Gandhi’s experiments with Diet | Raw food diet – Part 3 of 3

Gandhi: Peace is it's own reward

Gandhi: Peace is it’s own reward

(Go back to Part 1, Part 2)

I do have, however, a few conflicts with this kind of diet, which Gandhiji himself faced and I will read something about what he said at the earlier stages of his experiments.  Gandhi would also be interested today in the many web sites about raw diets, of which there are hundreds, however, what I did see which might amuse Gandhiji was that there are myriads of recipes but so many of them use the dehydrator, which to me seems like cooking as it uses electricity and goes to very high temperatures, which certainly is heat, a different process than fire, but heat nevertheless.  Gandiji’s diet was very simple as we just saw awhile back. He once did the diet calling it then the vital food trial in Mumbai for a week but had weak spells and other health problems. Later he started in South Africa with different health problems. He also wrote that he felt that the majority of human beings would ever do away with cooking did not seem feasible. The vital food will not, cannot, as such, minister to the wants of the soul.

He also took a vow in South Africa to abstain from cow milk and buffalo milk as a protest against the mistreatment of dairy animals and the belief that taking of another species milk to be unnatural. He did however, due to health reasons, begin taking goat’s milk. Gandhi felt that a raw food diet allowed him to consume less food, therefore decreasing his consumption of world resources and the inevitable violence caused by growing and transporting food. His diet of mainly peanuts, lemons, dates, and olive oil led to his ill health when he added goat’s milk. He did still promote a vegan diet. Again I too experimented with a vegan diet while I was living in India, I took soy milk and tofu which I made myself, but my relationship with our cows led me to think that with proper treatment of the cows, closeness to their offspring, that they gave up the milk without too much of a fuss, and the use of milk in so many religious rituals was another factor. Also I saw that for many rural people milk was an additional protein source. He did take care to eat only fruit which was available and affordable for the poorest people, but olive oil has always been costly and not freely available and is even now one of the costliest oils, I also don’t understand why he didn’t explore the use of soy milk for he promoted the use of soy beans and their growth.  In spite of all his personal strictness in his own diet in his books on health as the Key to Health, and Diet and Diet Reform he advocated a well-balanced diet with proper balance between protein sources, fruits, vegetables and fats, and sugars.  Had Gandhi lived now I definitely feel he would have changed a few things but certainly would never give up vegetarianism.

Gandhi did not talk that much about exercise. However he did recommend that people should establish a balance between bodily labor and work. He also advocated doing physical work before you had a right to eat, or bread labor. Manual work should be part of education bringing the best in body, mind, and spirit he also wrote.

The longevity, the universal influence of the great people who have come to the world can be measured by their relevance to the present circumstances. Certainly, in every area of his life and teachings Mahatma Gandhi fits this definition. Just as he was advanced in his thinking and personal experiments and writings for society he is relevant for our times today. Read him and meditate on his words, you can only ignore him at your own peril.

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