What To Eat If You Are A Meditator
Nutrition has never been such a hot topic like today and for good reasons. It’s hard to navigate the intricate and confusing world of nutrition. It’s hard to make sense of so many different and contradictory messages about what to eat and what not to eat. Personally, I spent hours and hours of research and experimentation to educate myself and find my way to live a healthier life. And if you are a meditator, this is even more important for you.
Food has changed… a lot!
What I realised is that our eating habits have changed dramatically throughout our evolution. I never questioned that before, even though it’s so obvious now. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans used to eat whatever they could hunt and gather. The agriculture revolution only happened a mere 10,000 years ago, which is very little time in the context of human evolution. And in the last 100 years, things have gone totally out of control. We completely lost the connection between food, nutrition and health. Without realising it, we ended up ingesting in our bodies contaminated and processed food, which is not meant for human consumption. No surprise we see so many people suffering from poor health. How did we get to this point?
The chemical invasion
Nowadays everyone interested in meditation, health and wellbeing, cannot underestimate the importance of food. What we need to bear in mind, is that the food we eat today is contaminated. The world is by and large polluted and the food is grown and conserved with chemicals additives. One of the greatest calamities of our modern times is the introduction of chemicals in our food chain. In order to maintain food in shelves for longer period, preservatives have been added to food. Most of what we found in our plates today, is duped with chemicals; it’s far from being the real and natural food we are meant to ingest. The chemical industry has taken over the food industry and transformed it into a business. As a consequence, we are pushed to consume more and more and more. We completely lost sight of the fact that food is nutrition, not a consumer product.
The breakfast dogma
For example, how has the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day never to be skipped, entered our collective belief system? Thanks to Mr Kellogg, who managed to push his agenda to influence the medical community and policy makers for his own personal benefit. Kellogg’s products are a perfect example of processed and unnatural food. For years, I used to wake up and have my “heathy and nutritious breakfast” consisting of milk and cereals. Guess what? I used to feel poisoned for the next 3 hours without realising why. And the thing is: I never questioned my "healthy breakfast" and thought I was moody and depressed.
Eat every 3 hours…
I grew up with the mantra “eat every 2-3 hours”. As a child, when I was not hungry, I was forced to eat under the threat that otherwise my stomach would shrink and I would eventually die of starvation. I’m not joking! That’s exactly what I was told at school. Congratulations: the food industry has done the magic. We are encouraged to eat 3 main meals per day plus snacks and we are bombarded by food advertisements. The results? People got into the habit of binge-eating even at night. No surprise we see an epidemic of obesity around the world.
Buddha’s diet plan
At the time of Buddha, monks and spiritual seekers used to eat once per day. Were they suffering? Or dying from starvation? Or not being able to meditate? Quite the opposite! They used to eat whatever was offered to them. There was no question of counting calories. There were no special diet plans: low-carb, high-fat, high-protein, paleo, keto, vegan, etc. Diet was not such a big issue like it is for us nowadays. Life was much simpler, and food was seen as it is: nourishment for the body to carry out its basic physiological functions.
My personal tips
So what to do? I will share with you what in my experience I found the most effective way to feed my body in a way that favours my meditation practice. I eat a predominantly plant based diet, low carb and no sugar. That works for me but not necessarily for you, so I’m not going to suggest any particular diet plan. However you might benefit from the following:
- Eat until you feel satisfied but don’t overeat
- Eat slowly, consciously and chew many times per bite
- Eat twice per day with no snacks in between - aim for 16h without food
- Fast for 24h every time you need to re-set your system
- Eat organic, fresh and locally sourced food
- Avoid or reduce meat
These interventions can be implemented across the board, whatever diet you are on at the moment. We are all different and one size doesn’t fit all. So be very mindful of your personal preferences, nutritional needs, lifestyle and motivations. I hope this brings a bit of clarity in this confusing world of nutrition and if you have any questions or would like share your experience, I’d love to hear from you.