We may think of meat as a good source, but that's because the meat we eat today is the marbled muscle of domesticated animals, not the sinewy stuff of their wild forebears. We look forward to getting to know you, and hope you will find understanding, support, and friendship. To ease into the discussion, we ask each member to say her first name and tell us one thing she is grateful for, such as her health, a roof over her head, or sitting in a room with supportive women. This gets everyone thinking in a positive way. We then circulate a list of our Guiding Principles, asking members to read a principle out loud, say what it means to her, and then pass the paper to a neighbor. This serves as a framework for how to participate to get the most out of the meetings. Next, we ask each person to briefly share what is happening in her life. Depending on the size of the group and the time allotted, we limit shares to three to five minutes. It's a nice way to meet everyone and either learn their backstory or get a glimpse of what's going on in their life. Most people jump right in, despite the personal nature of their shares, glad to have the attention of a sympathetic group. What's said in the group stays in the group. Play with this, repeating it several times. THE POWER OF THE BREATH We use the breath as a vehicle or conduit for our attention. It is a key tool in practicing mindfulness. The breath is a powerful object to focus on for a number of reasons: This makes it more interesting and easier to give it our attention. The breath can act as an anchor--a place to come back to when our attention wanders. Since it is always changing, when we pay attention to it, we are immediately brought into the present moment. What do you notice?

What do you notice this time? Turning again to the work of paleoanthropologists, they tell us that the meat we have eaten throughout most of our history was nothing like the meat we often eat today. For instance, beef from a modern, grain-fed steer may contain as much as 35 percent of its calories in fat, and much of that fat is saturated. In contrast, the flesh of antelope -- thought to be far more like the meat on which our species used to cut its teeth -- contains only about 7 percent of its calories in fat, almost all of which is unsaturated. And some of that fat is even omega-3. While we tend now to refer to omega-3 oils as fish oil, that's only because we have domesticated them out of other animals. Ungulates grazing on a diversity of wild grasses take in some alpha linolenic acid , and just like fish that get the same from algae and other sources, turn it into DHA and EPA . Modern fish-farming practices do at times, by the way, threaten a reduction or even elimination, of fish oil from fish. We are what we feed what we eat . But back to the Stone Age. Dietary fat was at a premium and highly valued. We share the floor. Everyone gets a chance to speak. We're not here just to vent. Our focus is on solutions to our challenges. Your ex isn't invited. We keep the focus on ourselves by speaking from the I. None of us is alone in this. We're here to get and give support. We have a clear structure, with an agenda to help everyone have the same expectations for our time together.

A key principle is to keep the focus on ourselves rather than on our exes or anyone else. People often report that when they clench their fist in the normal way, they notice other parts of the body tensing up as well and that they are holding their breath. This is what happens to us every time we tense up in our daily life. When we intentionally direct the breath into the clenched fist, there is an overall softening--in the fist and other parts of the body. The breath continues to flow easily. The fist is still clenched but it is not so tight--there is some space in it--and there is less tension elsewhere. Watching the Breath is a core meditation practice (see article 52). It can be done informally, sitting in the office or in the car or on a train, or more formally, at home or in a quiet place, for a longer period of time. The more often we can watch the breath, the more familiar we become with it (and what is normal for us) and the more practiced we become at harnessing its power. BREATHING INTO Breathing into describes directing the breath into a particular part of the body. It was hard to get, rich in calories and an excess was not a threat -- nor even an option. Meat was lean, and until just 12,000 years ago at most, the only dairy that figured into the human diet was breast milk. For quite a long time after the beginning, dietary fat stayed good. Right up to the pre-modern era, in fact, butter and cream were available to the affluent only, elusive for everyone else. Fat, when scarce, was a good thing -- just like calories. But then like so much else in the modern era, dietary fat became mired in the perils of excess. Affluence and high-tech farming techniques converged to make access to fat easy and inexpensive for all. Then came ever more fried food, fast food and oil-containing processed foods. And then along came Ancel Keys , who looked out at all this and concluded that it was bad.

Keys, a researcher looking at cardiovascular disease in the 1950s as pointed out in prior sections, was among the first, and quite possibly the first, to consider that it might relate to diet and lifestyle and not just be an inevitable consequence of aging. Our meetings always start promptly so that there is a predictability that members can count on, especially if they hired a babysitter or made special arrangements to attend. Members who arrive late are encouraged to slip in quietly. Iris tended to arrive twenty minutes late in a mad flurry, full of apologies and explanations. After attending a few meetings, she made the extra effort to show up on time. I realized that this wasn't like my article club, where I could breeze in late and jump into the discussion, Iris says. I saw that this was a different kind of meeting. To get the most of each meeting, in addition to showing up promptly, members are encouraged to turn cell phones off and refrain from texting sexysingledad32 during the meeting. They should be ready to devote their full attention to the group for the next two hours. One of the most important tips to running a successful meeting is to use a timer and limit shares to just a few minutes, depending on the size of the group. This way, everyone gets a chance to speak and no single person monopolizes the meeting. It is a way of tuning into the body (see opposite). By focusing on the breath and then directing it to a specific place in the body, we are using it as a way of intentionally diverting our attention. Breathing into has a tight focus, unlike Being With (see article 30), which has a much wider one. It is helpful to be familiar with both and practice them regularly. You may not feel anything and that is okay. If that happens, just let it go. TUNING INTO Tuning into is another technique of directing our attention in mindfulness practice. Tune into, or take your attention to, is a phrase we often use in mindfulness practice when we want to become aware of a focus such as the breath, feet on the floor, sounds, and so on, but what does it mean?

Tuning into, or taking your attention to, simply means becoming aware of, and noticing, the felt sensations of the experience, rather than thinking about it. While his initial observations suggested a possible association between total dietary fat and heart disease, his own, famous Seven Countries Study convinced him that association was limited to saturated fat. Despite the voluminous commentary indicting Keys for America's misguided foray into poorly conceived, low-fat eating, his actual position did not figure in that boondoggle. His position was translated with fidelity into public health programming in North Karelia, Finland, and there was associated with rather stunning health improvements. As advice about restricting dietary fat proliferated, so did obesity and diabetes. But this had nothing to do with cutting fat, because we never actually did so! Data from the NHANES trials show we just diluted fat as a percent of total calories by eating ever more questionable carbohydrates. Thus, the health trajectories of North Karelia and North America parted ways decisively. And so along came Dr Robert Atkins, to tell us that fat had never been the problem in the first place -- the problem was carbohydrate. Atkins, of course, went further, suggesting that all fat was fine, and the more the better. The image with which his rise to stratospheric fame is most indelibly associated is a fatty pork chop adorned with a large pat of butter. Each meeting, someone volunteers to be the timekeeper, using the timer on their cell phone or an actual egg timer, and signaling when the time is up. We ask the group not to interrupt while someone is sharing. If anyone ignores the no-complaining guideline and spends her share time kvetching, we let it go. Those who attend meetings consistently serve as an example of sharing from the I, meaning keeping the focus on themselves rather than on their exes, as well as talking about strategies that worked for them and sharing inspiring stories. Sometimes members want to vent and no matter how many reminders they get about speaking from the I, they want to complain about the he in their life. With practice, most members do make the shift away from obsessing about their ex's latest transgression. It's important to be clear about how to react to individual shares in a way that is helpful. Offering understanding and empathy is welcome. What's not recommended is offering specific advice such as, You should really fire that person.