The mention of Buddha generally brings a peaceful feeling…for most people, anyway. Combine that with the word diet–something most of us love to hate and stress over, and it seems like a winning combo. To me, at least.
But to mention Buddha and Diet in the same breath?
Truth is, the original Buddha was thin, not the chubby, mostly topless dude we see. That chubby version was a mythical hero who roamed the Chinese countryside. The real Buddha started his life as a pampered prince who decided to set out and learn what life was all about. Looks like his parents named him aptly: Siddhartha, which means, the one who achieves his goals. He certainly did, but only after rebelling and running away from his rather helicopter parents who tried to shield him from the ugh parts of life. Siddhartha had a mind of his own and just knew that there was more to life than constant happiness. But well, let me tell you that I really don’t approve of the way he snuck out on his wife and son…but that’s irrelevant here, and I doubt he cares what I think.
Anyway, I thought the book “Buddha’s Diet by Tara Cottrell and Dan Zigmond“ would make for an interesting “B” post.
I had more than ten book titles beginning with B, and wasted hours trying to decide. I almost decided on Bullying for Beginners, but Buddha’s diet simply won over when I sat on the fence weighing which one to show off. Of course there’s Breakfast with Buddha, too…but that’s a review for another day. Promise.
So. B is for a Book review and my choice for you today is…
The ancient art of losing weight without losing your mind.
by Tara Cottrell and Dan Zigmond
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Running Press; 1 edition (6 September 2016)
Health and Wellness
I found it a most enjoyable read, for the presentation, conversational writing style, humor, and the interesting facts covered.
But first, the book blurb:
There’s a lot you probably don’t know about the Buddha. For one, the real Buddha was thin. And before he became the “Enlightened One,” he was a pampered prince named Siddhartha. He tried starving himself in his quest for inner peace, but found that extremes brought him no closer to enlightenment. Instead, he sought a “middle way” between unhealthy overindulgence and unrealistic abstinence. The instructions he gave his monks about eating, more than 2,500 years ago, were surprisingly simple.
Fast forward to today. Cutting edge scientific research tells us something Buddha knew all along. It’s not what you eat, but when you eat that’s most important. You don’t need to follow the latest fads or give up your favorite foods. You just need to remember a few guidelines that Buddha provided—guidelines that, believe it or not, will help you lose weight, feel better, and stop obsessing about food. Sure, Buddha lived before the age of cronuts, but his wisdom and teachings endure, providing us with a sane, mindful approach to eating. With chapters that ponder questions like “What would Buddha drink?” and “Did Buddha do Crossfit?” Buddha’s Diet offers both an attainable and sustainable strategy for achieving weight-loss nirvana.
My book review
The book encourages you to look at food in a whole new way, because hey, when you eat is as important as, if not more than what you eat. It is a blueprint with all the tools, the scientific research, the mindset changes and the steps to implementing these lifestyle changes, and how to fit it into your life and schedule.
The book covers the following:
- Research and data — Buddha was big on data and wanted proof all the time!
- Why we get fat
- Why we should follow a mouse’s eating style (really!)
- What the Buddha’s diet involves
- What to eat
- Should you go veg?
- About drinking and cheating on the diet
- Whether Buddha did Crossfit and his resting style
- Things that come in the way: food, of course and mindless and how to practice mindful eating
- How to make the diet work at home and at work?
- Keeping your balance
- Why say grace
- Living like the Buddha. Or not.
- What’s next.
If you, like me, want to skip to the actual Buddha’s diet, here it is.
Buddha’s diet step-by-step
It all begins with taking stock, understanding your “eating clock”–your current eating style–from the first thing you put in your mouth when you wake up to the last thing you eat/drink before you sleep. Everything counts. Keep a food log for three days recording the time of eating, what you eat, with whom you eat, and how you feel. Nice eh? Being honest minus the guilt helps in all these areas: weight loss, feeling better, aiming to eat more mindfully or healthfully. If you already feel good, but want to sleep better and feel more energetic, that is a good goal, too.
The diet itself comprises of four steps:
- Step 1: The 12-hour window, where you confine your eating to 12 hours a day–all your eating/drinking must be within these 12 hours
- Step 2: The 11-hour window, where you restrict any eating drinking into these 11 hours. So if your eating was from 7 am to 7 pm, shrink it to 7 am to 6 pm or 8 am to 7 pm.
- Step 3: The 10-hour window, where–you guessed it–cut down your eating/drinking into the10 hour slot of your choice. Yes, it is a challenge, but you can do it! And guess what? You are probably noticing some weight loss at this point.
- Step 4: The 9-hour window. Don’t hate me, but this really is possible and not so hard to do. And by the time you accomplish the 9-hour window, you are on the Buddha’s diet.
Nothing far-fetched about this…our ancestors pretty much followed this approach. My Grandmother started her day with coffee at 6 am had her last meal of the day at 6 pm. And she lived to be a healthy 86.
How do these steps help?
They change your eating habits forever. FOREVER.
Strangely, you won’t feel so hungry. Of course, what you eat definitely matters.
You will sleep better.
You’ll not be so inclined to snack mindlessly…so no eating because you are bored or stressed.
You experience welcome mental changes along with the physical changes and find yourself more disciplined and mindful about what and when you eat.
You feel very Zen, which is very cool!
You may also want to try and add a Step 5, which is the 8 hour window–your choice entirely!
So what do you need to get started with the Buddha diet?
Nothing that you don’t already have, that is.
This includes having faith and making mindset changes.
A weighing scale helps, if that motivates you. But not if you weight yourself every few hours.
But if you are wondering what the Buddha have to do with all this…
Yes, the Buddha dieted. And he he he, it didn’t work for him any more than it does for you or me. Not because he was keen on getting into that swimsuit he coveted or to impress that special someone, but because he wanted to conquer his body. He probably also tried to lay on a bed of nails, and contorted his body into weird shapes, held his breath and fasted like crazy.
Of course, none of it worked, and he decided to be kinder to himself. He realized that food is his friend. After much pondering, he came up with a bunch of guidelines to help you and me lose weight and live healthy. He also recommended intermittent fasting, where you give your body a break from eating/drinking for a specific time. That’s where the 9-hour window comes in! See?
It doesn’t mean you can’t eat out. You can have cheat days. There! You have the Buddha’s permission! You’ll probably find your family/friends buddying up with you in this new lifestyle. That’s a win-win, no?
About what to eat, it would be weird if you thought you could snack on chips during the entire 9-hour window. Eww. So, use common sense and stick to healthy eating as much as possible. Make sensible choices.
If you are already feeling great and don’t need to lose weight,
I envy you you will still benefit. Ask anyone who’s trying to keep the weight off.
The magic of this diet is, it will gradually cure you of evening-time snacking and mindless eating.
If weight loss is your personal Holy Grail, this book offers great logical advice.
If you’re tired of diet advice, this book offers some valuable weight loss tips that are easy to follow without making you feel like a martyr who sacrificed her favorite foods.
If you’re tired of trying all the usual restrictive diets, if you can’t figure out why you just can’t lose the weight and keep it off, if you have a complicated relationship with food, this new approach to wellness is worth exploration. Buddha’s Diet takes Buddha’s teachings about food, mindfulness and wellbeing and examines them through the modern lens of scientific discovery. The result is a diet and new pattern of eating that cuts through all the noise of traditional dieting.
Yep, weight loss nirvana is within sight. And easier than you thought.
Buy Buddha’s Diet on Amazon. (affiliate link)
About the authors
TARA COTTRELL is a writer, digital strategist, and mom. She consults and writes for lifestyle and wellness brands in Silicon Valley and is a well-being advocate for at-risk and foster youth. She is currently the web content manager at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. When she’s not working, writing, or parenting, she’s shoe shopping. She lives in Menlo Park, CA.
DAN ZIGMOND is a writer, data scientist, and Zen priest. He advises startups and venture capital firms about data and health. He is a contributing editor at Tricycle, the largest Buddhist magazine in North America, and teaches at Jikoji Zen Center, a small Buddhist temple in the Santa Cruz mountains. In May 2015, he was named one of “20 Business Geniuses You Need to Know” by Wired Magazine, as he frequently reminds his kids. He lives in Menlo Park, too.
Did you enjoy the book review? ♥