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Welcome to a Mindful Meal, dedicated to improving mind/body health through the application of scientifically supported compassionate-awarenessmindfulness- and acceptance-based practices. My name is Dr. Dawnn McWatters, Psy.D., and I’m a licensed psychologist in independent practice in Portland, Oregon.

Update as of 10/5/17: My downtown Portland office schedule is FULL. However, I have availability at my new additional office at 9900 SW Wilshire Street Suite 160, Portland, OR, near the intersection of Hwy 26 & 217. Read this post to learn how to become established as a client.

I am an in-network provider with BlueCross BlueShield, PacificSource, Providence/Optum, Aetna, and Cigna, and am happy to bill all other insurance plans. Learn about my current services, download the new-client-packet  and this insurance verification form to complete prior to our intake appointment, browse posts on mindfulness practices for individuals and families, read about my work as a psychologist (and even watch a video about what to expect when you call), and explore mindfulness (and related health promotion resources).

Are you a former client? Please read this letter about my transition in practice and learn how to get in touch with me if needed.

Thanks for visiting, and do return soon!

Family Eating Breakfast

Not White, Not Rich, and Seeking Therapy: “Even for those with insurance, getting mental healthcare means fighting through phone tag, payment confusion, and even outright discrimination…”

If I can’t see you, I’ll direct you to someone who can. Don’t give up. Therapy works.

 

farm to plate WH photo

As farm-to-school programs, community gardens, CSAs, and farmer’s markets grow in number, more individuals are participating in and gaining an appreciation for the entire food cycle, from growing their food to procuring, preparing, cooking, and savoring it. First Lady Michelle Obama’s famous White House Garden will continue under the stewardship of new First Lady Melania Trump, who said: “Gardening teaches us the fundamentals in care and the evolution of living things, all while inspiring us to nurture our minds and to relax and strengthen our bodies.”

Here at A Mindful Meal, I’m not just a psychologist and mindful eating educator, but I’m also a cook, hobby farmer, and food justice activist. I love food from just about every angle, and part of my mission is to help reconnect you to meaningful experiences with food, too.

In the book Mindful Eating, Dr. Jan Chosen Bays, MD, a physician and well-respected Zen Buddhist leader, engages readers in an exercise she calls “Looking Deeply into Our Food,” which takes us through the origins of our food. Imagine the person who stocked a particular food item – a box of raisins, a loaf of bread, a carton of milk; the driver who delivered the food to the store; the farms that tended to the trees, plants, or livestock. Dr. Bays reminds us of something that is said before every meal at Plum Village, the Zen practice center founded by Thich Nhat Hanh: “In this food I see clearly the presence of the entire universe supporting my existence.”

Water nourished your food. Sun nourished your food. Soil and many tiny organisms nourished your food. Your food has a story, and a family; it possesses deep roots that likely go back hundreds of years. The seeds of  your food may have come from a landscape far, far away from your kitchen. Your food may have been grown, picked, handled, and delivered by someone who looks similar to you. Or very different.

We are united as beings in our desire to live, eat, and thrive. By fully showing up with awareness for our meals, we are honoring our bodies, the food itself, and the many individuals and complex systems that sustain us.

 

 

eating-food-with-mindfulnessLet’s face it, many pictures that we’ve seen associated with the mindful eating “movement” depict some version of a thin woman eating a big bowl of salad, or an overweight woman triumphantly choosing an apple over a cheeseburger. As if there were true “good” versus “bad” foods (or bodies), and one could earn a mindful eating “badge of honor” for overcoming all of those pesky cravings for fried foods and instead proclaiming a newfound love of kale.

As a mindful eating educator for over 10 years, I’m less interested in what you choose to put in your body, than how you choose to eat. Continue Reading »

girl-cooking-soup-ladle-home-47328087Yesterday I made an old favorite, Split Pea Soup with Frizzled Ham, from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook. More of an autumn gal, personally, I was thrilled by the morning’s cloud cover and seized the brief spell of cool weather as justification for a kettle of soup. Plus, I love this particular recipe – I’d heard Mark speak at the Schnitzer a few years ago when he was promoting his book and felt a certain affinity for the fellow food enthusiast.

Soup making is a ritual; one I’ve learned to treasure over the years. A way to slow down, savor, and fill up -not just belly, but heart. Continue Reading »

“We are lacking intimacy with the activity – and reactivity – of our minds…,” which can have tremendous impact on our health and well-being.

Humorous, relevant, and deeply embedded in wisdom: check out this new lecture by one of my most influential teachers of mindfulness meditation.

 

In the picture below, a couple of our hens are enjoying one of their first spring days outside. April 2016. They’re little more than scrappy balls of molting feathers, but over the course of four months, they will blossom into full-fledged hens.

During their first winter – despite the fierce weather20160913_114400 (1), which hit us especially hard up here in the hills outside Portland – our girls kept on laying. And laying. And laying. Every afternoon after work, I’d trudge through the snow or rain or sleet to collect a handful of brown, still-warm eggs, often nested beneath a cooing, broody hen.

Frittatas. Egg scrambles. Sunday apple baked pancakes, and other baked goods. Soon we were giving eggs for birthday presents, as thank you’s and house-warming gifts. You get the picture. Our refrigerator filled up with eggs and meanwhile, I started fantasizing about getting more chicks. It was official – I was turning into the Chicken Lady. Continue Reading »