Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

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Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby gavesako » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:33 pm

Monks suffer from health problems : study

July 31, 2012 2:38 pm


A research study indicates that almost half of Thai monks are overweight or are affected by noncommunicable diseases

The study focused on the health concerns of Thai monks and how to offer them food during the upcoming Buddhist Lent.

The survey’s participants included 246 monks from the Dhammayuttika Nikaya and Mahayana movements in 11 provinces.

Fortyfive per cent of the monks experience varying levels of obesity, while 40 per cent of them face such diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and allergies, partly due to the rich, oily and sugarladed foods offered to them by the Buddhist faithful.

The average monk’s only sporting activities is walking in the morning while on rounds seeking alms, and sweeping temple courtyards. Only around 21 per cent have annual health checkups.

According to the study, some monks have more than three evening drinks each day, for they must abstain from eating food. However, some of the drinks offered to monks are not healthy, as they are mostly soft drinks with sugar, leading to diabetes.

A dualtrack campaign is being prepared to teach monks to select healthy drinks, and also to inform food donors about healthy food when offering alms to monks.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/nationa ... 87366.html


Thais told to lighten up monks' food as weight becomes a problem
July 31, 2012 6:46 pm

Thais were asked to make more healthy choices when donating food to monks after a survey released Tuesday found that nearly half of the monks recently checked for health problems were overweight or suffering from diet-related diseases.


Of the 246 Buddhist monks in 11 provinces taking part in the survey, 45 per cent were overweight and about 40 per cent suffered from diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcers and allergies that could be blamed on unhealthy diets, the survey conducted by the government’s Thai Health Promotion Foundation found.


The foundation, which released its results prior to the start of Buddhist Lent on August 3, advised laymen to be more selective about the food they donate during the three-month Lenten period when monks are restricted to their monasteries and temples.


Thais tend to offer monks rich foods that were the favourite dishes of departed ones, such as curries and sweets, as a means of making merit.//DPA

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakin ... 87405.html


:toast:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:54 am

Greetings ven. Gavesako,

I'm not surprised, given how tasty Thai food is!

:tongue:

I think there's also an onus on the monks to avoid the temptations of over-eating, and there is guidance in the Sutta & Vinaya Pitakas in this regard. If monks had "3 parts of rice, to 1 part of curry", such issues wouldn't be so prevalent. Given more food than they can possibly consume, it's no wonder then that often there will be a preference for the tastiest (read: unhealthiest) morsels.

Education may be useful, but even in the absence of that, one can ascertain from one's waistline and general state of well-being, which food, and in what quantities, contribute to better health.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings ven. Gavesako,

I'm not surprised, given how tasty Thai food is!

:tongue:

I think there's also an onus on the monks to avoid the temptations of over-eating, and there is guidance in the Sutta & Vinaya Pitakas in this regard. If monks had "3 parts of rice, to 1 part of curry", such issues wouldn't be so prevalent. Given more food than they can possibly consume, it's no wonder then that often there will be a preference for the tastiest (read: unhealthiest) morsels.

Education may be useful, but even in the absence of that, one can ascertain from one's waistline and general state of well-being, which food, and in what quantities, contribute to better health.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi Retro,
the four parts doens't provide a minimum or maximum quantity though so weight gain could still be an issue :-)
I enjoyed eating little but it was a pain getting moaned at for how little and fast I ate it!

but as I noted in the vegetarian thread where this was posted also this isn't just a Thai problem, but also a problem for Sri Lanka, and maybe Burma has the same issue?

I think the worst thing is peoples desire to offer the best food and food they like to the monks?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:29 am

In my opinion, just expecting the community to serve healthier food to the monk is just a 1 side solution.

The most important is the monk community itself. They have to change the lifestyle by changing the curriculum.

Frankly, most of them lack of physical exercise.

Probably, Thai boxing, or yoga, Kung fu should be introduced to make them healthier.

All yogic and shaolin monks are generally very healthy. Not only give them benefit in physical sense, but also in their journey for enlightenment.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:03 am

Greetings,

DarwidHalim wrote:Probably, Thai boxing, or yoga, Kung fu should be introduced to make them healthier.

Walking would probably suffice - it was good enough for the Buddha.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby gavesako » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:04 am

"Wisely reflecting we use this almsfood, not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening and not for beautification. But only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the holy life, thinking thus: I will allay hunger without overeating, so that I may continue to live blamelessly and at ease."

The Blessed One addressed the monks: "Bhikkhus, I partake a single meal for the day, and on account of it experience few afflictions, few ailments, lightness, strength, and a pleasant abiding." (Bhaddali Sutta)


http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... li-e1.html
http://books.google.com/books?id=g5YfHB ... ta&f=false



In Phuket there is a very old monk called Luang Pu Supha (an old tudong monk) who is around 116 and is still alive and active:

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 24,0,0,1,0
http://phuketwan.com/entertainment/phuk ... ate-12980/
http://jamie-monk.blogspot.com/2009/09/ ... emple.html

________________________

World's oldest man Walter Breuning dies in US aged 114
The world's certified oldest man, whose advice to others included the observation "you're born to die", has passed away aged 114 in the US.
Walter Breuning was old enough to remember his grandfather recounting his part in the slaughter of the American Civil War, during the 1860s.
In his final years in Montana, he was passionate about ending two modern wars, those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His long good health he put down to a strict regime of two meals a day.
"How many people in this country say that they can't take the weight off?" he asked in an interview with the Associated Press news agency in October.
"I tell these people, I says get on a diet and stay on it. You'll find that you're in much better shape, feel good."
The former railway clerk died of natural causes in hospital in Great Falls.
He had been living in the same retirement home since 1980.
His wife of 35 years, Agnes Twokey, died childless in 1957.
"We got along very good," Breuning said. "She wouldn't like to spend money, I'll tell you that."
Of his grandfather, he remembered hearing, at the age of three, his recollections of killing Southerners during the Civil War.
"I thought that was a hell of a thing to say," he said.
Reflecting on mortality, he told the Associated Press: "We're going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you're born to die."

15 April 2011
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13090291
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby gavesako » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:05 am

Intermittent fasting promotes brain health

http://www.naturalnews.com/035166_inter ... ories.html

:popcorn:

What would happen if you could only eat between the hours of 9 am and 4 pm? Would you gain less weight and be healthier overall even if you ate a high fat diet? Numerous studies have shown that shiftwork and the odd patterns of sleeping and waking that this lifestyle involves, has many negative health consequences, including obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome as well as insomnia. Very little is known about how alterations in the rhythms of eating and sleeping affect overall health. Most of us have a short fasting period, i.e. we stop eating only we’re sleeping; and a long feeding window, i.e. we eat all day long. This feeding pattern is very unhealthy for both mice and humans; the CDC statistics agree. The take home message from this study: eat early and eat whatever you like but skip dinner and never have late night snacks.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you ... eep-better
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:45 pm

Thanks Bhante for those links, reports! Glad to see I am doing it right and can send those links to some who think I might be unhealthy doing that plan.
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby gavesako » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:59 am

Many of the ordinary town and village monks in Thailand are not very restrained when it comes to food. This photo shows an extreme example of that:

http://news.mthai.com/headline-news/178859.html

:toast: :popcorn:


On the other hand, in the forest monasteries the meal scene is very disciplined and restrained, eating all food from the bowl.
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:25 pm

Is it true that a monk has to finish whatever food given to him?
I am not here nor there.
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:43 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Is it true that a monk has to finish whatever food given to him?


No...
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:46 am

appicchato wrote:
DarwidHalim wrote:Is it true that a monk has to finish whatever food given to him?


No...

Luckily... That would be impossible in most cases.

:anjali:
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:41 am

What is done with the leftover food in Thai temples? They don't throw it away, do they? My experience has been mostly with Sri Lankan temples in the U.S. and there they always put the leftovers in the refrigerator for use when there is no scheduled family to give food dana. I heard that the Thais are more strict on not storing food. If this is the case what do they do with it?
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:48 am

Greetings,

David N. Snyder wrote:I heard that the Thais are more strict on not storing food. If this is the case what do they do with it?

At the Melbourne-based Thai wat I've frequented, the food is offered to the monks, and what goes uneaten is eaten by the laity for lunch. This seems very practical to me.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:51 am

retrofuturist wrote:At the Melbourne-based Thai wat I've frequented, the food is offered to the monks, and what goes uneaten is eaten by the laity for lunch. This seems very practical to me.


Yes, very practical. Thanks for the info. :thumbsup:
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby poto » Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:27 am

This is one area that I'd like to see modernized. I know that may not be a very popular idea, since it goes against tradition, but ultimately I think it would be a better solution.

We have the ability to fairly accurately calculate caloric needs of humans at various heights, weights and activity levels. We can also accurately calculate the calories of various foods. It would be nice if we actually used this ability.

I think eventually we might see some monasteries move to a system of planned or distributed meals. Something that would remove guesswork of how much to eat from the equation. Giving monks fixed meal portions that were tailored to each individual monk's caloric requirements would likely prevent a lot of the problems of the present system.

It's easy to shake your finger and say those monks should just self-regulate their food intake and/or fast or exercise. But I think that ignores the human aspect of it. Having a bowl of tasty food in front of you and eating until you're full... I think the majority of humans in that situation would tend to take in more calories than they need.

I'm not saying we would 100% have to do away with alms rounds and such. What I'm saying is that maybe with the aid of technology monks could do something like bring all the alms food back to the temple and calculate the calories of that food, then divide the portions out respectively. Maybe that would be more of a compromise between tradition and science. Personally, I would prefer to see something more standardized, but meh... :shrug:
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby DarwidHalim » Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:25 am

I ever read a Sutta that roughly tell when you eat, it is 1/3 food, 1/3 water, 1/3 empty space. I can't remember exactly the portion and what Sutta it is.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
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To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:23 am

David N. Snyder wrote:What is done with the leftover food in Thai temples?


I have seen literally truckloads of leftovers on festival days, or every day where there is a famous teacher (Luangta Maha Boowa's monastery for example).

I'm told the trucks were headed to orphanages or the poor.
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby Durt_Dawg » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:59 pm

Maybe they should start eating Chinese Buddhist quisines.
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Re: Diet-related health problems of monks in Thailand

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:03 pm

Greetings,

Goofaholix wrote:I'm told the trucks were headed to orphanages or the poor.

Good to hear.

At the festival day I went to on Sunday, it was like a larger scale version of what I mentioned above, except that instead of maybe 10-15 preparing/serving the food to the monks and eating the leftovers once the monks had finished, it was more like 300.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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