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September 2006 - Vol 3, Issue 6
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Welcome to our monthly e-newsletter! This issue will explore an antidote to emotional eating -- mindful eating. Mindfulness is centuries-old. Originating in the Eastern hemisphere, mindfulness offers an opportunity to pay deliberate attention, without judgment. Mindfulness has the power to fundamentally change our relationship with food, and therefore our bodies. Look for a discussion of the fundamentals of a healthy diet and the role of nutrition in maintaining good health in our October e-newsletter.

We are happy to announce some recent changes at Portland Health and Wellness! This fall we will be adding new classes: Nutrition 101 and Managing your Weight during the Holidays. Plans are also underway for a class on surviving the holidays for diabetics as well as services for teens. We are now offering cooking classes on a monthly basis, with an emphasis on teaching people with limited experience basic skills for healthy meal preparation. We have made some upgrades to our website and now archived newsletters can be viewed at www.portlandhealthandwellness.com. We are delighted that Master Wu will continue to offer qigong classes (www.masterwu.net) at ph&w; when he returns to Portland this fall.

For those of you less familiar with ph&w;, we have an outstanding clinical team! Donald Altman, MA, in addition to being a counselor, is a former Buddhist monk and award-winning writer. He offers '12 Weeks to Mindful Eating', a program he created to help individuals develop a healthier relationship with food, as well as workshops on stress management and mindfulness. Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD , is a clinical nutritionist with a broad range of experience. She is certified in adult, adolescent, and childhood weight management. Juleeanna appeared on AM Northwest this summer and addressed the issue of teen thinness. Christine Howard, PsyD continues to provide individual psychotherapy and is now offering group psychotherapy for individuals with bulimia or binge eating disorder. Marcela Vinocur, MD serves as the director of PH&W;'s unique weight reduction program and maintains a psychopharmacology practice.

Other services we offer include a drop-in weight control group for men and women, group psychotherapy for individuals with eating disorders, workshops and classes on various health topics, a year-long comprehensive weight reduction program, individual psychotherapy, nutrition assessments and counseling, and psychopharmacology.

The countdown is on for the much-awaited special appearance by Canadian author and food connoisseur Birgitta Hellman. She will offer 2 cooking classes: one on cooking with "superfoods" and the other on gluten-free cooking. Both classes will feature recipes from her recently published book "taste this: ordinary ingredients, extraordinary flavours". This little gem of a book offers simple recipes (most easily fit on one page!!) that taste GREAT while also offering maximum nutrition. Who said healthy eating had to be bland???

  • Aug 30........12 Weeks to Mindful Eating
  • Sept 8.........Mindful Eating training for Healthcare Professionals
  • Sept 9.........Mindful Living training for Healthcare Professionals
  • Sept 22.......Cooking with "Superfoods"
  • Sept 23.......Gluten-free Cooking
  • Sept 26.......Why Diets Don't Work; a medical perspective
  • Oct 14.........30-minute Gourmet Meals
  • Oct 21.........Nutrition 101
  • Nov 18........Cooking for Men who Hate to Cook

  • Ongoing groups include a weekly drop-in weight control support group on Mondays from 12:30 to 1:30 pm (led by Juleeanna Andreoni, MS, RD / cost:$15 per session) and weekly group psychotherapy for individuals with binge eating disorder or bulimia on Mondays from 5 to 6:30pm (led by Christine Howard, PsyD / cost: $45 per session). Please call us for additional information.

    For up-to-date information about our upcoming workshops and classes, please check our website or give us a call. Registration and payment in advance are required for all ph&w; events and space is limited to 12 (cooking classes are limited to 6). We strongly encourage early registration.

    When a person chooses to see that food is the solution, not the problem, they are often filled with a sense of relief. Why? I think it may be because it gives them hope, as well as permission to let go of their symptoms?even if for a moment. And, it may give them some space from the pervasive idea that a struggle with food is too difficult to be overcome. Besides, we all know how easily food can be abused. Writer Rita Mae Brown states this very nicely when she says, ?Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself.?

    Fortunately, once food becomes a solution, hope is just around the corner. Turning that corner, however, takes a lot of time, effort, and discipline. A mindfulness approach to food is not a shortcut. In fact, it may be the long road to making peace with food, hunger and self-care. However, this is one case where a long road with several detours may make for a richer and more meaningful journey. Mindfulness can be taught in numerous ways and with endless variations. The one constant, perhaps, is that a mindful approach changes the eater?s relationship with food. And that makes all the difference.

    Food ceases to be viewed simply in terms of ?good? or ?bad.? Rather, food becomes connected to one?s feelings, body, and the world at large. It means awakening to the deeper purpose of food, as well as to the underlying desires and cravings for it. There are three advantages to observing and describing one?s relationship with food. First, is a fundamental awareness of patterns and behaviors. Begin to think of yourself as detectives (and not as hanging judges!). By paying attention you may begin to notice your food habits. For example: Do you use food as a reward? Do you use food as a way to signal others for attention?

    A second advantage of knowing one?s food relationship is that it generates compassion?towards oneself. Compassion means, from the Latin, ?to be with suffering.? Compassion and forgiveness allow a person to become more present with food and eating. Thirdly, awareness of a food habits can shed light on other life patterns, as well as the relationship one has with her/him self. For example, one who continually skips meals or eats fast food, might ask: What other things in my life am I skipping over or indulging in like a fast food meal?

    Best of all, when mindful eating transforms food into a solution, the relationship to food has new and forgiving space in which to grow and change?and where all things are possible. Or, as Groucho Marx once said, ?Man does not live by bread alone. Every now and then he needs a cookie.?

    by Donald Altman, M.A. copyright 2006

    If you are interested in more detailed information, check out the links on mindful eating up above.

    copyright 2006 portland health and wellness

    We are very interested in your comments and suggestions. Please let us know if you have a topic you would like to see covered in future newsletters. We look forward to hearing from you.


    Portland Health and Wellness

    phone: 503.236.4506