Diet for Mind, Body & Soul
“From food all beings are born. By food they live and into food they return.” Upanishad 3.2
Most of us eat mindlessly much of the time. We’re hungry, pushed for time and reach for whatever is available to satisfy our hunger. If we are eating or drinking something we enjoy, we overindulge and feel bloated afterwards. We could improve our health and eliminate weight issues by taking a more mindful approach to what we refuel our body and mind with. It’s a well-known fact that certain foods over-stimulate the mind, leading to hyperactivity and difficultly getting to sleep; too much sugar can cause an energy slump; not enough fibre in the diet can have unpleasant effects on the digestive system and elimination process. Once we embrace the idea of food as fuel, eating sensibly to enable body and mind to work harmoniously becomes much easier and our health improves immeasurably.
So it is with a yogic diet. There is no specific yogic diet specified by the ancient scriptures. A yogic diet is influenced by two things really:
- the first principle of the first limb of yoga – ahimsa – which discourages harming any living being leads most yogis, eventually to a vegetarian diet;
- the other consideration is to feed the body and mind in such a way to prepare them for practice. If you’ve stuffed yourself with a supersize burger meal washed down with coffee, your body will be heavy and your mind too buzzy for meditation.
There are certainly rough guidelines to help make the best choices. In Ayurveda the emphasis is on a Sattvic diet for healthy living, particularly for keeping our minds clear, happy and at peace. Many yogis believe that food is the creator of prana (life force) that sustains our body and brings us vitality and health. Sattvic foods are foods that are abundant in Prana. The types of food we choose reflect our level of conscious development. For this reason a sattvic diet has become the basis for many yogic diets. Sattva means light, goodness and purity, so if we follow a sattvic diet, it follows that we will increase those qualities.
Sattvic foods are soothing, nourishing and promote and maintain a quiet, steady mind as well as help to sharpen your intellect and give you a greater sense of empathy. Sattvic foods are vegetarian and do not include foods derived from animals that have been harmed in any way. It is important that foods are grown naturally and do not contain preservatives, artificial flavors, or additives.
A sattvic diet generally consists of:
- fresh, organic fruit and vegetables
- whole grains and nuts
- dairy products such as milk and ghee
- beans and lentils
- plant-based oils
- mildly sweet foods (natural, unrefined sugars), honey, molasses
- spices such as cinnamon, basil, coriander, ginger and turmeric
Try to be more aware of your food choices and take your time when eating. See the difference, not just in how you look, but how you feel and function.
Yoga & Barre Pilates coming soon to Deal, Kent