no mike wrote:
I think the key is to eliminate comfort foods, junk foods, special treats, etc., and the point is to maintain awareness of desires and personal preferences. Maybe I will try fresh fruit only, or PB&J, or a granola bar, for afternoons/evening work hours. Single-working-parent with fatigue
There is a lot of value in observing when and why cravings arise for various foods, which as you note is often out of a desire for comfort or enjoyment rather than actual need for physical nutrition. Depending on the nature of your work later in the day, you might be able to avoid eating after noon by making the meal before noon larger or moving it closer to noon if you're currently ending your meals for the day fairly early. If you really feel the need to eat something, note that from a legalistic perspective the precept is against substantial
foods, not all food.
For more of a perspective on what is meant by substantial foods, you might find these links helpful:http://jwleaf.org/html/eight-precepts.htmlhttp://jwleaf.org/html/substantial-food.html
Jonathan Willis Jarvis wrote:The traditional Theravada distinction between "bhojana" or "substantial" foods which are not allowed out of time and allowable "snacks" is confusing and complicated by modern processed foods. For example, milk is prohibited but cheese was (formerly) allowed at Wat Metta. I remember once hearing Thanissaro Bhikkhu describe how he was served and ate an assortment of cheese snacks on a first class flight when an evening meal could not be accepted.
Apart from the hair-splitting difficulty of determining which snacks are allowable and which are not, the act of snacking on anything at all is problematic. Snacking stirs up cravings for more food which can easily escalate out of control, one bite leading to another. Therefore the safest practice is total abstention from snacking on any kind of solid food. Some beverages are traditionally allowed, for example fruit juice (but without pulp), thin broth, tea, coffee (but without milk), or sugary soft drinks even if loaded with calories.
The sixth precept steers a middle course between the extremes of over indulgence and austerity.
Also, from the perspective of a parent, SN12.63
might be rather meaningful regarding the suggested relationship with food:
SN12.63: Puttamansa Sutta wrote:"And how is physical food to be regarded? Suppose a couple, husband & wife, taking meager provisions, were to travel through a desert. With them would be their only baby son, dear & appealing. Then the meager provisions of the couple going through the desert would be used up & depleted while there was still a stretch of the desert yet to be crossed. The thought would occur to them, 'Our meager provisions are used up & depleted while there is still a stretch of this desert yet to be crossed. What if we were to kill this only baby son of ours, dear & appealing, and make dried meat & jerky. That way — chewing on the flesh of our son — at least the two of us would make it through this desert. Otherwise, all three of us would perish.' So they would kill their only baby son, loved & endearing, and make dried meat & jerky. Chewing on the flesh of their son, they would make it through the desert. While eating the flesh of their only son, they would beat their breasts, [crying,] 'Where have you gone, our only baby son? Where have you gone, our only baby son?' Now what do you think, monks: Would that couple eat that food playfully or for intoxication, or for putting on bulk, or for beautification?"
"Wouldn't they eat that food simply for the sake of making it through that desert?"
"In the same way, I tell you, is the nutriment of physical food to be regarded.