The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
– Thomas A. Edison
- Part 1 is about how to eat – sustainable eating – it’s about something called mouth responsibility and retraining the process of bringing food towards the mouth. Eating right involves changing the way you think about eating.
- Part 2 is about food – the quality of it, where you get it from, and what type of it you eat.
Part 1: Sustainable Eating
Do you want to experience calm and peace of mind? Do you want to feel in control? Do you want to be a dependable, reliable person? Do you want to feel that you can be counted on? Do you want to exude health and rarely—possibly never, ever—be sick?
Imagine that you’re perfectly at ease. Nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Picture yourself in the most turbulent situation and imagine yourself in perfect repose. Think of the situation that bothers you most, that routinely agitates you, and imagine yourself responding to it easily and gracefully.
Feels good, doesn’t it?
Now imagine that your weight is perfectly under control. Imagine that you only have cravings for things that are good and wholesome. You are always healthy. Sickness is a thing of the past. People can cough and sneeze around you all day and you are unscathed. For you the germ theory is just that—a theory, unfounded.
You seemingly live on a different planet. In fact, you do. Now that you’ve gained control over what you put into your mouth—and what comes out of it—you are no longer living among the masses who fall prey to their emotions, get sick, get fat, get weak, and take medication to mask the pain and other symptoms that their poor habits of living have caused.
This is called self-mastery. When you exhibit self-mastery, you don’t get swayed by your emotions, you don’t do things you know you ought not do, and you live a life that is an example for others.
When you think about the people you admire and respect, chances are they all exhibit a degree of self-mastery. They display calm in heated moments. They say the right thing at the right time. They make living look effortless.
These people are in control of their emotions. They have a quiet power about them. You sense that you would not be able to sway them from their disciplined habits of living.
You can hold no power over them. They are strong-minded.
You can have this power, too. You don’t have to be deceitful. You don’t have to rely on subversive techniques or use psychological principles to subtly influence people. It all starts with learning temperance.
People Who Exhibit Self-Mastery Display Temperance
The food from which a man abstains, after he has eaten heartily, is of more benefit to him than that which he has eaten.
– Author Unknown
In Ben Franklin’s autobiography, he listed temperance (eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation) as the most important trait to develop because so many other positive traits develop as a result of temperance.
Temperance is not a cool word these days. We want gratification and we want it now—despite the obvious costs. We’ll never experience calm and peace of mind if we cannot gain control over our urges to experience immediate gratification.
I know many “adults” who are successful in terms of finances but exhibit the self-mastery of two year-old when it comes to their habits and patterns of behavior outside the business sphere.
They have no peace of mind, despite being surrounded by all the trappings of material comfort. It is not an enviable place to be in. It is to be pitied.
That’s why our relationship to food and drink is so important.
Wouldst thou enjoy a long life, a healthy body, and a vigorous mind, and be acquainted with the wonderful works of God, labor in the first place to bring thy appetite to reason.
– Benjamin Franklin
Medication can’t overcome poor eating and drinking habits. Doctors can’t wash away years of poor habits. Money will get you nowhere. It is only through disciplining your habits that you can achieve self-mastery.
That’s why so few have it.
Worse, nothing in our culture encourages it.
I do, and I’ve been working my ass off to develop it. Those who know me have known my many transgressions. But self-improvement is not about the past or your mistakes—it’s what you do now.
The fact that millions of us are on anti-anxiety medications, medications for depression, for blood pressure, for any number of ails speaks volumes that we are in need of a habit-change overhaul. Food is medication—it’s the most obvious thing, but so many want the quick fix. Unfortunately, the quick fix can’t give you peace of mind, which makes it next to useless.
It starts simply.
All you have to do is control what goes into your mouth. You can speed the effect if you control what comes out of your mouth, too. (i.e. monitor the words you speak—are they helpful or hurtful? Stick to the former and avoid the latter.)
Do you want it? Do you want self-mastery? Of course you do. But are you willing to put in the work? The process is never ending. You’ll never arrive. Even Jesus was continually evolving and he might have been the most evolved being to ever walk the planet. Follow his example and seek to continually improve.
Where you want to be and where you are might seem like an insurmountable distance. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Today is the day to take that step. Claim it!
Working Man Fitness Sustainable Eating Thoughts
Through life, I’ve had my share of transgressions. I’ve received several bits of instruction—loving correction—that has influenced me to change course. Whether it was a car crash, illness, or injury, I’ve paid attention to the lessons.
If you put into practice the things mentioned below, you will be a completely changed man or woman. There is nothing like the power gained through self-control. It can’t be bought or sold. Only you can do the work. You have what it takes.
John Tilden’s Eating Rules
Don’t feel well? Don’t eat. Animals follow this rule all the time. Humans have corrupted their natural instincts and as such we’re quite the unhealthy lot.
We’ve perverted practically the entire eating operation. Sickness is unnatural, yet we have an abundance of it because of our transgressions from the law of health and wellness.
You can completely change your approach to food by starting to follow John Tilden’s four rules of eating. They are not easy, if only because we have strayed so far from the path. However, if you value health, and vitality, you will find that the practice of these rules, even if only for a percentage of the time, will have an incredibly transformative effect on your life and your health.
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.
Eliminate Soda and Unnatural Drinks
Sometimes making a healthy choice is a matter of thinking seriously about what it is you’re actually ingesting. That should be enough to drop the soda habit altogether.
Soda is full of chemicals you don’t need, contains sugar or artificial derivatives thereof, subtracts health and vitality from your body, impairs food digestion, is addictive and therefore sabotages self-mastery, and is completely unnecessary.
It does give you a momentary escape from your life, so you can momentarily subject yourself to positive feelings that you yourself could have furnished by simply reading some positive literature or looking to any number of sacred texts full of fundamental and spiritual truths.
Instead, by choosing soda, you willingly sabotage your health, consume liquid calories which have been helping make people fat for decades, and relinquish extra funds from your bank account which would have been better directed to something more meaningful.
Coffee is a blessing and a curse. It is a magical drink with seemingly spiritual properties. A morning cup is a wonderful way to start the day. Yet for many people this morning cup is too large, and is refilled over and over again.
Caffeine, mind you, is a drug, just like alcohol, just like marijuana, just like cocaine. Sure, some drugs have worse effects than others, I don’t avoid that truth. But let’s be honest, the need for caffeine is an addiction, addictions lower your consciousness, and inhibit your degree of self-mastery.
For many people, coffee is not just coffee. It becomes filled with sugar and artificial creamers. It becomes a dessert that is full of additional calories that you don’t need and your body will have to process. Your delicious coffee drinks might be the very thing that is causing your body to gain weight. Most likely it is just another indulgence that seems harmless, but is a silent saboteur.
Limit yourself to a cup a day, and find joy in that one cup. Add some cream—real cream, not fake stuff. Enjoy it, be grateful.
Be wary of anything with calories or that comes in a carton. I’m not even a fan of milk. We inject our cows so full of hormones and antibiotics that the milk of today is nothing like the milk of yesterday. It’s yet another fake food foisted into the diets of millions of Americans who fall prey to the myth that milk alone can produce strong bones. Is something made true if someone is willing to spend millions of dollars to convince you (as the dairy lobby has tried to do with milk)?
Check out all the labels of your favorite drinks and find out how many calories you are ingesting. Chances are, you don’t need them. If you’re overweight, get rid of anything you drink that contains calories. Including alcohol. You’re shooting yourself in the foot if you persist in the habit of drinking your calories. It’s way too easy to over-consume in this manner.
Curb or Eliminate Your Alcohol Intake
As far as a vice is concerned, few things cause so many problems as alcohol. It’s totally irrational. How many deaths, STDs, arguments, fights ended in gun shots, spouses abused, children in broken homes, all because of alcohol? Sure, it’s a self-governing thing and some people are totally capable of handling it. But for many the Chinese proverb rings true:
First the man takes the drink, then the drink takes the drink, then the drink takes the man.
I’ve known many people, including myself, who had thoughts dominated by alcohol. Do you really want to siphon off your creative power and hand it over to drink? Do you really want to walk this path? If you can’t limit your drinking, you have a problem. I sure as hell did. Life is much better now. It can be for you, too, if this is your particular problem.
It goes without saying, if you want to lose weight, this should be the first thing to go. Useless calories, vital force from your body consumed carelessly, and weight gain.
You tell your kids not to eat between meals, yet you do it, you hypocrite! A snack forces your body to direct vital energy to your stomach when your vital energy should be on the task at hand. Particularly if you are what is called an information worker or a mental worker.
You have only so much power. It makes sense to direct the majority of it to the activity that manifests money in your bank account. Discipline your hand, and prevent it from grabbing things and putting them in your mouth between your meals.
This is another obvious—yet difficult—thing for those who are overweight. Confine your eating to certain periods, eat according to Tilden’s rules, and lose the weight and the sickness in one fell swoop.
Cultivate—And Find Enjoyment—In Simple Tastes
That brownie sundae sure looks good. Go ahead, keep thinking about it and next thing you’ll be eating it! Think instead about simple, wholesome foods, how good they taste, and how good they make you feel. Imagine yourself full of energy eating wonderfully simple and tasty meals—and forget about excessive rumination about the other, not-so-healthy stuff.
This 5-6 Meals a Day Thing is Lunacy!
Do you want to be a slave to feeding yourself? Then keep up this senseless habit. Maybe you’re a bodybuilder trying to get super-huge muscles. Then maybe you need to flood your bloodstream with nutrients all the time to build your unnaturally large muscles and compromise your health.
My concern is health and vitality, not the size of my muscles. And I definitely don’t want to be a slave to eating these meals all day long. Most Americans obsess about food enough as it is, why make it worse by the insistence of eating so many meals per day?
I save a lot of time—and retain a lot of energy—by having two, occasionally three meals a day.
Pay Attention When You’re Eating
I know people who willingly subject themselves to food they are allergic to. They don’t seem to notice. Every time they eat, they become stuffed up. Sometimes they sneeze. It’s because they are allergic to what they are eating. It’s devitalizing them. Yet they persist. Why? Because they are not paying attention. Awareness is the first step. Liberate yourself from the habit of eating things that your body adversely reacts to.
Take a Break!
I’d love to say I was at the point where desserts, coffee, or other things held no sway over me. I’m not. And, of course, I occasionally indulge. Sometimes I don’t exhibit temperance at all. But I avoid getting sick. I do this by monitoring my morning pulse and by following Tilden’s rules most of the time.
If I ever feel something coming on, I don’t eat. I stop eating completely until I feel better and feel ready to eat. I’ve begun the work of changing my relationship towards food. You can, too. The points above will help reframe your mind.
Food is medicine. Or it is sickness. I leave you with a quote I got from Revitalize Your Body with Nature’s Secrets:
Half of what you eat feeds you, the other half feeds the doctor.
– Sign at a health resort in Mexico
Well, wouldn’t it make sense to eliminate the half that feeds the doctor?
Part 2: The Food You Eat
You might think that if you’re eating meat and veggies you’re doing pretty good. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
At the time I write this, there are scores of food documentaries on Netflix that succinctly show the poor state of food in America. They pick on Big Agriculture, and it’s easy to do. We treat our animals abominably. If dogs and cats were being treated the way we treat chickens and cows, there would be an uproar. Animals raised in this manner do not produce high quality food–they produce low quality calories. These foods stuff us and make us feel full, but provide low nourishment.
Even the produce we eat is suspect. Soils are over-farmed and produce travels great distances to reach your grocery store. The difference between produce from the store and produce from my garden or the CSA I belong to is staggering. Produce from my garden fills me up. It’s fresh. Produce from teh grocery store can’t compete if it’s shipped long distances and has been picked prematurely. Sure, it’s better than eating junk food, but it’s not what it should be and as consumers we need to shop with our wallets.
In the Milwaukee, WI area Sendiks offers good quality meats. Outpost does, too. Outpost also has locally sourced produce. I try to do the bulk of my shopping at these places in addition to belonging to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and growing a garden.
The point is to question the quality of food you get from grocery stores because food is the nutrition that supports your life. Food is medicine. Food is life.