What is Mind Body Nutrition

Written By:

A green house plant, a plate of pastries, a glass of water a cup of juice sitting on a table

“Mind Body Nutrition” is a term we use a lot here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. So, what exactly does it mean? We think this phrase perfectly expresses something that’s been lacking in the field of nutritional science for far too long.

Nutritionists typically study the vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that make up the food we eat, then tell us what foods we should consume in order to attain maximum health. But the substances that we put into our body are just a part of the complex and beautiful phenomenon known as our metabolism.

When we add in a curiosity about the feelings, beliefs, habits, and attitudes that we bring to the table, we can understand much more about the way our digestion actually works, and we can learn how to work with our body’s natural processes instead of fighting against them.

In this video from #IPEtv, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, explains what Mind Body Nutrition is all about and how it can revolutionize the way we study nutrition!

Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Hi, I’m Emily Rosen, Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s Topic: What is Mind Body Nutrition?

Here’s the inside scoop:

For a long time, the field of nutrition has been a little stagnant.

For sure, there are always fascinating advances happening in the realm of using different dietary supplements, herbs, amino acids, and other ancillary nutrients for improving our health and nutritional status.

But when looking at the field in its entirety, it seems to be stuck in the same old habit of “Eat this, don’t eat that.” “These are the foods that are good for you, these are the foods that are bad for you.” And, “This is the all-0new diet that everyone is excited about so let’s try this one and see if it helps you be healthier, lose weight, have more energy, and grant eternal beauty.”

I’m exaggerating just a bit, but I think you get the point.

What’s most important here is that the field of nutrition has focused on nutrition from the outside in.

Meaning, good nutrition means that we find the good food – which exists outside of us – then we ingest it, and because that food is so healthy, it will have a very desirable nutritional influence on the body.

This makes perfect sense, and we believe here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating that it’s true – but only up to a point.

What the field of nutrition has NOT focused on is nutrition from the inside out.

Meaning, what are the ideal conditions for the body to be in such that nutritional metabolism is optimized? What needs to be happening inside mind, body, and emotions so digestion, assimilation, and calorie burning capacity can function in the best way?

This is where Mind Body Nutrition comes in.

Simply put:

Mind-Body Nutrition is an exciting and timely new field originated by Marc David here at the Institute in response to the need for a deeper understanding of the nutritional capacity of the body.

It advances the practice of personal and clinical nutrition by exploring the psychophysiology of how thoughts, feelings and beliefs impact nutritional metabolism and health. It goes far beyond classical nutrition by focusing on the fascinating connections between brain, body, and behavior.

Simply put, what we eat is only half of the story of good nutrition. The other half is who we are as eaters. Mind Body Nutrition reveals how stress physiology, the relaxation response, breathing, awareness, pleasure, meal timing and much more profoundly influence digestion and calorie burning. And it offers practical and results-oriented strategies for the most commonly seen eating challenges and health issues of our times.

Mind Body Nutrition acknowledges that mind and body exist on a continuum. They are one and the same, and cannot possibly be separated out. Western science has done its best over the centuries to pull apart these two complementary aspects – and the result is what you see today: an epic rise in disease, in nutrition-linked health challenges, and a health care system that’s failing us.

We need to be so much more creative in how we understand the human body.

Yes, science is indeed a science. But any good scientist will tell you that it’s an art form as well. We need to constantly stretch our nutritional imagination so we can make the kind of advances that are truly worthwhile.

You and I can be sitting down and eating the absolute healthiest meal in the universe with the greatest ingredients, the perfect nutrient profile, and all the good blessings of super-food status. However, if we are not under the optimum state of digestion and assimilation – which happens to be relaxation – more specifically the physiologic relaxation response also known as parasympathetic nervous system dominance – then we cannot possibly receive the full nutritional value of that meal.

Quite the contrary, science understands – and we’ve known this as far back as the 1930s – that a stress response will cause decreased digestive capacity, decreased enzymatic output in the gut, decreased gut motility, increased nutrient excretion, malabsorption of nutrients, and strangely enough, decreased calorie burning capacity.

So, it’s mind, heart, and soul that ultimately set the table for how a meal is metabolized.

We can no longer avoid the amazingly powerful role that our inner world plays when it comes to optimizing our nutritional potential.

Mind body nutrition helps form the foundation of the work that we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. This powerful new field includes a wealth of clinical strategies, practices, distinctions, protocols, tools, and techniques that can make a huge difference in our nutritional and metabolic health.

So of course, I encourage you to learn more about this great body of work.

I hope this was helpful. Please email us at info@psychologyofeating.com if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you. Thanks so much for your time and interest.

In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment!

A green house plant, a plate of pastries, a glass of water a cup of juice sitting on a table

Become a Mind Body Eating Coach

Make real, lasting change - in your life and the lives of others using eating psychology coaching tools.


Subscribe to The Psychology of Eating Podcast

Get notified when new episodes go live.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Listen to The Psychology of Eating Podcast

Follow Us

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.