The ancient Chinese people ate two meals per day made up of a very small amount of food. They also very seldom ate meat, which helped improve their digestive regularity. Since ancient times, there have been plenty of examples of those who got sick due to overeating only to have their health restored through proper diet and an increased intake of vegetables.
Consider the regimen from the self-cultivation aspect of the ancient Chinese. Yen Hui, a disciple of Confucius, ate very little, but drank water every day; he found this to be adequate. One of my friends only eats a small bowl of rice and cucumbers for each meal. He is in his 40’s, but appears to be around 20 years old and has excellent health.
The ancients’ approach to eating was to reduce the desire for food, lighten the taste, refrain from overeating, lower the number of times one eats, and only serve meat to the elderly. They believed that many diseases were caused by eating too frequently, omnivorously, and excessively.
In addition, they judged one’s health from their essence of life, vital energy, and mental faculties, rather than from a shiny, oily complexion.
Planning nutrition in accordance with lifestyle
A restless spirit and irritability can make the body consume its energy at a faster pace and thus require supplemental nutrition. If you can keep calm without too many desires, then you will find that you naturally eat less, will rarely get sick, and maintain your health. Even a simple steamed bun can become a delicacy if it is eaten with a peaceful mind.
Getting enough sleep
Sleeping for eight hours every day has been regarded as scientific common sense and has become a basic concept of modern people. In general, those with fewer desires and who live with inner peace do not need to sleep as long. For example, before lying in bed, the ancients paid attention to their thoughts and virtue through introspection.
Being with a peaceful mind and going through fewer conflicts during the daylight hours, they naturally fell asleep in the evening as soon as their heads touched the pillow, and they got up without need for an alarm at sunrise.
Buying equipment to get healthy
The modern concept of exercise involves increasing physical activity, yet people still get sick. The ancients took care of their health by practicing calligraphy, painting, martial arts, meditation, or guqin.
The emphasis was on tempering the heart and keeping a balance between the body and mind. For example, after years of meditation, the famous literary scholar Qian Mu had sparkling eyes and abundant energy everyday, which he credited to his “static” efforts.
Required relaxation and amusements
Modern science says that a person should not always work, as they also need rest, relaxation, and amusement. As a result, many people go to extremes to relax after working hard each day. A wide variety of foods, games, and entertainment have instead made people more tired and age faster.
The ancients were well-mannered while walking, resting, and sitting; they sought inner peace in noisy surroundings, felt at ease while busy at work, and said that things must be done with a peaceful mind, while not doing them incessantly.
Actually, some of today’s scientific knowledge has limited the abilities of people, confining them to this material world, and making it very difficult for them to realize their higher levels. People become trapped in the mental states of business, anxiety, numbness, and nervousness.
The ancients’ method of living can return people to a natural state of health and enhance peoples’ levels of spirit.
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