TCME Board of Directors
The Center for Mindful Eating is a nonprofit, nonreligious organization that is governed by a multidisciplinary Board of Directors. Its purpose is to establish and communicate the vision and mission of the Center. In May 2006, the bylaws of the Center were ratified. The Center for Mindful Eating is grateful for the time and dedication that these individuals have agreed to contribute to this project.
Narmin Virani is a Registered Dietitian who has been in clinical practice since 2003. She worked for 10 years in the cardiac wellness and rehab field at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital where she learned the research and clinical applications of mindfulness meditation. This work led her to start the life-changing practice of meditating herself, and she began integrating it with nutrition counseling to promote a healthy relationship with food.
After that, while working at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Bariatric Center, she continued teaching experiential mindful eating to help her patients heal the anxiety, fear, and guilt around eating that had developed from years of chronic dieting. She moved away from a weight-centric to a weight-inclusive approach after seeing clinical and scientific evidence that chronic dieting led to weight gain and eating disorders in the long term. She witnessed her patients thrive with this approach, and this motivated her to conduct a research study on Intuitive Eating that was published in Bariatric Times, before she decided to leave the bariatric field.
Narmin currently works at Veritas Eating Disorders Hospital (Atlanta), and Nashville Nutrition Partners, a private nutrition counseling practice based on Health At Every Size principles. She is also collaborating with Dr Carolyn Becker of Trinity University on an ongoing research study on food insecurity and eating disorders in bariatric patients.
Cuca Azinovic, Treasurer
Cuca Azinovic is a certified mindfulness teacher and co-active coach specializing in mindful eating and self-compassion, based in a little coastal town called Benicassim in Spain. She has a Masters's degree in Mindfulness in Health Contexts from Complutense University in Madrid (Spain).
Certified Teacher & Mentor of the Mindful Eating - Conscious Living (ME-CL) program and in the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) program at the University of San Diego, she has been implementing both programs since 2014 in Spain. She has also completed professional training in Compassion Focused Therapy for eating disorders (CFT-e), developed by Dr. Ken Goss & Paul Gilbert at Derby University (UK), Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness (MB-EAT), Eat for Life (Lynn Rossy).
She brought to Spain the first Mindful Eating professional training together with Nirakara Mindfulness Institute in 2016 and 2017, which trained more than 80 professionals in an official program to implement Mindful Eating in their clinical practice.
She joined TCME as a member in 2012, volunteering for a few years to revise our programs. And in April 2018, she joined the Board as Treasurer and to promote the Spanish-language development of TCME.
She adores her family (including her little dog), nature and she is now living her dream living close to the sea.
In her own words: "I understand scarcity as the hunger that exists in our heart, despite living in full material abundance. This existential hunger, which can be manifested as lack of love, loneliness, rejection, or isolation, often determines our way of relating to food. By connecting with the heart and bringing awareness and presence to the act of feeding ourselves, we gradually nourish our existence, connecting with the fullness and abundance that are present at all times, alleviating suffering and recovering our dignity."
Cuca Azinovic es profesora y mentora certificada de profesionales de Alimentación Consciente y Autocompasión y Coach Transformacional. Comenzó su andadura como profesional de la Atención Plena en el 2013 cuando cursó el Experto de Mindfulness en Contextos de Salud por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (España).
Profesora certificada y mentora del programa Mindful Eating - Conscious Living (ME-CL) y del programa Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) de la Universidad de San Diego, implementa ambos programas desde 2014 en España.
También ha realizado una formación profesional en Terapia Focalizada en la Compasión para trastornos alimentarios (CFT-e), desarrollada por el Dr. Ken Goss & Paul Gilbert en la Universidad de Derby (UK), Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness (MB-EAT), Eat for Life ( Lynn Rossy).
Trajo a España la primera formación profesional de Alimentación Consciente (ME-CL) junto con Nirakara Mindfulness Institute en 2016 y 2017, formando a más de 80 profesionales en la aplicación clínica de Alimentación Consciente.
Se unió al Centro para la Alimentación Consciente (The Center for Mindful Eating) en el 2012, y en el 2018 entró a formar parte del Comité de Dirección como Tesorera y directora del desarrollo de contenidos en habla hispana para Latinoamérica y España.
Entre otros proyectos, en la actualidad está trabajando en un programa de Formación para Profesionales de Alimentación Consciente avalado por la Universidad de San Diego, California (UCSD). Ha creado la primera Comunidad de Alimentación Consciente en habla hispana y está rematando su “hogar digital” reflejo de todos estos años de aprendizaje y experiencia personal (www.cucaazinovic.com).
La práctica de Atención Plena y el coaching transformacional le han llevado a hacer realidad su sueño de establecer su residencia cerca del mar y la naturaleza permitiéndole crear espacio de calma y encuentro consigo misma y su entorno.
En sus propias palabras: "En la India aprendí de abundancia y en el primer mundo de escasez. Y de la Madre Teresa del hambre de corazón. Desde entonces mi vida ha ido progresivamente modificando su rumbo, tanto a nivel personal como laboral, con el propósito de aliviar el sufrimiento de nuestros corazones, y devolver la dignidad a las personas que sufren por falta de amor, soledad, rechazo y exclusión".
Linn Thorstensson, Secretary
Linn Thorstensson, Dip NT mNTOI, is a registered Nutritional Therapist, based in Co.Cork Ireland, with a special focus on helping people heal their relationship with food and eating, through a mindful eating and self-compassionate approach. She is also a food blogger, recipe developer and photographer and a meditator. Linn holds a three year PGDip in Nutritional Therapy, certifications in mind-body medicine and Mindful Eating (MB-EAT).
She is one of three directors for the board of Nutritional Therapists of Ireland and is excited to be part of the continuing growth of The Centre for Mindful Eating.
When she is not found reading, writing or in clinic, she tries spending most of her time in nature, with her dogs, with friends and in deep conversations.
You will find more about her, her work and her personal path over on www.straightforwardnutrition.com
Daniela Araujo, Ph.D.
Daniela Araujo PhD, MSc is a non-tribal indigenous narrative therapist, mindfulness and mindful eating teacher and mentor, based in Campinas, Pindoretá Brazil.
She has been working in the field of eating disorders since 2001. Member of the team that envisioned, implemented and ran the outpatient eating disorder's unit (Grupo Interdisciplinar de Assistência e Estudos em Transtornos Alimentares - GETA - Unicamp) at the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology at the State University of Campinas' Hospital, where she worked until 2010. Worked as Eating Disorders Liaison for Flourish Centre in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, between August 2011 and January 2012.
Certified mindfulness and mindful eating teacher and a pioneer in the introduction of mindful eating in Pindoretá Brazil, 2015, is one of the co-directors of The Brazilian Center for Mindful Eating since 2017. One of the teacher trainers in Neurocognitive Foundations for Mindfulness Teachers and in the Body in Mind Training protocol (Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, UK). Member of Endangered Bodies São Paulo and Endangered Bodies International.
Daniela has worked as a Lecturer at the Anthropology Department - University of Auckland (Aotearoa New Zealand), Psychology Department – Mackenzie Presbyterian University (Piratininga São Paulo, Pindoretá Brazil) and currently teaches at post-graduate level in Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology at IPOG (Pindoretá Brazil) and in Eating Behaviors at IPGS (Pindoretá Brazil).
Cecilia Clementi, Ph.D., Psych.D
Clementi, PhD, Psych.D, is a Clinical and Health Psychologist and
psychotherapist. She is also teacher in Mindfulness based protocols
(MBSR, MBCT, MBRP, MB-EAT).
Cecilia qualified as mindfulness teacher at The Italian Center for Mindfulness studies (CISM) and trained as a mindful eating teacher in Bruxelles (Belgium).
Cecilia has a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Bologna (Italy) where she also obtained her Clinical and Community Psychology degree and her Specialization as Health Psychologist and psychotherapy. She has also qualified in Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion focused therapy (CFT).
Her areas of expertise include eating
disorders, obesity, addiction, trauma, mood and anxiety disorders. She
lives in Italy and she works as psychotherapist and Mindfulness Teacher
both privately and at San Nicola’s Addiction Center. She also
collaborates as researcher and tutor with The Department of Psychology
of the University of Bologna, and as a trainer in Mindfulness based
protocols with CISM and other Associations.Cecilia has been practicing
Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism for 15 years. She is keen on skating and
dancing and she is also a volunteer clown therapist in the Hospitals.
To learn more about Cecilia’s work, visit www.ceciliaclementi.altervista.org
Dr. Alexis Conason
Alexis Conason, Psy.D., CEDS is a licensed psychologist and certified eating disorder specialist in private practice in New York City. Her group practice specializes in the treatment of overeating disorders, body image dissatisfaction, and sexual functioning using mindfulness-based interventions. She is the founder of The Anti-Diet Plan, an online mindfulness eating program to help people stop dieting, start eating with more attunement to their bodies, and live lives filled with joy, peace, and pleasure.
She earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Long Island University, C.W. Post. Following completion of her doctorate, Dr. Conason completed post-doctoral training at The Karen Horney Clinic and the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, in affiliation with Columbia University. She also earned a certificate in Eating Disorders, Compulsions, and Addictions from the William Alanson White Institute and a certificate in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the American Institute for Psychoanalysis. Dr. Conason’s research has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals (including Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Surgery) and she has presented at numerous scientific conferences. She is a peer reviewer for numerous scientific journals, including Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases and Obesity Surgery. She serves on the leadership committee of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals-NY Chapter as their Research Chair and on the board of The Center for Mindful Eating.
She is a regular contributor to Psychology Today and writes the “Eating Mindfully” blog for their website. She has been widely featured in the popular press including Oprah Magazine, Elle, Teen Vogue, CBS News, The Washington Post, The New York Post, and many more. Dr. Conason is a fierce advocate for helping people recognize andquestion the societal norms that encourage feeling not good enough about themselves so that they can live their most fulfilling lives-- at any size!
You can find Dr. Conason on the web at www.drconason.com as well as Twitter (@conasonpsyd), Facebook (Alexis Conason, PsyD), and Instagram (@theantidietplan).
Caitlin Hildebrand, MSHAIL, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner, RYT500, is Clinic Director in Integrative Health at the San Francisco VA, where she practices Integrative Medicine and Primary Care, teaches yoga and mindfulness, and developed and leads a Mindful and Intuitive Eating program for veterans and staff.
NP Hildebrand began her career in inpatient psychiatric nursing, including on eating disorders units. She has taught
for numerous healthcare organizations and conferences throughout the US, and published the book "Un-Less: Mindful Journaling for Body Positivity, Mindfulness and Unconditional Self Love". She has a breadth of knowledge in health and wellness, with a Medical
Fellowship from the Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, Bachelors' degrees in Psychology and Nursing, from Swarthmore College and University of Pennsylvania, Masters in Nursing and Healthcare Administration from University of
Pennsylvania and UCSF, is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado in Veteran and Military Healthcare, and is an assistant Clinical Professor for UCSF.
She graduated with a Yoga Alliance Certification from Yoga to the People and Holistic Yoga Coach training from Purusha Yoga School. She also completed group facilitator training from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and UCSD Center for Mindfulness, and coursework in trauma focused yoga from Veterans Yoga Project, Inversions at Baptiste Yoga and Yoga for Grief at The Center, all in San Francisco.
She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, near the Russian River, with her husband and cat, under the redwoods.
You can find more about her in her webpage: Hom Heaven Health
Dr. Amy Sapola is passionate about helping people achieve radiant health through reconnecting with their own intuition, nature, and deep nourishment as well as working on public health issues related to the social determinants of health, soil health, and planetary health.
Dr. Sapola is a Certified Wellness Coach, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP), and Doctor of Pharmacy with a B.S. in Nutrition. She has also completed a 2-year fellowship with honors in Integrative Medicine from the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM).
Dr. Sapola is the Director of Farmacy at The Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio, and the owner of Sapola Integrative Wellness, LLC. Farmacy at the Chef’s Garden is about building a greater understanding of how health is impacted by the regenerative agriculture principles we practice here at The Chef's Garden. She works to help guide consumers towards a mindful relationship with food by connecting the benefits of healthy soil, to healthy plants, and ultimately, to healthy people.
As a mother of two young children, master gardener, passionate cook, and long-time yogi, Dr. Sapola has an integrative approach to health and wellness both personally and professionally.