Book Review of Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh

by Faith Terwilliger

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh is a renowned Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author and peace activist. He has authored and co-authored over 100 books on the topics of Buddhism, meditation, mindfulness, peace, and happiness.

I expected his book, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, to focus primarily on mindful eating with exercises and teachings that could be expanded to other aspects of our lives beyond eating. While this is certainly the case, I was surprised by how much of the book focuses on weight loss. However, since more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight, there is definitely the audience for this approach.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to bring a mindful practice to their eating habits, whether or not they have a weight-loss goal. Have you ever wolfed down your food while you were reading, working, talking or driving, only to look down and be surprised that you have finished everything on your plate without even realizing it? Do you find it boring to eat by yourself without something else to do? Do you consider it a waste of time to eat without multitasking at the same time? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this slim, quick-read book.

To address the rushed nature most of take toward eating, there are many mindful exercises and practices included throughout the book. I especially liked the “Apple Meditation” in chapter 2. Moving beyond mindful eating, one of my favorites is the “Love Meditation” in Chapter 4.

There are also numerous practical, real-world suggestions for dealing with difficult eating, exercising and sleeping issues. Some of these include:

  • How to reduce our reliance on fast food
  • Dealing with night time eating
  • Lack of time to prepare healthy foods
  • Overeating on the weekends
  • Emotional Eating
  • Inability to get enough sleep
  • Lack of time or place to exercise

At the end of the book there is a sample 10 week Mindful Living Plan that can be used as a template to create your own plan focusing on the areas of Eating, Moving and Breathing.

While reading this book can be done in a single sitting or two, taking the time to work through the exercises and implement the strategies is where you will really find satiety.