“Food is medicine, and Medicine is Food”.
This is true on so many levels. However, people are often deceived by external factors, such as Government agendas, funded corporations telling people to eat certain foods, internet information overload and more. We all are different and so are our nutritional needs. The art of Yoga nourishes your organs, clears your energy pathways, and improves mental health so that you enjoy life to the fullest. However, without a proper diet, an only-Yoga routine will just be another half-baked cookie. Isn’t it? Enters Yoga diet. Oh, well, yet another diet, seriously? Unlike other global diets like Okinawa, Indian, and Masai, the Yoga diet offers you the liberty to eat whole foods that you find easy on your stomach.
Yoga Diet: Is it Yet Another Agenda?
Food industry is a complicated setup and often legally funded by corporation and scientific labs, as and when, a new discovery comes to surface. However, not everything is going to suit your body needs and digestion. This is where the Yoga diet scores a point and even though it is mostly plant-based, many Yogis do consume an Omnivore diet, such as meat, broth, and more.
According to Ayurveda, which closely connects itself to the art of Yoga in a subtle way, most plants, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds are a healthy source of necessary vitamins and minerals. Certain Yoga diets in mostly Blue Zone countries and Asian regions like India, often include dairy products like milk and Yogurt for a wholesome nutritional profile.
Far from being an agenda, a full-fledged wholesome Yoga diet is one diet that is flexible in many possible ways. You can easily tweak it as per your needs, season, region, and climate. With that said, it will now be interesting to know what exactly fits into this diet and some great recipes from all over the world.
But, before that, here are few things you might have to consider before, trying any recipe:
- Choose seasonal vegetables and fruits for a high nutrition profile
- Do not order items from a foreign land and save the planet
- Consider soaking legumes and nuts to kill the anti-nutrients
- Skimp on foods that upsets your digestion or give you weird after-affects
Healthy Eating Plan
When talking about eating plans, it becomes difficult to suggest a ‘best’ plan for an individual. There are many factors that comes into play, such as weather, time schedule, office hours, level of physical activity, and mental health. You cannot stick to a healthy eating plan that does not fulfill your needs or satiate hunger for long. The hormones need to stay in equilibrium while on a diet as any deficiency may lead to a sudden change in the physical body behavior.
- Any plan, Yoga diet plan or not, emphasizes on the importance of having 4-5 smaller meals a day, with breakfast being the important part of the day.
- Meals should have a perfect combination of protein, fats and carbohydrates in order to keep the ups & downs in energy levels at bay
- Dinner should be lighter on the digestive tract and preferable eaten quickly after or before sunset.
Recipes that Changes Your Gastronomical World
1. Sattvic Bhojan
According to Ayurveda, foods that make you deficient are called as Tamasic and the foods that give you health are known as Rajasic. A Sattvic diet contains every single food item, as approved by the Yogic literature, which raises the metabolism and keeps you moving. Some of the approved combinations in this way of eating are:
- A wholesome Indian cuisine platter containing Indian bread or chappatis, veggies, salads, cooked legumes.
- The Yogic literature approved heat-causing foods like most beans and gluten-based foods increase libido, improve sex drive, and push the flow of sex hormones.
- Foods like salads and seasonal fruits have been approved to calm the agni aka digestion and ease up the symptoms of menstruation, pre-pregnancy digestive issues, and certain illnesses.
2. Vegan Based Diets
Vegan diets disapprove of any animal products and relies upon the power of a wholesome plant-based foods. Some of recipes that you can check here are:
Green smoothies: Add in your favorite greens, protein powder (optional), seeds like hemp seeds, flaxseeds, plant milk like soy or almond and blend together. This is a great way to start your day or probably keep the Ghrelin hormone (the hunger hormone) in-check.
Raw Cakes: There are many raw vegans who swears by eating cakes using only raw foods, which means nothing is cooked or fried.
An example: Raw Carrot Cup Cake by Gena Hamshaw-Nutritionist
- Walnuts- soaked overnight
- Nuts of your choice- dates, almond
- 1-2 cups of grated carrots
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Process all ingredients together and push the dough into tins of your choice and refrigerate. You can go for a frosting recipe with cashews, agave syrup and lemon juice with some water mixed together.
3. Raw Frugivore Diet
This is a new trend in the world of Yoga & wellness and has taken the world by storm.The frugivore diet is about eating seasonal or wild edible fruits only. You can juice them, blend them into a smoothie or make custards or plant-based parfaits. The frugivore diet is a subset of the vegan diet with no animal products in use. The diet might not be as extended and free as you might think as there are regions where there is no vegetation like Greenland and areas occupied by Eskimos. According to Yogic literature, eating cleaner natural foods like fruits catalyzes spiritual awakening, clears up the Pineal Gland and eases up the digestion.
4. Vegetarian Cooked Meals
Not very different from vegan cooked meals, with the only difference here being inclusion of some animal products like dairy products and (or) eggs. A Yoga vegetarian diet should be free of any stimulant like processed cheeses, junk foods, and chemical-laden produce. The idea is to choose organic whole foods for preparation and good fats or oils for cooking like Ghee, Mustard oil, and coconut oil. The beauty of vegetarian food is that it is cooked almost everywhere and the recipes can be tweaked to serve our own purpose and taste buds.
- You can choose to go for the meals prepared in your country with no or minimum processed foods.
- Cook your veggies well so that it becomes more bio-available and digestible.
- Go easy on night-shades and starchy vegetables as they might hurt the digestive walls.
- Follow wise traditions, meaning, what your grandmother preached. Never over-analyze the food combinations. Ayurveda lays an emphasis on eating correct food combinations that helps with bile movement and absorption of foods.
5. The Freedom Diet
As a Yogi, you might be moving from one place to another for yoga retreats, taking classes if you are an instructor or traveling for fun. In that case, it becomes difficult to stick to a strict diet that you follow or might be following. Does that mean, you need to give up on health? No, you just have to be mindful of your choices, irrespective of your location and choices available there.
- Go for seasonal fruits available when in a different country. You shall support their heritage.
- Yoga is learning about freedom and allowing your soul to roam freely in this existence. The Freedom diet shall allow you to pick foods that resonates with your existence and digestion.
- Always pray before eating your food as this is believed to ward off any negative impact or evil eyes off the food. This is also believed to help you adjust to new foods in a foreign land.
A Yogic lifestyle shall help you enliven your soul and reach out to the best version of your human existence.