The sacred book Upanishad 3.2 quotes that ‘From all food, beings are born. By food they live and into the food they return.’
So, anything and everything we eat is food for our soul and the types of food we intake to reflect the level of our conscious development and our lifestyle. The science of yoga suggests for a pure vegetarian diet which promotes the development of ‘sattva’. Sattva facilitates love, peace, and harmony with all the sentient beings. The basis of ‘sattva’ is enrooted in the concept of ahimsa (non-violence). The ‘sattvic’ diet encourages food that is naturally grown, does not involve the killing of animals, and is harmonious with nature. Additionally, ‘sattvic’ diet means food rich in ‘prana’ the vital life force that sustains all the living beings. By way of yogic diet, we aim to enhance the quality and quantity of breath and developing ojas.
Additionally in the mystical universe energy has three qualities like Sattva (purity); Rajas (passion); Tamas (darkness) that exist in equilibrium. A tamasic diet includes meat, poultry, and other intoxicants that tarnishes the prana and mislead a person from the spiritual path. Whereas on the other hand, Rajasic food is concerned with energy and creativity. Rajas food is best suited for individuals who seek to develop a meditative mind, an athletic body, etc., and, a sattvic diet includes light, easily digested food that motivates a person to walk on the path of self-improvement and spirituality.
Here is a list of 10 vegan foods that you can include for an ideal yogic diet:
1. Legumes: Legume is an alternative iron-rich, protein plant for animal products. Include beans, lentils in your diet that contain sufficient amount of protein. Additionally, legumes are rich sources of fiber, iron, zinc, antioxidant, and other health nurturing compounds. You can cook, ferment legumes or ingest it in the form of sprouts that nourishes your organs with all the required proteins.
2. Nuts, Seeds, and Nut Butter: Add a variety of nuts, seeds to your refrigerator that satiate your hunger pangs as well as restore your health. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of iron, fiber, magnesium, and other important plant compounds. These are extremely versatile that can be worked into recipes such as desserts, sauces, etc. Treat your taste buds with cashew cheese which is one delicious option. Opt for unblanched and unroasted nuts to reap the maximum nutritional value. During a yoga teacher training, you come across a lot of ‘sattvic’ variety including the delicacies with chia seeds that are a powerhouse of fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. The consumption of the chia seeds regulates bowel function, increases bone strength and results in a healthy heart.
3. Yoghurt: If you are looking for a food item that is highly nutritious and enticing at the same time, then adding yogurt to your diet is a must. Apart from an abundance of vitamins including B12 for healthy red blood cells and an invigorating nervous system– yogurt improves digestion and promotes healthy bones with the presence of high calcium content.
4. Fruits: Savor ripe, delicious, creamy fruits like avocado, bananas, apples, melons, cherries, etc., that are rich in vitamins, fiber, and healthy fats. Fruits are perfect food that you can eat anytime and anywhere. Particularly avocado regulates your blood pressure, keeps heart and mind in an optimum state, and contains anti-aging properties.
5. Oats: Oats should be a staple of yoga teachers diet. They are packed with magnesium, protein, and fiber crucial for strong bones. Oats fill you up, keep you satiated for a longer time and aid in proper digestion. This staple food can be added to anything from cookies to bread and even smoothies. Make your oat dish more wholesome and enticing by adding berries, honey, and yogurt.
6. Fresh Green vegetables: Increase your intake of iron, calcium with green vegetables such as spinach, kale, watercress, cauliflower, etc. Kale is a powerhouse of calcium that promotes healthy spine and skeleton. Get creative with your cooking and try interesting recipes with it like baked kale chips.
7. Whole Grains and cereals: Cereals, whole grains contain a good proportion of complex carbs, vitamin B, phosphorus, etc. The pseudocereal quinoa is highly nutritious and high in protein content that is very good for the nervous system and bones.
8. Oils: Oil varieties such as olive oil, sesame, sunflower, etc., contain essential fatty acids which are vital nutrients required by the body. Also, 3-4 servings of oil a day keeps your calorie count in check.
9. Spices: Herbs and spices make your food delicious and boost health. Cardamom, Asafetida, Turmeric, Basil, and Cumin are full of healthy compounds that prevent various illness and diseases.
10. Choline Rich food: A large amount of choline is present in Broccoli, cauliflower that plays a vital role in the health of your body and mind.
Making insignificant changes in your diet can have profound effects on your life. Keep your food choices natural, fresh, healthy, and use your best discernment. Your inner yogi knows best!