Sunday, 3 July 2016

Eat, drink & act like a Buddhist monk in London

In Himachal, Dharamsala in India

Let's face it...everyone is on some sort of diet, superfood supplement or at least trying to curb their day-to-day snacking choices towards healthier alternatives. 

I'm happily on the bandwagon, too! If the nation wants to be healthy, then why judge them and make them feel uncomfortable about it?

A young monk in Himachal, north India

Although I'm no vegetarian (love steak too much) and I occasionally drink alcohol, I do think there are one or two things to be learned from our fellow Buddhist neighbours (if you have any) on leading a healthy lifestyle inside and out.

So here are a few simple things you can eat, drink and do in London to copy them and make your soul feel a little better.

1. If you haven't already, do yourself a favour and read The Art of Happiness (Amazon, £7.99), written by the Dalai Lama himself. Whether you're into Buddhism or not, this book will have an impact on you. Since it came out in 1999, it's been read by millions. It's unique and deeply emotionally intelligent, where one of the world's great spiritual leaders offers his wisdom and advice on how to overcome everyday human problems and achieve lasting happiness.

Image from About Time

2. Monks meditate for hours every day, but they eat very little. They follow the original standards of 1 meal per day between sunrise and noon, normally eating at 11am. You obviously don't have to do this but one thing that's easy to adapt is a healthy morning meal. No bacon, eggs, sausages, etc. - just fresh, natural and low fat ingredients which can still be yummy. You could make simple porridge at home and top it with cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, raisins, muesli, or check out Andina, a Peruvian restaurant offering delicious and nutritious breakfast menus boosted with antioxidants and ingredients like maca purple corn, cape gooseberry, amaranth and quinoa.

3. Buddhist monks always cook fresh meals from scratch and eat foods that don't contain much salt, preservatives or artificial flavours. All monks are vegetarian and some even vegan, not eating any meat, dairy or even eggs. You don't have to go that far but you could check out one of the great vegetarian restaurants London has to offer. One of these is Govinda's in Soho, a traditional static food restaurant serving Indian dishes made by Hare Krishnas themselves.
4. Buddhist monks have been drinking Matcha tea to aid meditation for hundreds of years. Ideal for busy bees who want to stay sharp post lunch without sugar, Matcha is sourced from Japan and contains natural caffeine and amino acid Ltheanine, which results in an increase of alpha activity within 30 minutes and aids clarity and focus.

You can get your Matcha tea fix and sharpen your mind from the UK's leading green tea drinks called Vidid for just £1.89 (Waitress, Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett, Planet Organic, Selfridges). Matcha is a popular alternative to energy drinks and coffee and Vivid's come in three 100% unsweetened versions: original, lemon and elderflower (my fav), all made with organic flavours.

5. Last but not least, how could I forget the London Buddhist Centre? This amazing place teaches meditation and Buddhism in a way that is relevant to modern London life. The centre is open to all, where you can learn 'mindfulness' for health and wellbeing, take courses, do yoga or just meet like-minded people searching for a better tomorrow.

So that's that...a little deep but I think we all need a dose of mindfulness while living in a hectic city like London. 

Thailand temple

What's your favourite foodie trend at the moment? Is there anything that has made a significant impact on your wellbeing? Do share!

Ana x

*Images from respective brand websites. Three images my own.

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