Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fixing Stomach Discomfort and Break in Diet

This has to be the longest hiatus in my blogging yet, the last post being almost two weeks ago. I was not exactly under the weather during the intervening period, but did have several bouts of stomach discomfort to contend with.

I have since resorted to drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice before I go to bed. That being alkaline, it tends to counteract the acidic secretion in the stomach, at least that's what I thought to be the source of the problem. The result has been quite telling, saving me some sleepless nights, but it seems to work only when ingested, the s0-called curing the symptom but the cause remaining at large.

I have been reading several books intermittently, one of which is a Chinese Buddhist book entitled The Path of Prajna (wisdom) in Life (1996). The author, Joan Wai, is a lay Buddhist from HongKong but now based in NY. One of the chapters in the book describes her personal experience in following a 12-day regimen of dieting that involves graduating from a combination of fresh juices and liquid food to soups and finally to plain water. The direct translation from Chinese is Break in Diet.

Unlike hunger and other forms of dieting, which cater to the external environment, the former being imposed while the latter aimed to meet the external criterion of aesthetics, the Break in Diet is inward-directed, seeking to cleanse both the body and the mind. Therefore, an important element is maintaining mental clarity/purity by shunning all forms of mass media during the period, the purpose being to obviate wide mood swings engendered by the external environment.

The body cleansing part goes beyond bowel motion that gets rid of accumulated “garbage” in our digestive system that has a capacity of about 25 pounds (isn't that amzaing?), and includes dry scrubbing of skin. Since skin is our largest organ, it makes sense that a vital conduit for cleansing is through skin pores. So dry scrubbing the skin helps to open up the skin pores to release the toxins from our body.

Equally important is the easing back to a normal diet after the Break in Diet, gradual being the operative word. The author found that after the regimen, some of the chronic body pains that she has been experiencing has disappeared. Her resistance against fatigue has also improved, along with gain in mental alertness.

I now recall that the transformation of Venerable Hung-I from a prodigy in all Chinese art forms to a highly venerated Buddhist monk as blogged here was preceded by the Break in Diet that he observed in a temple. I would have to try it sometime to see whether that can fix my stomach problem.

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