Have you ever had one bite-sized piece of a meal left, so you cut that one bite into several smaller bites and chewed really slowly? Have you ever tossed a handful of skittles into your mouth, knowing full well that when you only eat one at a time, the flavor still reaches every corner of your mouth anyways, just like the whole handful?

This begs the question: Why not just put one skittle in your mouth at a time? Why not take every bite as though it was your last? So often do people tend to shove food into their faces unthinkingly, only to reach the end of their meal not only far fuller than they would have been had they slowed down, but disappointed that the meal is over as well.

Among other things (such as mindfulness regarding ethical sourcing of food products), mindful eating involves allowing oneself to savor each bite of a meal, and being aware of what nutrients are in the food one is eating, and allowing oneself to experience an active awareness of the physical sensation of the act of refueling the body that eating constitutes. When eating mindfully, one ought to become more aware of the sensation of becoming fuller as one takes each bite and chews slowly (sometimes up to 25 times per bite!), reaching fullness alongside awareness.

The Three Main Addictive Flavor Profiles

Our brains are hardwired to seek out certain flavors of food, flavors which signal to our brains that the food contains nutrients and macronutrients that are beneficial to survival—namely fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. The three major addictive flavor profiles that are culprits in runaway weight gain are salty, fatty and sweet flavors. When one eats mindfully, one needs to eat and allow oneself to fully experience the sensations of the food and be aware of when salty, fatty, or sweet flavors are causing them to crave the next bite, which leads to faster eating and, ultimately, overeating.


Salt is prized by the brain’s reward system (basal ganglia) because of its role (along with other electrolytes) in contributing to the proper workings of muscles and nerves, among other functions. Through the miracle of evolution, our brains have decided that salt is good for us, therefore it makes salt taste good. Unfortunately, food today contains more sodium than nature had ever thought possible, therefore the salty flavor profile is often a sign of unhealthy food.


The next time you have a prime marbled steak with fat laced throughout the meat, take a moment after each bite to truly savor the meat and the fat. Allow yourself to feel the reward circuits in your brain go nuts for the fat, which is signaling to your brain that you will be able to survive until you kill your next prey. Eat the meat slowly enough, and you will likely eat less of it in a single sitting, meaning you won’t have done as much caloric damage and you’ll have leftovers!

Fat is stored fuel, so fatty foods contain a formerly living being’s stored fuel, which humans are able to use as their own. When eating fatty foods mindfully, say to yourself: “This is fuel” and become aware of the fuel integrating into the fabric of your body.

Sweet flavor

While fat is stored fuel, carbohydrates are readily available fuel sources that that the body uses faster than fat, but which turn into fat if they go unused. Carbs are contained in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes among other food categories. Carbs, and the varying levels of sweetness that come with them constitute an addictive flavor profile, particularly when candies pack up to 30 grams of sugar in a single regular sized bar.

Carbohydrates are fuel and necessary, but when the brain is hijacked by excessive amounts of a good thing, it can lead to overeating and weight gain.

What to do?

First, read the label of the food you are eating. Examine both the ingredients and nutrition facts. Try to learn as many typical food ingredients as you can (there are many)—from whole kernel corn to the myriad corn-derived food ingredients in most products on the supermarket shelf. Know which ingredients are contributing to which of the above addictive flavor profiles.

For example: You are free to enjoy a sugary soft drink. This is America, after all! But you should still read the label if you want to be mindful about the beverage and its contents.

You look at the ingredients and you see high fructose corn syrup listed second. Then you look at the nutrition facts and you see that the calorie count for the whole bottle is 310. You take the first sip. Feel the electricity of the sweetness from your tongue to your belly to your brain. Examine whatever physical sensations come with the taste and swallow the soda.

At this point you’re probably feeling sick to your stomach. Now feel free to put the soda back into the fridge where you might want to have it in case you get a sugar craving later! Just make sure you do everything outlined above again whenever you want more soda!

Where does this food come from?

A corollary element of mindful eating is being aware of where food comes from and knowing whether good practices are being used to cultivate all of the ingredients in the food you are eating. What grade meat are you eating? Is your steak cutter/utility meat or USDA Choice or Select, which is what you find in most grocery stores. The cutter meat is what they put in microwavable meals and McDonald’s hamburgers, prime is what you find in fine dining restaurants, and choice and select are the primary grades of meat available in grocery stores.

Other questions to consider include: is the food organic? How long a distance did the food have to travel? How was the food grown (fertilizer, soil type, etc.)? What kind of feed was used? Corn? Grass? Something else?

These are all additional things to be considered when choosing the food to use the above techniques on.

So next time you eat, take a moment to consider what you are putting into your body—what will become you. Observe the sensations of food becoming a part of you, and above all: enjoy. Eat, drink and be merry, but always go to great and mindful lengths to enjoy it.


Chad Weisman—CEO, Golden Strands Communication; ‘creative type’; surfer on the amber waves of grain; avid concert attendee.