Yoga Diet: A Guide to Eating Like A Yogi

Yoga diet explained

It is important to understand that when referring to a ‘diet’ in yoga terminology, we do not mean today’s society’s version of what it describes as a diet.

We are referring to eating mindfully and listening to your beautiful body needs and fuelling them with the foods that complement your Ayurvedic needs and body types.

Following an Ayurvedic traditional lifestyle will lead to a long-term and more sustainable solution to leading a healthier lifestyle overall that will follow with many benefits such as: Promoting weight loss encouraging mindfulness, and overall improves physical and mental health.

What is the yoga/Ayurvedic diet?

Ayurveda is a form of holistic medicine, it is a centuries-old traditional Hindu system of nutrition and medicine that was developed alongside yoga as the best means to prevent illness and imbalance. Its sole purpose is to balance and reconnect your mind and body.

Regarding Ayurveda, five elements make up our vast universe Vayu (air), Jala (water), Akash (space), Teja (fire), and Prithvi (earth).

These elements are said to form three different doshas, which are defined as types of energy that circulate within your body. Each dosha is responsible for specific physiological functions.

Conscious Eating

It is very common to eat while being distracted by our phones and watching our favorite show that we quickly forget to be mindful throughout our meal and of what we are putting into our body.

When this occurs you will notice that you have eaten too quickly which leads to indigestion, stomach pains, bloating, and binge eating.

However, by eating consciously, you become aware of how your meal choices will affect you and will therefore take into consideration what to fuel your body for your needs and prevent this problem.

Yogic Foods

This refers to consuming a specific type of food based on the yoga principle of Sattva (purity). It consists of foods with sattvic qualities that raise your energy and create balance.

diet food

Examples of Sattva foods include eating foods that are rich in fresh, nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, sprouted whole grains, fresh fruit juices, legumes, nuts, seeds, honey, and herbal teas.

It is recommended to predominately consume Sattvic foods and avoid Rajasic and tamasic foods. This is due to their low vibration life forces and toxins that they hold such as sugary foods and processed goods.

The long-term effect of promoting a Sattva-focused diet will lead to optimum health and a sense of being in control of your fit body this is because these foods are digestible.

By eating mindfully and chewing slowly and enjoying each bite is considered to be sattvic.

Becoming Plant-Based

This is probably the more common yoga diet and being vegetarian is very commonly associated with yogis. The connection between avoiding meat-based produce and a yoga diet is due to the ‘non-violence’ mindset and understanding the impact of eating meat on animals and our beautiful earth.

It is quite easy to become vegetarian these days as there are so many substitutes so reducing meat intake isn’t that radical of an idea.

Listening to your body

Although diet culture has made it seem that snacking and only eating low-calorie foods is beneficial for your body, but try avoiding fasting between meals and let yourself a snack, Snacking is super beneficial in preventing binges and keeping yourself satisfied, and keeping your energy up\

By packing healthy snacks to bring with you to work will prevent cravings that might interrupt your diet. Be intuitive and listen to what your body wants. Your beautiful body knows what want, be intuitive and listen to it.

Where to Start?

It is important that when considering to follow a yoga diet to be realistic, it’s understandable that we get too busy or simply just forget to follow certainly.

Steps however by starting small and taking baby steps can have a more suitable and long term impact such as meal prep for busy days, eating at home, cutting out meat on certain days, and using the vast access to recipes on social media to help you cook your next to meal.

Eating at home is also a great option when starting your Yoga diet as you have full control over the ingredients you put into your food. Meal planning and writing out a shopping list for your next grocery trip is also super beneficial in saving time and being organized.

Here are a few simple and delicious healing Ayurvedic recopies to try.

Sweet Potato and black bean burger

Sweet Potato and black bean burger
Image: Minimalist Baker
  • 2 cups mashed sweet potato
  • Olive oil
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 cup  black beans
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green onion
  • 1/2 cup walnut
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika   1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (to taste)
  • sweetcorn. 

Quick Tofu Cauliflower Korma

Image: YummyBeet
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil or unsalted butter 
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder 
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt  
  • 1 cup roughly chopped carrots
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly cut
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole plum tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (add the entire can for a looser, soupier korma base, if desired) 
  • 1 (350g/12 oz) pkg extra firm tofu, (pressed if you have time) cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint or cilantro, to serve (optional)
  • Cooked brown rice or basmati rice, hot, to serve (optional)

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