The saying “you are what you eat” is the core philosophy of the Yogic Diet. Rather than compartmentalizing food into protein, carbs, fats, and sugars, the Yogic approach to healthy eating is to view food as a delicate balance of nutrients for both the body and the mind. You are serene, spiritual, and fit for spiritual growth when you eat “Sattvic” foods, disturbed when you eat “Rajasic” food and dull to the point of inertia when you eat “Tamasic” food. If you can’t follow the Yogic Diet in its strictest terms, which eliminates flesh products and is vegetarian, then at least consider the diet’s principles and guidelines, which help to change bad eating habits and eating behavior.
Sattvic food refers to food that is pure, clean, and healthful. This food includes fruits, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, honey and water. Fruits are a symbol of generosity and spirituality. Canned, processed, and frozen foods are excluded because they are not considered “fresh.” Dairy and fruit are supreme spiritual foods in this diet. Dairy, including milk, paneer (home-made cheese), whey and fresh yogurt are regarded as the epitome of Sattvic food.
Rajasic foods include garlic, onion, spicy foods, meat, fish, chocolate, and all processed foods. These are believed to induce restlessness and they are considered disturbing. The Yogic Diet recommends that if you seek yoga-like serenity, you should avoid these foods.
Tamasic food gets a total thumbs-down. This is any food that induces a heavy feeling and inertia, or a dull mind. Alcohol is placed in this category as well as any food that is stale, left overnight in the fridge, or over-ripe. In the Yogic Diet, all food should be fresh and freshly prepared, not overly cooked or re-heated. Overeating is also Tamasic.
You may not find it easy to adopt the Yogic Diet in its strict form. Die-hard yogis who recommend mostly raw foods and frequent fasting may not attract your interest. You may need the energy boost of at least three balanced meals a day to keep going. You may find it too restrictive to obey the rules of eating nothing fried, microwaved, packaged or processed–no white bread or artificial sweeteners either. If you are happy about the time-saving convenience of packaged and frozen foods as well as occasional meals at fast-food restaurants then you may find little motivation to change over to a Yogic Diet. Before walking away, though, you may want to simply adapt some of its general guidelines. Here are three such Yogic Diet recommendations that can help you to eat healthy.
- Focus on a peaceful setting. Weight-loss experts offer similar advice. Eating in a hurry while walking or shopping is not ideal. Foods eaten while doing other things and foods eaten too quickly or when coupled with too much stress may trigger food cravings later on.
- Shift your focus away from great taste to great nutrition. Pause to appreciate how well the dairy, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables make you feel.
- Schedules are important. A regular schedule for meals helps maintain a balanced, peaceful, state of mind. Never eat right before going to bed. Allow yourself four hours between meals and eat your evening meal at least two hours before bed.