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We recently went to New Zealand and Australia to visit my husband’s family.  

New Zealand and Australia are known for their outstanding “new world” wines. As wine lovers, (my mantra is “all things in moderation“), I experienced the powerful connection between wine tasting and mindful eating.  

Although we weren’t in the heart of wine region in either country this trip, we managed to find some interesting tasting rooms for a little “practice.”  

One tasting room (NOT the one in this picture) was built in an old mortuary. I know; that should have been our first clue. They served old (and I don’t mean aged) wine in little plastic communion-style cups. The wines had creepy names that bore no relation to the grapes that gave their life for us.  

The wine maker, a retired chemist, bragged, “Making wine is easy.” I whispered in my husband’s ear, “Making good wine - now that’s the hard part!”

It dawned on me that sometime during the 15 years since I quit drinking white zinfandel from a box (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I had actually learned to appreciate decent wine. I’m no expert but I know what I like (and it isn’t usually served in plastic). I had to ask myself, so how did I become a bit of a wine snob?

The same way I became a foodie: one taste at a time.

By simply deciding to be attentive to what I eat (and drink), I’ve become much more aware of the aromas, flavors, and textures of food. More importantly, I’ve become much more connected to the experience and its affect on my body.

Just as I know that there’s an invisible but very real line between enjoyment and abuse of wine, there’s a similar line that many people cross with food. The less mindful you are, the more likely you are to cross that line.

This simple but profound lesson has allowed me to enjoy food more while eating less. I’m no longer dazzled by large portion sizes or distracted by packaging, health claims, or other attempts to lure me into eating marginal food (any more than the wine cellar viewed through the hole in the floor where they used to raise the casket could distract me into believing that wine was worth drinking!).  

I’m certainly no sommelier, but I am grateful to have discovered the similarities between the enjoyment of both wine and food in moderation. In my next post, I’ll share some of those insights:

The Basics of Wine Tasting and the Mindful Eating Corollaries

Michelle May MD
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