“He who eats alone eats with Satan;
he who eats with one other person eats
with a tyrant; he who eats with two
other people eats with the prophets.”
Influence of Food and Drink
The Unani Traditional Healing system of health places great emphasis upon diet. As Avicenna wrote, “Most illnesses arise solely from long-continued errors of diet and regimen.” The manner in which foods affect the body is viewed in Unani from a simple yet highly interesting vantage point.
There are three aspects of metabolism of food: digestion, assimilation, and residue. Digestion here means the initial breakdown of foods in the mouth and stomach. Assimilation refers to the absorption of micronutrients into the blood-stream and cells. The evacuation of residue implies the amount of waste products that remain after a food is completely metabolized by the body. All three of these functions must be carried out efficiently.
The Digestive Process
Although there are many complex biochemical events that transpire during the digestive process, Avicenna suggests that digestion be viewed as a process by which foods are heated or “cooked” by the body. By this is meant that the foods are altered from their state when taken into the mouth, and refined or broken down into ever-smaller nutrient parts by the process of heating. A review of the digestive process will confirm this.
Humans preserve their lives through nourishment, which they obtain through eating. The digestive processes are applied unconsciously until the food is assimilated into blood, which then carries various other biochemical components to sites in the body, and these are manufactured into tissue, flesh, organs, and other body parts. Digestion means, then, that nourishment is changed inside the body by natural heat (cooked) until it actually becomes a part of the body or is eliminated. In Unani this process of cooking by the body is called pokhta.
Food that enters the mouth first comes into contact with enzymes, which create a type of heat. The food is chewed and masticated with the teeth–another form of heat, friction from grinding. The food is then swallowed into the stomach, where hydrochloric acid (an intense heat) breaks down the solids into a semi-fluid mass called chyme–the essence of the food. The stomach sends this chyme via the small intestine (where additional enzymes create added heat and processing) to the site of the liver. At the liver, the finest parts are made into blood, and valuable nutrient components are carried out into the general system to participate in various chemical events that transform them into the myriad forms of the body.
A Stupefying Complexity
Western biochemical medicine endeavors to trace each of these complex chemical interactions, and ultimately to discover when and where one or more of the biochemical exchanges are amiss. A medical pathologist, in searching for the cause of a disease, will often try to find which enzymes are functioning improperly. The pathologist can identify about twenty-eight enzymes present in each liver cell, although these same enzymes sometimes travel to far points in the body and are involved in complex processes not directly related to liver function or stomach digestion of foods.
This approach might have validity if there were only twenty-eight enzymes in the cells, but there are not. In fact, a pathologist knows that more than one thousand individual enzymes have been “identified” in each liver cell, yet only about twenty-eight of these are understood definitely in terms of their functions. What the other enzymes do is not known at all.
If the one thousand enzymes were the outer limit, there might be hope. But no one knows if there are one thousand enzymes in each liver cell: there may be many thousands, or millions, or billions, or an uncountable number. The fact is, no one knows. Not at all.
Even if we assume that the one thousand enzymes are the limit, this means that with knowledge and consideration of only twenty-eight of them, Western medicine makes decisions based upon somewhat less than 3 percent of the total number of affecting enzymatic agents in just the liver! Of course, there are thousands more biochemical components that also affect sex, digestion, thinking, breathing, and every other human activity. The number of biochemical interactions are virtually limitless, and new discoveries are being announced almost daily–leading to the discarding of prior theories and treatments. In fact, not even one medicine that is in today’s pharmacy was on the shelf as short a time as ten years ago.
Unani Traditional Healing, while taking some interest in these complex biochemical interactions, holds that ultimately we cannot know the total interworkings of the human body. There are many religious references to the fact that the human body has been created “infinitely more complex than the entire universe” (Hadith). Therefore, the Unani system retreats to a comprehensible stance, which evaluates food and diet in terms of their ability to enhance or impede metabolism.
In Unani, more than one single component of the food’s “action” or “value” is taken into account–just as Western medical dietetics evaluates not just calories but also fat, protein, vitamins, and so forth.
In Unani, all food substances that are consumed for the primary purpose of nutritive value (as opposed to medicinal nutrients) are called aliment. These aliment substances are said to possess two functions besides mere nutrition: (a) rate of penetration, or absorption (rapid penetration: liquids; slow penetration or absorption: roast meats and fried meats); (b) compactness of the substance of the digestive products in the blood, and consequent retention (this is the feature of pork, for example); or “attenuation” of the substance, meaning very rapid dispersal (as with figs and many fruits).
A great many factors and considerations follow from the above, but one of the most important is that foods should be selected that (a) are in accord with the temperament of the individual and appropriate to the season, age, climate, etc.; and (b) produce balance in the four humors.
The hot-cold dichotomy can also be explained as one factor of the considerations regarding nutritive process. Absorptive ability of foods relates to their digestibility. The power of forcefulness of the digestive energy of the person will determine the assimilability of the foods. In Unani healing, the nutritive value of a food is decided by how much of each humor it produces.
The physiological value specifically relates to the hot-cold value. It is a more general aspect and the first aspect we think of, and the part that anyone can understand, as opposed to the evaluation of more complex phenomena, which a Hakim would undertake in deciding a regimen (the foregoing factors, their degree of completeness and function, are determined from a variety of diagnostic signs: pulse, urine, feces, etc.).
The hot-cold assignment is due to whether an ash is left in the tissues after oxidation or not. Thus, humorally cold foods leave more ash, and humorally hot foods leave much less. The matter of formation of ash is significant because of the risk of its lingering in the body or even becoming firmly imprisoned within the tissues.
A confirmation of the scientific validity of the Unani view of the metabolic efficiency of foods and digestion is found in recent research on enzymes. Edward Howell, M.D., is the world’s leading authority on enzyme activity in food digestion. In Enzyme Nutrition (Avery Publishing Group), Dr. Howell’s extensive research proves that 80 percent of enzyme activity is devoted to the digestion of food. Since all enzymes contained in raw foods are destroyed by freezing, boiling, frying, and radiation, many people consume food that has no enzyme content whatsoever.
Dr. Howell’s research also reveals that when spices such as ginger, cumin, and cinnamon–the heating spices–are consumed, the production of digestive enzymes by the body increases dramatically.
Even more important, whenever the body undergoes fasting, enzymes normally assigned by the body to digest food are freed to conduct healing functions, such as dissolving latent tumors.
Such respected scientific research proves the value of the Unani “heating” foods and spices–they accomplish an increase in digestive enzymes, an increase in cellular metabolic function, and ensure complete assimilation of micronutrients with minimum metabolic waste.
(Special Note, Coming Soon! A dramatic new research study shows that people of countries using the Unani principles of diet have the lowest cancer rates in the world!!!)
In sum, then, by assigning a food a value as hot or cold, we mean that a heating food has the capacity to increase the metabolisms of the body (whatever they may be). Conversely, a cold food slows down metabolism. We recognize that it is the body itself that must perform the final healing, and we try to assist the body as much as possible in these endeavors. These facts can be discerned in terms of the results observed after taking in the foods, sometimes immediately, at other times over a period of time. If we had a thermometer that was measured in billionths of degrees instead of tenths, we could actually see the body temperature rise after eating a preponderance of hot foods. This idea is perfectly in accord with the laws of physics, which state that an increase in atomic velocity causes an increase in temperature.
Now, with all of the evaluations of temperament that were given in the preceding sections, one can easily determine whether a cold or hot imbalance lies at the root of disease signs.
The breakdown of nutrients as a process of the liver continues, and from this point the four humors and byproducts of digestion are formed. The chart of the four humors presented elsewhere may be reviewed to follow the fate of the foods through to the end of digestion and elimination.
Here is where we can begin to understand how and why disease arises. Let us assume for a moment that we have a person before us complaining of illness (the symptoms are unimportant for the moment). The very first thing we do is take the temperature, to determine precisely how well this process of heating is carrying on. Let us also assume that the patient’s temperature is 97.6° Fahrenheit. Most people know that the “average” body temperature in healthy adults is given as 98.6°.
But it is important to understand just what this average means. An average is the middle point of many samples taken. In other words, to arrive at this statistical measure of normalcy, probably thousands of patients’ temperatures were taken. They were then arranged on a scale from lowest to highest, added together, then divided by the total number of persons in the sample. This is how an average is derived. Therefore, according to the rules of statistics, it is also true that less than 5 percent of the total sample of patients actually bad temperatures of 98.6 degrees. The rest fell above or below.
Why does the temperature matter so much? We may assume that 98.6° is the actual optimum temperature for healthy functioning of the body. Lesser or higher temperatures are signs that the metabolism is disordered. So, if the reading was 96.6 o, it would mean that the person’s temperature was two degrees below the normal average. So what? There is a mental trick being played here, because of our decimal thinking, which assumes incorrectly that it is two degrees out of one hundred that is off. But it is actually two degrees out of the range that sustains lift. We realize that life is carried on within rather narrow limits of temperature–95° to 105°, that if the temperature goes outside those limits for any extended time, life will end.
Therefore, a temperature two degrees below normal means one that is two degrees deficient within the ten degrees that sustains life–or that the body is operating at 20 percent lowered efficiency. If you tried to operate any machine with 20 percent of its power source gone, the other parts would become stressed and overheated, and the machine would break down and wear out much sooner than if it were operating at 100 percent of its energy levels.
Actually, the acceptable temperature range for a healthy person is much narrower, perhaps 97° to 99°. Thus, a single degree of lowered temperature, over time, can create enormous health problems.
This example holds true for the body. The process of heating is undermined when the “heat” (called innate heat, or vital power) of the digestive process is lowered in proper intensity. What happens is that many of the foods eaten are not fully broken down into the smallest nutrient components, and this places a great strain upon the body to deal with incompletely digested foods.
The thermal function of the body is admitted by Western biologists to be situated in the liver. It is true that other glands and substances may have ancillary effects on thermal maintenance of the body. But without the liver, no one can survive for even a short period.
If we understand that each food has an inherent degree of heat or coldness–in other words, promotes or slows down metabolism–we can begin to select dietary items that harmonize all of the natural functions of the body. This is a general system of dietetics that can be learned, understood, and applied by virtually anyone–and which can be adjusted according to every possible factor of change or difference in lifestyle and life place. Moreover, the Unani system of dietetics is the most widely practiced system of dietetics in the history of the world, and today remains in force for one-quarter of the world’s population. It is ignorant and unscientific to assert that the combined human experience and unified results of untold billions of people over thousands of years are based upon stupidity and erroneous thinking.
What happens when the foods are not eaten according to metabolic principles? The first problem is that the foods are incompletely digested. The body responds in many ways, but the result in that superfluous matters build up in the system. This may continue for long or short periods. In due course, the body will reach the limit of excess and move into a corrective mode. This is accomplished by the strange heat we call fever, which serves to rapidly refine, or “cook down,” the excess superfluous matters so that they can be eliminated by the body.
This elimination is called the “healing crisis” in Unani, and it occurs in five specific ways and no others. A complete explanation of the healing crisis is given in the section on Ripening & Purging.
One of these forms of healing crisis is by diarrhea, which is no more or less than a rapid evacuation of superfluous (and toxic) by-products of incomplete digestion. The same thing is true of mucus and vomiting. Yet the entire approach of Western medicine is to end the fever, control the diarrhea, and stem the nausea with drugs. Therefore, the very processes the body itself chooses to correct excess are halted, and these unnecessary and damaging effluviants are turned back in upon the body, to cause further and more complex diseases to arise.
The only correct treatment of diseases is to assist the natural functions of the body. Infants and children prove these concepts perfectly. First, the average body temperature of an infant is said to be about 99.0°. This higher metabolic rate is necessary to effectively process down all of the unusual amounts of by-products that result from the child’s great and rapid growth. Moreover, infants and small children exhibit vomiting, nosebleeds, diarrhea, fevers, sweating, and frequent urination–precisely the forms of healing crisis according to Unani.
Other sections present specific regimens of diet and herbs to correct imbalances after they have led to symptoms and imbalance. For now I wish to present a list of foods with their metabolic values. By constructing diet according to these principles, one can prevent a great proportion of the diseases of humankind. Click here to view the List of Hot and Cold Foods.
A few remarks about this list will add to our understanding. The basic diet of the majority of Americans–milk, beef, potatoes, lettuce salads, refined white sugars, cheese, butter, margarine, etc.–is revealed as all cold foods. And cold foods lead to imbalance of the phlegm humor, first of all, and cause all of the list of complaints that are epidemic in America: migraine headache, menstrual cramps, lung and chest problems, arthritis, constipation, etc., etc.
And, as the indiscretion in food consumption is continued, in time the other humors become imbalanced. When such imbalance reaches the fourth stage of the black bile humor, the diseases called cancer, arteriosclerosis, emphysema, and others arise. The Unani view on cancer is discussed elsewhere.
Moreover, if we consider those foods from the hot list–such as lamb, liver, goat, ghee, beet, lentils, eggplant, chick peas, dried fruits, nuts, honey, and spices such as cardamom, fenugreek, ginger, cumin, saffron, and cinnamon–we readily observe that these are among the least consumed foods in America. Even if they are consumed, it is usually part of some “exotic” experimental cuisine, not incorporated into the daily diet.
These heating foods are necessary for the body to achieve and maintain a complete metabolic digestion of foods. This is the most elegant, useful, and refined manner of constructing diet and, if followed with sincerity, will provide the real basis of health for all people of all ages.
You will note that we have arranged all of the foods only according to hot and cold values, and not moist and dry. This is so because moisture is a function of heat, as heat drives off moisture. Therefore, the primary focus is on the hot-cold value of the food.
However, to facilitate use of all foods, and to use some as medicine and others simply as nutrients, Unani arranges the hot and cold foods into classifications by degrees. There are four degrees each of hot and cold, making a total of eight possible categories into which a food may be placed. Thus a food may be:
Hot in the First Degree Cold in the First Degree
Hot in the Second Degree Cold in the Second Degree
Hot in the Third Degree or Cold in the Third Degree
Hot in the Fourth Degree Cold in the Fourth Degree
These degrees have the following effects:
First degree: Affects metabolism, but not in any way discerned by overt physical sensation. Slightest action. Water is an example of a first-degree substance.
Second degree: Acts upon the body, causing metabolic change, but in the end is overwhelmed by the body. All nutrients belong in this category. Among the actions caused by second-degree substances are opening of pores, initiation of peristaltic action, perspiration, and stimulation of digestion. Ginger is an example of the second degree.
Third degree: Not acted upon by the body, but acts upon the body. All medicinal substances belong to this category. An example is senna pods, which overwhelm the eliminative powers of the colon and force evacuation.
Fourth degree: Poisons. Cause cessation of metabolic function. Some herbs are used as medicines from this category, but only in the most minute strengths and under the direct supervision of a physician. Hemlock and belladonna are examples of the fourth degree.
The difference between these degrees in terms of hot and cold values is that a second-degree hot substance would speed up metabolism, while a second-degree cold would slow it down. In the extreme fourth degree, the difference would become more apparent, when a hot herb would cause an increase of metabolism beyond the limits that support life, while a fourth-degree cold sub-stance would slow down metabolism to the point of death.
Relation to Unani Cuisine
Virtually all dietary systems, including those considered alternative or natural, evaluate foods according to the various nutrient components–proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, amino acids, and so forth. In Unani, the food is selected according to each food’s ability to enhance the metabolism of the body in general and specific organs in particular.
The recipes have evolved from more than a thousand years of continuous use.
In selecting foods for yourself or your family, many factors have to be taken into account, for each person is unique and has specific dietary needs. Thus, in addition to evaluating diet in relation to the climate and humidity, season, geographical region, basic temperament, predominant humor, prevalent local bacteria or parasites, and similar factors, one should try to obtain the best and purest quality of food possible. In today’s marketplace, this is no easy task.
Problems with Supermarket Foods
Most foods offered for sale in a chain supermarket in the United States have been treated with chemicals and pesticides. The claim has been made that testing has proved these chemicals safe for human beings. But long-term effects may appear, as has happened with virtually every food additive initially approved by governmental agencies. Even if the small quantities added to one food, and tested alone, may be considered safe, when the cumulative effect of many hundreds of chemicals is added to the years and decades of consumption, it is fair to assume that the eliminative and detoxifying organs of the body are overwhelmed.
Besides chemicals added during processing, there are many toxic substances used in the growing of the vegetables, fruits, or meats, plus the preserving sprays used on items such as tomatoes, potatoes, apples, and dozens of other foods. Therefore, anyone seeking food of a high degree of purity must grow it at home. Possibly the greatest contribution to health that could occur in the United States would be for each family to begin growing a substantial portion of its own food according to organic principles, without chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
In particular, the meat offered for sale in supermarkets should not be considered safe for human consumption, owing to the addition of chemical drugs and other poisons used to control the growth cycles of the animals. This point has been elaborated in so many journals and articles by impeccable authorities that it needs no further comment here. Moreover, as a matter of economy, many growers feed their animals things that, frankly speaking, are garbage that is rejected for consumption for humans, and even for cats and dogs. I even knew personally of a beef-raising operation that bought candy bars that had been damaged in freight train wrecks, and used this for cattle feed–paper wrappers and all. Any animal grown on such matter cannot be considered proper nourishment for a human being.
The Ideal Diet
Many people desire to have an “ideal” diet that would be the once-and-for-all perfect blending of nutrients and food groups. Such a diet is impossible to formulate, for within each household are usually found five or six persons with widely varying needs. Infants, children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly cannot be expected to thrive on exactly the same foods.
Timing of Meals
The timing of meals is important. Breakfast means literally “breaking the fast” of the previous eight to twelve hours. Breakfast can be a substantial meal of whole grain cereals and breads, fruits, eggs, cheese, and tea. The best time for breakfast is shortly after rising from sleep but after performing the toilet and any prayer or meditation practices.
The noon meal is best taken after the sun has passed the midpoint in the sky. There is no harm if it is delayed until one or two in the afternoon, but not much beyond that. This is probably the best time to take the largest meal of the day because metabolism is functioning at its highest rate for most people. Americans by habit allow the noon meal to become little more than a snack, but it is the main meal for most people in the world. The composition of this meal will depend on all of the foregoing factors and also on what kind of work one does.
If you do consume your main meal at noon, it is best to take a short rest afterward, a nap of not more than forty-five minutes to an hour. This interlude will provide an opportunity for the body to digest the meal, and you will arise with considerably renewed energy to work the rest of the day without becoming sluggish.
The evening meal should be taken just after sunset and should include meat or vegetable protein, wheat or other whole grains, little or no fruit, and little sweets. It is best to conclude all eating at least two hours before sleep.
By adjusting the mealtimes to the rising and setting of the sun, one is conforming to the cycles of nature and the motions of the stars and planets, all of which have an effect upon human physiological functions. The sun may rise as early as 4:00 AM in the summer and as late as 7:30 AM in the winter.
Eat Foods in Season
Another important consideration is to eat foods in season. You may be able to obtain all manner of foods throughout the year, but your body will accommodate these foods best if they are eaten mainly in the season when they are harvested. It upsets the temperaments to eat strawberries in winter, for example, for it is an early summer fruit.
Likewise, cucumbers–a cooling vegetable–should be avoided in winter. The natural cycles of the region in which one lives support the biolife that is suitable for people living there. Eskimos seldom, if ever, eat bananas! The monoculture of America’s nationwide distribution system, along with methods of preserving foods, means we can buy and consume virtually any food on earth at any time. While this may seem to be a boon and accomplishment of technology, eating foods out of season confuses the temperaments and burdens the metabolism.
Other Eating Hints
Also, whenever possible, one should eat foods grown in the locality in which one lives. This means that residents of California should not eat New York apples. The Hakims say that the onions, potatoes, and other root vegetables from one’s own region contain antidotes for all of the bacteria and viruses that are common in your town.
The most important law regarding diet is this: never eat unless there is true hunger. When a true and ready appetite appears, the meal should be taken soon afterward and not delayed, or the stomach will fill with putrefying digestive gases and digestion will be spoiled.
There is no greater harm than to eat to full satisfaction after going a long time without food. This places an unbelievable stress on the digestive powers and clogs up the channels through which the humors are dispersed. Many heart attacks occur after eating an overlarge meal.
After eating, it is best to take some light activity such as walking. This allows the food to move into the lower part of the stomach, where digestion can be carried on more readily. This is especially important to do if one has the desire to lie down or feels sluggish. Mental excitement, emotion, excessive exercise, and sexual intercourse all hinder digestion.
The amount to eat in a standard meal depends upon the general condition and activity of the person. A normal, healthy person should eat enough without producing a feeling of heaviness or a sense of tightness in the solar plexus area. After eating, there should be no rumbling of the stomach or sloshing of the food on movement. Nausea, sour belching, and a lingering taste of the meal are signs that the meal was too heavy.
Foods that are quickly and easily digested should not be taken along with foods that are hard to digest. The food that is digested first will, being lighter, float over the top of the undigested food, trapping it. Unable to enter the blood, it will be retained unnecessarily long in the stomach and begin fermenting, resulting in gas and belching. A listing of the digestion times of many foods is given in Appendix III.
All liquids taken simultaneously with food dilute the gastric juices and therefore are not recommended with meals. Nor should much liquid be taken after a meal, for it causes the food to leave the lining of the stomach and float about. If there is a great thirst after a meal, it is best to satisfy it with cold water–the colder it is, the less will be required to quench the thirst.
When the initial stage of digestion is over (about thirty minutes), evidenced by a feeling of lightness in the upper part of the diaphragm, some tea may be taken, preferably one that aids digestion, such as peppermint. Oranges are ideal to eat after a meal, for the citric acid helps digestion and the fruit satisfies any thirst.
About Meat Eating
There are many well-considered opinions about the eating of meat, both for and against. There is no harm in adopting a strict vegetarian diet, provided that one exercises great care in selecting those foods that will combine to manufacture vital amino acids and necessary enzymes.
It is my personal opinion that it is permissible from a moral point of view to eat meat. However, as has been stated, all meats from commercial super-markets should be shunned. This means one should raise and slaughter animals for one’s own consumption. For city dwellers this poses some problems, but by checking with the best health food stores and Muslim (Halal) and Jewish (kosher) meat markets, you can discover sources of pure meats. However, do some questioning of the butcher. Just because meat has been slaughtered according to religious law does not mean it has been grown without chemicals.
Regardless of the source of the meat, the quantity of meat consumed to remain healthy and promote growth is not as much as people consume in the United States. Eating reasonable portions twice or three times a week is more than sufficient. In any event, eating meat three times per day in huge quantities produces disease.
About “Low-Fat Diet” & Supplements
If you’re trying to shed pounds simply by cutting fat, you’re risking cancer, heart disease and other health problems if you don’t balance your diet to include crucial nutrients found in other foods.
Women tend to fall into the low-fat trap, particularly if they’re cutting fat grams by munching on reduced-fat goodies rather than carrot sticks.
They eat snack foods when they should be eating fresh vegetables and fruit rich in naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
Cutting fat and cholesterol may reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes. But nutrient-poor diets also are associated with heart disease and diabetes, along with osteoporosis, cancers of the digestive tract, colon and other organs, and birth defects.
Simply reducing fat intake does not achieve a healthful diet. Dieters who don’t balance their nutrients risk cancer, heart disease and other health problems
Despite the national obsession with lowering fat intakes most people do not meet government-recommended dietary guidelines.
The one message the public has heard is about fat — that less than 30 percent of daily calories come from fat and less than 10 percent from saturated fats. USDA surveys show the average American got 42 percent of calories from fat in 1965, dropping to about 32 percent by 1995.
If people switch to lean meats, skim milk and whole grains, and snack on fruits and raw vegetables instead of junk food, they should improve their overall health. But many people load up on reduced-fat cookies, potato chips and cakes.
Many suggests people concerned about their health take vitamins. But experts agree that vitamins don’t provide the benefits found in balanced diets, and excessive pill-taking can create a disease mentality on its own.
There are literally hundreds of chemicals in foods that have beneficial properties, and those chemicals aren’t found in a vitamin. Those substances include phytochemicals and antioxidants shown to reduce risk of cancer, and flavonoids, chemicals found in onions, citrus fruits, apples, and grapes, that may prevent damage to blood vessels.
Studies have shown that although eating yellow and green vegetables helps prevent cancer and heart disease, taking beta carotene supplements does not.
Some meats should not be eaten at all. These include pork and any animal that eats carrion (already dead) flesh, such as dogs, cats, most birds of prey, snakes, and many wild animals. The easiest meat to digest is that of fowl. All fish are acceptable, but you should prefer those that do not feed off the refuse on the ocean or river floors. Lamb is the best meat, and that of a male yearling is preferred over older sheep. The shoulder cut is the most nutritious.
How to Eat a Meal
Try to find others with whom you can share meals. Everyone knows the dull feeling of eating alone. Organize people in your neighborhood, office, or club to prepare and eat meals together, at least once or twice a week.
There is a saying in the East: “He who eats alone eats with Satan; he who eats with one other person eats with a tyrant; he who eats with two other people eats with the prophets.”