt too self concious to do some of them around others.
What I learned as I went through though, was that my mind began to relax and open itself up to a new approach to food and mealtimes.
Some of the lessons stuck, some of them slipped away, but my unconcious mind held on to the ones that would be of real value to me.

I have undereaten and been hospitalized as a child and overeaten for years as an adult. Diets never worked because the problem wasn't with the food, it was with me. My thoughts and emotions developed triggers around food to help me feel better. This book has helped me to reset my thoughts and become aware of my emotions around food in such a gentle and progressive way that it hasn't been a battle or a discipline, but a relaxed and pleasant journey.

I have 30+ years of unthinking habits to change, but thanks to reinventing the meal and the really personable way that Dr Somov has written, (it's easy to imagine his voice as you read) I am well on my way to doing just that.

I would urge anyone who has a problem with eating too much, too often or unthinkingly to give this book a go. Your mind is your most powerful ally and this book really helped me use mine to set myself free of my own bad habits.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awaken your inner "eating zombie" 1 Oct 2012
By Sally - Published on
As a journalist and registered dietitian, I have written about weight loss for years. I am very intrigued by the concept of coming to peace with food through meditation and mindfulness, and have spoken with many people who have solved their personal battles with food through these kinds of techniques. In this book, Dr. Somov does a terrific job at both presenting the concept of mindful eating and at providing practical exercises for slowly incorporating these ideas into your daily life. I love his notion of rethinking dessert--of treating every meal like dessert, a potential source of pleasure that should be savored. In fact, Dr. Somov lays out a convincing argument for rethinking food and mealtimes completely. And after reading this book, you really will look at your food in a whole new (better!) way.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "How to Book" on Eating Mindfully 3 Sep 2012
By Heather Rudalavage - Published on
I recently had the pleasure of reading the book Reinventing the Meal, by Pavel Somov. In a nutshell, this book is not only about becoming a more mindful eater, (and quite possibly losing extra weight in the process) but it is also a "how to" guide on bringing mindfulness to your life through meals.

This idea of mindfulness while eating is mostly unheard of in our present culture of guilt, deprivation and mindlessness. Most patients I work with want to ignore food and eating altogether. They are filled to the gills with nutrition knowledge and resultant anxiety over what, when and how much to eat. They are exhausted from the overwhelming amount of information and misinformation on nutrition and health. They have literally thrown in the towel and decided it is best to stop thinking about what they eat completely. They have shut down.

In Reinventing the Meal, by bringing mindfulness literally to the table, Somov turns the idea of "how to lose weight", on it's head. Instead of walking the reader through what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner he instead takes the reader through a three course meal. Not a traditional three course meal, but rather, three courses of increased mindfulness.

While Reinventing the Meal may be a bit difficult to wrap your brain around, especially for those who are new to the mindful eating concept or are new to meditation, it is full of easy to try exercises for readers of all spiritual levels to practice. No other book that I have read, and I have read a lot of books on mindfulness and weight loss, gives as many hands on exercises for the reader to try, learn and grow. The exercises will help to bring relaxation, mindfulness, sensory enjoyment and nourishment back to our dining tables. For those who are already familiar with mindfulness, reading Reinventing the Meal, can help you go deeper into your practice, particularly around food and eating.

I look forward to recommending this book to many of my patients, especially those patients who have been unsuccessful at traditional dieting. It is also an invaluable teaching tool for those who are nutritionists, health coaches, or mindfulness educators.
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