Savor | Thich Nhat Hanh

Summary of: Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life
By: Thich Nhat Hanh


Embark on a journey towards a healthy and mindful life with the insightful teachings of ‘Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life’ by Thich Nhat Hanh. This book summary presents the transformative power of mindfulness, which all starts from acknowledging the suffering we may encounter with unhealthy eating habits. Discover the simple, yet profound, four-step Buddhist practice to bring awareness and change to your life. Learn how to reconnect with your food by understanding the intricate connections between what we eat, our actions, and the environment. Dive into the concept of mindfulness as a method to nourish your body and your mind, and explore the right balance of nutrients, exercise, and rest essential for achieving and maintaining good health.

Transforming Unhealthy Habits

To overcome unhealthy eating habits, one needs to transform their life with the help of a supportive community and small successes. Following Buddhist teachings, this transformation can be achieved in four steps: acknowledge suffering, become aware of root causes, realize the possibility of losing weight, and practice living mindfully in the present moment. The process of reflection should embrace negative feelings compassionately rather than judging them harshly. These steps do not dictate the truth, but rather awaken the truth already present within. Overcoming unhealthy habits may lead to an improvement in physical and social well-being.

Mastering Mindfulness

Most of us tend to be distracted by past or future thoughts, which prevents us from being aware of the present moment. This lack of awareness is known as mindlessness and leads to unhealthy habits such as overeating. To experience happiness and peace, we must practice mindfulness, focusing our attention on the present. This way, we become more aware of our movements, feelings, and eating habits. Practicing mindfulness while eating, for example, allows us to deeply appreciate the taste and healthfulness of our food, eliminating cravings for unhealthy food and enabling us to stop eating when full. By mastering mindfulness, we can overcome unhealthy habits, alleviate physical and psychological suffering, and fully appreciate the richness and joy of life in the present moment.

The Power of Connection

We may think of ourselves as isolated individuals, but we are all interconnected with each other and the environment. For example, eating an orange connects us to the tree, the soil, the farmer, and the people who transported it. Unfortunately, many people consume without considering the consequences for the planet. Eating excessive amounts of meat, for example, not only harms the environment but also involves inhumane practices. By understanding our connection to everything, we can make conscious choices that benefit us all, such as transitioning to a plant-based diet. Changing our eating habits can help sustain a healthier planet with enough food for everyone. It’s time to acknowledge and cherish our connection with everything.

Feeding the Mind

Buddhism teaches that feeding the mind is just as important as feeding the body. We can either intentionally or unintentionally feed our mind with sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. The mass media and advertisements intentionally create sense impressions to direct at us. Understanding our deepest will or desire to obtain something, known as volition, is crucial. Compassionate desires are healthy, while cravings for food, money, or fame lead to unhealthy desires. Finally, our experiences and perceptions impact our consciousness, and our conscious mind needs to encourage positive feelings to rise while dissolving negative feelings. Overall, being mindful of our senses, desires, and conscious feelings is essential to avoid feeding our mind with negativity. Ultimately, when we become more mindful, we become holistically healthier.

Finding Nutritional Gold

Understand the quality of essential macronutrients – Carbs, Fats & Proteins

The market is littered with weight-loss diets offering conflicting advice on what to consume to achieve a healthy body weight. That is why it is recommended to refer to nutritional science and identify good carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to maintain a balanced diet. Rather than completely giving up these nutrients, the focus should be on selecting foods that offer quality nutrients. Carbohydrates from whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits are considered healthy, whereas, those from white bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and sugary foods are less so.

Fats can be distinguished based on the type. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts, avocado, fish, and tofu are generally healthy, while saturated fats from red meat and dairy should be limited. Trans fats found in deep-fried fast food are best to avoid to maintain optimum health.

Proteins are essential for a balanced diet. However, the best sources of protein come from beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains as they contain more healthy fibers, vitamins, and fats. It’s crucial to limit the intake of red meat due to its high content of unhealthy fat. It is vital to learn the difference between good and bad nutrients such as fats, carbohydrates, and proteins for holistic health.

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