Of course, you can practice yoga without following the eating guidelines of a yogi. But if you like, you can try a traditional yoga diet, or at least follow some of the tenets. This type of diet is thought to help you be more balanced and healthy. Try the following steps to eat like a yogi:
1. Follow your Ayurvedic dosha
Huh? If you’ve never heard of it, Ayurveda is considered one of the oldest health care systems. It originated in India and it is deeply connected with yoga. In Ayurveda, each person has a dosha, or a body type. Each dosha – vata, pitta or kapha – comes with specific types of food that are best for it and that keep it in balance. In general, vata should eat naturally sweet, sour and salty foods; pitta should eat naturally sweet, astringent and bitter foods; and kapha should eat bitter, spicy and astringent foods. Check out some of the recipes we have posted here in the past.
2. Eat fresh food
Processed food doesn’t have as much life force energy as fresh food, so fresh food is recommended for yogis. You should choose fresh whole foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fresh dairy and meat (if you include meat in your diet). If you can’t follow this completely, at least make some or most of your food fresh.
3. Use awareness
Pay attention to your meals, instead of using them as a time for multi-tasking. Notice the look, texture and taste of each component of your meal or snack. Also, pay attention to when you’re full. This will help you appreciate your food, eat healthier, eat slower and stop when you’re full. These tactics can improve your health and can even help you lose weight. Writing a list of foods you eat every day may be a big eye opener too!
4. Avoid certain foods
Certain foods are to be avoided in the yogi diet. These include foods that are overripe, fermented or rotten, which can include overripe fruit and alcohol. Some ancient yoga texts even recommend staying away from all spicy, sour or bitter foods. However, these are some of the ideas that are considered outdated or extreme to most Western yoga practitioners, so you can decide whether or not to follow them, and to what extent.
5. Cut down on meat
Yoga traditionally goes along with a vegetarian diet. The reasons for this are that meat can come with numerous health risks, that meat goes against the nonviolent beliefs of yogis and that it doesn’t contribute to the best balance, both for your mind and your body. You can try becoming a vegetarian, or simply cut down on meat. No one is saying you have to stop eating meat all together, but by at least cutting down on your intake and being selective of the quality types, you will notice a difference. Yogis are not traditionally vegans, as they include dairy in their diets.