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This Functional Medicine Expert's Dessert Meditation Will Transform How You Savor Sweets

Image by Jennifer Chong / Stocksy
March 4, 2021

Here at mbg, we believe in honoring your cravings. So if you're itching for something sweet? By all means! Functional medicine expert and mbg Collective member Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, agrees: "Dessert, or any food, shouldn't be this punitive thing," he says on the mindbodygreen podcast. Rather, if you enjoy eating sweets, really enjoy them. It's a recommendation you might have heard once or twice before: Eat mindfully so you can truly savor the flavor and nutrients of your food. 

Sounds sublime, but what does "eating mindfully" even mean? Here's a quick meditation Cole loves to help enhance your eating experience—and, hey, it might even change the way you enjoy sweets. 

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How a dessert meditation works. 

Comfort foods, like dessert, tend to have emotions attached to them: Say, for example, you baked cookies with your mother most weekends when you were little—your brain typically programs those patterns and associates the fond memories with the treat itself. Meaning, whenever you bite into that chocolaty goodness, you may experience those same positive brain chemicals you had when you were a child. 

That being said, Cole recommends taking the time to reflect on those emotions: "Use it as a meditation of saying, 'How did this make me feel?'" he explains. Rather than berating yourself for indulging, think How do I feel after eating this cookie? Do I feel satisfied and fulfilled? Or sluggish and groggy? 

By ruminating on your emotional and physical response to the treat, Cole says you can tap into that feeling the next time you're weighing your dessert options. If you feel great after taking the last bite, you'll know that this dessert truly serves you and your sweet tooth. "But maybe you'll eat it and you'll say, 'No, this wasn't worth it,'" Cole says. "You'll remember that for the next time, and then it won't be this punitive thing." 

In other words: You won't avoid dessert as a sort of punishment or restriction; you simply might not be as interested because you'll remember how it made you feel afterward. As Cole notes, "The allure of it is gone." 

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The takeaway. 

Consider Cole's meditation a case for eating in the present. By reflecting on your emotions and how the food makes you feel, you can do one of two things: You can enjoy—like, truly appreciate—what you're eating and how it's satisfying your body, or you can remember that the dessert itself wasn't what made you feel so great, after all (perhaps it was the memories attached to the ritual than the food itself). 

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