What is a Yogic Diet?
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.
Macrobiotic bowl at Cafe Gratitude, one of my favorite vegan restaurants.
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
Food as Meditation: 3 Stages to Rethink How You Eat
Jerry Seinfeld once said, ‘Thank god for relationships. Without them, all we would ever talk about is food. These days, wherever we look, we find a new blog, book or ideology proclaiming the health benefits of a new superfood, supplement or diet, guaranteed to give you, among other things, effortless weight loss, boundless energy, mental clarity and eternal youth. So, of course, you give it a try, and, voila, it works….. well, for a few weeks, anyway. Then, unable to sustain this radical new way of eating, you’re back to your old habits until…. the next fad diet promising, well, you know the same results as the last one.
We have bought into a reductionist, cookie-cutter mentality, believing that we can all eat the same thing and get the same results. Ayurveda, the planet’s first nature-based medical system teaches that, although some things are right for some people sometimes, nothing, no foods, fads or diets are always right for everyone. This observation is based on the premise that, each and every one of us, is completely different and totally unique.
With respect to food, the only universal truth is that we all need to eat. Period. Beyond that, we each have various likes, dislikes, preferences, aversions and what we regard as the perfect meal. Every day, however, we are faced with the same problem…having to choose. This dilemma brings us to the topic of this blog…. Food As Meditation
First, let me explain a few concepts. Meditation is a tool for clarifying our values and creating a calm and focused mind. It is a simple, yet profound practice which, eventually, transforms our perception and, ultimately, changes our behavior.
Classically, meditation is a three stage process requiring the abilities to: 1.Choose 2. Focus and 3. Sustain.
Choose– this is the most difficult step in meditation, as in order to choose to eat certain foods, I must forgo a whole bunch of other food choices. Choice comes from the inside. It implies taking in information from the outside, filtering it through your individual experience and applying the parts that are appropriate to you depending on your goals. This considered choice implies reflection and commitment which leads to the second aspect of
Focus. When I choose freely and willingly the foods that work for me then I am more likely to stay with these choices for a long time because it feels good and it’s the right thing for me. With this as my foundation I am more likely to stay the course and
Sustain my eating plan. Why? Because I am the one choosing based on what feels right for my body. This is the ultimate meditation. Someone who takes their cues and changes their behavior based on what feels truly right for them!
This is part one of a 3-part Ayurveda series. Be sure to check back next month for more great information from Eleni and check out her intro workshop 6.25.15.
Eleni Tsikrikas is an Ayurvedic practitioner based in Silverlake. She coaches and empowers students to make amazing food and lifestyle choices. She teaches Ayurveda Skills For Living courses and regular workshops at One down Dog Yoga.
MEATLESS MONDAY – RECIPE 1
Vegan BBQ Pulled “Pork” Jackfruit Sandwiches with Agave Mustard Slaw
- 2 cans jackfruit
- 1 cup red onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/3 cup vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon vegetarian worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 4 sandwich rolls
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the red onion slices.
2. Rinse and drain the jackfruit.
3. Cut the core off of the jackfruit chunks and discard.
4. Using two forks, shred the jackfruit meat, discarding the seed pods.
5. Once the onions are caramelized, and 1 of the garlic cloves and saute another minute.
6. Add the jackfruit, barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard, worcestershire sauce and thyme to the pan.
7. Lower the heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
8. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
9. Mix the vegan butter with the remaining grated clove of garlic and spread onto each sandwich roll. You might have to melt it for a few seconds in the microwave, though I prefer to keep it more solid as it makes it easier to spread onto the rolls.
10. Place buns butter side up on a baking sheet and place in oven. Check after 5 minutes and remove once the tops are slightly browned.
11. Once the jackfruit has simmered for about 20 minutes, place a large spoonful on each bun. Top with slaw, mustard and or pickles if desired.
The Agave Mustard Slaw
- 4 cups finely shredded red cabbage
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine the cabbage and carrot in a large bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the agave, dijon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Pour the liquid mixture over the cabbage and stir until well coated.
4. Serve on the sandwich or on the side with some pickles.
These sandwiches taste great topped with slaw and served with pickles and baked beans.
If using a vinegar based bbq sauce, you might try omitting the apple cider vinegar.
Enjoy our first ever Meatless Monday recipe!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Passionate about cooking, Taylor started What Vegetarians Eat
to share plant-based recipes, explore topics related to veganism and inspire those who are interested in “eating more veggies and less animals.” When she’s not cooking up a storm, Taylor works as a web developer
, plays guitar in an indie band, and practices yoga
. Having recently graduated from One Down Dog’s first teacher training, you can check out her flow-based PRACTICE classes
Vegan Barbeque Recipes
Summertime, and the living is easy. When we think of summer, we think of hanging at the beach, road trips, late nights, swimming, and BBQs with great company. Unfortunately, some of the things that get thrown on the grill aren’t necessarily always the greatest for us. But why should we have to choose between enjoying one of America’s great traditions and eating well? We shouldn’t! We believe that living a healthy lifestyle should never be boring or restrictive. When it comes to grilling the possibilities are endless! Try these scrumptious vegan barbeque recipes and enjoy:
We love to grill veggies. You name it we grill it. Eggplants, Tomatoes, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Artichokes, Onions, Corn, Peppers, Zucchini and other summer squash are all for great for the grill. If you’re pinched for prep time pick up a quick 30 minute marinade from your local grocery store and let the veggies soak before you throw them on the grill. Nothing fancy. Super Taste. Extra healthy.
We love veggie burgers. Not your average, bland, store bought veggie burger laden with unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives galore – yuck! Fresh veggie burgers, made from scratch! We’ve compiled six delicious veggie burger recipes from different bloggers on the net. These are delicious and are sure to satisfy both herbivores and carnivores alike!
Red Lentil Cauliflower Burgers from Vegan Richa
Curry Spiced Lentil Rice Veggie Burger from Edible Perspective
Chipotle Black Bean Burgers from Iowa Girl Eats
How do are you grilling this summer?
Leave a comment below and let us know!
Fall in Love with Kale
I was talking to a friend the other day on the phone and she asked what I was doing, I replied that I was eating a giant kale salad. She started laughing and said “What is with kale anyway?” little did she know the answer to that question would go on for over 10 minutes. Kale is super good for you AND delicious (if you’re eating it fresh and preparing it right) that that’s why it is so popular right now. It’s one of the most nutritiously dense vegetables and boasts innumerable health benefits.
From WebMD: One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
I’ve been a vegetarian for years and one thing that drives me crazy is the myth that vegetarian food is bland and boring. One of my favorite foods is a delicious Caesar salad but the vegetarian/vegan versions often lack creamy-ness or the kick that anchovies give it. So I cam up with a recipe for kale salad that tastes delicious. This vegetarian (vegan if you leave the parm out) Caesar dressing is so rich and flavorful, you’re going to love it! For the greens I like to use a mix of kale and arugula but you can use anything you’d like.
Vegetarian Caesar Dressing
1/2 cup Olive Oil
3 tablespoons high quality Dijon Mustard (I like Westbrae Natural organic Dijon)
3-5 cloves of Garlic, depending on clove size and how much you like garlic!
1 splash of White Wine Vinegar OR Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 squeezed fresh Lemon (or more to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Kale & Arugula
Mix it all up and enjoy!