9 Different Kinds of Hunger

Health & Lifestyle
woman in black and white polka dot shirt
Photo by Anna Shvets

A topic I’ve been enjoying learning about is mindfulness. I recently began reading a book called Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays, MD. I want to share with you what she calls the 9 Kinds of Hunger which are: eye, touch, ear, nose, mouth, stomach, cellular, mind and heart hunger. Referencing this book, I’ve explained what they are below and applied them to SMOOV Superfood Blends.  

1. Eye Hunger: The way food is made to look appealing and appetizing such as in food advertisements and photography. Our eyes send signals to the mind and can override signals from the stomach and body that we are full. The colours and shape of food satisfy our eye hunger. Even reading words such as savory, sweet, moist, rich, creamy, chewy or crunchy in a cookbook that is accompanied by a delicious image can elicit eye hunger. Practice mindful eye hunger by looking at food with awareness; connect with your food; use mindful eyes and see the beauty in food.

Satisfying Eye Hunger with SMOOV: Notice the different colour associated with each blend. Notice how this corresponds with the colourful packaging designs. What do your eyes like, notice or make you feel about the colours and unique designs of each of the blends? 

2. Touch Hunger: Touch is essential to human thriving, and our lips and tongue are sensitive to the various textures of foods. Did you know that in some cultures that eat with their hands, utensils are considered like attacking the food with weapons? Eating with your hands helps you to slow down and connect to what you are eating. For example, you cannot eat with hands while using your phone, right? Also, allowing babies to feed themselves helps to promote self-regulation of food intake.

Satisfying Touch Hunger with SMOOV: Open a pouch of one of these superfood blends. Scoop a bit of the blend into your hand. What do your fingers notice about the texture and feel of the blend?  

3. Ear Hunger: The words used to describe food can lead us to image the way it tastes in our minds. Similar to eye hunger, hearing words such as savory, sweet, moist, rich or creamy can elicit our ear hunger. When eating certain foods such as chips and carrots, we expect to hear noises, compared to eating foods like pudding and cake that we don’t. Even the sound of opening a bag of snacks or the sound of eggs sizzling on a pan can elicit our ear hunger.

Satisfying Ear Hunger with SMOOV: Take in the sound of freshness as you open one of the pouches. Listen to the sound your blender makes as it creates one of your favourite smoothie blends! 

4. Nose Hunger: Smells can affect our subconscious mind. This can be due to our olfactory nerves being short outgrowths from the brain or because sense of smell was important to our ancestors for survival, such as smelling whether food was good to eat or had spoiled. Did you know that the taste or flavours we associate with food is entirely due to our sense of smell? Try pinching your nose while eating something. Notice how the taste and flavour returns when you stop pinching your nose.

Satisfying Nose Hunger with SMOOV: Open one of the pouches and notice the unique aroma it has. Do you notice how the green blend kind of smells like matcha? Have you noticed the smell of ginger and cinnamon in the wave blend or the cacao in the euphoric blend? Yum! 

5. Mouth Hunger: The taste, flavours and textures of food is what satisfies our mouth hunger. Our mouth hunger can be associated with our genetics – having an acquired taste to certain foods possibly due to our genes, family food habits such as always having spaghetti made with meatballs, cultural traditions that have conditioned and trained the mouth through repeated exposure, and both pleasant or unpleasant experiences with food.

Satisfying Mouth Hunger with SMOOV: Practice mindfulness while consuming one of these blends. Open your awareness to the sensations from the various types of hunger such as eye, nose and mouth hunger. You’ll begin to notice unique differences from each experience!  

6. Stomach Hunger: The right amount and types of food is what satisfies stomach hunger. It is our routines that conditions our stomachs to feel hungry. For example, if you eat breakfast every morning, you’ll experience hunger around that time. But if you don’t, your stomach knows not to feel hungry or expect food then. The stomach’s main concern is the amount of food it needs to feel comfortably satisfied. The stomach does not like be feel overfilled and in pain. An empty stomach is what helps it to restore. Anxiety can sometimes be mistaken for stomach hunger, leading us to eat when we may not actually be hungry.

Satisfying Stomach Hunger with SMOOV: The balance of fruits, vegetables and superfoods found in these blends will surely satisfy your stomach hunger!

7. Cellular Hunger: This is a primary skill of mindful eating. It’s a signal, wisdom or instinctive awareness from our body that tell us when to eat and when to stop. Our cellular hunger gets lost as we get older from inner and outer voices that tell us how we should eat such as from our parents, friends, advertisements, diets, movies or mirrors. They lead to confusion, desires, impulses, and aversions in the foods we choose to eat. By turning our awareness inward, we can create a healthy balanced relationship with food. The cells in our bodies alert us to certain nutrients it needs such as water, salt, potassium, iron, zinc, protein, vitamins, minerals, calcium, magnesium or Omega-3. Symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, irritability, light-headedness, or loss of energy can indicate that our bodies are missing essential elements that satisfy our cellular hunger.

Satisfying Cellular Hunger with SMOOV: Each of the Smoov blends consist of loads of nutrients that our bodies need and can benefit from. Calcium, iron and magnesium can be found in the cacao from the euphoric blend. Rich vitamin C from the goji berries and camu camu berries in the golden blend, while protein, vitamins B, C, iron and Omega-3 can be found from the chlorella in the green blend.  

8. Mind Hunger: This is influenced by our thoughts from the information or criticism we hear, leading us to look at food as good vs. bad, to eat or not to eat because of this, that and the other. Foods that are considered good for you one year by researchers, scientists and doctors are deemed bad for you the next. Mind hunger is very powerful and requires you to quiet your mind. Here is where you can tap into mindfulness when it comes to the way you interpret and the thoughts you have about what to eat. Each body is different. That’s why the choices we make about what we should or should not eat should be based on our own specific needs. You can learn more about how your brain is connected to your gut here.

Satisfying Mind Hunger with SMOOV: Take a second to quiet your mind. Think about what your body needs overall or throughout your day. Do you need an immunity boost to get you through those cold Canadian winter months? Grab the golden blend. Maybe you could use more energy and focus to get through your day. Look to the fuel blend to give you just that. 

9. Heart Hunger: This is the moods and emotions evoked by food associated with pleasant or unpleasant memories and experiences. Food can bring back moments filled with warmth and happiness or times of sadness and loneliness. Heart hunger can often be eating to fill emotional needs. I’m sure you may be familiar with the act of eating an entire tub ice cream after a break-up. However, food could never fill a heartache. Talking and opening up to someone you trust can. We feed our hearts when we take care in preparing food for ourselves as we would our guests.

Satisfying Heart Hunger with SMOOV: My hope is that one or more of these blends evoke positive feelings both within your heart and body as they do for me. Take the time to enjoy and share these blends with the people who matter to you most. Let Smoov be apart of filling and satisfying your heart hunger 😊  

Bays, Jan Chozen. Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food. Shambhala, 2017. 

This article was written for SMOOV Superfood Blends.

Are you’re looking for an easy way to get your greens in, boost your immunity, energy or mood? SMOOV Superfood Blends is a Canadian-based company that carries a variety of healthy, organic and all-natural superfood blends powder. Visit SMOOV today!


This website is provided only for informational purposes and not intended to be used to replace professional advice, treatment or professional care. Always speak to your physician, healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have concerns about your own health or the health of a child.

2 thoughts on “9 Different Kinds of Hunger

  1. Hey Samantha,

    I have enjoyed reading this article as my relationship with food has been a rollercoaster for as long as I can remember! When I think about my current diet, I do my very best to eat healthy throughout the day, but there are nights where I dive DEEP into unhealthy choices. Reading this article I have resonated with the battle between my stomach hunger and cellular hunger as I sometimes can’t stop eating although I know I am full or do not need to continue eating. My mouth hunger feels, tastes, and smells so good while I’m eating that I don’t want to stop! Being more mindful to my stomach hunger is something I need to work on.

    Have you read about any tricks on how to strengthen one’s cellular hunger in the book you have referenced here?

    PS- I have LOVED adding SMOOV to my morning smoothies to pump me up for the day. I eat the Berry Exotic Blend and it’s soooo yummy with my berry smoothies. Thank you for introducing me to SMOOV (and thanks Lee for creating such a wonderful and beneficial product)! I love how SMOOV can be given as the perfect gift for any occasion because anyone can use the products!

    1. Hey Kaitlin,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I’m really glad to hear you’re enjoying SMOOV as much as I have been!

      While I never got around to finishing reading the book, it does reference a variety of guided meditations and exercises that support the practice of mindful eating. If you visit this website: https://www.shambhala.com/mindfuleating you will find a ton of them. “Asking the Body What It Needs” is the one for cellular hunger. You can also find towards the bottom of this website some really nicely illustrated visual reminders for each type of hunger.

      Hope to hear how the exercise goes if you find time to try it!

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