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The ninja are known, not only for the esoteric philosophies and wisdoms they inherited from the distant Himalayas and Tang Dynasty China, but also for their seeming immortality. Traditional ninja retain youth almost to the age of sixty, and live to beyond a hundred years.
One basis of this longevity is, of course, the intense training, and a series of special exercises known as the immortality sequence.
But a great deal of it is also due to the food ninja eat - a wholesome, natural diet cooked in simple, healthful ways. Here on this page you will find some simple do's and dont's that are the basis of a ninja diet, and the foundation of ninja health systems.
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DO NOT: Do not cook a large quantity of only one sort of food or vegetable for a meal. Not only does a meal of this sort not provide you with all your nutritional requirements for the day, but not having a variety of foods in the meal can limit both the absorption of nutrients, and the digestive process.
DO: A good meal should contain some energy providing foods such as grains or potatoes, some vegetables and fruits for crucial vitamins and fibre, without which digestion is difficult, and - optionally - a small amount of protein.
It is possible to mix everything into a single dish, or to make several different dishes, for example, a rice dish or a salad. Both options work equally well.
In many ninja dojo, in preparing food for deshi (students) or genin, a single composite dish is prepared for a meal that contains all the necessary nutrients. It is usually a soup or stew that contains a wide variety of food, including grains, vegetables, and some protein. This stew is not only tasty, and easy to digest, but it also fuels the extremely intense training of the ninja.
However, either option is acceptable - to make a number of dishes that together contain carbohydrates, vitamins, fibre and protein, or to put everything into a single dish that provides for all your nutritional requirements.
SOME IMPORTANT POINTS:
Do not take in too much meat, or eat a diet that is too high in protein. This leads to a host of problems later in life, including obesity, arteriosclerosis (the clogging of the blood vessels, leading to heart attacks and strokes) and heart disease. Red meats are not recommended - they contain too many unhealthy fats. At the same time, protein is necessary in the diet - a purely vegetarian diet is NOT good for health, either.
Chicken and other bird sources of protein are preferable, and a dish that contains a reasonable amount of chicken may be eaten no more than once a week. Alternatively, the same amount of chicken can be spread out in smaller quantities into three meals in the week - this increases protein absorption. Fish is even better, and contains healthy fats as well, and may be eaten up to three times a week. Eggs and milk are also good sources of protein.
Cook all protein meals well - eating meat or fish meals raw is not recommended.
You must have leafy vegetables, preferably with every meal. Vegetables that can be eaten raw are best eaten raw, rather than cooked, or at least some portion of them should be eaten in this manner. Salads are very good, but do not use oily or fatty dressings and sauces with them. Fresh fruits are excellent as part of a meal. In vegetables in which the skin is edible, you should include the skin in your dishes as much as possible, as it contains a concentration of nutrients.
Wheat contains a great deal more nutrients than rice. Try to create compact dishes out of wheat flour - for example, pancakes, rather than using too much yeast in your cooking. Avoid refined grain products - the refining process destroys the nutrition of the grains.
DO NOT: You must avoid foods that use white flour. Foods made out of white flour usually take longer to digest - this disturbs the daily rhythm of the body, resulting both in improper digestion, and in disturbed sleep patterns. It also lowers your metabolism, possibly leading to your putting on excess weight.
DO: Whole-wheat flour is far superior to white flour, and you should try to replace white flour with it in all your foods. Whole wheat flour does not slow the digestive process, and also is a better source of crucial nutrients.
Modern society encourages an extremely unhealthy intake of refined and concentrated sugar - in drinks, in chocolates and sweets, and in dozens of other products. You MUST avoid this. The body has not evolved to be able to process such concentrated sugars, and irreversible diabetes is the ultimate result, as well as a host of other problems.
You should also avoid anything made with dried or thickened milk, as it is extremely difficult to digest, and disturbs the rhythms and harmony of your system.
DO: The only acceptable healthful alternative to sweet foods made with refined sugars are fresh fruits. These contain natural sugars, crucial nutrients and vitamins, and fibre. Note that you should NOT crush or squeeze fruits into juices (except for lemons). Crushing fruits into juices concentrates the amount of fruit sugars you take in, and takes you beyond the human body's evolutionary limits in regards to sugars.
You should limit your consumption of tea and coffee, though a large cup or bowl of weak but hot tea is perfectly acceptable in cold weather. Use the warmth of the liquid, rather than the strength of the tea or the sugar in it to counter the cold. In warmer weather, tea or coffee should be avoided entirely.
It might seem like these drinks keep you alert, but it takes time for them to begin to work, and the effect rarely lasts more than between a quarter to half an hour.
Energy drinks or artificial 'soft' drinks of any kind should be avoided completely.
They are extremely damaging in both the short and long term. In the long term, these drinks lead to conditions like arthritis and kidney stones.
DO: The only time drinking sweet tea is beneficial is if you are exposed to cold so extreme that it is actually a potential threat to your life. In such an extremity, it is advisable to add butter to the tea, as this increases the available energy content of the drink. This is sometimes done by students training in extreme mountain conditions in one of our dojo in the high mountains of Asia.
DO NOT: These foods contain too much fat, which is both difficult to digest, and which easily leads to a person gaining excess weight.
DO: A glass of fresh milk is a much better alternative to any product that is made by processing milk. Milk is nutritious and rich in calcium, and excellent for a person engaged in an energetic training regimen.
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DO NOT: You should not eat too much, or too many large meals in a day. Three large meals in a day, for example, are too much for your body, and will overwork your organs. Also, do not eat between meals - many people keep eating small 'snacks' in between meals, and do not count that as eating. Do not do this.
DO: This is the right way to eat...
In the Gyokku tradition, the day starts with a large breakfast. Let this be the heaviest meal of the day, and ensure that it is a composite meal that contains all the necessary food groups and nutrition that you will need to carry you through the day. Your breakfast should be able to support you for the next eight or ten hours.
The midday meal should be the smallest meal of the day. A simple fruit and vegetable salad is recommended.
The last meal of the day, in the evening, is the second largest. It should still be smaller than your breakfast, but larger than your midday meal. Do not skip the last meal of the day, because it supports your body through the night, and also provides the nutrition the body needs to heal from the efforts and stress of the day.
DO NOT: It is best not to take too long over your meals, as this can throw off the process of digestion.
DO: Try to finish your meal within half an hour or so - it should certainly not take longer than that. You should also try to finish eating while the food still remains warm.
DO NOT: You must not drink cold water while eating. Cold water tends to solidify the oil and fat content in your food, and lowers your metabolism. Drinking cold water while eating can lead to your putting on excess weight even if you do not seem to eat much.
DO: It is beneficial to drink warm green tea, or warm freshly-squeezed lemon juice, or even warm water with your meals. The warmth keeps your metabolic rate high, and can improve your levels of activity. It can also ensure that any oils or fats in your food are used for energy, rather than simply stored away within your body.
One should not walk or exercise immediately after a meal. Immediately after you eat, blood is redirected to your stomach to aid in the absorption of nutrients from the food. However, if you begin to walk or take exercise immediately after eating, this draws blood from your stomach to your muscles, which affects the digestion, and the body's rhythms.
This can actually leave you hungry later in the day, despite having eaten a full meal, and can lead to you eating several small meals in between meals, causing considerable weight gain.
DO: Walking is an excellent exercise, and extremely beneficial to the health, but it is best to walk at least half an hour before a meal, rather than directly afterwards. You can eat a meal thirty minutes after a walk, or after any form of exercise. This will maximize your absorption of nutrition, as well as ensuring that your digestion functions optimally. It will also help prevent any tendency to eat between meals.
This Tutorial on Diet continues after the Message below...
This is why...
ALCOHOL: Alcohol is a crutch that is used by the weak. The man who does not have the confidence to relax with his friends, must drink with them. The man who cannot assert himself without this 'liquid courage' is dependent on it. The man who cannot take the hardships of life and rise above them... drinks.
Drink is a weakness of the spirit itself. Besides all this, in the long term, it shortens the life-span by at least thirty years by destroying the liver. Alcohol also contains a lot of calories, and this leads to obesity, and a whole string of related chronic illnesses. Finally, drinking leads to memory loss and senility as one grows old.
DRUGS: Drugs destroy the mind. We have observed a clear loss of the ability to reason correctly in those who use drugs. In other words, the mind's ability to use logic itself is impaired - permanently. There are those who say that drugs raise them to 'a higher state of being'. This is pure delusion. It is, in fact, clear proof of how much their logic is impaired. Your mind IS your humanity. Retain it.
SMOKING: Smoking destroys the lungs, and the endurance, and seriously interferes with your ability to train. It also shortens the life-span by at least thirty years in the long run.
Training in the Way of the Gyokku grants one a great gift, called the Immortality Sequence. Once a student has trained to the level of a genin, his body moves into perfect harmony and balance. When this is achieved, the student ceases to age.
Ninja who achieve this in their twenties, retain the appearance and capabilities of their twenties until they are sixty. Yes, the trained ninja retains youth until the age of sixty. Longevity is also enhanced, with most ninja living beyond a hundred years.
All this is destroyed by smoking, drugs or alcohol. We are not fully certain why, but the Immortality Sequence is interrupted by these things. Cellular regeneration falls, as well as the body's ability to heal injuries, which is developed to a very high extent in ninja.
By using these substances, a person who trains to be ninja gives up a lifetime of youth, and a very long life as well.
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DO NOT EAT FOR AT LEAST THREE HOURS BEFORE TRAINING:
This applies only to solid foods. You should not eat anything for at least three hours before training.
ONLY FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO LOSE WEIGHT - DO NOT EAT FOR AT LEAST THREE HOURS AFTER TRAINING:
This tends to maximize weight loss, as the body, desperate for nutrients after training, immediately accesses the body's fat reserves.
DO NOT DRINK TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE WATER:
Maintaining the body's liquid balance is important, but not drinking water to excess is also important. A good way to maintain the body's liquid-salt balance is to not take in unnecessary quantities of salt. This is done by not eating heavily-salted foods, such as potato chips.
If you do this, the water intake of an average adult should range between 2 to 2.5 litres per day.
If you live in a very hot or desert environment, this should of course be more, up to 3 litres per day, or even more, if you are exerting and perspiring a lot. But this only applies to extremely hot environments.
DO NOT COUNT MILK, SOUPS AND SO ON TOWARDS YOUR MINIMUM 2 LITRES OF WATER INTAKE:
This is because these things have their own mineral and salt content (we are NOT talking about sodium chloride or common salt, but of ALL the compounds that are present in these liquid foods). The body's liquid-salt balance is a VERY subtle thing, and ONLY plain water counts towards the 2 litre liquid minimum.
MAINTAINING THE BODY'S LIQUID-SALT BALANCE:
A good test of the liquid-salt balance is if one's urine is clear. It should be pale yellow. If it is dark, you are not taking in enough water. If it is EXACTLY like water, you are probably drinking too much water.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION, AND WITH THE USE OF ONE'S COMMON SENSE:
As in all things, use common sense. If you're drinking a whole litre of milk, of course at least half of that counts towards your liquid balance - but we do not believe you should be drinking a litre of milk in a small period of time. The body is incapable of absorbing such large quantities of material, and much of it is wasted. So, use common sense in your diet, and, above all, do all things in moderation.
IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE A VEGETARIAN, THIS IS A RECIPE THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO MEET YOUR TRAINING REQUIREMENTS OF PROTEIN:
Take 9 kgs of whole wheat flour, and 1 kg of soya bean flour. Mix these together. This mixture is high in protein, and foods made with this mixture, eaten after training, will help the body heal from the training, and alleviate muscle pain. Please note that this is ONLY for vegetarians - non-vegetarians do not require this.
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