Confucius Tells You How to Eat
There are some sayings of Confucius on diet.
“There is no objection to his rice being of the finest quality.” One should eat delicate food.
“There is no objection to his meat being finely minced”. Ancient people believed that animal products, such as beef and mutton, are highly nutritious, and that they can benefit human body and replenish essence and blood. Such fatty food is suitable for people above 60 years old. Finely minced meat can help digestion.
“If kept long, rice, fish and meat will go bad.” One shall not eat rotten food.
“He did not eat what was discolored.” Do not eat food whose color is not right.
“He did not eat what was of a bad flavor”. Do not eat what carries a bad flavor.
“He did not eat anything which had been spoilt in cooking.” Do not eat food which is not cooked in the right way. For example, chicken is of hot temper, so it shall not be roasted, but duck shall be roasted.
“He did not eat anything which was not in season.” Do not eat food which is not in the season. For example, eating watermelon in winter was considered out of season in ancient China. One shall eat seasonal food.
“He did not eat meat which was not cut properly.” Do not eat food which is not cut properly. If a cook cannot cut well, he may do wrong in other things related to cooking.
“He did not eat what was served without its proper sauce.” Sauce shall go with season. Do not eat food which is not served without its proper sauce.
“Though there might be a large quantity of meat, he would not allow what he took to exceed the due proportion of the rice.” One shall not eat more meat than main food. It was believed that main food is very important for health preservation as it sustains the life of human beings. Vegetables cannot replace main food, as they are just supplementary to main food.
“It was only in wine that he did not set himself a limit; but he never took it to excess.” One can drink wine often, but shall not get drunk.
“He ate ginger at every meal.” It's encouraged to eat ginger in ancient China. As the saying goes, “Turnip in winter and ginger in summer keep the doctor away.” Some turnip at dinner can promote circulation of Qi and digestive absorption; some ginger at breakfast can help generation of yang energy. One should eat ginger every day, but not at dinner.
“He did not eat much.”Too much food would lay a burden on spleen and stomach and cause discomfort to one's heart. It is dangerous to eat or drink too much during festivals.
“He did not speak while eating.” Do not talk while eating otherwise you may be suffocated, which is unsafe.