Outdoor yoga is a common activity, particularly during summer time with so many free yoga events in the city. Yoga has gained popularity in North America over the past several years because of the physiological and mental health benefits. People who practice yoga also tend to lead a healthier lifestyle. But did you know that a true yoga practitioner, also known as a yogi, also follows a strict yogic diet?
The Yogic Diet Philosophy
There isn’t one real yogic diet, but the common diet tends to follow the philosophy of Ayurveda, one of the oldest holistic healing systems in the world, dating all the way back to 5000 BCE. The yogic diet isn’t about shedding pounds or looking good; it is about creating balance and strength in your body and choosing foods that help heal your organs and bloodstreams. The yogic diet is similar to a vegan diet, but with a few more guidelines.
What Yogis Should and Shouldn’t Eat
In the yogic and Ayurvedic philosophy, all things are categorised into three qualities: sattva, raja, and tama.
Sattva means clarity, purity, and wholesomeness. Sattvic foods are the foundation of the yogic diet and preferred by yogis, and include foods that are nourishing and easy to digest, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and herbal teas.
Raja means power and force. Rajasic foods encompass flavours that are hot, bitter, spicy, dry, and salty, which are avoided by yogis, as these foods tend to be overly stimulating, agitating, and cause restlessness. Deep-fried sattvic foods are also considered rajasic and are not recommended.
Tama means inertia, instinct, and ignorance. Tamasic foods include meat, eggs, tobacco, garlic, onion, and fermented foods, all of which are also avoided by yogis as they tend to be heavy and distracting for the mind. Meat is slow to digest and contains uric acid, which makes it difficult to achieve a meditative state for yogis. Overeating tamasic foods also causes lethargy and a depressed feeling.
Beyond choosing sattvic foods, yogis also favour whole, fresh, and unprocessed foods that are obtained ethically. Anything that is processed, artificial, or genetically engineered should all be reduced. Dairy is more of a blurred line for yogis, because although it is an animal by-product, it is accepted as long as the animal is ethically raised and no harm is caused to the animal. Yogis also stay away from caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners, which can all stimulate the brain in a problematic way.
Yogic Coconut Curry over Quinoa
Not sure about the yogic diet yet? Try flavours that are familiar and comforting to you. If you’re a fan of curry, you’ll love this coconut curry served over quinoa recipe.
What you need:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 cup diced cauliflower
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced potatoes
1/4 cup cut snow peas
2 tbsp curry powder
Pinch turmeric and cumin
28 oz (2 14-oz cans) coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
1 cup quinoa
Squeeze fresh lemon juice
Cilantro and basil
How to Prepare:
- Wash the quinoa thoroughly. Add to a saucepan over medium heat and let the quinoa toast for a few minutes.
- Pour two cups of water into the saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes until the quinoa is fluffy. Then remove from heat.
- While the quinoa is cooking, add the coconut oil to a pot over medium heat. Saute the grated ginger, cauliflower, tomatoes, and potatoes together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add curry powder, turmeric, cumin, veggie stock, and coconut milk then bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then add the snow peas. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Taste the curry. Adjust the seasonings, salt, and pepper. Add the cilantro and basil.
- Serve over warm quinoa. Squeeze fresh lemon before enjoying!
Do you have any yogic-diet-friendly recipes? Share with us your favourites!