Nutrition and Spiritual Practice

By Desmond Yeoh SC

top view photo of food dessert

What we eat on a daily basis must be treated as the foundation of our spiritual practice because it affects our mental and physical well-being. Without these, it is difficult to progress spiritually. Raymond Francis’s book, “Never Be Sick Again” has some convincing stories which can illustrate the importance of proper nutrition.

Raymond received a call to from a family to help their 94-year-old bedridden and senile mother. Although Raymond was concerned that her situation may be too advanced for him to help, he tried anyway. He advised them to add some key nutrients into her diet and stop taking milk. To his surprise, two weeks later he received a call from the family who excitedly told him that their mother showed miraculous improvements. She was able to walk again and go to the bathroom on her own and dress herself.

This story shows that our food intake can help ensure that we maintain our mental capabilities as we age so that we are able to continue receiving spiritual teachings, contemplate them and put them into practice.

The use of nutrition to cure mental ailments is nothing new. Raymond wrote, “More than a quarter century ago, medical pioneers like Dr. Carl Pfeiffer were able to use this concept to cure many cases of “incurable” schizophrenia by giving patients extra vitamins and minerals (above and beyond what was available through a regular diet)”.

What we eat can also affect our emotional well-being. Raymond told a story in his book about Albert who suffered from “untreatable depression” for almost a decade. It was deemed untreatable by modern medicine because it fails to go into root causes of problems but merely try to address the symptoms. This approach often makes matters worse because most medicines have adverse side effects; addressing the symptoms on one hand but creating problems in other areas. After discussing with him, Raymond found that Albert had a problem of sugar addiction. Raymond advised him to eliminate sugar and sugar products from his diet and recommended some additional supplements. Albert was sceptical but as he had nothing to lose, he tried up the simple solutions anyway. Raymond wrote, “In less than a week after starting the diet and supplement program, Albert called to say that he felt as if a great burden had been lifted from him. He was no longer feeling suicidal”.

News about road rage frequently appear in the papers. It appears that explosive anger is very much part of modern times. This too could be linked to our food intake. A grandmother asked Raymond for help with her psychotic 4-year-old grandson, Gerald, who had fits of uncontrollable anger and often struck out at everyone.  Gerald was taken to many doctors and was even given tranquilisers, which did not help.  Because of his condition, he could not attend regular school. Raymond advised her to change certain things in Gerald’s diet.

About six months later, Raymond bumped into the grandmother after a meeting and she told him with great enthusiasm and gratitude that Gerald’s psychotic behaviour had ceased and he was now a well, healthy and happy.

If we are suffering from any mental or physical illness, it could be due to our diet. We should take responsibility for our own health. The Divine can only help us if we help ourselves. Sometimes the Divine may attempt to help us but our karmic dispositions block the help, for example, the Divine may direct someone to share some useful information with us but because of our own laziness or doubt, we fail to heed the advice.

Raymond Francis book, “Never Be Sick Again”, is a book which I strongly recommend.

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