Sunday, September 6, 2009


Welcome to my blog. The name GourMind is meant to suggest the intimate relationship between our emotional love of food, our biological need for food, and our attempts to negotiate between the two. GourMind allows me to report on what I read and keep it organized, while also inviting comments from readers.

I spent my first few years of graduate school observing, railing against, hearing criticism for, worrying about, and finally accepting my writing process. It’s primarily a thinking process. I read and think and read some more and fit things together and read and read and read and think and fit and read. Then some internal equivalent of an oven timer goes off – usually shortly before a due date – and I write and write and write and write.

So, without the constraint of a deadline, you may correctly conclude that I have been thinking about writing this blog for quite some time. Here’s what I have been thinking about:

Why is it so difficult to eat well and maintain a proper weight in a prosperous nation?

Why does “I should” so often lose the battle against “I want”?

What can we learn from those who do lose weight and keep it off?

Are we battling our own bodies and brains (because that is certainly what it feels like sometimes)?

What is a craving?

How can we understand the so-called French Paradox? And why are French women starting to get fat? Mon Dieu !

How can we take advantage of the concept of taste satiety to eat a more varied and more healthful diet without overeating?

What can we apply to eating problems from the research on addiction to alcohol and drugs?

What can we learn from those who have had bariatric surgery, especially from the 12- to 24-month “honeymoon period” after gastric bypass?

I’ll approach these questions with the curiosity of a journalist and the tools of a Ph.D. in psychology. I’ll include anecdotes and describe trends from my clinical practice. And I’ll contact researchers for their input as well. Some of the rock stars in my psycho-neuro-cuisine iPod are Nora Volkow, Kelly Brownell, Wolf Singer, Antonio Damasio, Julia Child, Thomas Keller and Ana Sortun.

Using a multidisciplinary approach, I intend to use the GourMind blog:

to summarize and clarify the state of the art research in the neuroscience of appetite, the experience of taste satiety, the portability of the French Paradox, the workings of the diffuse enteric nervous system, and the neuropsychological effects of bariatric surgery

to raise questions for research that will fill the gaps in our current knowledge

to translate these findings into useful tools for the daily life of the omnivore in a toxic environment

I anticipate an interesting and delicious journey.

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