While there are many yogi’s that choose vegetarianism or veganism as their way of living both on and off the mat, there is truly no prescribed menu for yogis, but there is a yogic diet; it is one composed of balanced clean whole-foods, pure fluids, good quality supplements and dose of simplicity.
The best foods to be including in your diet are those that your body can digest and therefore assimilate (absorb) easily and that keep the body feeling light, nourished and the mind clear. Consuming foods that are highly processed, rich in saturated fats, high in sugar and devoid of nutrients will leave your body struggling to break them down and leave you with unstable blood sugar, decreased energy, increased fatigue and most likely lead towards poor recovery time from your yoga practice and an increase in overall inflammation.
In this way of thinking about nourishment, what you need as an individual may be very different from what someone else needs. And what you need at this moment in your life may be very different from what you needed five years ago or will need five years from now. This can be quite the challenge in the yoga industry as they are many ‘schools’ of thinking that you should only be pure vegan or vegetarian if you are a true practicing yogi, so that you are upholding the first yama ‘Ahimsa’ meaning to bring no harm and no violence. However, I have watched over the years many people’s health and body’s suffer as a results of eating in a way they are told to and made to feel bad about versus listening to their own constitution and what balances their own personal body best. Just as you learn to listen to your body on the mat, you must also listen to your body when it comes to eating.
To begin forming your own ‘yogic’ diet, think about which teachings and information best resonate with you and how you might put those teachings into action. If ahimsa is a focal point in your value system, exp
lore how your food choices can cause the least possible harm to yourself, other beings, and the planet. When you get all these factors in alignment with your own personal value system, that is the ‘yogic diet. Regardless of what you choose as your source of food and super nourishment for your body, remember one thing…never judge another for what their individual consumption and choices may be. Energetically you will be leaking your own energy and you must remind yourself that part of this remarkable practice of yoga is just that – no judgment, no harm and freedom to choose for one’s self.
Along with your nourishing and supportive food choices you may want to consider daily supplements to help buffer your efforts and neutralize any free radicals or inflammatory triggers your body may come in contact with from the daily effects our environment and choices.
Some incredible supplements to consider adding to your daily regime that will help you both preparing for your practice on the mat and your recovery time off the mat are the following:
- A Daily probiotic is always essential to replenish the good bacteria in your gut. Remember roughly 70% of your immune system is in your gut so this is a MUST. If you can add a fish oil to your probiotic even better, as the fish oil works to help the good bacteria stick in the intestines, which means if they stick, they stay, grow and flourish. Some brand I love are Biotics Bio-Doph 7 Plus, Genestra HMF Forte and Innovite DDS. My preferred 2-in-1 source is Genuine Health Live Probio+O3mega which accomplish this is one easy capsule.
- A daily phyto-nutrient rich green source of super-foods. Using 100% pure Spirulina, Chlorella or a combination product like Genuine Health Greens+ O.
- A daily B Complex, either in an easy to absorb capsule or liquid, is important to support your adrenals and nervous system. Genestra, AOR, Douglas Laboratories and Biotics are good brands.
- Vitamin D in a liquid source, anywhere from a minimum of 2000iu to 5000iu depending on you the individual, where you live and what your outside full spectrum exposure to the sun is. I prefer Biotics D-Mulsion or D-Drops
- For more challenging yoga practices or those lasting 90 minutes or longer I also love to use and recommend adding something to your water. Perhaps a package of Emergen C, frozen organic berries or for superior affects, cold-pressed juice from Juice Matters like 7 Carrot Gold or Coconut Groove or my favourite Genuine Health ActiveFuel vegan plant-based pre-and-during performance powder. It really helps myself and students to increase their energy because of the branched chain amino acids in the product that support muscle synthesis and counter muscle fatigue and a great combination of slow burning carbohydrates.
- I also include a nutrient rich smoothie to start my everyday and often have one post-yoga practice as well. One of my favorites is this:
½ cup fresh cashew milk http://jennpike.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/creamy-complete-cashew-milkshake/ ½ cup water, ½ banana, ½ cup frozen blueberries , 2 handfuls either organic spinach or mixed greens, tbsp. hemp oil and 1 scoop Genuine Health Vegan+ protein powder in vanilla.
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