Zen and Healthy Eating

By Adam Glasgow - 4/22/2020

For me, a particularly pleasing pandemic pastime is reading a good book on my kindle while riding my stationary bike.  

 

 

My current project is:

 

 

It is a fabulously entertaining book in its own right, but when it offered insight on eating, reading it became nirvana. The following passage is among my favorite:

 

Thus, there is sensual eating and wise eating. When the body suffers the pangs of hunger and accordingly you provide it with food, but without greed, that is called wise eating. On the other hand, if you gluttonously delight in purity and flavour, you are permitting the distinctions which arise from wrong thinking. Merely seeking to gratify the organ of taste without realizing when you have taken enough is called sensual eating.

Huang-po, Zen Master, 800

 

Eat to live rather than live to eat.

Moliere, Playwright, 1650

 

Eat when hungry and only when hungry.

Eat healthy foods and only healthy foods.

Adam, Weight Loss Surgeon, 2020

 

For 1200 years, and likely much longer, humans have been challenged by their relationship with food.  In 800, Huang-po was acutely aware that there were at least two approaches to eating - the sensual (what we today would call “emotional”) and the wise (what we today would call “mindful.”)  850 years later, Moliere quite succinctly elucidated the central goal of eating, and - though he didn’t say so explicitly - hinted at the idea that food is nourishment and nothing more.  Food is not a reward or a punishment, a pleasure or a pain, it is just physical nourishment, fuel if you will.  And  when we have our healthiest relationship with food - we consume it with singular purpose.

 

One of my primary goals is to make the knowledge and science of weight loss as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. Thus, my modern restatement of my predecessors’ wise words merely puts their teachings into the parlance of today.

“The more things change - the more they stay the same.”  Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, Writer, 1849  What was true in Paris two centuries ago remains true today.  For millennia, humans have been challenged by their relationship with food and their eating behavior.  So why should we, in the midst of a pandemic and quarantined in our homes, be any different?  We shouldn’t.  We are no better and no worse than our ancestors nor is our challenge and greater or any lesser.

 

Tonight at 7 pm, as we do every Wednesday night, let’s join together and discuss the challenge - wise eating vs sensual eating, eating to live rather than living to eat, and finally eating healthily vs not.  The link is the same as it always is and is available upon request.  It is also posted on the FB page.  I look forward to seeing you.

 

I’ll end with one of my favorite Buddhist thoughts:  “Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to others.”

 

Stay safe, stay sane, stay in touch.

 

Adam

 

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