Oreo cookies

There is a 2013 Connecticut College study that showed Oreos are more addictive than morphine and cocaine in lab rats. The study states when the researchers “used immunohistochemistry to measure the expression of a protein called c-Fos, a marker of neuronal activation, in the nucleus accumbens, or the brain’s ‘pleasure center’…the Oreos activated significantly more neurons than cocaine or morphine.” Whether you agree with the study or not, you have to admit the power of this cookie is intense. This got me thinking: what if we could use an Oreo as a tool in our mindfulness practice?

A fun activity to try, especially if you don’t eat Oreos very often, is to slowly and mindfully eat one. Feel the texture in your fingers. Look at the pattern of the cookie’s design. If you’re so inclined, deconstruct the cookie and study the cream filling closely. Notice the contrast of the dark hardness with the light soft cream. Take a bite. Focus on the mouth feel. Hear the crunch of the crisp cookie. Experience the taste of the sweetness on your tastebuds. You can feel the pleasure centers lighting up in your brain from the activation of multiple senses. Finish the cookie and give yourself a moment to take in the entire experience, from that first bite, to the feeling it leaves in your mouth after it has been swallowed. It’s not just eating a cookie. It’s a happening, an unusual event, and it’s amazing.

Then eat a second one in the same slow, mindful way. For me, the experience is similar, but not the same. All the magical moments are less intense. However, it’s also pretty hard to not go back for a third one, so get the rest of them out of sight before you start eating them mindlessly!

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