Thursday, July 23, 2009

Purification, Rejuvenation and Vitality through diet

"The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfulls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with water, one third with air."

- Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, his family, and his companions

"When the belly is empty, the body becomes spirit; and when it is full, the spirit becomes body."


Today, nutrition experts - some certified, some self proclaimed - are repeating mantras not very different from the one: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" (Michael Pollan).

And surprisingly, they have begun to make sense now; unlike the un-healthy, un-real (some are known to have undergone plastic surgery) "experts" who for too long have marketed all sorts of diets to achieve one basic goal: loose fat, build muscle, and look good at the expense of ones mind, spirit, and, in my opinion, body.

But, something has changed and changed for the good. Ori Hofmekler is an example of those who have realized the harm and destruction dead food, and I repeat dead food, brings to our minds, body, and spirit. More on dead food.

The core message that Ori, Michael and others like them want to spread is not much different from what the Prophets of the ancient delivered. The message is excellently summed up in following verses from the Quran:

"O Mankind: Eat of what is lawful and good on earth" 2:168
"Eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein" 20:81

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has with excellent perfection displayed to us the practical implications of the above Quranic injunctions - as is evident from his life and the saying stated at the very beginning of this post "It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfulls, to keep him going."

Speaking of which, the essence of this saying is echoed in Pavel Tsatsouline's endorsement of the Warrior Diet (created by Ori) "I refuse to graze all day, I have better things to do". And for those of you who don't know him - well just google him. He is a former Spetsnaz (special forces) and a fitness instructor. If eating little is good for him, then it ought to be good for you. After all how much energy do you need to move that mouse around?

The more I study the likes of Ori and Michael, the more I view documentaries like Food Inc. (, the more I realize that the Prophets of the past Moses, Jesus, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all) would have been at the forefront of the struggle to live healthily and simply if they had lived in our tumultous times.

The most challenging impediment in following the Prophetic dietary habits is our state of mind. We fear hunger, we fear muscle loss, we hesistate to change, we enjoy fast food, etc. But, all these fears are baseless. The Prophetic dietary habits are good for functional strength and shape, great for martial artists, individuals who need to think hard and fast, and those who spend their time in spiritual pursuits.

However, I must warn you, it is very bad for Arnold types who concentrate on making their bodies un-functional pieces of overgrown, ugly muscle.

Recently, I have begun to incorporate some elements from Ori's Warrior Diet and I have seen the beneficial effects of it on my level of alertness, mood, and overall energy, which I normally saw only during Ramadan.

It is unfortunate that I had to look elsewhere for guidance when it was given to me in the Sunnah. As Maulana Rumi has said:

"The minute I heard by first love story
I started looking for you,
not knowing
how blind I was

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere
They're in each other all along."

More to follow ...


  1. Very interesting, bhai, an excellent post. It seems there's an emerging consensus & a return to the old wisdom about diet: eating less, fasting, eating 2 meals a day, natural organic foods, avoiding artificial refined flour/sugar/processed foods, eating less meat ...
    very much a Prophetic diet!

    also bodyweight and mind-body-soul exercise such as yoga qigong & martial arts, as opposed to the Arnold syndrome you mention.

    I've found Dr. Andrew Weil's Spontaneous Health a good summary of the new/old wisdom. Budokon martial art/yoga founder Cameron Shayne echoes a lot of these views too..

  2. Yes, Dr. Andrew Weil's books are excellent and fun to read. He believes in a more holistic approach towards health and wellness. Actually he balances modern medicine and alternative medicine quite well. Martial arts and health sciences have been intricately linked for thousands of years - my preferred martial art is Systema, a russian martial art, which focuses on health and spirit. Funny how health, martial arts, and spiritual progress are all inter-related. InshAllah, I plan on doing more research on the Prophetic Diet.