Meditation & Health No 2 - Table of Contents


Tips on Diet and Health


          Excerpted from “The Ups and Downs of Life in the Eyes of the Awakened” by Grandmaster JinBodhi



Dietary Commonsense


          In the modern world, people have access to a huge variety of food.  Instead of lacking nutrients, people nowadays may suffer from an overabundance of nutrients which can lead to illnesses.  Many diseases are caused by an unhealthy diet.  Vegetarian food and raw fruit and vegetables must comprise a large part of people’s food intake in order to ensure that the “up to down” is unobstructed – or in other words, that digestion is smooth.

          When the “up to down” is unobstructed, taking in food and getting rid of waste happens in a flowing, continuous cycle.  However, a significant percentage of the population excretes less than they take in.  Although calories are burned constantly to carry out the processes of metabolism, respiration and sweating, as well as other physical activities, many people are storing at least 20% of what they consume as fat.  Junk food – a category that includes some foods that people think of as healthy – expedites the accumulation of fat.  When people fail to absorb and effectively utilize what they take in, bodily systems become clogged and problems develop.  This fact has given rise to many new methods of detoxification.

           There are lots of internal cleansing products on the market.  Some claim to promote weight loss by speeding up the metabolism.  I don’t think it is necessary to spend money on these types of health supplements.  Rather, eating more raw and vegetarian food is essential to facilitating a slimmer physique.  Raw food means uncooked vegetables and fruit, not uncooked meat or fish.  It is best to eat fresh, unprocessed vegetables, such as celery, tomato, baby cucumbers, lettuce, and so forth.  It is of great benefit to the metabolism to have 3-5 portions of vegetables and 1 portion of fruit combined, especially for breakfast.  The ratio must be tailored to the individual’s physique and constitution.

            Do not eat grilled food for breakfast.  Westerners like to eat toasted bread with butter in the morning; however, if Chinese eat this type of breakfast, constipation results.  Body type varies.  People of hot constitution should avoid eating a high-calorie breakfast.  Even those of cool body type should refrain from eating food that is too hot and dry.  In addition, don’t consume high-fat, high-cholesterol foods such as egg yolks and meat in excessive quantity.

            In order to further free the body from clogging, be sure to drink a glass of water before going to the bathroom, first thing in the morning.  The temperature of the water depends on personal preference.  Boiled water after it cools is a good option.  Drinking a glass of water first thing helps to clear the stomach and intestines, flushing out food consumed the day before.


Eat Hot Food Cool


           A practitioner in Vancouver had suffered from constipation for many years, beginning when she was newly pregnant.  The situation improved only after she began practicing meditation.  Although her condition was triggered by pregnancy, it continued in part because she ate barbecued meat and fried food often.  While it is true that these foods taste very good, they are all fiery in nature and when consumed hot, the energy of fire is intensified.  In the case of this practitioner, frequent consumption of fiery foods eaten hot caused the energy of fire and the energy of the foods themselves to combine in her system, clogging it.  It is very difficult for the body to get rid of excess heat.  Therefore, I have always advocated “eating hot food cool.”  Allowing hot food to cool down before eating it results in superior nutrient absorption and smoother excretion.

          The Chinese love to eat hot food.  They often fight for hot rice, hot soup, hot noodles, and hot dumplings.  But this is an eating habit that compromises health.  It is best to eat cooked food only after it has cooled – try it and notice the positive bodily changes that result.

          Many people are picky eaters, and many also tend to overindulge in unnecessarily heavy meals.  They make every meal a major feast that includes an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert.  Most desserts are nutrient-poor and calorie-rich – a detrimental combination.  A fondness for sweets and the overconsumption of food sooner or later results in a bulging belly.

          Simple, homemade fare is truly the healthiest.  What constitutes simple, homemade fare?  Mixed whole grains.  Mixed grains and a variety of vegetables contain the right balance of nutrients needed by the body.  When the body’s nutritional needs are met, it doesn’t crave refined sweets or other junk foods.

           In addition, I advocate an “omnivorous diet,” meaning that plenty of different types of food are incorporated into daily life.  The diet should not be limited to a small number of items.  Instead, one should properly combine various types of food in order to get nutrients in the required proportions.  The body has a self-balancing mechanism, and when people eat too much of certain foods, that mechanism has to work hard to restore harmony.  A balanced approach is essential, as even nutrients can become harmful if they are consumed in excessive amounts.

           Eating an omnivorous diet involves combining foods to achieve a complementary effect.  For example, some people may have indigestion after eating boiled or fried eggs, as they may have trouble absorbing such a high-protein, high-cholesterol food on its own.  This can be remedied by mixing the eggs with vegetables, and adding some oil to lubricate the intestines.  High-quality oil can help the body easily digest food, absorb what needs to be absorbed, excrete what needs to be excreted, and reduce the time food stays in the system.  The typical Chinese way of eating eggs is to boil them, then gulp them down with force, which burdens the stomach and causes discomfort. 

            A good diet promotes digestion.  Fiber-rich foods, as well as crude fiber, clean the digestive tract and reduce “up to down time.”  When food remains in the body for too long, it produces toxins and causes illnesses.  Mixed whole grains and vegetables contain plenty of cleansing fiber, and should play a major role in the everyday eating plan.  Listen to the body, and be sure to incorporate varied combinations of complementary foods.


Food and Mood


            A healthy diet is a diet that is balanced in all aspects. I emphasize the holistic approach. In addition to adhering to the “80% full rule” (eating only until one feels 80% full), one should also pay attention to the amount and temperature of the food, the ratio of vegetarian fare to meat dishes, the balance of cooked and raw vegetables, and the diversity of food items. Let the body’s natural mechanisms be the master of the diet. Radiant health is possible when the aforementioned points are routinely taken into consideration.

            In my understanding, the most important element of a healthy diet is the mastery of mood while eating. Maintaining a joyful mood during mealtimes is essential. If, while eating, sadness, anxiety, worry or anger is present, then the food that is being consumed becomes harmful, regardless of how expensive or nutritious it is. Indeed, choking is sometimes a result of feeling angry while eating or drinking.

            The same truism applies to cooking. The nutrient content and taste of food are profoundly affected by whether it was cooked by a person in a positive, grateful and happy mood or an angry and resentful mood. Cooks who concoct meals while in an uplifted and relaxed frame of mind create a “cuisine of beauty.” Such beautiful cuisine nourishes on a deep level, promoting health. 

            Mood is a double-edged sword: if managed properly, it helps everything flow more efficiently; if not, it causes destruction. The way a person feels radically impacts their diet, health, and life in general.  



Meditation & Health No 2 - Table of Contents