Is Zen Monk Diet Plan Good For Healthy Lifestyle?

The Zen monk diet is a spiritual one, where it practices strict dietary rules that include only vegetarian-based eats. Learn about what this diet entails and how Buddhists are able to follow this.

The Zen monk diet, or the Buddhist diet plan as it is also called, goes back to the time when Siddhartha Gautama, a spiritual teacher, followed a similar diet along the lines of pure vegetarianism. He is known today as the enlightened one who was able to reach a state of nirvana, preaching during his time on the ways how one could achieve this through self-control and restraint from worldly pleasures. He believed that by mastering this one human emotion (self-control), true happiness could be conquered.

The diet’s purpose is to cleanse the body using only vegetarian based foods, without having to kill and harm an animal for consumption. Eating meat has its share of ill effects being foods rich in cholesterol, enhancing the accumulation fat thus leading to a lot of diseases that sprout up from meat-eating.

Buddhists believe that by allowing only what is nature-esque into their system, one is able to live more peacefully and at one with what surrounds them. The health benefits of the Buddhist eating times that are rich in fiber and minerals are recognized, although there are certain drawbacks in the diet, like lack of protein. The macrobiotic Buddhist diet plan follows the same guidelines as that of the Zen monk diet, although not as strict when it comes to meat. Fish is the only meat-based food that is allowed and eaten in moderation as part of the macrobiotic diet.

zen monk diet

Brief History Behind the Zen Monk Diet

The Zen monk diet is a focused dietary practice that isn’t easy for one to adhere to since the rules are stiff and aren’t flexible. It all started in ancient China where monks in Zen monasteries would only consume two meals a day, one during the early hours of the morning and then during lunchtime.

To suppress hunger pangs during the winter season especially, they’d place warm stones on their bellies to reduce the sensation. The diet has evolved from being stringent to now a little easier on the system by including a variety of seasonings and vegetables as part of the diet.

Because our systems need nutrition inadequate and not diminished quantities, the diet has incorporated filling dishes. The evening meal that is now part of the diet in today’s time, is known as zakuski and has been practiced as an additional meal for years now. The foods in the Zen way of eating can be either boiled, roasted, fried, or even steamed, using only fresh produce as part of the meals.

Dish Varieties in the Zen Monk Diet Plan

Starting on this Buddhist diet plan is fairly simple, although it does take a lot of adherence to one’s part. The positive point of this diet is that if you suffer from obesity-related troubles, it is sure to get your weight down and meeting BMI standards. Even if you’d like to switch to a healthy Buddhist diet plan that doesn’t include junk food and the overindulgence that comes with sugary and salty eats, then this monk diet plan will help you practice the art of snuffing temptation when it beckons you. It is a simple, economical, and healthy vegetarian diet, that will do wonders not just for your health but your financial status as well. The monk diet plan has within it the following dish choices.

Eating the Zen Way: zen monk diet buddhist

  • Eggplant
  • Suisen (kudzu vine)
  • Kamo squash
  • Udo
  • Pumpkin
  • Rape blossoms
  • Butterburs
  • Sweet potato
  • Bracken
  • Somen noodles
  • Taro
  • Chestnuts
  • Horikawa burdocks
  • Shimeji and shiitake mushrooms
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Raw fu
  • Mibu greens
  • Tofu
  • Hirose (fried tofu dumplings)
  • Shrimp taro
  • Sushi
  • Ginkgo nuts
  • Yuba
  • Miso soup
  • Kintoki carrots
  • String beans
  • Pickles
  • Japanese radish
  • Mekabu (seaweed)
  • Lotus root

How Are Buddshits Monks Healthy?

A normal diet would contain three meals over the course of the day, with each one followed by a cup of green tea. Sometimes onion and garlic are not used while cooking, differentiating between monasteries and their individual strict methods. You can use these two, since, over time, you may not be able to handle the lack of spice in meals. Other flavors to enhance a dish that can be used are pickled carrot or cabbage, soy sauce, salt, spices, and herbs.

Before the meal is consumed, Buddhists chant out what is known as the Golan-no-ag, which is said before each meal before it is eaten in silence. Food is ingested slowly, where distractions aren’t allowed from any external sources. Try some healthy zen monk recipes and follow the Buddhist food rituals.

It is important to understand that this Buddhist diet plan can be followed after consulting a doctor first, since your diet will have to drastically take on a simpler set of food sources, compared to what it is currently used to. Start off on the diet slowly, gradually taking it up a level as the days progress. Eliminate meats slowly from the monk diet plan, and introduce fish into it, should you want to follow the macrobiotic way instead.

It allows you to concentrate more on what is easily available and abundant in minerals and vitamins while taming your senses to get used to the subtle flavors that you can make rich by using organic spices/herbs. The diet can cure a lot of problems that we face daily, cleansing our bodies as we go along such a zen monk diet plan. You can also check out the McDougall Diet plan to see if that works for you.


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