When I was a child ( this photo is of the room where I grew up), my parents struggled to feed us. We didn’t have a choice in what we ate and every night I went to bed hungry. When I studied at the Shaolin Temple, our main food was steamed bread or noodles with vegetables. When I came to the UK, I was introduced to pizza and processed food. I got very sick and blood started to appear in my urine. I didn’t like this food but I was helping my brother build Shaolin Temple UK and there was no kitchen so this was my only option. I was naive and I really had no idea that eating junk food would ruin my health.
I tell you this story because I see that people in the West seem to be confused about food. Many of my students have very rigid beliefs. Some want to eat like their ancestors, some are vegan, others gluten free. In this article I give you very broad advice that you can easily apply it to whatever food you already eat.
- Eat Mindfully - Research has shown that people who look at their phone or watch TV while they eat tend to eat more than their body needs. Bringing your heart and mind to your plate or bowl means that you chew your food slowly and this increases your digestive enzymes. It also makes eating unhealthy food impossible. Try to eat a McDonalds mindfully.
- Make Soup Your Last Meal of The Day - At the Shaolin Temple we don’t eat solid food in the evening. We have vegetable soup. This is the same in many monasteries around the world. It’s good to do this as it gives your digestion a break and helps to optimize your metabolism. If you can't stomach eating your main meal for breakfast then eat it for lunch.
- Stop Demonizing Food And Treat It As Medicine - It's best to limit unhealthy food rather than demonising it. There’s nothing wrong with sugar but just have it once a week as a treat ( this includes juice, sugar drinks, zero sugar drinks, energy bars, energy drinks, chocolate and cakes.) Eat food in its natural state, home cooked. See your food as a medicine to help your mind and body work at its optimal.
Hunger is driven by our hormones. It can also be driven by food and stress. Qigong balances our hormones and releases stress so make sure you make time for Qigong, even five minutes a day makes a difference.
Photo by Sasha Gusov.