About Yoga Food
Yoga food is vegetarian.
It is an eating philosophy based on a wholesome vegetarian diet. Its principles of healthy eating use vegetarian ingredients in combination with spices and herbs that have therapeutic value and delicious flavors.
“You Are What you Eat” – a commonly used phrase in yoga, has a powerful meaning. Yoga believes that food not only influences your body in the physical sense but is also known to directly influence emotions and feelings. It can induce bliss or anger, contentment or restlessness, thoughts of the sacred or the profane. The quality of the food you eat literally creates your state of mind and emotions. The teachings of yoga advocate a vegetarian diet with special emphasis on foods that bring peace to body, mind, and sprit.
Why vegetarian? - Yoga food is based on the idea that foods must be consumed in their most natural forms in order to realize their true benefits. The yogic belief is that several health disorders can be traced to faulty nutrition, poor diet and difficulty in digestion. The big Idea? – In order to stay healthy and happy “food should be digested very easily”! A vegetarian yoga diet ensures that all faculties of digestion work smoothly—absorption, assimilation, and elimination. The diet also contains high amounts of fiber and antioxidants. Yoga food helps to maintain a strong and healthy body, a stress-free mind, and a positive spirituality in our complex lifestyles. The benefits of a well-balanced vegetarian diet can be powerful.
Yoga Food is classified into 3 categories – Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic Foods
Sattvic Food - Eat Most
Sattvic Foods are foods that should be eaten the most and that are very easily digestible. These foods nourish the body, purify the mind and heal the imbalance in the body by generating good health, energy, vitality, vigor, mental alertness, peace and strength. These include foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as vegetables, fruits, herbs; essential dietary fiber and carbohydrates required by the body include whole and unrefined grains; protein rich foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy; natural sweeteners such as honey and raw sugar, therapeutic spices in small quantities, oil and ghee (Indian clarified butter) in small quantities for the required fat in the body.
Rajasic Foods - Eat Moderately
Rajasic Foods are foods that should be eaten moderately or occasionaly and are foods that are not as easily digestible like Sattvic foods. Although, these foods create restlessness and provide extra-stimulation, it is sometimes required when the body needs higher amounts of energy or during the fall and winter seasons. They include very spicy, hot, salty, bitter, sour, pungent, and gaseous foods such as chickpea, toor lentil, white urad lentil, black and green gram, soy bean, hot spices such as red chili powder and black pepper, stimulants such as onion, garlic, tea, coffee, chocolate and wine.
Tamasic Foods - Eat Least
Tamasic Foods are foods that should be eaten the least and are foods that are difficult to digest. These foods require a lot more energy to digest and are known to be the least beneficial to the mind and the body. Tamasic foods can enhance dullness, lethargy, depression the body feel heavy, generating the least amount of energy. When eaten too often or in excess they could destroy the body’s resistance to disease. They include meat, fish, eggs, intoxicants, alcohol, and foods that are processed, chemically altered, artificially flavored, food kept for over 24 hours, reheated and deep-fried foods.
Yoga food tips and suggestions for good health
- Eat four times a day at four hour intervals
- Do not skip breakfast, it is the most important meal of the day
- Do not drink water with your meal – drink water 30 minutes before a meal
- When you eat a meal, you’re stomach should be 1/2 filled with food, ¼ with water (drunk 30 minutes before) and ¼ should be empty for proper digestion
- Eat food that is freshly cooked
- Do not overeat or eat too less
- Food should be tasty and easy to digest
- Food should be eaten with concentration and in a calm environment
So whether you practice yoga or just want to eat healthy and be happy, Yoga food is for you!