#1 Eat two meals a day
The simple thing right now that’s a rage in the world is – if you come to our ashram, all the people there, who are physically immensely active, eat 10 O’ clock in the morning, 7 O’ clock in the evening – two meals. How many doctors have been telling me that they will die of malnourishment, this will happen, that will happen, you must do this, you must do that…
I eat only one meal a day, most of the days. One big meal I eat, and that’s it. And doctors telling me – no, no, Sadhguru, the way you are travelling, this will happen, that will happen. You must eat at least once in 4 hours, something you must eat. I said – leave me alone, I am doing fine.
But now a big university in America comes up with this called ‘intermittent fasting’. It’s not non-sense, it’s good. But they rediscovered something that we have known forever. Now everybody is saying there must be a 16 hour gap, then all your ailments will go away. What the hell were we saying, all these thousands of years!
The simple thing is… There are many many aspects to this – psychological, physiological, but now cancer is on the rise in the world. A cancerous cell is like a criminal in the society. All of us have in our bodies. Only if their concentration becomes more than what they should be, or they gang up and locate themselves in one place, they become like organised crime. There are pickpockets in Kochi, I am sure. Hello! There are small time criminals. Individually operating, operating in twos and threes. We don’t take it very seriously. We leave it, because… happens. But suppose all 100 of them got organised into a… organised crime. Now we will crack down. Because now we know it becomes a threat to the society.
Similarly cancerous cells are like this – criminals. They are moving around, doing some damage. There only problem is, right now, they are generally eating about 8 to 12 times more, than what the other cells are eating. So, if you just give sufficient break between one meal, and the other, most of them will die. Because they can not survive. This is something we’ve been talking forever. But now they discovered it with a billion dollar research.
Your body and your brain, works at its best only when your stomach is empty
And, I’ve seen hundreds and thousands of people, who just become healthy and well, simply because they are not fuelling up all the time, and the tank is spilling.
In the yoga centre, all the time people are active. So, everybody is very hungry by the time it is 3:30pm – 4 O’ clock. They are extremely hungry. But we learn to live with that, because empty stomach and hunger, are two different things. Hunger means your energy levels are dropping, but empty stomach is a good thing.
In the yogic sciences, today modern science also is coming in line with this. But what we know by our experience, you will spend a billion dollars to come there. Because research is all about how many million dollars, that’s how it is. Your body and your brain, works at its best only when your stomach is empty. So we always make sure, we eat in such a way, how much ever we eat, our stomach must be always empty within 2-2.5 hours time, maximum. So we go to bed hungry, always. People think they cannot sleep. They can sleep.
On an average, for 25 years on an average, I slept only 2.5 – 3 hours. These days, I am getting little lazy, I’m sleeping anywhere between 3.5 – 4.5 hours. In spite of the level of the travel that I have. When I say level of travel – if I say my level of travel in the next few days, you will fall of your chair. Yes! Should I tell you! Because in the next 10 days, I am in 5 different countries, doing … I don’t know how many events, all kinds of events.
[For] any correction and purification that needs to happen in the body, your stomach needs to be empty
So, you are able to keep this up, simply because you don’t over eat. It’s very very important. Everybody eats 2 meals. I generally eat only 1 meal, 4.30 – 5 in the evening. Because, I don’t like to sit in front of the plate, and worry about how much to eat. I like to eat well. So, 4.30 – 5 in the evening if I eat a meal, it’s only next day [again eat a meal]. Is this enough? Am I looking ok, hello! Because, any correction and purification that needs to happen in the body, your stomach needs to be empty. It’s very very important. Otherwise the purification on the cellular level will not happen. You pile up things, and then you have all kinds of problems.
#2 Touch your food
When you, when you don’t touch the food, you do not know what it is. If food is not good enough to be touched, I don’t know how it’s good enough to be eaten.
Dr. Mark: So we should not listen to our mothers, and eat with our fingers, because touching our food helps us stay in contact with it.
You can, the cleanliness of your hands, is entirely in your hands. The cleanliness of the fork, is not entirely in your hands.
Dr. Mark: This is true.
And, nobody else, but you, have used these hands. So, there is an assurance as to how clean or not clean it is right now. The fork, you do not know who’s used it, how they’ve used it, for what they used it. And, all they have to do is wipe it with a tissue and give it to you, and it looks pretty clean. Above all, you don’t feel the food.
The first thing that’s been taught to us is, if food appears in front of you, to hold your hands upon the food for a few moments
The first thing that’s been taught to us is, if food appears in front of you, to hold your hands upon the food for a few moments. Just to feel how the food is. If something appears on my plate, if I just feel this, I know what to eat and what not to eat. What I should not eat, I don’t taste it and then reject it. I just don’t eat. Because my hands are the first level, not tasting in the sense the tongue taste, but knowing the food. First thing is, knowing the food.
You want to know a person, you guys go and shake their hands. I’m usually avoiding that.
Dr. Mark: That’s a good strategy.
But the food that’s going to become a part of you, first thing is your hands. Even if you physically don’t touch it, just being conscious and being there, it clearly tells you how the food will behave within you. Whether this particular food, on this particular day, should it go into you or not. Because everyday your body is not the same thing. Everyday, every moment, it’s different. If you feel the food, you just know whether this food has to go into you on this day or not. If that much awareness is brought in, we don’t have to go on telling people, what they should eat. Every meal they must decide, what they should eat in that meal. There is no one prescription, that this is what you should eat for your life. That will feel too claustrophobic. That only this I can eat.
#3 Eat with gratitude
Your selection of food and consumption of food also must happen consciously. More than what you eat, how you eat it is also equally important. When I say how you eat it, these are all live substances. Every one of them had a life of their own. Whether it’s a plant, animal, vegetable – every one of them had a life of their own. Now, in some way, you’re making food out of it, you must consume it with utmost gratitude.
The food on your plate is not just a substance. It is not a material. It is not a commodity. It is life
If you approach it with a certain sense of gratitude and reverence towards the food that you eat. When I say reverence, it may feel like too much for you, but I’m asking you… Let’s say we put you in a room and you had nothing to eat for 5 days. If God appears in front of you, what will you ask for? Food. So that’s how important it is. You must understand, the food on your plate is not just a substance. It is not a material. It is not a commodity. It is life. It is the life-making material for you. So, you must treat it as such.
Right now, when it’s on the plate, when it’s out there it has no value. But the moment you consume it and it becomes your flesh and blood, now suddenly it’s of immense value. Why do we live like this? It’s very important, when it comes on your plate itself, you must treat it as a part of yourself. With great reverence, you must consume. Just the way you consume it, if you change that, food will behave very differently within you.
This is what consciousness means. If people say your consciousness has no impact on your life, only chemical structures have impact, I’m very sorry for them. Because that’s not how life works. Human consciousness has a deep and profound impact on everything that we touch. Especially the food, that we are making another life as a part of ourselves. When we’re doing such an act, it’s very very important, we treat it with utmost gratitude and reverence.
# 4 Don’t develop ‘good food habits’
I want to tell you – there is no such thing as good habit and bad habit. Habit means, you’re functioning unconsciously. If you’re functioning unconsciously, that’s a bad thing. Because the whole thing about being human is, we’re capable of doing things consciously. That is the beauty of being human. That we can do everything consciously. What an animal does unconsciously, we can do the same thing consciously. We can eat unconsciously or we can eat consciously. We can breathe unconsciously or we can breathe consciously. Everything that we can do, we can do it consciously.
There is no such thing as good habit and bad habit
The moment we do something consciously, suddenly that human being looks very refined and wonderful. Just because somebody walks and speaks consciously, doesn’t he become a beautiful human being? Yes or no? That’s all. So why is it that we’re trying to develop habits as if this is a good thing. Habit means fixed realities, where you don’t have to think. You get up in the morning and it’ll happen to you. No. Don’t try to automize your life. That is not efficiency, that is efficiency of the machine. This one [self] is supposed to function intelligently and consciously. Nobody is expecting it to function like a machine.
So, about food and stuff. Food must be suitable for the body that we eat for. It is for the body. This is the building material for this body, the food that you’re eating. What is the appropriate food? Unfortunately, it is all messed up right now. Traditionally we ate very sensibly in this country. But this thousand years of invasions have brought other kinds of food cultures. And today the national diet is pizza or pasta. What is it? Which is one? I don’t know. Both are competing. So, we’re losing our sense about food. It’s definitely time to look at what is the most suitable thing. If I go into that food, it’s a very long process.
You must experiment with food. Not just by the tongue, but by the body
But, you must experiment with food. Not just by the tongue, but by the body. You eat something today and see, just learn to observe – how agile and how active your body feels after eating this food. If it feels like it wants to go to the grave, that’s not good food. If it feels like, it wants to be alive after eating this. Except coffee, because that’s a stimulant. If you eat food and your body feels very agile and alive, that means it’s good food. Body is liking it. If you eat something, it feels dull, that means it’s not liking it. It’s having difficulty with it. That’s why it feels dull. So, just on this basis. There’s so much, I mean this is a very simplistic way of putting it.