Mindful Eating with Chef Adam Miles

Last Saturday I took part in a workshop at Studio NiaMoves called “Exploring Mindful Eating.” Personal chef and food consultant Adam Miles talked about how human beings develop issues with food, and what we can do about it. His premise is that we start out with an instinctive ability to eat right, eat only when we’re hungry, and enjoy what we eat, but that we pick up bad habits, bad information, and a twisted relationship with food as we grow up. We learn to eat the wrong things, for the wrong reasons. But we can unlearn.

Adam is kind, soft-spoken, and charismatic (and slim). Having spoken to him on the phone once, I arrived at Studio NiaMoves already prepared to like him, and he made it easy. He started the session by asking each of us to talk about a food memory from childhood and a food issue we’re dealing with now. This seemed to be a tough exercise for some people, and Adam took care to thank each of us for sharing. When it was my turn, I said that I felt as if I have a good handle on my food issues these days, and that I’d only come to see what new information I might pick up, since there’s always more to learn. (I hope I didn’t sound like a self‑satisfied jerk.)

After the group sharing, Adam talked about his own experience of growing up, putting on weight, developing bad eating habits, and then cycling through lots of fad diets and self-destructive behaviors. He talked about how he got through it by eventually coming up with his philosophy of “mindful eating.” And then he outlined that philosophy. It’s mostly about choosing natural, unprocessed, healthful foods and giving eating the care, time, and attention it deserves in our lives. It’s also about being gentle with ourselves when we stray from better choices.

Toward the end of the workshop, he demonstrated a couple of easy recipes for smoothies—one fruit, one veggie. He surprised me by putting kale in the fruit smoothie and avocados in the veggie one. Although they were palatable, I can’t say that I plan to add them to my regimen. I need something I can sink my teeth into.

He said a lot more, but I was too captivated by listening to Adam speak to take any notes. I’ll just add that enjoying the support of the group and Adam’s energy and enthusiasm were worth the price of admission. I encourage anyone who’s working through issues with food—which is most of us, I think—to take his next class if you get the chance.

Adam doesn’t have a web site, but he expects to offer future workshops at Studio NiaMoves. To receive announcements, subscribe to the NiaMoves mailing list and select the category “Nutrition ~ Mindful Eating ~ Workshops.” Or become a fan of Studio NiaMoves’ Facebook page, or follow Nia’s Kristie Bryant on Twitter.

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