In Buddhist philosophy, the meal is important in Buddhism training. People who don’t care what they eat don’t achieve the correct Buddhism. It is exactly same as things happening in our everyday life. If you don’t care about your diet, you might lose your ability to maintain your health and you might more easily get sick. It is not only the physical side, it affects the mental side as well, you feel depressed or can’t concentrate on your work or study.
However, it is not easy to make a perfect meal three times a day, 365 days. It might be a good idea to go out for dinner or to buy take away foods or use pre-cooked meals sometimes unless it happens all the time.
If you constantly take these kinds of foods, you might take too much food additives, salt, fat and sugar, as you know. More importantly, you will get bored by the taste. Don’t you think they have similar tastes if you compare with homemade cooking? You don’t get tired of the taste of homemade cooking.
I’m relieved when I find one small side dish such as Daikon no Nimono- simmered white radish, homemade miso soup with lots of vegetables, Aemono-Japanese salad, homemade pickles etc. on the table.
You might feel that ‘Shojin ryori is too unique and sounds very complicated, but not for me. But the concept of shojin ryori uses seasonal ingredients which you can get from your local shops and use up everything (no waste).
The proper Shojin ryori can’t be used with meat, fish, egg, dairy products and some kinds of vegetables such as onion, green onion, chives, garlic chives( this is called GOKUN). However, you can use egg or dairy products if you need to at home. More important is your attitude to foods and don’t forget appreciation of foods and don’t waste the ingredients which you are given.