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Meditation, food, and drink.


Anne Mary
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What I eat, drink or even smell before a meditation has an enormous influence on its quality. I have learned this at the, originally Norwegian, Acem organisation (acem.com).
Though the effect varies from person to person, here is the list of how long your meditation may be influenced by the foods/drinks mentioned. Once I heard about this, I understood why I used to have so much trouble meditating. I thought I just wasn't the type.
I can only say that the times are roughly correct for me: especially smells make a big difference. Even if I don't eat, say, meat or fish or ginger or drink coffee, the smell of my husband doing it, unless he takes special measures (which he does, very sweetly!) messes up my meditation even the next morning. I'm glad I don't live over a pub, or a takeway ....

Alliums affect for 36-48 hrs, moderate. Garlic much more strongly than the others.
Meat, poultry, seafood affect for 12-24 hrs. Red meat (4 legs) more strongly than white. Within the red meats, beef and pork more strongly than lamb/mutton and goat.
Raw roots, raw capsicum affect for 3-4 hrs, mild to moderate.
Cooked roots, capsicum, peanuts, vinegar, mustard affect for 8 hrs or more (longer for dried ones - paprika, ginger, curry), mild to moderate.
Eggs and gelatin (larger amounts like in pudding) affect for 12-15 hrs, moderate. If these foods are not eaten just before, they may not disturb too much in daily meditations, they will in long ones.
Tea 6-8 hrs; coffee 6-8 hrs strong effect, weaker 36. Milk makes no difference.
(Black tea = 1/4 cup of coffee; oolong = 1/5; green = 1/8; white = 1/100)

I am very interested in other people's experiences in this respect.
Love and thanks! Annemieke.

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Reiki Pixie
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All depends how sensitive the meditator is. I think some people would resonate with your findings and others wouldn't feel much difference. Any affects on food on meditation can be part of the meditation.

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Anne Mary
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But what about you yourself, Pixie? I'm interested in other people's experiences. That is, if you have paid attention to this aspect of your meditation of course.

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jnani
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What I eat, drink or even smell before a meditation has an enormous influence on its quality. I have learned this at the, originally Norwegian, Acem organisation (acem.com).
Though the effect varies from person to person, here is the list of how long your meditation may be influenced by the foods/drinks mentioned. Once I heard about this, I understood why I used to have so much trouble meditating. I thought I just wasn't the type.
I can only say that the times are roughly correct for me: especially smells make a big difference. Even if I don't eat, say, meat or fish or ginger or drink coffee, the smell of my husband doing it, unless he takes special measures (which he does, very sweetly!) messes up my meditation even the next morning. I'm glad I don't live over a pub, or a takeway ....

Alliums affect for 36-48 hrs, moderate. Garlic much more strongly than the others.
Meat, poultry, seafood affect for 12-24 hrs. Red meat (4 legs) more strongly than white. Within the red meats, beef and pork more strongly than lamb/mutton and goat.
Raw roots, raw capsicum affect for 3-4 hrs, mild to moderate.
Cooked roots, capsicum, peanuts, vinegar, mustard affect for 8 hrs or more (longer for dried ones - paprika, ginger, curry), mild to moderate.
Eggs and gelatin (larger amounts like in pudding) affect for 12-15 hrs, moderate. If these foods are not eaten just before, they may not disturb too much in daily meditations, they will in long ones.
Tea 6-8 hrs; coffee 6-8 hrs strong effect, weaker 36. Milk makes no difference.
(Black tea = 1/4 cup of coffee; oolong = 1/5; green = 1/8; white = 1/100)

I am very interested in other people's experiences in this respect.
Love and thanks! Annemieke.

Hi
I am curious What exactly underpins the 'quality' of meditation for you?
...and what does say a good quality meditation promises?

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Anne Mary
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I rate my meditations by whether or not I am impatient. I walk for an hour always, and generally I know when the hour is about to be up. I have three egg timers set, so I never worry whether or not they will go off.
The best meditation is when I am surprised by the alarm. The worst is when I am thinking: "What am I doing here? Oh no, not a whole hour!" This happens when I have eaten the wrong things at the wrong time ....

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jnani
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...and what are the next 4 hours, or next 24 hours like after a good hour of meditation? And vice versa

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Anne Mary
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I feel well (as opposed to 'good') afterwards. What do you mean, 'vice versa'?

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Anne Mary
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It's easier to describe general improvement: I am more aware of my own feelings and motives, and less ready to judge others. More inclined to think of their feelings when deciding what to do.
Is that good enough?

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jnani
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It's easier to describe general improvement: I am more aware of my own feelings and motives, and less ready to judge others. More inclined to think of their feelings when deciding what to do.
Is that good enough?

...and what about after a bad session so to speak?

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Anne Mary
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I don't think being distracted, or having other thoughts during the meditation is a bad sign. I am always having other thoughts and don't worry about it. I just go back to what I am focusing on, which is my abdomen. And again and again and again.
I can't really describe the feeling afterwards as I just get on with my life. Sometimes I am a bit irritable straight after - which does not mean the meditation was not 'good', on the contrary I think.

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Reiki Pixie
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My understanding of meditation is that you do it for its own sake and without a goal is mind. As soon as you have expectations of results or enlightenments and so forth, is that meditation?

As for my own meditational experience and the effects of food in meditational practice, I do eat a macrobiotic style diet based on the 5 elements (5 transformations) which is more conducive to meditation. For example I eat more "yang" (energetically contractive) foods than "yin" (energetically expansive) foods as I have a more yin constitution and minor yin health issues, so a yang diet is more grounding and centring, as I have tendencies to be a bit of a space cadet.

If I eat out of balance, ie have an occasional (yin-expansive) coffee, I can feel that expansiveness affecting my mind in meditation, but I just acknowledge

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Reiki Pixie
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Oh dear only half of my post has appeared and HP won't for some reason won't let me edit it!

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Reiki Pixie
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(from post #11) ,but I just acknowledge it.

If eat too much Yang-contractive foods, ie eggs and bread, then I can feel dull, tight and grumpy. But I just acknowledge my state of mind. So if a eat in a more yin-yang balanced way, I feel I sit better, and have more acceptance of my state of mind, and less judgemental attitudes about why I'm sitting here, or go off on flights of fancy.

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Reiki Pixie
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THIS IS THE POST I WANTED TO STICK UP 🙂

My understanding of meditation is that you do it for its own sake and without a goal is mind. As soon as you have expectations of results or enlightenments and so forth, is that meditation?

As for my own meditational experience and the effects of food in meditational practice, I do eat a macrobiotic style diet based on the 5 elements (5 transformations) which is more conducive to meditation. For example I eat more "Yang" (energetically contractive) foods than "Yin" (energetically expansive) foods as I have a more Yin constitution and minor Yin health issues, so a yang diet is more grounding and centring, as I have tendencies to be a bit of a space cadet.

If I eat out of balance, ie have an occasional (Yin-expansive) coffee, I can feel that expansiveness affecting my mind in meditation, but I just acknowledge it for that present phenomena of what it is.

If I ate too much Yang-contractive food, ie eggs and bread, I'm feeling a bit more dull and/or grumpy, but I just acknowledge it for that present phenomena of what it is.

But balancing my diet according to qualities of Yin-Yang and the Five Transformations (water, tree, fire, earth, metal), I feel that I sit better and more accepting of the quality of meditation, less judgemental about it, and the calmer my mind becomes.

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Anne Mary
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Yes I do like the idea that meditation makes me a 'better' person, as in: better for other people, if not for myself. My husband confirms I am - what? - easier to live with? or something. That is why I do it I'm afraid, I don't really like going out into the cold for an hour every day! Though if I eat the right way - see above - I don't mind it either. If I eat the wrong way I hate it!
If that is an expectation, too bad!

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Anne Mary
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I forgot to mention that once a week, on the advice of my excellent yoga teacher, I let rip, eat whatever I fancy and don't meditate the next morning!

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jnani
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Thanks Anne Mary for your replies.

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Tashanie
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I rate my meditations by whether or not I am impatient. I walk for an hour always, and generally I know when the hour is about to be up. I have three egg timers set, so I never worry whether or not they will go off.
The best meditation is when I am surprised by the alarm. The worst is when I am thinking: "What am I doing here? Oh no, not a whole hour!" This happens when I have eaten the wrong things at the wrong time ....

An hour? That is a long meditation. I can manage 20 minutes OK but I found the 40 minute body scan meditations done during MBSR courses a trial....but then accepting of that is part of being mindful!

The thing that stuck me about your list is that a lot of the foods are one that have huge health benefits...alliums, garlic capsicums seafood. So cutting them out specifically so you can meditate (which also has benefits) means you are trading off one health benefit for another. I am not sure how the equation would add up.

Meditation is different for every person who does it and I personally have not noticed effects with the foods I eat. But then its not something I have been looking for. I would suggest that on those days when you are impatient you accept that you are impatient and re-focus as best you can. Stressing about the fact that you are impatient probably does more damage than the impatience 🙂

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Anne Mary
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I fully agree: I love my alliums and they are very good for me. Ginger too.
What's more, I eat lots of them! I just time it right. I used to have half a clove of raw garlic each morning, which gave me about 22 hours till the next meditation which was plenty. Nowadays I ferment onions so they are also raw, and have them with my lunch. Yummy! Fermented onions are lovely. Leeks I can still have with my evening meal, they are milder. Roots too, provided they are cooked and not powdered like paprika powder or ginger. Raw roots I can have all the time - I meditate before breakfast, of course. I have ginger with lunch, which also gives it plenty of time to get through before next morning.
I eat meat as well, but mainly chicken (up until lunch time - as it happens I prefer a cooked lunch) or pheasant which is shot across the road so we have a plentiful supply. That I eat before 12-1 o'clock.
I fully admit that it is finnicky to work it all out like that, but once I was in the habit it was easy.
Are you sure you are not influenced by foods? Finding 40 minutes a trial sounds food-based to me.
I don't stress about the fact that I'm impatient. I just don't like it and, I admit, I am a bit of a fanatic. Impatience seems to me a sign that I can do better. Though not doing it well is of course vastly preferable to not doing it at all.
I am naturally very much a head-person, and meditation helps counteract this.
I am happy with it, an hour is long but it does not seem it to me - when I get it right, which is mostly these days.
It might be interesting to just try it out once, following the food rules, and see whether it makes a difference, and how you like that.
Love, thanks!!! A.

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Energylz
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THIS IS THE POST I WANTED TO STICK UP 🙂

My understanding of meditation is that you do it for its own sake and without a goal is mind. As soon as you have expectations of results or enlightenments and so forth, is that meditation?

Exactly my thoughts.

If we go in to meditation with the expectation that something is going to effect that meditation, then we hold on to those attachments and thoughts and actually let it effect the meditation.
It is surely far better to do meditation without expectations, recognise any distractions etc. during the meditation and bring ourselves back to our focus of meditation to reach the awareness we seek.

I was once in a group meditation in a building, where the building owners, knowing that we had a regular meditation meeting on those evenings, had allowed someone to hire the main hall for a party with a loud band playing (and I mean electric guitars and drums etc.) Many of the meditators expressed their frustration that they 'wouldn't be able to' meditate with that noise going on... they had already set their expectations, and sure enough after the meditation session they said they hadn't been able to. I found I had no problem as I brought my focus to my mantra and let myself meditate... the music and noise was just something in the awareness, and not a distraction; but then I had not chosen to let it be a distraction.

The 'quality' of meditation is what you choose (or don't choose) to make it.

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japa.guru
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When I have overeaten my meditation becomes sluggish and lethargic and my focus lags and equally the same when I am not eating healthy foods. Very important to watch what you put into your body - obvious point but many do not care.

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