Eating plays a huge role in our culture. What we eat and how we eat is so habituated that trying to change is hard. But if you’re getting sick, getting fat, getting tired, etc. the first place to look is your diet.

Distinguishing Appetite From Hunger

I was eating on auto-pilot before. At 11 a.m., I’d start eating my food. I’d programmed myself to eat at a particular time, irrespective of actual hunger.

Something was wrong. I was digesting my food, but I wasn’t assimilating all of it. I was forcing my body to work extra hard because I’d rush food into my stomach, not pay attention to the eating (I was reading the news), and at the end of the meal I’d feel stuffed and sometimes be gassy.

I was forcing more food into my body than it could use. I was eating fast and not chewing thoroughly. I wasn’t enjoying my food—I was devouring it!

My body then had to process and eliminate that food. It was wasteful and it took a toll on my health.

Nearly everyone does this when they eat. We’re more concerned with what to eat and not HOW to eat. When is the last time you fasted? Just took a break from eating? Observe the culture around you? Most people eat out of habit and not true hunger. That devitalizes your nervous system.

Tilden’s rules of eating

Tilden has four rules of eating. Make it your goal to follow these rules:

John Tilden Eating Rule #1
Never eat unless comfortable in mind and body from the previous meal or meal time.
John Tilden Eating Rule #2
Never eat without desire and keen relish for the plainest, simple food; and not even then if to do so would break the first rule.
John Tilden Eating Rule #3
Avoid overeating. The best way to do this is by following the fourth rule.
John Tilden Eating Rule #4
Thoroughly masticate and insalivate, especially starchy foods.

I’ve known for a while that digestion takes energy, but Tilden made it so abundantly clear that I decided to do something about it. Eat less and assimilate more—make honest use of the power of digestion.

For Tilden, the self-control and self-mastery that can be gained through eating can be applied to other areas of life. In fact, he said essentially that eating properly will lead to a pay raise.

Food Combinations

Follow these general guidelines:

  • Eat very few varieties of food at a meal.
  • Fruits should be eaten in a meal by themselves or they may be eaten with dairy products.
  • Bread or other decidedly starchy foods as another separate meal.
  • Meat (or fish, game, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, lentils or nuts) served with cooked and raw non-starchy vegetables for dinner meals.
  • Meat should be accompanied with raw vegetables or fruits (to minimize fermentation.)

Remember, if you’re getting sick, you’re doing something wrong. If you do get sick, try to figure out where you transgressed.

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Food quality

In general, seek to buy brands that minimize the amounts of ingredients. The cheaper the food, typically the more the preservatives. Some natural food stores do a good job of purchasing high quality brands. But you can still get yourself in trouble with sugar.

Get organic whenever possible. Avoid all the processed stuff.

Shopping for food

Streamline the grocery shopping process. Develop a pattern in the store. This will help you get everything you need—and blow by stuff you don’t. Create a list that has the most common items on there.

We’ve created a such a list and we also list the prices so we can see when things cost more or less. Stock up when the price goes down, especially if it can be frozen or is non-perishable.

Get your food shopping and meal cooking habit on auto-pilot, then occasionally inject some consciousness to see how it’s going. Stay aware all the while of how you feel, how things taste, etc.

Cooking your food

Experiment with herbs. Turkey burgers can be really bland, but throw some herbs de provence in the mix and add some onions and they can be eaten without any other kind of seasoning.

Question the use of aggressive seasoning. Aggressive seasoning like ketchup and mustard can compel you to eat more than you really should or faster than you really should. Again, awareness.

Lean, Healthy, Strong has a bunch of methods for cooking simple meals and sample recipes.

Liquid food

Unless it’s fresh squeezed or juiced right in front of you, avoid juices. Also avoid soda and limit coffee. Limit your alcohol consumption. Don’t get into a daily habit with alcohol. Once or twice a week is plenty and then only 1 or 2 drinks. If you find yourself craving it then do a 30 day challenge without alcohol.

30 day challenges

For you scanning types, 30 day challenges is a heading so you see it. Get rid of attachments to things, develop willpower and discipline by going 30 days without something you crave. Sugar. Alcohol. Coffee. Yes, even coffee. 30 challenges are great with diet-related items. They instill discipline and also help you get back on track.

Meal time

Ah. It’s time to sit down for a meal. Put all the bad stuff out of mind. Say a prayer. Bless the food. No negative talk at the table. Positive vibes. You’re ingesting. Comment on how good the food is.

Meal time should be a celebration. Smiles and laughter. Conviviality.

Enjoy your meal and be grateful for it. Follow the rules of eating. Also, don’t drink much liquid while eating. It dilutes digestion. Maybe just a couple of sips of water.

Last tip. Put the fork (or spoon) down in between bites. It slows you down. Stay conscious.

It takes work but eating is part of the gateway in to self-mastery.