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sattvic foods, a yogic diet
They say that “You are what you eat,” which is exactly why we should be aware of what we consume and what goes into our body. For the most part, those who have incorporated yoga into their their daily habit for some time usually also have developed a habit of clean eating.
The idea behind this yogic diet isn’t about aiming for an ideal body weight and to be skinny; instead, it is about creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It encourages us to nourish the body while simultaneously instilling a calmer and more peaceful mind.
Do you want to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle, but clueless on how to start? Here are 3 basic yet effective ways on how one could begin to ease into the eating habits of a yogi. Read on!
Eat right: the recipe
The yogic diet promotes whole, simple, fresh and nutritious food – more specifically sattvic foods. Such foods are known to purify the body and calm the mind, making you feel lighter and more energetic. Some examples of such foods are fresh fruits, green vegetables, nuts, dairy products (except for eggs) and whole grains.
That said, your diet does not need to be solely based on sattvic foods. It all depends on your current lifestyle. For those who are already active on a daily basis and participate in a demanding physical practice (such as Kundalini yoga or Martial Arts), you might also need to consume a diet that consists of rajasic foods along with some sattvic foods.
This is because Rajasic foods (including chilies, spices, herbs and non-vegetarian foods) help stimulate the body and mind into action. However, be sure not to consume too much, as it can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, anger, and sleepiness.
Lastly, as much as possible, you would want to avoid foods that fall under the tamasic category. Why, you ask? This is due to the fact that consuming them will likely to cause you to feel impulsive and sluggish. Hence, it is highly recommended that you steer clear from over-consumption of caffeine, sugar, processed/canned foods, meat, salt, refined grains and spicy foods. As you adopt the yogic diet that best suits you into your lifestyle, you will likely improve the state of your body, mind, and spirit.
If you’re finding it somewhat overwhelming to absorb the vast amount of information on what a yogic diet entails, perhaps it might be wise to attend culinary retreats that promote yogic-friendly food, such as vegan retreats.
Know when to eat: the schedule
On a daily basis, one should consume at least three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). The question is, what kind of food should we be eating for each meal to optimize our level of energy and boost our health?
How you start your day determines how the rest of your day will be. So, to ensure that you will have a good day, you must kick-start it right. After getting the recommended eight hours of sleep, the first thing you would need to do is get yourself hydrated!
Energize yourself with a cup of warm lemon water to help kick-start the digestion and flush out the toxins from your body. Don’t have lemons in your fridge? Don’t fret – drinking a glass of plain water can do the same trick. Drinking water first thing in the morning not only purifies your internal system, it also comes with a bunch of other therapeutic benefits.
Since the ideal yogic diet consists of daily, hearty servings of green vegetables and fruits, why not try juicing them? Skip your regular cup of Joe and opt for these healthy and delicious beverages instead!
You’ll be surprised that it is a quick and fulfilling way to begin your day. It’ll help you to feel refreshed and ready to take on whatever the day brings. You can thank us later!
According to the teachings of Ayurveda, the digestive ‘fire’ is greatest at noon, which means that lunch should be our the largest meal of the day. You’d be interested to know that for yogis, lunch is considered a “cheat meal.”
It is an opportunity for you to indulge in larger portions and heartier types of foods. That said, this does not mean that you should be binging on whatever your heart (and stomach) desires. Remember to keep your food choices healthy and filling. We recommend sticking to a vegetarian diet, which happens to be a favorite amongst yogis.
For dinner, you could consume a much lighter meal compared to the one you have for lunch. This is because you would not want to overload your digestive system right before you head to bed. Bloatedness, an effect from overeating, can cause you to have trouble sleeping, and you may feel lethargic in the morning.
The Times of India recommends eating dinner as early as possible, because it takes approximately 4 to 5 hours for the stomach to digest our meal.
If you’re curious to find out more on what food would be best to consume for which meal, be sure to check out the tips shared by Yoga instructor Heidi Kristoffer in Shape magazine. Though a change in diets would have its challenges at first, you’ll agree that it’ll be worthwhile once you start seeing its wonderful effects to your health and well-being.
Eat with a heart of gratitude and love: the chew
Eating with a sense of gratitude and love is probably the most important part of the yogic diet. The truth is, food doesn’t only satisfy our cravings or hunger, but is crucial in nurturing our mind, body, and soul. As mentioned earlier, “You are what you eat,” so, not expressing love for your food is not expressing love for yourself.
Before you gulp down your meal, don’t forget to give thanks and appreciate the food that has been set in front of you. Instead of rushing through your meals, savor the flavors in every bite you take and remember how the food that you are consuming can benefit your body in a positive manner.
Try eating your meals in silence or outside in nature, away from all the distractions. You will be surprised that personal time in solitude would elevate an indescribable inner peace within you. So, go and chew with gratitude!