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182 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yoga of Eating a Must Read for Health Seekers
Since 1993 I've read so many books on diet and nutrition I could literally fill a large garage with them.
In fact, if I hadn't donated most of the health books I've read over the years to Goodwill, the CasaDay garage would be filled to the rafters, and my wife wouldn't have any space left to store even more junk that we continue to accumulate as we march through our...
Published on April 5, 2004 by Chet Day

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly What I Was Looking For
What I wanted was a way to rethink the way I look at food and it started that way but then as I read the book develops into this subliminal sermon on Karma and vegetarianism. I am not sure if this was the purpose of the piece but it gets pretty preachy about half way through and I struggled to finish it. If you are looking for the Karmic order of life and food this is...
Published 5 months ago by Amy Romine


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182 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yoga of Eating a Must Read for Health Seekers, April 5, 2004
By 
Chet Day (Shelby, NC USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
Since 1993 I've read so many books on diet and nutrition I could literally fill a large garage with them.
In fact, if I hadn't donated most of the health books I've read over the years to Goodwill, the CasaDay garage would be filled to the rafters, and my wife wouldn't have any space left to store even more junk that we continue to accumulate as we march through our 33rd year of matrimonial bliss.
Well, today I want to write a few words about a book on diet that won't be headed for t garage or the Goodwill discount shelves, a book that has gained instead a permanent place in my natural health library: "The Yoga of Eating" by Charles Eisenstein.
And, no, you don't have to twist your body into weird-looking contortions to enjoy Eisenstein's book.
All you have to do is sit back, open your mind, and settle in for what I predict will be one of the most pleasant and enlightening reads about living and eating that you've ever enjoyed.
Subtitled "Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self," Eisenstein's book teaches you how to listen to your body and how to interpret the constant signals it's sending you on what to eat and how to live.
Most of us - stumbling our way through a world that's paced too fast and full of too many distractions -- never shut up or slow down long enough to even hear (much less pick up on and interpret) the messages our bodies send out every moment of our lives.
Messages that can make us happy, keep us slim, and guarantee us long, healthy, and useful lives.
To give you a better sense of Eisenstein's insights, here are a few key passages that I highlighted in my copy of "The Yoga of Eating":
Often the information we get from our bodies contradicts received beliefs about what is and isn't healthy, virtuous or right. Then our trust is put to the test. But the body is wise, and the rewards for trusting it great.
The body will first be attracted to foods that meet its most urgent needs. A starving body will hunger for anything, even rotting meat, to meet the raw need for calories. As the grosser needs are fulfilled, subtler appetites and aversions come to the fore. In my late 20's, after a prolonged period of near-veganism combined with a profound lack of inner nurturance, my body hungered deeply for animal foods, a hunger which at first I ashamed denied. When I finally let myself eat meat I was suffused by intense waves of pleasure and well-being. Eventually, when I caught up with my body's pent-up need for animal protein and, especially, animal fat, I discovered that sometimes meat, particularly conventionally-raised chicken, had a certain stink to it; when I paid attention, it didn't taste so good after all.
When you listen to your body, it will guide you toward the diet that is right for you.
Pretty good stuff, eh? Here's more, this time tackling cravings and will power...
If it is a true, body-based appetite, then every time you deny it, it gets stronger. If it is a superficial craving, not serving a genuine need, then every time you resist it, it gets weaker. The same applies outside the arena of food. If your soul is calling for something, and you deny it, the call will wax in volume until life becomes unbearable. But if you resist a habit that distracts you from a joyful, creative purpose, its compulsion will diminish. The first time is always the hardest (but it may never be easy).
In communicating with the body, allow yourself to totally trust the results. Vow that you will accept your body's answer. Don't attempt to use this technique as a way of quelling or fighting the craving. Let go of any expectation that you will eat less or differently. We got where we are by not listening to and trusting the body. Any fundamental reversal of this state of affairs demands far greater courage than to simply apply willpower. Willpower is a very small thing, really. It involves no risk, for it comes from who we already are. Surrendering, trusting, allowing change to happen without a program: that is something much greater.
Eisenstein has quality chapters on the following topics:
Food and Personality
The karma of Food
The Natural Breath
Making It Practical
Discovering the Right Diet
Loving the Body, Loving the Self
The Yoga of Cooking
Relaxing into Change
... and a whole lot more.
You can add all 175-pages of "The Yoga of Eating" to your library for under $12 at amazon.com, a tremendous buy for one of the best books on health, diet, nutrition, and living a satisfying life that I've ever read.
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74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attention all Practitioners, June 30, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
As a clinical nutritionist, I have found this book to be spectacular in helping patients overcome fears and blockages about eating. The average patients shows up at my door with a million preconceived notions about "healthy eating", and a mental t-chart of which foods are "good" and "bad". This obsessive line of thinking in many cases does more harm than good, and leaves the person feeling desperately miserable at mealtime instead of joyous and hungry.
The book gives people permission to eat what feels right in their bodies, and explains clearly what this means and how to go about it. It "desconstructs the dogmas" about diet, and rigid they are, that are everywhere in our country, and only seem to be growing in number, even since the book was published.
As a clinician, I have found it outrageously daring and enjoyable to watch my patients figure out for themselves what to eat on a daily basis; how empowering!
As a healer, I have found it to be a beautiful gift to patients in need of emotional healing as well. This book is about a lot more than eating. It is an invitation to all of us to live in a way that is dynamic, vibrant, real, and fully alive. As a professional who is devoted to helping patients heal their bodies, and transcend their limitations, I can think of no better book to stock.
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76 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a book written for sentient beings!!!, December 25, 2003
By 
Edward Yu (Ann Arbor, MI) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
As far as I know, this is the first book dealing with eating, which puts the reader in the driver's seat. It is not about following rules laid out by "experts" and people with advanced degrees, but rather about listening to and learning to trust your own senses. As Mr. Eisenstein puts it so eloquently, until the modern era, humans had been using their senses for millenia in order to "make sense" of the world and to discern needs, wants, likes and dislikes. These days we disregard our senses, and therefore ourselves, and rely on people with the correct titles to make decisions for us on diet, health, medical care, religion, drugs...
People who are interested in yoga as a discipline for discovery and freedom rather than a competition will find this book inspiring and empowering. Moreover, to the lay public this book will make you feel in control again and eager to learn more about tasting food, increasing pleasure and breathing deeply.
This book is hugely groundbreaking and follows in the tradition of the ancient yogis (and the ancients in other discipines), as well as modern pioneers such as Moshe Feldenkrais, Milton Erickson, Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner, Thomas Hanna and Don Hanlen Johnson in its advocacy of learning through feeling, sensing and moving.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Need a new relationship with food? With your body? Get this book., January 13, 2006
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This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
Fictional works aside, I don't think I have never in my life have I so vehemently disagreed with some of the foundational assumptions of an author and yet agreed with so much. The Yoga of Eating is just such a book. My first time through, I couldn't stop reading and I had to wait for my second and third times through to actually take the time to fetch my underlining pen and highlighters. My biggest disagreement with Mr. Eisenstein is his premise that there is no Creator and the body itself is a fountain of divine wisdom if we'd only just listen. However, I found that when I substituted the idea that God had made our bodies with the ability to communicate to us what we needed to stay healthy and balanced and that we should just listen, I had a foundation I could work with. There were still places and ideas that absolutely didn't fit with my personal belief system; nevertheless, there was a lot that I think I needed to hear.

For example:

"The proper function of willpower and self-discipline is to extend wisdom and insight into times of imperfect clarity."

"Often we use self-discipline to tell our inner voice to shut up, preferring to trust in the rational mind and its received beliefs. This is unfortunate: What if our inner appetites and urges are telling us something important?"

"Second-guessing and ignoring the body is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place, and we will not get out of it by imposing on the body yet another set of dietary principles, no matter how new-and-improved they might be."

"Healing then is not the fixing of a miscreant body, but the removal of the impediments to self-healing, an unleashing of the body's natural repair systems."

"If the body and soul are not separate, then to heal the body at the deepest level is a work of the soul."

In short this book was a fountain of really good ideas for someone like me who in fighting a weight problem has increasingly picked up the bludgeon and turned it on herself. When a completely anonymous instructor on a completely impersonal video suggested that my wieght might be a reflection of a mind-body disconnect, I said (aloud) "well DUH!" At this point I don't even think of my body as part of ME. It's IT! And I am really unhappy with IT right now Thankyouverymuch. After so long a fight, so long a struggle, it should be patently obvious that it isn't diet or exercise that is my problem...or I would have be "fixed" a long time ago. This book has given me some real food for thought and perhaps the motivation to put down the bludgeon and just listen for a while. To be still. To be grateful.

So what am I doing with what I learned so far? I am eating organic, minimally processed foods as much as possible (but not being dogmatic about it)...so that the signals my body receives from what I eat are as true to what God intended as possible. I have started calling artifical addditives "food lies" to increase my distaste for them. I am eating when I am hungry but paying attenion to what I am eating for as long as I am eating it. I am drinking when I am thirsty. And I am resolutely ignoring all of the myriad diet tips/dogmas that show up at this time of year. I am also pretending that this is just to make me healthy and balanced not to lose weight. Maybe if I pretend long enough I can make that last part true.

If you have decided that you need to re-work your relationship with your body, with yourself, with food, this book can give you some very sound food-for-thought (in EVERY sense) for a new foundation to buttress that new relationship. STOP being pushed around by people who haven't spent a single second with your body and start to listen to your mind-body-spirit about what it needs to heal and be healthy AND support the way in which God you wants to be present in the world.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a diet book, June 14, 2005
This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
If we lived in a sane world, this book would be a bestseller and the South Beach Diet and its ilk would be on the bargain rack. There are no simple formulas, no celebrity name droppings, and no associated brand of diet food. The bad news is that for this book to work for you, you will have to pay attention to what you eat and what you feel. The good news is that if you do, you will change your life and probably lose weight.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, November 26, 2004
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This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
When I bought this book, there were no reviews posted. Returning today I am happy to see that it is being read and appreciated.

This is an important book that should be read by anyone living, or hoping to live, a "yogic" lifestyle. Eisenstein asks, and answers, the right questions. For example:

- If one believes the universe to be a single, living organism, what is the real difference between eating plants and animals? Who are we to decide who, or what, is sentient?

- Which act is more, or less, ethical? Eating a free-range chicken? Or eating fruit grown on a pesticide-laden farm, picked by abused immigrants paid slave wages?

Eisenstein looks at all sides of these and other issues in a "fair and balanced" assessment that has given me permission to more closely examine my vegetarianism. He takes a gestalt approach to eating, pointing out that one's nourishment is simply, but critically, a single part of one's relationship to the world that affects all other parts. Therefore, simply bringing your diet in line with a perceived universal truth does little to rectify other aspects of your being that you may be avoiding.

Please read this book, and if you'd like to discuss it, contact me at kenjmi@aol.com.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The right way to eat, March 20, 2006
This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
This book is to be digested slowly, and with great delight, like a scrumptious meal. Each chapter unfolds to reveal how different foods have "vibrations"; how Karma plays into the role of food preparation; how to breathe naturally; how to experience and enjoy each bite of food; how to separate eating from talking; how to love your body, and much more.

I really enjoyed the part about trusting the body and listening to it with respect to hunger. There are times when I get cravings (like chocolate), while my husband is perfectly content to have an apple. Each one of us is following our body's needs. The only difference is that I always felt guilty eating the chocolate. Now, I can focus on my feelings of acceptance instead of guilt.

I also liked the section where the author emphasizes to honor and appreciate our bodies no matter what size or shape. Wow - what a releasing concept! We've been taught in this world to not accept our bodies, but instead, to mold and shape our bodies (through exercise and starvation) into a preconceived idea generated from tons of magazine covers with images of twenty-something slim models. The author gives practical advice, like exercise. He says we keep ourselves from doing it because we say we don't have any time. Even one minute is better than none. Even five minutes is better than none. Every minute of exercise counts.

The author also touches on processed food and processed lives. He suggests moving away from mass-produced food and more home-processed meals.

A very informative, interesting, and thought-provoking book that will surely keep me reading for days and months to come. This is not a book to be read once. Each time it is read, there is some new nugget of wisdom gained.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goes far beyond diet..., January 6, 2007
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This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
The author was one of my "professors" in college. This guy understands the universe on a deeper level then most. The ideas in this book will change your perceptions about your relationship to the food you eat and the air you breath. This is not new-age babble, it is a harmonious combination of logic, commonsense and spirituality that just feels right. Buy this book now, it will not disappoint.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awareness rather than a diet, May 1, 2007
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This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
This book is not about ayurveda or following any other diet program, and does not include recipes or identify what you should eat. The author offers suggestions about how to bring more awareness to your eating habits and life. His solution is to stop forcing your body to conform to the mind or the latest diet strategy. Instead, pay as much attention as possible to each aspect of eating, from "Am I hungry?" to savoring each bite to listening for when the body is satisfied. If the bite doesn't taste good, then the body doesn't need it or want it. He addresses and proposes ideas for cravings, including theories for psychological understanding.

For the more spiritually evolved, he confronts the idea that enlightened people eat vegan, or survive only on air, etc. Just because an enlightened person eats only vegetables doesn't mean that eating only vegetables makes you enlightened. The author suggests that that your body will tell you when you're vegetarian, not your mind. There's even a nice essay about eating meat versus eating vegan from a consciousness evolution and cultural impact perspective.

He offers a highly conscious perspective for those seeking to bring more awareness to their lives. If you're open to the idea of accessing your body's own intelligence or intuition and looking for perspectives to move you further along, then this book will be valuable. If you're looking to be told what to eat, look elsewhere.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important book on food you'll ever read, November 3, 2009
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This review is from: The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self (Paperback)
When reading Charles Eisenstein's Ascent of Humanity a few weeks ago I was amazed at the depth and breadth of his scholarship. Unfortunately the book is so tremendous, weighing in at over 600 pages its enough to scare most people off. The Yoga of Eating is a focused piece of writing that takes all of Eisenstein's core philosophies of separation from core humanity and presents in an easily accessible 160 pages.

However, while Ascent of Humanity is focused on the entire scope of existence, Yoga of Eating is solely about our attitudes and approaches to food.

Charles begins by stating that, "the health crisis engulfing the modern world is a spiritual crisis, and a precocious opportunity as well. Pain and illness in the body can illuminate what is important in life." And it is that approach which forms the basis for his thesis. By listening to our body when we eat and truly, wholly trusting it we can begin to find our actual dietary needs. Modern western medical practice indicates that our bodies are imperfect and need discipline but as we have imposed more and more willpower the results have been continually diminishing.

Only by practicing the occasional eating in silence, attentive eating and focus on breathing can we reunify with the sacred practice of consuming life in the form of plants and animals.

To highlight one example, we will examine the sweetness of our food, something I have particularly noticed in US foodstuffs (with the emphasis on 'stuff'). This sweetness may be a result of the ever increasing desire to break free from bland lives filled with illusory "choices" between Kmart and Walmart, CBS and NBC, focusing on security above all else. The sweetness is a glimpse of the fullness of our true existence.

Key to practicing the Yoga of Eating is understanding that our bodies are adapted perfectly to the conditions we have experienced. If we look at the world around us, we must understand that if I were you, I would do the same things you do. If God were you, he would do those same things. We must embrace this understanding of our perfect bodies. A body separate from a false image propagated by the establishment. By effortlessly trusting ourselves, we will likely lose weight, eat less and exercise more but without the pain and struggle of diets and willpower.

Perhaps the Yoga of Eating will be too irrational for many, and if the approach Charles advocates will make you skeptical, challenge yourself by reading this book. You will not emerge from the final page the same. It is time for a call for true selfishness. When we are good to ourselves we can embrace the abundance nature provides and we can relax into the change the we most crucially desire.
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