Thought for Food (RB 39)
18/July/2009 Filed in: Jottings
The sixth century monastic diet as advocated by Benedict in today's chapter of RB would not have led to heart disease. In fact, by modern nutritional standards, its emphasis on frugality, regularity, fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, together with the absence of red meat except in case of sickness, would probably recommend it to health professionals. I wonder whether "The Benedict Diet" could become an attractive alternative to all the whacky schemes for so-called "healthy eating" that seem to obsess people in the West? Benedict wanted as much as possible to be sourced locally, from food to clothing (zero food miles, low carbon footprint, he ticks all the right boxes, doesn't he?); there's a long wisdom traditon behind RB; and just enough "mystery" to lend it a certain "otherworldly" charm. Where it might fall down is in its contemporary manifestation. So many monks and nuns are of a "comfortable" shape rather than fashionably slim. No use arguing that that's because most of us don't adhere in every detail to Benedict's principles or do as much manual labour as in the sixth century. Then, too, Benedict's diet would require too much self-discipline to appeal to a celebrity, so I suspect it's a non-starter. We did our shopping yesterday and I couldn't help noticing that some of the food items we bought come a long way from where we live (pasta from Italy, oil from Spain, for example) though I don't think there were any extravagances (conscience not quite clear about some of the items bought for our guests, but that's another matter) and I think Benedict would have approved most of our choices. Digitalnun returned in grumpy mood to find the Broadband "down" yet again, so finally got round to changing the router (the one supplied by BT has caused many headches) and is now muttering about tweaking the wireless network. Internet access is therefore patchy and intermittent while she tweaks and we suspect there is a huge build-up of email on our server. It's rather like cholesterol building up in the arteries . . . .