The meditator's diet
When it comes to diet, it is a very confusing world out there! Virtually every week a new diet plan promises you miracles. But what about the diet that promises you enlightenment? Is there a diet that can awaken your Kundalini energy? Or at least tickle that dormant snake inside of you, coiled in your first chakra?
I have been interested in nutrition for many years, motivated by the search for optimal health and to go deeper in meditation. I read tons of books, tried various nutrition plans, experimented with my body to find the diet that works for me. Not to lose weight but to be energetic, full of life, vibrant, happy and have a calm state of mind. I believe that this is how people are supposed to feel every day, naturally.
Diet is absolutely crucial for all those of you interested in making progress in your meditation practice. Only when I made conscious decisions about nutrition, I started to see changes in my meditation.
Nutrition has never been so important in the history of mankind like today. Statistics are scary: the number of people developing obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer, depression, cancer and other medical conditions is growing exponentially. There are various factors which contribute to this epidemic and one major element is certainly diet: the food we eat.
But why is diet so important today? Simply because the food we eat is no more natural. Food is medicine, but nowadays we are literally poisoned! We are under constant threat; it has become a mission impossible to find natural food. The food available today is processed, full of chemicals and deprived of nutritional values. We are constantly exposed to empty calories or junk food. And I am not talking just about MacDonald and fast food, even the food we eat regularly in most restaurants, cafes and supermarket is “fake”. We are cheated at all times and we do not even realise it! Nowadays we are forced to pay more for organic food; well, organic food is how the food should be. Food is a business and the mass production, driven by economic interests, is destroying people’s health.
So which one is the meditator’s diet? With no shadow of doubt, the vegetarian diet is THE preferred choice for meditators. For millennia across all the eastern spiritual traditions, seekers of truth have followed a vegetarian diet. Osho has spoken about vegetarianism on various occasions and all his communes offer a vegetarian diet. An image is vividly imprinted in my mind: Osho said that if you want to achieve enlightenment and you are not vegetarian, it is like climbing the mount Everest with a bag full of rocks; you can still make it to the top, but carrying an unnecessary burden.
I became vegetarian driven by the desire to grow in my meditation and the results were visible after just few weeks. I have been strictly vegetarian for 7 years and, as a consequence, have developed sensitivity and respect for nature and animals alike. But then my body collapsed, also due to a series of infections which debilitated my health whilst travelling in India and Nepal (i.e. amoeba which left a scar in my liver). I was advised to reintroduce protein at every meal, particularly meat protein, and eliminate completely grains and sugar (including carbs). So my vegetarian days are currently over but my soul is still vegetarian and I know for sure that one day I will go back to a full plant based diet. I now follow a very specialistic nutrition plan called “ketogenic diet”, coupled with intermittent fasting (16h fast every day, I only eat twice a day).
I do not believe that one particular diet is good for everyone; we all have different tastes, environments, genetics, bodies and motivations. But I would like to share with you some facts that perhaps you may not know (and doctors do not tell you):
1)Fat does not make you fat
2)Sugar makes you fat (and remember sugar means carbs and fruit)
3)Excess protein create gluconeogenesis (production of carbs)
4)Grains and carbohydrates are not essential (the body can produce carbs if needed using proteins)
5)Processed food is a killer (and it is everywhere!)
6)After a meal, you should feel light and energised (listen to your body!)
6)Fasting is a panacea for all sort of conditions
I highly recommend you to cut down on carbs and sugar, eat more of the heathy fats (avocado, coconut oil, nuts, butter, olive oil, olives), moderate protein (around 1g per lean mass) and fast for at least 16h whenever possible. Remember grains are not necessary and can be inflammatory, so consider eliminating them completely from your diet. After a meal you should feel satisfied and not experience any discomfort, brain fog or fatigue. Any of those symptoms is a sign that your body does not like the food you just ate.
And if you are a meditator and want to go deeper, consider this:
1)aim for organic food at all times (even better biodynamic)
2)shop at your local farmer market (it is also more fun and sustainable)
3)eat more of the healthy fats
4)eliminate completely sugar and alcohol
5) reduce coffee and other stimulants (green tea is a good option)
6) fast for 1 full day once a week and for 3 days once a month
7)have a light dinner or skip dinner altogether (it will also improve the quality of your sleep)
8)do not overeat, especially before a meditation session
9)eat more consciously (this is a beautiful meditation per se)
10)food is delicious, enjoy it!
I hope reading this blog will inspire you to become more aware about the importance of nutrition for your general wellbeing and for your meditation practice. I encourage you to make more conscious choices when it comes to food and find your optimal nutrition plan.