Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Where in the World is Carol?

Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for her next cookbook and

Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

Join Carol at the National Western Complex, Expo Hall level 2 in Denver on April 21,10:30 am during the GFAF Expo Conference. See you there!

Mindful Eating or Gulp-and-Go?

Some people wolf down their food while others take forever to consume a meal. Which one are you?

I must confess I was a fast eater for most of my life, until I learned how detrimental it is to successful digestion. Long ago, in my quick-paced corporate life I would hurriedly eat lunch at my desk so I could get to my next meeting or appointment. Today, I have more control over my schedule and I try to practice mindful eating as often as I can.

Chili in white bowl provides stark contrast, making food look bigger.

This portion of chili served in a white bowl looks larger, due to the sharp color contrast than if it was served in a dark-colored bowl.

What is Mindful Eating?

A recent article in Environmental Nutrition newsletter addressed the topic of mindful eating. What is mindful eating? It’s paying attention to what you put in your mouth, rather than absent-mindedly eating something without giving it your full attention.

This is not a new concept. Rancho La Puerta Spa & Resort in Mexico—where I’ve been fortunate to visit a few times and teach gluten-free cooking classes— sets aside a special room for those who want to eat in silence so they can devote their full attention to the dining experience. I’ve never taken advantage of this experience but hear that it’s a good introspective exercise.

Of course Mom was right when she said “chew your food” but here are more thoughts from the Environmental Nutrition newsletter:

Slow Down and Incorporate Your Senses

Take time to savor your food by noting its color and appearance. Is it homey and inviting…such as a mound of mashed potatoes, or brightly colored and stimulating…such as fresh carrot sticks or sliced red bell peppers?

How does it feel in your mouth? Smooth, like gravy, or bumpy and lumpy like green peas or corn. If your food is touchable (I don’t recommend feeling the mashed potatoes on your plate!)…for example, if you prepare the potatoes yourself… note how they feel in your hand as you methodically peel them.

And, above all, note the taste of your food. Is it mild, sharp, salty, bitter, sweet? Chew slowly and take time for the taste to register in your palate. However, Mireille Guiliano in her book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, says we only really taste the first few bites of a particular food. All subsequent bites are more about filling our tummies than delighting our taste buds. So, French women savor those first few bites and then put their fork down, rather than continuing to mindlessly eat the entire portion. Interesting…..

Pay Attention to Size and Color of Dinnerware

Experts suggest downsizing your dinner plate from the standard 12-inch to a 10-inch size. They say that the bigger the dinnerware, the bigger the portions we give ourselves. It seems we have this need to fill up that empty space on the plate, and then we feel obligated to clean our plates, as well. In fact, using a 10-inch plate reduces calorie consumption by 22% for that meal. Good news if you’re trying to lose weight.

Choose dinnerware with sharp color contrast to your food. For example, red marinara-tossed pasta served on a white dinner plate makes the food portion look larger to our brains. So, we’re satisfied with eating less. In fact, experts say this can reduce the amount you serve yourself by 21%. Again, good news if you’re trying to reduce your food intake.

Switch serving spoons to smaller sizes; people using a larger serving spoon can serve themselves up to 57% more ice cream than those using a smaller spoon. They also recommend eating with chopsticks, but that doesn’t really work for me… too much work!!!


Turn off the TV, radio, iPad, and any other electric device that impinges on your brain. Avoid reading while you eat (although when I dine alone, this is one of my greatest pleasures). The idea is that your mind is totally focused on the pleasure of eating. And, if you’re dining with your family, it encourages everyone at the table to talk with each other rather than eating with one eye distractedly glued to the TV or texts on the iPhone. In other words, fully engaging in the meal increases the pleasure you gain from consuming it. Personally, I like to play music while I’m dining so if that music comes from a radio, then I’m in favor of having it on in the background. In fact, restaurants use music to influence us but that is a topic for another day.

Keep Serving Bowls in the Kitchen, not the Dining Table

Since we eat at our kitchen island, this doesn’t work for us because that serving bowl is still in sight. But the idea is to put the food on the plates in the kitchen and then carry them to the table, rather than eating family style where everyone serves themselves from a larger vessel. But I think this is only relevant for families who are trying to cut down food consumption for weight-loss reasons.

In fact, I often recommend serving a dish in its own vessel because it’s easier and cuts down on clean-up afterwards. So, do what works for you. Frankly, I love the down-home feel of people serving themselves from big platters and bowls of food. Maybe that’s my Midwestern up-bringing! And, I’m the grandmother of 3 kids without weight issues so I want to encourage them to eat, not discourage them.

So, are you a mindful eater or a gulper? Take these ideas and see which ones work for you, with the goal of making eating a more pleasurable experience.