Events: Healthy Habits & Mindful Eating

Events: Healthy Habits & Mindful Eating

On July 7th, we welcome Keegan Abernathy to Fox Haven. Keegan will be teaching us how to eat mindfully and the importance of doing so in the Connect To Your Meal Daylong Retreat from 9 am to 2 pm. We decided to ask him a few fun questions in anticipation of the workshop!

From Keegan’s blog at Mindful Bites:
“Eating mindfully allows us to experience, with full awareness, all the pleasurable and satisfying sensory information being sent to us from our food. When we use our mind to look deeply into the nature of food, our mind is giving our body a sense of anticipation of the meal to come. Mindful eating can activate our body’s natural digestive capacity by simply being present with all of the beauty within the meal. Experiencing our food with patience and all of our sensory capacity empowers our bodies to digest, absorb, and assimilate the bounty before us.”

What’s your favorite nutrition fun fact?

Well, my current most favorite fun fact is that colonocytes (the cells that line the surface of your colon) are dependent upon the fermented by-products of the microflora for their fuel source. The microflora is a vast biome of bacteria that live on the surface of colon wall. They feed on and fermented fibrous material that your body cannot digest. These bacteria then create long chain fatty acids as by-product of this fermentation reaction. The cells in your colon use these fatty acids by-products for their own energy and metabolism. Without these bacteria, there is a lack of fuel for the colonocytes which can lead to disease states in the colon. This goes to show the important symbiotic relationship that we have with such bacteria. It shows that what we think of as “our body” is very much an ecological system on a microbiological scale.

What is a “healthy” diet?

This question is where the world of nutrition can become a confusing place to navigate. Many people claim to know this answer. I myself do not what a healthy diet is.  I say this because we are all biologically individual, meaning that every person on this plant has a different physiology and metabolism. We all have different emotive relationships to our body and food. One way of eating may be great for one person and disastrous for another. For example, a high fiber diet may be perfect for a person experiencing constipation with IBS whereas the same fibrous diet may cause a relapse of symptoms for someone with Chron’s disease. There is no “right” or “wrong”, “good” or “bad”, or even “healthy” diet in this scenario. All we are left with is the journey of discovering what ways of eating nourish us individually as human beings.

The most basic thing I can say is that eating a whole foods diet is a great place to begin when seeking a deeper connection to health, well being, and nourishment. From there you can gain insight into what eating behaviors best suit your body. Make sure to listen to your body — take news articles and even new research with a literal or figurative grain of salt. Be curious, but don’t become overwhelmed. Things are always shifting in the world of nutrition. There is a lot of conflicting nutritional dogma that gets in the way of what truly nourishes the body, mind, and spirit. The way we relate to food and our body in and of itself can influence the status of our health and well-being.

Be kind to yourself and your body. Eat real foods. Listen to your body and continue your journey of optimizing your health with the guidance of wise integrative practitioners in the field of nutrition. Other than that, I would say be present with the abundance each meal offers. Many on this planet suffer and go without. Eat with joy and grace. Share it with others.

On your website, you talk about types of hunger that the body experiences; eye, nose, mouth, stomach, cellular, mind, and heart hunger. Which do you most connect with and why?

I do my best to live with them all during the experience of eating. For example, a particular fragrance may capture my awareness. Such a wonderful fragrance may then inform me of my hunger level in my stomach. That same smell may take me back to pleasant memories of childhood, thus nourishing my heart without even taking a bite. Then I take a bite and it is delicious! Mouth hunger satisfied! All these “types of hunger” are invitations to be alive, present in the moment, in this wonderfully fragile yet resilient human body. They are levels of being nourished as a human. Each type of hunger can be used for the cultivation of joy every time we eat.



Get a digest of Fox Haven Farm & Learning Center news, events, and resources in your inbox every month.


* indicates required
Interest (check all that apply)