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Curious Cravings

By Michelle May, M.D.

wicked Thai soupI was on my way home from Ottawa, Canada where I had the opportunity to do a lunchtime keynote followed by a book signing and a workshop for the Dietitians of Canada. I was hungry and had plenty of time for a snack or a light lunch. Nothing appealed to me as I perused all the menus hung outside the many airport options. That is until I saw Wicked Thai Soup on one of the menus. The printed description was “A tangy blend of aromatic spices, lemongrass, rice, chicken, coconut and peppers in a slightly creamy broth.” I didn’t bother to read the rest of the menu because I knew that was exactly what I wanted.

Mindful eating has taught me to be curious about such things. So I wondered why, even though I’ve never had that particular soup before, I craved it immediately. Sure the description was great but I wanted it even before I’d read that. I thought back to the day before…

I had given a lunchtime keynote with a guided mindful eating experience—a format I love! The only downside is that it’s often difficult for me to eat at all—much less mindfully! On that particular day, everyone was raving about the delicious Chicken Curry Soup. I actually served myself a bowl but never had the chance to eat it. The food at the reception later was wonderful, but I had this vague feeling that I had missed out on something.

Wicked Thai Soup - homemadeAha! I knew from previous experience that exposure to a specific food through advertising, seeing someone else eating, or even a conversation could plant a small seed of desire. I remembered a similar situation when I was absolutely elated to see risotto on a menu, only to remember that I had seen it prepared on a cooking show days before.

The next time you have a craving or a clear desire for a specific food, get curious! Is there an emotional significance to the craving—or was it just a forgotten seed?

And by the way, the soup was delicious! We found a recipe for Wicked Thai Soup online and have made it several times. (Hint: Its lighter but still good when you substitute part of the half and half with milk.)

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About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

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