Daily Wisdom / Zen

The Middle Way of Eating

book coverHow does the middle way apply to eating and food? It teaches that extremes are unskillful and will not bring the ease in life that we are looking for. It advises that rigid control and self-denial will not be healthy and will not lead to happiness. Neither will indulging our desires and always doing what is pleasurable. There is a middle way with food. It is not static, a fixed set of rules. To apply to the changing circumstances of a human life it must be dynamic, flexible.

This might seem difficult at first. It might seem easier to follow black-and-white rules such as “Never eat sugar” or “Always eat what you crave.” Sometimes sugar is appropriate to eat. Sometimes we shouldn’t eat what we feel like eating.

It takes a while to learn to navigate our way down the path of the middle way. We need a compass point toward health and happiness, a map of spiritual teachings, a group to support us, and a guide. Above all we need mindfulness.

From Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, pages 152–153

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