TREATISE ON ZANDTAO
Body - Routine Details
When it comes to the changes needed to enter into a healthy relationship with the body, they are a vast number. This is not because the changes are ridiculous or ascetic or impossible, it is quite simply because our western culture militates against health through self-improvement. At the least someone like me would be called a food nut – they can say what they like. What matters is that your lifestyle can sustain those changes, it is that sustaining I want to address here.
Once you have begun the change into a healthy lifestyle your improved vigour should help you in motivating any further changes, but to begin with it can be quite daunting. Typically your health has been governed by visits to the doctor and occasionally the chemist, very little of it is self-governed. And that is what I am asking – to make it self-governed. If I gave you a list now to do, you would give up – you might see the list intimidating – too ascetic. But the way to deal with healing the body is to make the healing process routine.
And the first routine that needs changing is shopping. The best bit of mailing list advice I received was “only buy healthy foods”, if you think about that it is extremely sound – it requires that you are only determined one time – when you are shopping. Before I started eating healthily I might be at home and feeling a bit down. Suddenly, why not eat that gateau, swiss roll etc? Because I was down, I had no resistance – no determination, so watching TV I would sit and guzzle the cake. Perhaps I would do the same now. There have been times when I have been bored and a bit down, and I look in the fridge and the cupboard – there is nothing damaging. It might hit my wallet a bit as I eat too much fruit, but physically that doesn’t really hurt. If you only have healthy food in the house it controls some of your worst eating habits.
Now to the eating itself. Well to begin with it is going to be a big change. It starts with a liver detox, as I suggested – please check with a medical counsellor if you have health concerns. I suggest nothing that is unnatural. But for some these healing processes can be quite dramatic. Detoxifying will introduce headaches, diarrhoea, and to a certain extent a short period of physical misery – deal with it. But for some these detoxifying processes feel more than this, if you feel the process is too much then go to see someone. But remember you have been toxifying your body for years, so you have to accept some problems when detoxifying. I take a drink called rejuvelac (see appendix B). Every morning I drink a large glassful and it helps with my digestion and keeps my bowel movements steady; traditional Thai folks say it helps with Alzheimer’s but I make no such claims – I simply don’t know. But it helps me. An erstwhile friend visited and he enjoyed my meal of brown rice and healthy veg so I told him about the rejuvelac. He made some himself and he was sick – vomiting. I have no idea why, but took it as sign there was something seriously wrong with his digestion or liver, and gave him a book on liver detox. Nothing wrong with the rejuvelac but his system had deteriorated and he needed to pay attention to it. With the possibility of these adverse reactions it is necessary to take a natural stance, if the foods are natural the problem is not with the food but inside you. Even with allergies I believe this, but if you have an allergy please seek advice. I remember a bad reaction I had before I went healthy. There were some plant extract pills that many people recommended, I took them and had bad diarrhoea. I couldn’t understand it, I ate veg yet I reacted to this extract so violently. I later came to realise that this allergic reaction was candida, and now don’t have such problems but at the time …. Remember you have toxified for years, be careful with the detoxification.
There is an important macrobiotic principle that is worth discussing – yin/yang, specifically in this case about foods. If you are vegetarian or vegan you run a risk of becoming too yin unless you make concerted efforts to ensure that you are eating yang foods. With all the problems with meat production, I have to note that they are a yang food. Fish is yang, but is that enough? Only you can tell but you have to monitor yourself – routine details.
So you have detoxed and are now following meals of grain, beans, veg and fruit (with occasional fish?). Your body will start to heal itself. At the same time you are shopping well, so there is nothing tempting in the house, don’t go out when tempted either.
The workplace is the place of business, and corporations are the cause of our problems so it is not surprising that the workplace presents so many issues for healthy eating. Tea and coffee are out as they are stimulants – green tea is fine. Sugar is off limits so that cuts out all the toxic drinks like coke. And of course you don’t now take alcohol. So what’s left? There is nothing that the workplace provides that you can drink. Bring your own. Take time and organise your own health.
Business lunches! I suppose there must be some good people who attend business lunches, you have serious problems. If you start to question the food they eat, their guilt will turn to blaming you and derision, and of course that could potentially affect your career. What do you do? I don’t know – frivolous, leave your job? The types of pressures that exist in corporations to conform to what is not to do with the Path are extreme, often subtle but extreme. Meditate, do the Chi, eat the best you can, and just wait until circumstances tell you that the corporation is not the place to be.
Stress in teaching often brought me skin issues, I can particularly remember waking up with blood on the sheets when I was in an appalling relationship. I knew not to take cortisone but the doctor said “do you need to sleep?” I did and later had headaches but cortisone gave me temporary relief. Permanent relief came with the diet but I had to make other changes as well. I changed my early morning routine. I get out of bed, wash out my nose, scrub my skin, shave, brush my teeth and have a shower. This is my morning routine, what is yours? Now ask yourself, what parts of your routine are not healthy? My skin was a problem, I use healthy natural soap – sensible shopping, and I have a small brush and I brush all over my body to get rid of the dead skin. I wash out my nose by breathing water in through my nose and out through my mouth. This helps promote the chi in breathing, and it also washes out germs that can cause colds from the nose. Shaving hasn’t altered, I use herbal toothpaste. And on a good day I vary the temperature of the shower, hot then cold, hot then cold – this also promotes the chi. I suspect my morning latrine is not as complicated as yours but it does add to my health; does yours add to your health? I don’t think about it now. I have already set a determined mind when shopping so I have the soap and toothpaste already. The rest is just routine. And that is the best way to heal the body. Don’t have a big list of do’s and don’ts, get into a healthy routine, control your shopping and that is most of the battle. The rest is will power, and you have meditation!
When you look at the suggestions I am making, one thing is clear your food bill is going to increase – it is a substantial increase. But to make your budget calculations, don’t just consider your food costs. You are now eating for your health so combine your food and medical bills together, and after you have been eating healthily for a while just see how these two together have decreased.