Paola Cóser, mindful nutritionist:
Learn How to Nourish your Body, Mind and Spirit

Aug 4, 2023 · 11 min read

Paola Cóser, mindful nutritionist: Learn How to Nourish your Body, Mind and Spirit
Paola Cóser, a nutritional coach in her consulting room in Madrid

Should we prioritize living to eat or eating to live? We all know that eating is essential for survival, but food is so much more than mere fuel! It's a feast of family, friends, bonds, and culture. There's no right or wrong answer here, but one thing's for sure: a healthy relationship with food is all the rage. Based on her experience, Paola Cóser, a qualified nutritionist specializing in mindful eating with an MSc in Obesity and Weight Management, has developed a multicultural approach. Drawing on her wisdom and embracing diverse cultures, Paola has whipped up a method to nurture a conscious connection with food. Get ready to embark on a flavor-packed adventure that'll nourish both body and spirit!

Food keeps us alive! It's so easy to overlook this fact when we mindlessly go through the motions of deciding what to eat. But here's the deal: every food choice matters. So, instead of being on autopilot, let's take a moment to appreciate the power of conscious eating. Pablo Neruda, one of the world’s most beloved Nobel Prizes winners in literature, brought food to life. In his poetry, he took a bunch of simple ingredients and transformed them into something extraordinary. In his Elementary Odes, he called tomatoes «star of Earth» and described onions as « clear as a planet, destined to shine». Even artichokes were described as «the armored vegetable», highlighting the power of fresh food as something magical, meaningful, and with a sociological approach.

Just like Neruda, Paola Cóser emphasizes the supernatural power between food and mindful eating. In her consulting room in Madrid, she helps people from many countries, including France, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain. Thanks to her bachelor’s degree in Physical Activity and Sport Science, Cóser recognizes the need to increase awareness and reconnect with food.

1. What we eat or how we eat is not really taught in schools and universities. Even for kids and grownups is hard sometimes to keep a healthy relationship with food. As part of this, consider the alarming rates of obesity in countries like the United States (36.3% of adult obesity) according to the Obesity Rates by Country,1 or illnesses related a troubled relationship with food. Based on this, what would be the first step to becoming positively aware of our relationship with food?

Well, there are three steps in the process of awareness that leads to positive change. This is called the Model of Prochaska and DiClemente. First, we are immersed in the pre-contemplation stage where no intention to change exists. At this stage, we are not conscious of our food habits. We eat but don’t consider the impact of our diet on our health. Then, we enter the contemplation stage where we actually realize what is going on because we feel uncomfortable and unhealthy. At this phase, we’re still not ready to take action, so we only perceive and contemplate the situation. In this state of ambivalence, we may think “I know that I have to make this change,” but there is no action yet. Our mind is still in the comfort zone because it‘s compensating and it is easy to keep repeating the same patterns.

I’d say that awareness doesn’t mean change. It usually takes a while to get to the action phase and strategy. This really occurs when a necessity is triggered or there is a trigger or an impactful experience that leads to action. For instance, you suddenly notice your food behavior reflected in someone else and decide to consciously take action. This stage is actually great, as it is the first step to mindful nutrition and success.

2. Each country has its own nutrition and food policies. For instance, the NHS in the United Kingdom publishes its own food guides and advice for a balanced diet on its official website.2 Having easy-to-reach access is quite helpful, but how can we instill consciousness and mindful habits to generate change? How can we build habits to develop a good relationship with food?

Most people know that fruits and vegetables are healthy and part of a balanced diet, but people need to incorporate them in adequate amounts in their daily diet. It’s essential to internalize the habit by repetition.
For this, it’s necessary to want something to happen and then to do it by constantly repeating the habit. Awareness in this case is even more important and from here, we can say that mindful eating means knowing what benefits healthy eating will bring me, how I feel when eating healthier, and what things prevent me from not making it happen.

«Mindful eating means knowing what benefits healthy eating will bring me, how I feel when eating healthier, and what things prevent me from not making it happen.»

There are many patterns that interrupt our intentions on a day-to-day basis. For me, it was the relationship that I had with food during my childhood, during stressful moments, or even because of the constant exposure to media ads and fast food, etc.
So, to generate new food habits it’s crucial to be aware of our current situation as a starting point, knowing what behavior we want to change and why, what benefits we will obtain, and what we’re willing to give up to gain other benefits.
It’s vital to establish real changes without being too restrictive with the food that we like very much. Also, observing what areas of our life can be affected, such as social life, family life, stress, and beliefs. It’s not just incorporating healthy food, but how you relate to it.

3. Enrique Rojas, professor of psychiatry and director of the Spanish Institute for Psychiatric Research, states in his book 5 Tips to boost intelligence3 that « determination means knowing how to wait and how to continue ». He also points out the importance of will, saying that « will is the jewel of the crown; a person with a will goes far beyond an intelligent person ». In this context, how do both will and perseverance help improve our relationship with food? And mainly, How can we begin to work on them more consciously?

From my experience, when it comes to food, willpower usually allows most people to start the change and it’s just brilliant. However, willpower can be a short-term factor with an expiration date. Although the strength of will often has to do with the desire to achieve goals, giving the strength and energy necessary to achieve them, I believe that awareness is basic in starting any change. When you feel the need to take that impulse and begin looking for strategies and help, then you can perceive that this strength can be actually developed. Step by step you start incorporating those desired changes.

Perseverance and discipline are super important, it is what forges a new diet; in this aspect, change is always possible with repetition, listening to your body, your sensations, paying attention to how you relate to food along with everything else that prevents you from achieving it.

4. Food is also a social and cultural phenomenon from a sociological approach. It is also a prime source for the individual, the family, and the society. Based on this, how are food choices influenced by the family or the social environment?

This is quite interesting. Food connects us with everything. It is the basis of our survival and has been with us since the beginning of our lives. We can smell something that transports us to our childhood or our country in a positive or negative way, which actually conditions us in our food choices.

«Food connects us with everything. It is the basis of our survival and has been with us since the beginning of our lives.»

Every family has its own food habits and a particular way in which food is contextualized. By this I mean, food can be an act of love and protection, but it can also be considered as something negative, maybe when conflicts arise while eating, prohibitions are put in place, or there are family problems. So, emotions and food are closely related.
Something similar occurs in the social and cultural sphere because each country has its own gastronomy and great rituals with food. Also, this constant exposure to certain foods reinforces our relationship to the place where we live. Becoming aware of these family and social habits is fundamental and extremely positive. For instance, it is vital to realize what benefits us so we can make a more conscious choice between what our body needs and what we can leave behind. Besides, realizing what emotions, behaviors, and beliefs are conditioning our habits can help us to eliminate some food patterns and strengthen others.

5. Spanish people will have the longest life expectancy by 2040, according to a study by Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle,4 surpassing Japan. Among the reasons is the way people eat. The Predimed study5 from the Spanish Ministry of Health showed that the Mediterranean diet constitutes a healthy eating pattern for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,6 is the world's largest clinical trial studying the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Based on this, what ingredients of the Mediterranean diet are essential for our health?

In the Mediterranean diet, fruits and vegetables are prioritized, as well as the importance of consuming good quality fat such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Nuts and fish, legumes, whole grains, dairy products, along with eggs, white meat (preferably less red meat) are also great food sources.

The consumption of fruits and vegetables makes this diet healthy not only because of the contribution of fibers, vitamins and minerals, but also because fruits and vegetables have a large number of bioactive substances. These components influence cell activity and physiological mechanisms with beneficial effects on health. Among them, we can find beta carotenes (carrots, pumpkin), lycopene (tomato) anthocyanins (grapes, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) chlorophyll (green leaves), lutein and zeaxanthin (spinach, corn, avocado, melon). Glycosylates (broccoli, cabbage), with their antioxidant action, not only prevent diseases but also help longevity.

Also including good quality fats such as EVOO, oily fish, and nuts that provide polyunsaturated fats (omega 6 and omega 3) is fantastic. A balance of this type of fat prevents inflammatory processes in our bodies and helps prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression when accompanied by a healthy lifestyle.

6. Mindful eating focuses on eating experiences, sensations in our body, and, of course, a physical and mental approach to eating. Along those lines, can you give some tips to harmoniously nourish our body, mind and spirit?

When I talk about health I include mind, body and emotions. By this I mean, I can’t work on one area and leave the others aside.
Food is closely linked to beliefs (mind), emotions, and bodily needs, so when I work with my patients, I nourish those three areas together in order for them to achieve their goals.
To nourish the body, I suggest introducing more fruits and vegetables (bioactive components) into your diet. In addition to caring for your body, I recommend starting with gentle movements at first, such as yoga or walking, so that you can condition your body with movement.
To be attentive to our thoughts and emotions, I highly recommend keeping up with your reflections. Also, meditation is important. However, when there’s a lot of mental noise it’s better to start with a moving meditation. This means to be present while doing an activity, such as walking. For instance, I’m focused on my body, feeling the movements of the muscles and being present in my breathing.

Ready to dive into the secrets of nourishing your body, mind, and spirit? Look no further than the amazing Mia® Community! Join the conversation and discover a world of wellness wisdom.

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  1. Obesity Rates by Country 2023 from the World Population Review, official website,
  2. The National Health Service in England, NHS, Food Guidelines and food labels, 16 September 2022,
  3. Enrique Rojas, 5 tips to boost intelligence, original title, 5 consejos para potenciar la inteligencia,January 2018, Publishing House, Booket.
  4. Forecasting life expectancy, years of life lost, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 250 causes of death: reference and alternative scenarios for 2016–40 for 195 countries and territories
    Crossref DOI link:, Published Print: 2018-11
    Update policy:
  5. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts, Publication: The New England Journal of Medicine, Publisher: Massachusetts Medical Society, Jun 21, 2018.
  6. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts, Publication: The New England Journal of Medicine, Publisher: Massachusetts Medical Society, Jun 21, 2018.

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