People always ask me, what is a "yogic diet"? Some people must think we yogis sit around a bonfire, barefoot and cross-legged, eating leaves and nuts that we foraged for following our 4 hour yoga practice that we woke up at the butt crack of dawn for. Hmm... ok... some of that might be true... some days.
So, what is a yogic diet? Well, I believe that having a yogic diet is having a mindful approach to how we eat, leaving all emotion, guilt, and temptation out of it. We all have different bodies and that means we all require different types of diets that depend on a lot of factors. There ain't no "one size fits all", which is also the same deal for our yoga practices. When it comes to a yoga practice, a dozen different bodies require a dozen different poses and different kinds of practices for us to stay balanced. Balance means not too much of any one thing.. .and that even applies to too much healthy food. I believe there is such a thing as eating too healthy! If you love chocolate and sweets don't deprive yourself for too long of cookies, ice cream and candy. I believe in the 90/10 diet. 90% healthy stuff and 10% not so healthy stuff. I love chocolate too much to take it out of my diet. I'll definitely help myself to a delicious dark chocolate treat a couple times a week and that keeps me balanced.
Many people ask me if I’m a vegetarian. I am not a vegetarian. I tried it for a bit and then I tried being a pescatarian. I can keep a pescatarian diet for a while, but sometimes I really do crave chicken in my salad, and that’s ok. Listen to your cravings. It’s telling you something. I don’t enjoy putting rules and restrictions on myself because it makes life challenging. However, if we are more aware of where our food comes from and how its treated, then I believe it is more of a yogic diet than not knowing or caring. Also, if you always eat out at restaurants, you should try to support the establishments that are also conscious of the food they serve their patrons.
Adopting a yogic diet is a practice. Try things out for a week and see how it makes you feel. For example, take dairy out of your diet for a week and notice how it makes you feel. Do you feel anything new? Is it a positive change? Negative experience? Maybe try eating more vegetables and notice how it makes you feel. If you go through a week where you seem to eat a lot of processed & heavy food and by the end of the week you feel awful.... it's ok. You can start over and do it better the next week. This is what I mean by a practice. Some days we walk into our yoga practice and you feel like the poses are easy and you feel light as a feather. Some days you walk into class and every pose feels heavy and difficult. Our bodies and minds change every single day and require different types of food, exercise, practice, and care depending on so many factors.
I'll lay down a few ground rules for this "yogic diet" thing we muse over:
1) Turn inward and listen to your body today. What does your body need? Think of food as fuel. Unless you really crave frozen yogurt.... always get fro-yo:)
2) Eat whole, real foods.... lots of green vegetables, 90% of the time.... the other 10% is reserved for your sweet tooth cravings.
3) Don't keep eating until you feel full. We need much smaller portions of food than you think. As a yogi, we cannot practice and move around with agility on a full stomach. We need to feel light and spry, so eat smaller portions of light and nutritious food.
4) Cook your own food at home as often as possible.
- When you cook your own food you know what’s in it and you can add as much love as you need... Seasoned to perfection. You also tend to not overeat as much when you cook at home. You can measure out exactly what you need and that’s it. When we go to restaurants we tend to finish the plate even if we weren't that hungry. Also, its way less expensive to cook at home and you can spend all your extra saved money on cool new yoga pants!!
5) There really are no rules! Eat what you love! Eat what makes you feel good... really think about that. What makes you feel good. What foods make you feel sexy and confident about yourself? What foods make you feel strong and ready to conquer the world, or at least conquer your yoga practice? Eat those veggies and whole foods and keep yourself feeling balanced.
Here’s some grocery shopping inspiration….
My yogi shopping list:
Jalapeno Yogurt Cheese (from Trader Joe’s…. its lactose free!)
Organic Sprouted Seed Bread
Organic Almond Milk
Organic Raw Almond Butter
Nacho (flavored) Kale Chips
Organic Free Range Eggs
Organic Chicken Breast
Organic Ground Coffee