I recently spent a week at Dhanakosa, a Buddhist retreat center in the Scottish highlands, where we shared three meals a day with the community. As a nutrition coach, I took special note of the eating patterns that I found helpful to continue after the retreat:
1. Eat Vegetarian Foods
Following the Buddhist precept of non-violence to all creatures, our meals were all vegetarian. We didn’t have any meat, dairy or eggs. We did have lots of lentils, beans, soups, salads, and vegetable dishes. It’s chilly in Scotland in October, so our food was hearty and warming.
2. Follow a Daily Schedule
We followed a set routine each day: breakfast at 8:45, lunch at 1pm and dinner at 6pm.
Having a predictable daily schedule allowed us to plan our day and regulate the appetite. Dinner was early, and there was a long stretch of fasting from the evening meal until breakfast the next day, but my body quickly adjusted to the rhythm.
3. No Snacking
A cook was preparing our meals, and we didn’t have access to the kitchen between meals. There were bowls of fresh fruit set out for a snack, and there was also plenty of tea available at all times. Other than that–no snacking at all.