What is Zen eating and what are its benefits? The Zen diet is a way of eating consciously and enjoying giving thanks for food.
Since ancient times, we have known that both mental and emotional health as well as physical health are directly associated with the diet that we maintain every day. There are even certain habits, lifestyles, philosophies and teachings that maintain this premise as fundamental in its foundations.
The Zen philosophy starts from the main basis that we find ourselves living in a certainly polluted world, and we do it daily stressed, in a permanent state in which we need certain dietary guidelines to be able to maintain, or regain, good health and of wellness.
What is the goal of Zen eating?
Both the food and the Zen diet itself have one main objective: to provide different and diverse alternatives to get rid of bad habits and acquired habits.
It can be considered as a spiritual and physical therapy, although the most important thing is that it consists of a healthy and healthy therapy that helps us regain health.
In turn, it helps us to keep the body and mind in balance, and behind each meal we will discover that there is a culinary “ritual” that will help us maintain that balance.
4 main keys to follow a Zen diet.
Fundamentally, there are several basic tips to take into account when following a Zen diet. Below we will highlight the main keys.
You can eat everything, but it is recommended:
- Guan maï soup: It is an exquisite Japanese rice soup, which is simmered for a maximum of three or four hours, and is usually eaten after breakfast, after the first meditation of the day.
- Whole grains: An adequate intake of cereals is advocated, especially whole grains. Rice, wheat, corn and barley stand out above all. In addition, they are advised to eat stewed or boiled.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables: They are essential for Zen food. Of course, they must be natural, seasonal and fresh, and if possible from organic farming.
- Dairy: It is advisable to reduce the intake of dairy products, not only milk, but also yogurts, cheeses and butter. It is advisable to replace them with green leafy vegetables, due to their high content of vitamins (vitamin A, C and B9) and minerals (calcium, iron and potassium).
- Meats: Lean beef and chicken are recommended, as well as fish (always without skin). It is the best way to obtain protein of animal origin.
One of the main advantages that Zen cuisine offers is that it stands out especially for being a simple type of cuisine, which is adapted to what can be prepared and eaten at the moment. Unlike other kitchens or somewhat more strict diets, there is no direct restriction on certain foods.
The key is to be aware of what foods to eat. That is to say, take into account not only what is eaten, but who has produced them and how they have been produced.
The importance of tense work:
In the kitchen of a Zen monastery, the importance of the role of the tenzo, the member of the community who is in charge of the kitchen, of preparing the meals that the other people who are part of it will consume, stands out.
It is, as we have said, a fundamental role because in each preparation the tenzo contributes positive energy, in each cut and in each cooking. How do you get it? By maintaining what is known as “active meditation,” putting your full attention on the food you are making.
While in India when we go to buy a product in a street stall or market, throwing money on the table is considered an unpleasant and insulting act, in a Zen monastery rejecting the food that is served in the bowl is seen as an act bad Education.
Therefore, in Zen eating us also find one of the fundamental pillars of Buddhist philosophy: gratitude. That is, to give thanks for the food that the tenzo has prepared and cooked, regardless of whether we like it or not.
What is Zen eating?
First of all, the amount of food consumed varies depending on age, sex, psychological and physical state, climate and even the season of the year in which we find ourselves.
As you can suppose, the food should be the most natural possible, and it is more advisable to opt for organically grown foods in the case of vegetables, and those that have not undergone hormonal treatments in foods of animal origin.
The Zen diet gives preference to foods of plant origin, especially the mixture of legumes with cereals, since in this way higher quality proteins are obtained.
Industrially handled foods should be kept as low as possible since they are considered adulterated foods. This happens just like saturated fat or alcohol.
In the Zen diet, the consumption of tea is also promoted, since in this way we manage to purify the body. In particular, the one known as Mu tea (which consists of a wonderful combination of 16 different plants), and Bancha tea (stands out for being a mild tea, which does not contain theine) stand out.
Cereals must be toasted before they are cooked, and the cooking itself must be very careful, since slow cooking is the yang factor, and this heat increases the yang strength of some foods or even to help reduce excess of yin.
In this case, the most recommended cereal is brown rice, since it is a balanced food. However, it is followed by rye, wheat, corn, buckwheat, oats, barley and millet.