from me the greediness of the belly; let not the lusts of the flesh take hold of me, and give me not over to a shameless and foolish mind.
Be not hasty in a feast. ... Use as a frugal man the things that are set before thee: lest if thou eatest much, thou be hated. Leave off first, for manners’ sake: and exceed not, lest thou offend. And if thou sittest among many, reach not thy hand out first of all: and be not the first to ask for drink. ...
Watching, choler, and gripes, are with an intemperate man: Sound and wholesome sleep with a moderate man: he shall sleep till morning, and his soul shall be delighted with him. ...
Fire trieth hard iron: so wine drunk to excess shall rebuke the hearts of the proud. Wine taken with sobriety is equal life to men: if thou drink it moderately, thou shalt be sober. ... Wine was created from the beginning to make men joyful, and not to make them drunk. Wine drunken with moderation is the joy of the soul and the heart. Sober drinking is health to soul and body. Wine drunken with excess raiseth quarrels; and wrath, and many ruins. Wine drunken with excess is bitterness of the soul. The heat of drunkenness is the stumbling block of the fool, lessening strength and causing wounds.
Practical Strategies for Fighting and Conquering Gluttony
There is a big difference between giving our bodies what they need for health—which is good—and slaking our concupiscence (i.e., excessive desire) with as much food (and the kinds of food) it craves—which is bad.
Very few people fail to eat the minimum quantity necessary to maintain health. Very many people fall into gluttony. Here are some strategies to avoid gluttony:
- Say a prayer for temperance before every meal.
- Eat slowly, chew your food well, take smaller bites.
- Don’t eat between meals.
- Don’t eat sweets or junk food when you are alone.
- Don’t drink sweetened or flavored drinks, e.g., soda, especially when you are alone or between meals.
- If you are eating alone, engage your mind with a good book.
- If you are eating with others, look more at them, rather than the food. Engage your mind in the conversation. This is not only to take your focus off the food but it is also politer and is better for your mind.
- Eat your food the way it is served. Don’t add condiments such as extra sweeteners, salad dressing, salt, butter/margarine or ketchup.
- Stop eating when you would be content to stop if the only food available were one you didn’t like.
- Use a smaller plate and/or consciously leave part of your plate empty.
- Fast on every Ember Day and during Advent and Lent.
- Put more vegetables in your diet and fewer fried foods.
- Don’t impulse-buy; don’t shop for groceries when you are hungry because you will tend to buy “crave” foods and later feel you “must” eat them to avoid wasting them. Beware of food ads, which manufacture false “needs” and desires.
- Eat at scheduled times (conventionally three times per day), not waiting so long between meals that your ravenous hunger makes it harder to eat slowly and to stay clearheaded about what to eat and how much to eat.
- Reflect briefly after each meal about how you did, what went wrong and how you can do better next time. Make good resolutions.
- If you are daunted by the idea of implementing all of the above ideas immediately, then implement one idea now and add another idea every two weeks.