Eat to Live, don’t Live to Eat

This is a simple statement with a deep message.  Food is not an object of lust and pleasure.  Of course, eating is pleasurable that is why we do it.  We also have sex because it is pleasurable.  The good feeling and need for it keeps us doing it, and keeps life moving.  Desire moves life.

But instead of looking at food as a reward for doing something positive, or as indulging in your favorite taste, instead look at food as a fuel for your body.  Eat to live, don’t live to eat.

Less is more when it comes to eating, and as Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘to lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.’.  The less calories you eat, the longer your lifespan will be.  This doesn’t mean that you should starve yourself or abstain from what you love the most.  It just means that the body is a machine and that to be functioning optimally you must feed it optimally.

I used to think the atkins diet was the best because it gets you results in the short term.  And yes, there are atkins principles that work regardless of what fad diet you pursue.  But the reality is, grain is the ultimate human invention, the one that allowed for such a huge population explosion all over the world.

The Chinese have been eating a grain based diet for a long time, even back before they had rice they had millet.  Rice is a sweet, bland, neutral, mild filler that fills your stomach without adding too many calories.  People all over the world eat a mostly plant based diet with starchy grain as their staple.

Vegetables also happen to be man’s best foodstuff, and there is hardly a diet that doesn’t include lots of vegetables.  They are full of water, fiber, and vitamins and minerals, as well as other compounds science hasn’t found yet.

Protein is also important, not in the sense of avoiding a deficiency in it, nobody in America has a protein deficiency except in rare cases of starvation.  Protein improves satiety and decreases the feeling of hunger.  It also gives you strength and muscle tone.  When you eat a high protein breakfast or some kind of lean protein with dinner, it makes the meal much more filling and gives you more energy.

The Buddha said, ‘hunger is the worst bodily disease.’  Once you have eaten to satiety, stop eating.  I know eating can be a form of fun and stress reduction, very comforting to a worried mind.  But if you remember to eat to live, fueling performance and life itself, rather than a reward for good conduct, life will take on a new freedom that it never did before.






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