Tag Archives: tao

Hedonism vs Stoic Discipline

‘Do not go to the pot for every thirst, and do not go to the doctor for every ache.’  Benjamin Franklin wrote this in ‘Poor Richard’s Almanac’, a book of wise proverbs he wrote himself.  And it still applies to life today.

Hedonism means to indulge in anything you want, and to do it until it loses it’s fun.  Discipline, or Stoicism you might say, is the opposite, denying yourself pleasure and luxury in order to be more tough.

Obviously, moderation is the best way between these two extremes.  And everyone gravitates more towards hedonism and less towards spartan-like discipline.  It’s just easier to indulge.

I often say in my writings, ‘less is more’.  And it turns out I’m right about this. There is something in philosophy called, ‘the law of diminishing returns’.  What that means is, everything is fun when it’s new, but the more you do it, the less valuable it becomes.

And after a while, even fun things get boring if you do it too much.  That’s why less is more.

But obviously human beings lean towards pleasure and away from self-denial.  It’s just natural to be that way.  How this relates to diet and fitness is that the more indulgent you are with food, the heavier and less conditioned you will be.  Indulge too much, over a long time, and you will come down with the chronic, degenerative diseases that plague the modern man.  This is a simple demonstration of karma in life.

So while a healthy dinner might be chicken and brown rice, everyone wants chicken in a gravy with tomatoes, salt, sugar, and who knows what else, over white rice.  And who knows what else they’re eating throughout the day or night.

The point is, indulgence will make you softer, and discipline will make you harder.   An athlete has to discipline himself in every way, not just diet, to perform at his best.  We should all take a lesson from competitive athletes.

Less is more.

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Don’t Be Orthorexic

What I mean by this statement is, don’t obsess about healthy food.  Less food is healthy food, and the merchandise at a fancy health food store is merchandise just like the food at a typical supermarket or deli.

What I encourage in you, gentle reader, is that the best, most nourishing food you will get is home cooked food.  If you’re too busy during the week to prepare your own food, bulk prepare everything on Sunday and ration it out for the coming week.

Better yet, learn to eat out in a conscious way.  I know I talk about dairy and grain on this blog as being less healthy, but in reality, people have supported life on bread and cheese, or rice and yogurt, for thousands of years.

Don’t be orthorexic, don’t neglect entire food groups, and don’t starve yourself.  The real trick is to see food as fuel for your body, not as a reward for good behavior.  You’re not a kid anymore, and you can’t reward your latest accomplishment with an ice cream sundae.

I know my words seem paradoxical, but the words of Tao are always paradoxical, that’s why they are true.

My suggestion to you is to forget everything you know about nutrition and just eat to fuel your body.  And whatever you do, don’t bother other people with your abstentions.  Nobody wants to hear about you, they want to hear about themselves.

Worst of the Worst, Dairy Products.

The first nutritional advice they gave me at my acupuncture school, was, don’t eat dairy!  And the real trick is, the worst part about it is certainly not the fat, nor the sugar, but milk protein.

I know I talk a lot about yogurt and kefir on this blog.  And butter too, which has really been exonerated from being a pernicious, dangerous food.

But it’s not the milkfat which is the problem.  On the other hand, butter and ghee is healthy for the most part.  And it’s not the lactose, or milk sugar, which really hurts people.  You should know that lactose is a disaccharide and causes tremendous problems while being in the human body.

It’s the milk protein.  It is allergenic, creates problems like inflammation in whatever part of you is vulnerable, and is ultimately the worst.  Things like milk and cheese, while being really tasty, are ultimately a cause of great problems.  And the countries that consume the most dairy products have the highest rates of osteoperosis.

I feel like much of my problems, being mental or physical, are inflammed by drinking milk and eating other dairy products for pure indulgence.  Mistakenly, people in the west think milk, sugar, and bread are staples when the opposite is true.  They are the worst foods imaginable.

The best substitutes for cow’s milk is coconut milk, almond milk, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and even say rice milk.  Rice milk is one of my favorite foods even though I rarely have it because I drink the whole container on the first day after the grocery haul.

The one thing people who study Chinese Medicine are told is, dairy is bad.  That is the message of this post.

If you are interested…

If you are interested in a short read and a condensed primer on healthy lifestyle in the same vein as my blog, I just published a small ebook today.  It summarizes in 7 short chapters a lot of knowledge and experience and observation.

I finally got around to publishing my book, which I named, ‘Sport and Physical Culture’.  Originally, I wanted to call my book ‘Taoist Nutrition Made Easy’ or some other title relating to my Chinese Medicine education, but didn’t want the association with either religion or medicine.

This is a brief summary of wholistic lifestyle for anyone, if you want to improve your health and well-being.  In very few pages, I cover topics like nutrition, exercise, sport, sexology, psychology and even zen.

I know I am not a doctor, but rather have a degree in Acupuncture and also digital design.  I’m qualified to write this book because I have the knowledge and the desire to teach people how to go from sickness to health.

Consider looking at the sample chapter and see if the book has something to offer you.

Lior

Sport and Physical Culture

The link above is to my About Author Page, the one below, to Amazon to sample and purchase the ebook.

A Happy Middle Ground…

I think I’ve finally come to a conclusion about what diet is best for me.  For a long time, I did low carb dieting which was only effective in the short run, since every time a lost a few pounds I’d go back to carbs and gain the weight back.

And since studying LifeFood, I’ve been misled that veganism is the answer.  There is a lot of videos on Youtube about veganism and how to go vegan.  But I find neither two branches of veganism, one is raw vegan and the other starch based vegan, is right for me.

The best diet for me is essentially a low carb vegetarian diet.  You don’t have to get all your protein from meat and milk, and neither should you eat starch all day or eat fruit all day like a gorilla in the jungle.

High protein, High fiber, and low sugar is always the answer, but not all your protein has to come from meat and milk.  There are plenty of vegetarian sources of protein, and there’s also eggs and dairy in the middle.  Almost everyone ingests eggs since it is the ideal protein and they put it into everything in the food processing business.

While some people believe dairy is junk, and largely it is, there are some good dairy products like yogurt and kefir.

But what I am trying to communicate is high protein, high fiber, and low sugar is doable by everyone, regardless of where you get your protein.   There is no such thing as a protein shortage in people who eat regularly, but there is almost no excess when it comes to protein.  More protein means more muscle and energy and strength.

I am satisfied with my current diet, mostly eggs and beans and vegetables, and I still eat yogurt often.  And I’m not against eating meat, but one should see beef as an occasional blood tonic, and other meats as a scarcity food.  Fish was good in the past, but now with the environment polluted, toxicity is a problem.

Humans didn’t evolve to eat other animals.  In the Garden of Eden, man ate fruit and seed.  After the fall, they started eating starchy grain.  And meat entered the human diet later, and man’s lifespan was greatly reduced.

So really, there is no one diet or lifestyle that fits everyone.  I’ve just finally found the right regimen to keep me normal bodyweight, spending less money, and satisfied with what I eat.

 

 

Other Realizations

Within the subject of Taoist Nutrition and Lifestyle, there are a lot more things to talk about than diet and how to be normal bodyweight.  While Taoist Medicine, also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, is largely acupuncture, herbs, and massage, there are other things to consider.

The first text of TCM was ‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine’.  In it, Huang Di aka The Yellow Emperor suggests ways to facilitate the flow of chi in the meridians of the human body, spot and treat the disease process, and so on.

But ultimately, Huang Di was a Taoist, and he sought immortality.  In the beginning part of the book, he writes something to the effect, ‘If one wishes to be immortal, one must eat a diet free of grain.’

This sounds weird to us and weird to Ancient China where rice and millet are/were staple crops.  A diet free of grain promotes longevity.  Dog food manufacturers have created grain free dog food and yet people are still confused about what is proper diet for a human being.  That is a little bit strange.

Huang Di wanted to attain immortality just like the legends of Taoist masters said they did.  Ultimately, he failed because nobody ever achieved immortality, with the exceptions of Enoch and Elijah in the Hebrew Bible.

But beyond a grain free diet there is more to the Taoist lifestyle than a diet that promotes longevity.  Taoism as it applies to TCM included the desire to live as long as possible with as little pain, illness, and deterioration as possible.

This goal is attainable.  In fact, treating diseases with acupuncture, herbs, and massage is almost useless just like western pharmaceuticals and surgery do more harm than good.  The real way to end sickness on earth is to educate people about the complete Taoist lifestyle and how to live in perfect health.

Taoism is not a religion, although a folk religion has sprung up in China with some of the facets of Buddhism.  Taoism is a complete philosophical lifestyle that emphasizes concepts like being spontaneous, non-conformity,  passivity, humility, simplicity of food and clothing, and compassion for man and animal alike.

So if you like my blog and the ideas I talk about, maybe you should read up on the subject of Taoism and Taoist practices like tai chi, kung fu, feng shui, plant based diet, and meditation.  Truly, there is a lot to the lifestyle of a Taoist other than where he gets his protein or if he can predict the future (like the book the I-Ching).  The essence of Taoism is to be simple and natural, and live and age in harmony with heaven and earth.

There is a quote from one Taoist book I read that goes, ‘when it comes down to the Tao, being at peace and at ease, not many people are really interested in it.’  That phrase indicates that if people want excitement and pleasure as their main source of fun, they should look elsewhere than Tao.  If one wants to be a Taoist, the ultimate goal is tranquility and peace in a world of chaos, pain, and violence.

One More Year

I decided to renew my subscription to WordPress for another year.  This blog is too good for it to go to waste.

I also have concluded that a high carb low fat dietary regimen is not the best or the most natural.  Regardless of who takes credit for it, the sugar restricted diet is the only real way to lose weight and stay normal bodyweight.

I’ve read a lot of books by or about Hindu people in my study of yoga, and what is good for the goose is sometimes not good for the gander.  Veganism is simply not my style.

Also, diet isn’t everything.  The more you exercise and are fit, the less you need to worry about fancy, expensive food.  Shopping at Whole Foods is not necessary, since eating well is essentially about quantity not quality.  If you reduce calories below what you are currently consuming, you will be in good shape.

I write this blog with the same advice you would get from a wholistic medicine practitioner, because I feel health education should be free of charge to everyone.  That to me seems like basic human civility.  Doctors work on basically the same principles as mechanics.  If the patient knows nothing and the Doctor knows everything,  you’ll be taken for everything you got.  Mechanics rip people off because of their client’s ignorance and so do Doctors.

So my solution is to educate people about health and let them make their own decisions.

 

The Origins of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine used to be called, ‘Taoist Medicine’ but they changed the name to avoid any religious or spiritual connotations to the science of it.  Really, it all comes from The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.  Huang Di as the Chinese call him was a Taoist adept and sought immortality.  In the first chapter somewhere it says, ‘to live forever, one must eat a diet free of grains,’ or something to that effect.

Chinese Medicine is Taoist Medicine, and although no one ever succeeded in becoming immortal, besides in folk legend, many have led better lives with greater health and vitality.  That is the promise of TCM and the wholistic lifestyle, a longer life with less pain and illness.

The first thing in changing your life so that you increase longevity is not just to reduce carbohydrate, but to reduce grains like wheat, rice, and corn.  These foods are just empty filler and feed cancer and raise blood sugar.  There are benign starches, like quinoa and sweet potato and beans, but that’s a different story.

Nutrition is the beginning.  Changing your life for the better also includes external exercise, internal exercise, meditation, psychology, rest, hygiene, etc…

The Taoist masters wanted to live a long time.  I do too, because I’m not banking on the afterlife.  The more wholistic health knowledge you have the better off you are.  And the first thing in turning your life around is changing your diet.  That is why the subject of this blog is Taoist Nutrition.

Living in Harmony

The way to last a long time is to not wear out.  And you do that by doing whats required of you at the right time.  Do a little bit every day, that is the Taoist way.  Excess leads to disease and disaster.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, ‘if you would be happy, you would do what you should, not what you want.’  That means do what is right for you to do, not necessarily what is most indulgent or gratifying.  I myself like to neglect exercise and eat too much, and in the short run this feels good, but in the end it will bear bitter fruit.

To be happy, think about how the present moment will influence the future.  Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  If you work harder now, the future will be easier, and if you are lazy now, the future will be very difficult.

A lot of the diseases we suffer from are diseases of neglect.  Falling into a good routine or habit is actually a good thing.  Wake up the same time every morning, eat at the same times every day, do your job with zeal, and spend quality time at home during the proper times.  Don’t become obsessed with one particular thing.

One of my problems are, and you may notice this if you read my blog, is that I obsess about the perfect diet too much.  And the causality is quite clear.  Diet is the one thing I seem to have complete control over in my life, and food gives me great pleasure.  But obsessing about which foods to eat is pointless in the end, and a grave waste of time.  As long as you have enough to eat you are doing fine.  I’m not thin but i’m not morbidly obese either.  I can sit, stand, and walk, and praise Jah.

So when it comes to being physically healthy, and living in harmony, examine your own habits.  Diet and exercise is a big part of it.  This is something you have control over.  Don’t blame genetics, environment, or chance completely, take responsibility for your state of health.

When you have an illness, there are only two possible outcomes, either you will cure yourself of the disease, or you will die from it.  Sometimes just learning to be healthy and living with whatever problems you have is good enough.

Philosophy, Religion, and Diet

In this era, anything goes.  But some people still adhere to dietary laws as entailed by their religious views.  Observant Jews don’t eat pork, shellfish, or meat and dairy together.  Muslims don’t eat pork or drink alcohol.  And most of the religious traditions of the Indian subcontinent advocate a lactovegetarian diet.

Veganism is growing in the USA.  The biggest reason people do it is because of sympathy for the animals and also environmental concerns.  Veganism is not a religion.   But if one examines history, it is the Ancient Hebrews who first considered vegetarianism a lifestyle choice.

Kosher vegetarianism is a very sane, moderate view of diet.  Meat symbolizes death and decay, while milk and dairy products symbolizes life and growth.  Fish and Eggs are considered Parve, or spiritually neutral.  A kosher vegetarian eats plant foods, dairy products, and is not against eating fish or egg.

In the east, amongst people like the Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains, lactovegetarian is reccomended.  Some Bengali vegetarians consider fish and seafood to be ‘fruit of the sea’ and therefore still eat it.

And amongst the Taoists, no food is taboo.  It’s about eating the right portions and proportions of food relative to each other.  Christians too say any food is clean to eat.

My view is to do what is best for yourself.  Don’t tell people about your eating habits and don’t bore them with your list of abstentions.  I like dairy products, so I’m not giving them up.  I do what is best for myself.

I believe meat, fish, and eggs was originally natural and good, but capitalism, consumerism, and overpopulation ruined everything.  Applying the factory line production method to agriculture was a grave mistake by humanity.  Animals are not machines, every animal, from insect, to cow, to dog, to monkey, to man has sentience.

In this era, it’s not hard to go to a supermarket and get anything you need, all year round.  I live in a part of the USA where there are few natural disasters.   Veganism and Vegetarianism is a vote for the environment, for animal rights, and reverses many diseases.  Only in this country is it easier to get restaurant food with animal foods in it than without.  I’ve decided to stop going to restaurants, unless its for a slice of pizza or vegetarian sushi.

I think kosher vegetarianism is the most sane way to go as far as diet.  Dairy is very nourishing, in some cases too nourishing, and fish and eggs should be an option for people who don’t have the time or inclination to prepare their own food.  The main thing is to eat what’s available and not obsess about diet.  But in this crazy society, even the nutrition textbooks are wrong, let alone the media and public perception.

At the end of the day, gaining or losing weight is about calories in and calories out.  But also at the end of the day, looks and weight don’t matter so much.  You don’t need the body of a bodybuilder to be healthy.  And a six pack of abs means nothing.  Judge your health by how you feel, how long you live, and the state of health you’re in.

As an aside, remember that years upon years of weight fluctuation on the atkins/paleo/ketogenic diet causes insulin resistance and liver derangement.  A doctor can’t invent a crash diet that violates everything we know about nutrition and get away with it.  Bodybuilders and boxers use the low carb approach before contest because it causes a rapid decrease in water weight.  Don’t think the atkins diet is a lifelong diet.  No one in Asia, Africa, or South America is adhering to this philosophy, because they have no obesity problem.  They eat a lot of fiber and walk a lot.