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Grab a Cup o' Miso and Join the Chat about Mindful Eating AKA Not Eating When I'm Not Hungry

Posted Apr 01 2011 12:54pm
You have all heard of the Cup o' Noodles right?  The one in that little paper cup that has super processed and very salty noodles in it?  The one that could last through a nuclear ice age and still be just as "fresh" as the ice age before? The one that pickles your innards?

Yes, that one.
Here is my alternative for you.  It has almost no calories but still gives you that nice salty flavor and you can take it to-go.  Just add hot water.
I call it.....Cup o' Miso.

Miso is a fermented soy paste that has a salty flavor and a smooth texture.  It can be added to soups, made into dressing or marinades, spread on fish or tempeh.
According to Worlds Healthiest Foods (I love this resource), "miso is created by inoculating trays of rice with the vitamin B12 synthesizing fungus, Aspergillus oryzae, then mixing in a ground preparation of cooked soybeans and salt, and letting the mixture ferment for several days before grinding it into a paste with a nut butter consistency. Because it is fermented with a B12-synthesizing bacteria, miso has been commonly recommended as a B12 source for vegans. Miso is quite high in sodium (1 ounce contains 52% of the recommended daily value for sodium), but a little miso goes a long way towards providing your daily needs for the trace minerals zinc, manganese, and copper. In addition, a single tablespoon of miso contains 2 grams of protein for just 25 calories. An impressive nutrient profile for a flavoring agent! Use miso in your cooking instead of plain old salt and reap a variety of benefits in addition to enhanced flavor." Before you get all grossed out by all this fermentation talk, just think, yogurt is made by fermentation and a lot of us eat yogurt right?

Cup o' Miso To-GoServes 1Ingredients
2 tsp miso paste2 to 3 Tbsp thinly sliced green onion tops14 oz hot water
1. Add hot water to cup.
2. Add miso and green onions. ***Do not boil miso. It kills all the good stuff.
Nutrition Facts  1 ServingAmount Per Serving

Calories 9.2
Total Fat 0.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 37.6 mg
Potassium 49.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.8 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 0.6 g
Protein 0.4 g

Lets chat about mindful eating. Last Sunday, otherwise known as “the day that will live in gluttony”, was followed by a search for natural appetite suppressants. I was at my wits end when I came across an article written by Mike Adams called “Five appetite control foods that suppress cravings without adding calories”. BUT, before he goes into these foods his first paragraph states There is a reality about weight loss that people need to be aware of. Losing weight requires you to feel hungry from time to time. There is no way to lose weight without feeling some degree of hunger. Believe me, I have exhaustively explored this issue. I have tried appetite suppressants. I have tried food combinations. I have tried meal-timing strategies. I have tried just about everything natural under the sun to eliminate those hunger pangs and food cravings that you get when you are attempting to lose weight and there is nothing that completely eliminates those cravings. Hoodia gordonii helps, as I've stated in previous articles, but it by no means turns off your hunger like a light switch.”

As a point counting Weight Watcher a light bulb went off.  I then wrote this post and tried to put his ideas into practice that very day.

Day 2 of mindful eating went REALLY well for the most part. First thing in the morning I’m not really very hungry apparently (at least not today).

I have a bit of coffee with some soy creamer and then take a bit of cayenne pepper to stimulate my metabolism. Cayenne on an empty stomach is not fun. It burns. And you get all hot and bothered. So to extinguish the flames I have a couple of walnuts and a handful of some organic puffed millet that my daughter sometimes snacks on. Somehow the spot of fat, protein, carbs and fiber in this little mix holds me over until about 9AM.

NEVER, in a million years, would I have thought I would live to see 9AM not eating something significant; but when I really listen to my body it is telling me it is ok to not eat a huge meal at 6AM.
I always crave sweets after lunch. I will never forget an article written by Jillian Michaels called "The truth about willpower and how to get more."  In it, she states that each time you stop and question a particular behavior, before you simply indulge; you are actually rewiring your brain to make it easier to resist next time. After lunch and after dinner I ALWAYS want something sweet, even if I have to STUFF it in. See a trend here? I actually was planning on still having dessert because my points allowed it even though I was almost at probably a 9 out of 10 on the hunger scale. As soon as the thought came in to my head I took it in. The thought was maybe I don’t need that dessert. Next thing I knew I was brushing my teeth and turning on No Reservations to watch Anthony Bourdain eat squirrel and coon in the Ozarks. Nothing kills my appetite faster than watching someone skin a squirrel or eat innards (which he does a lot of).
Overall, like I said, I did really well. I need to focus on not cleaning my plate or going back for seconds when I know I’m full. I guess I need to let that thought in too. That “don’t waste food” tape is REALLY loud I guess.
Day 3: I thought by now it would be getting really hard because typically I can never follow any sort of "diet" like detox or low carb or even South Beach three days in, but I feel I am learning to manage the hunger and learning that I won’t die if I don’t snack all day.
The day went pretty well until I got home. As usual, I have SUCH a hard time stopping when I’m full at night. Tonight I had a Kashi meal since I got home late from work and then caved and ate a dessert of half a banana with some yogurt when I knew I was not hungry. And then I had the other half banana and then I had a pear.
Day 4: This morning I was actually hungry so I had a breakfast of some farmer cheese, non fat Greek yogurt, blueberries, chia and flax seed, but, this means I will need to manage a bit of my hunger until lunch. It is amazing how my willpower decreases throughout the day.
I got a really insightful comment from my friend Cara  at Caras Cravings, she said “I can relate to this post so much. How many times I have eaten when I'm not really hungry, just to avoid the potential for being hungry (aka, "uncomfortable") later at a time when I know eating will not be convenient? How easy is it to put something in my mouth as soon as a slight wave of hunger arises, just to prevent having to feel "worse"? Similarly, I have told myself, it's NOT the end of the world to feel hungry. In fact, your are SUPPOSED to feel hungry, it's natural!"
Yes! Exactly! I eat when there is the POTENTIAL I might be hungry later. Why is hunger so scary? I'm sitting here trying to analyze this as right now I'm pretty hungry. I don't feel like my blood sugar has dropped really low and I'm going to eat my computer, but still, it is an uncomfortable feeling. Not really painful, just uncomfortable. Empty.
20 minutes later I still feel hungry but it is manageable.
Lunch was half a turkey sandwich from the café at the gym with a big salad I brought from home and a side of veggies. I am around a 7. Comfortable. Full but not too full.
After lunch I got two additional perceptive comments.  My friend Dawn  from Dawn Dishes it Out said; “Firstly, let me say that I really love a lot of the articles that Mike Adams writes. Sometimes they may scare the hell out of you but most of the time they are really eye opening."
"As for managing hunger and listening to your own hunger queues ... I think this is something most Americans have lost the ability to do. We tend to be a very glutinous nation and God forbid we should feel hunger! We are inundated with commercials and print ads that tell us to eat, eat, eat all day long. 3 meals and 3 snacks, make sure you eat every 3 hours, blah, blah, blah .... That would be great if we were all HYPOGLYCEMIC!! LOL. But we are not! And, most of us don't even know when we are full any more. We eat standing in the kitchen, at our desks, while commuting, talking on the phone and focusing on every other thing but nourishing our bodies. I think that feeling hungry every once in a while is a smart thing to do. It reminds us that our body is working and functioning the way it is supposed to. It reminds us that we will not starve to death if we don't eat every 3 hours but we may be a little uncomfortable in the quest to lose weight. But, what is more uncomfortable….feeling a little bit of hunger or squeezing into jeans that no longer fit properly?? I watch my children and it amazes me at 4 and 5 how intuitively they eat. It could be a huge bowl of their favorite organic ice cream but when they are full, they are full. They will not eat until it is gone they will stop when they've had enough. Amazing!”
Is it SO true. I get so tired of all the food commercials with foods loaded huge amounts of salt, fat and sugar designed to make us eat more. And you brought up a good point. Most of us are doing other things while eating to the point where it almost feels un-natural if we are by ourselves and get ready to eat something; go to sit down at a quiet table with nothing other than food. And true about being uncomfortable in your jeans vs uncomfortable from hunger. I know exactly what I would rather have.

And from my girl Michelle at Find your Balance; "I think the best way to combat severe hunger pangs is to eat real food. Eliminating sugar means you won't have dizziness/blood sugar emergency hunger - you'll have slow, steady manageable hunger and YES I agree it's ok to fee hungry sometimes! Americans rarely do. Listening to your body is a HUGE part of my detox program. WW does not teach you how to be in tune with yourself, it teaches you how to eat with your brain, not your body.

At the end of the stressful 4th day I did better than expected. It was end of month so I fully expected to cave.  There was pizza, ice cream, donuts, cinnamon rolls, cream puffs and cheesecake and I decided to forgo it all and indulge in something of my choosing over the weekend.  I can say I felt some hunger today and worked through it and I feel great.  I had a sensible dinner and an apple for dessert.

Day 5: Weigh in day and I was down 2.4 pounds.  This feels pretty good after being on a plateau since December 10th.  I am still a bit skeptical.  What is going to happen over the weekend?  Will I fall back into my old ways of just eating to eat?  So far this week I haven't felt deprived.  I noticed a difference in the enjoyment of what I'm eating.  When I'm actually hungry, food tastes better.

Please chat and let me know your thoughts too!  
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