Writer: Nombuso Ntombela
For thousands of years, practitioners have been perfecting a way of eating that feeds their body, boosts energy and enhances their spiritual well-being. Whatever your choice of workout, the right diet is key to helping you fuel your body and reach your weight loss goals. And it’s no different with yoga.
Boost your ENERGY, detox your SYSTEM and get WEIGHT LOSS with the following yoga-inspired eating tips.
“The yogic diet is influenced by ayurveda-the traditional Indian system of medicine”, as explained by yoga teacher and ayurvedic practitioner Joanna Webber on his website (ayurvedicyogi.com). “It looks at the subtle influence food has on your mind, as well as the more obvious effect it has on your body.”
This lacto-vegetarian diet is designed to give you the same light, energised feeling your get from doing yoga, and can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
“The yogic diet is actually just a well-balanced diet that can promote good health and weight loss if you follow a few simple principles”, Webber said.
Principles such as keeping things natural, skipping takeaways, using natural sweeteners, keeping caffeine to a minimum, going easy on the meat, and eating small portions help a lot in keeping in with the diet.
1.KEEP THINGS NATURAL: Make fresh fruit, raw, lightly steamed or stir-fried vegetables, pulses, unrefined whole grains, nuts and seeds the staples of your diet. With vegetables and fruits, try to eat organic and local produce whenever you can to benefit from the higher nutrient values of recently picked food.
2. SKIP TAKEAWAYS: In yoga, food is believed to contain prana. One of the words used for breath, prana also refers to the general energy flowing through living things. Processed foods affect your energy levels, making you tired and sluggish, and can lead to weight gain. Aim to avoid anything made with white flour or sugar, takeaways and high-salt meals, as well as boxed foods.
3. USE NATURAL SWEETENERS: It’s not off limits to have the odd treat once in a while, but yogis flavour their foods with natural sweeteners, including honey, maple syrup, and molasses. They also use an abundance of naturally sweet spices such as cinnamon , cardamom, mint, ginger, turmeric and fennel.
4. KEEP CAFFEINE TO A MINIMUM: Yogis like to generate their energy through practising asanas and yogic breathing. Caffeinated beverages are seen as rajasic or over stimulating. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s helpful to cut down on tea and coffee (or cut them out altogether), as they can cause false hunger and a crash in your blood sugar levels that could lead to problems in your energy reserves and cause sweet or salt cravings.
5. GO EASY ON THE MEAT: The yogic diet is a lacto-vegetarian one, which means it’s made up of non-animal foods – with the exception of milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter and honey. The rationale behind this is the yogic principle of non-violence (or ahimsa) towards all living things. But you don’t have to be vegetarian to follow the yoga diet, especially if your main purpose is weight loss. You may prefer to opt for regularly eating small portions of lean meat, chicken, fish and eggs, as these will help keep you satisfied between meals.
An extra tip for all of you….
6. EAT SMALL PORTIONS: Moderation is the key principle of the yogic diet. in fact, yogis believe that you should eat only until you’re about about 80% full, leaving room in your stomach to maintain good digestion. One good way of getting this is to eat about 80% of what’s on your plate, and then wait. It takes approximately 12 minutes for your stomach to register fullness, so you might be fuller than you think.