We all know from The Food Pyramid, that you should eat 2 servings of meat and poultry and at least 6 servings of bread or rice. Long before the US Department of Agriculture developed The Food Pyramid, Confucius (551-479 BCE) had already written that he would never allow the quantity of meat to exceed a proportion to the rice he took.
Confucius has mentioned his 8 eating habits:
1. He liked to have his food finely cleansed and cut into small pieces.
2. If the food had stored too long changing the color or flavor, he would not eat it.
3. If the food is over cooked , (burned), he would not eat it.
Hint: Burned food has CO2 which is poison.
4. If the food was not fresh, he would not eat it.
5. If the food was not cut into the right proportion, he did not eat it
Hint: Chinese cut the food into pieces before they cook them. If food is not cut properly, it might not be cooked evenly; small pieces can get burned before you finish cooking the bigger pieces.
6. He would not eat if he accidentally put too much sauce, or not enough.
Hint: Too much salt/sodium or sugar consumed is not good for your health
7. If the food was purchased from a small shop or individual, he would not eat it.
Hint: Buy from trusted food market
8. The only thing he didn’t set a limit to was wine consumption, but he did say to drink enough wine but not enough to get drunk.
You probably know many of these 8 habits already. Beside the 8 habits, he said that you should not talk while eating. Eating and talking together is multitasking and results in catching food in your throat. You should talk only while having an empty mouth. I found it’s extremely impolite to talk while you are eating. If someone cooked the dinner for you, eating it with full attention is the best appreciation.
Confucius cautioned, “Don’t fill your stomach”. Chinese often think 80% full is the best for your stomach. You won’t digest well and it will bring too much work to the digesting system if you consume too much food. I know it’s very tempting when you go to your favorite restaurant and not eat that last bit on the plate. You need to take a breath, take it home and eat for next meal. If Confucius was having dinner with you, he probably would do the same thing.
The most important thing Confucius taught is “Don’t just eat, do something meaningful with your life.” This is why I am translating his words to you, so we can all be healthy.
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Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi 2009