Over my holiday I had the extreme luxury of reading some of the stoic literature I had. Particularly the lecture series of Gaius Musonius Rufus one of the Roman stoics. From his 21 discourses, discourse 18 labelled “On Food” is what caught my attention. Now I don’t agree with many of Musonius practical stoic ideas, such as not eating meat, but there is one piece of advice he gives, that has stuck with me.
In Discourse 18, Musonius advises that we listen to Socrates and not live to eat, but rather eat to live. What he means here, is that food is just that, it’s food. That is, rather than constantly be thinking about what you are eating, we should treat eating as what it is, something we must do to survive.
I am sure most of us, if not all, have come across the judgemental individuals who will pipe up with something along the lines of “why deprive yourself of food” or “you only live once” or whatever other justification they use every time we politely refuse a piece of cake or a bowl of spaghetti. To these people I often echo Musonius, and mention that not eating a caramel slice is not deprivation to me. I eat so I can enjoy life, I don’t enjoy life by eating.
A lot of us paleo dieters fall into an orthorexic lifestyle. We obsess about our food. This is not a healthy mindset by any means, and is just as bad as eating what we consider to be unhealthy.
A lot of us will do well taking this stoic advice and just eating what we know is healthy, in amounts that allow us to live better. No more and no less.
Just some thoughts.