Friday, November 30, 2012

Buddhist Monks – a question of Diet!

Recent instructions from the Health Ministry about the poor nutrition of Monks, due to the food they are given as Dana, is a wake-up call to all of us to be more concerned about what we eat, taking into account our lifestyle and determine how we should plan our eating habits.
This news has aroused interest in the western world and has just resulted in two articles both in the BBC and in Time magazine.

I am surprised that it took so long for the Health Department to come to this conclusion, especially due to the proclivity of the devotees to ply their monks with goodies, which they believe will bring them merit in the next life.

Now we must train the devotees, that what they are doing hastens illness and even death as most monks do not indulge in exercise due to the strictures of their behavioral characteristics, of not having solid food from noon till around 4 the following morning. So a window of 8 hours is all they have to consume solids and therefore they either consume too much in that short space of time or do not consume the right mix.

A more important point is that drinking sweet tea is tantamount to giving energy or a sports drink, as sugar is converted into energy. If the energy is more than the body requires, sugar related illnesses such as diabetes could result. Tea can be consumed throughout the day though strict adherents refrain from this too, and all forms of liquid intake except water.

It is important that monks know how to choose what is healthy from the food offered to them, as they are generally prevented from asking for anything special in the food they receive. It is further important that the adherents are mindful of this problem and give them food that is healthy, and perhaps cooked or prepared in a tasty way so they do not feel they are being deprived!

The next step of the Health Department is to ensure citizens are aware of diet and of what is healthy and unhealthy, so that they will be more careful about their consumption habits. It is time we all learnt about everything we consume.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree. sri lankans need to be educated on healthy foods, but this is a great start, at least for the Sinhala Buddhist community that will come to understand healthy foods through their allowed donations to the monks.