How to eat like a yogi
With so many different diets and fads out there, it can be hard to know what type of diet is best for you. Eating a yogic-style diet will give you the flexibility you need to start eating in a way that will nourish your body and leave you feeling centred and zen. Learn the secrets on how to eat like a yogi!
Many of you may not know this, but this month marks my three year anniversary of attending yoga school in India!
Yup. Three years ago from this very moment, I was up in the mountains of Rishikesh, India sitting in class on a little Ashram learning and absorbing everything I could about the practice of yoga. This was a yoga teacher training course, so we learned way more beyond the physical practice of yoga.
Besides learning theory, meditation, and breathing exercises, I also spent the month learning about the principles of yoga and eating like a true yogi.
This is the diet that the Choosing Chia blog is based off. A vegetarian diet comprising of whole plant-based foods. I thought it would be fun to share my views on how to eat like a yogi in celebration of my three year yogaversary!
Pictured: whole-grain sourdough toast with avocado & sprouts, and tahini & banana, chia pudding and iced green tea
My favourite thing about eating like a yogi is that it gives you the opportunity to really listen to your body and be more conscious about what you’re putting in your mouth. It also allows you the chance to explore and integrate the practice of yoga beyond your mat.
Now I know there is of course the “traditional” ancient yoga diet, so I want to say a little disclaimer right now that is a more modern take on the yoga diet, with my personal thoughts on it.
One of the main principles of yoga that I use in my daily life is the concept of Ahimsa, which translates to compassion or “non-harming.” This means eating in a way that is compassionate towards living beings and the earth itself. (i.e eating plant-based foods, choosing organic or sustainable products, limited use of plastic in products…etc.)
It’s important to also remember to take terms like this with a grain of salt. I truly believe it is so important to listen to your body. For some people, this might mean splurging on a burger & fries over the weekend, for others, this might mean incorporating meat in their diet, or for some, this could mean eating a completely vegan diet.
Remember to always do what is right for you, and to just keep the concept of Ahimsa in mind and try to be mindful of choices you make. That’s the real secret on how to eat like a yogi!
How to eat like a yogi:
1. Eat a diet rich in plant-based foods
This is the #1 thing you can do to transform the way you eat. Simply eat more plants! Eating a diet rich in whole plant-based foods means you will be packing tons of nutrients into your diet. Plant-based foods consist of all fruits & vegetables, whole grains (like quinoa & rice), legumes, nuts and seeds. If you create a diet that comprises of at least 80% of these foods, not only will you be fueling your body with natural & clean energy, but you’ll also automatically be eating less sugar, meat, dairy and processed foods.
2. Listen to your body
If you’ve ever gone to a yoga class, I’m sure at some point you’ve heard the instructor tell you to listen to your body. This practice is important both on and off the yoga mat. You listen to your body when you’re going into a deep stretch, know when to back off and know when you need to take it easier…so why wouldn’t you listen to your body in the kitchen too? You’ll be surprised how well your body knows what it needs! Some days you may be hungrier and need to eat more, and that’s okay. Some days you may feel like you need more fruit or protein. Remember to follow your intuition and give your body what it needs.
3. Stay mindful
So now that we’ve covered listening to you’re body, let’s talk about being mindful. While it’s of course important to listen to what your body needs and have that dessert, It’s also equally important to be mindful and understand why you’re body is craving what it is. If you’re feeling hungrier one day, is it because you did a big workout, or maybe it’s just because your bored? Be mindful of the reasons behind what your body is feeling, and what you are eating and take it into account when making choices. If you need to splurge and eat an entire box of cookies then hey, you do you! But remember to always keep the “why” in mind. Food is fuel. What you eat will always have an impact on how you feel.
4. Use cooking as a form of creative meditation
Okay, so this is one of my favourite things about getting in the kitchen! Cooking really can help you enter a meditative state. Yes, I know this is not the same as sitting on a yoga mat with your eyes closed and breathing in and out, but cooking is a great opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and connect inward with yourself. It gives you the time to get off your phone, computer and even step away from work and be in the moment. Put on some relaxing music, get creative and enjoy the process!
5. Leave judgement at the door
In yoga, we learn that it is a personal practice. There is no competition. It doesn’t matter if the person next to you in a yoga class can bend in half and do some crazy handstand move, while you’re sitting there thinking how you can barely touch your toes. Don’t judge. Don’t judge others, and don’t judge yourself. We are all on our own journey. The same applies to the way you eat. Maybe you completely fall off the wagon, or eat healthy plant-based foods all day and find yourself at the Mcdonald’s drive-through by dinner time. It’s okay, we’re human. Let it go. Do your best. Love yourself.
So now that you know the secrets on how to eat like a yogi, are you ready to start your journey? If you’re looking for any inspiration make sure to check out all of the recipes here on Choosing Chia!
Thank you, Jess
I truly needed this article and a reminder to do the best I can, I am hard on myself. I stopped exercising when I began taking care of my mother who at the time had terminal cancer. July marks four year since her passing. I gained a lot of weight due to multiple factors and I stopped doing what was best for me. I am contemplating yoga again but being heavy makes it difficult and I am self conscious, people really do not need to see this in a downward dog….ugh! I can barely touch my toes, etc. This article is an inspiration to get back on target. If anything, you hit strait to my heart and I thank you. Now to let the negative go and do the best i can in my vegan and yoga journey. .
Hi Theresa, I am happy you found this article helpful. I’m so sorry for your loss. Things in life can be hard and circumstances can change but it’s always important to remember that we are all doing the best we can, given the circumstances that are present in our lives. Remember to let go of judgement and love yourself. Do what you need to in your life for YOU. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks because you are what’s most important. As long as you are trying your best that is all that matters. I’d recommend also trying a daily Mantra to say to yourself, or write down in a journal each morning. It can be anything from “I am awesome and I am going to have an amazing day!” to “I am whole. I am one.” Best of luck on your yoga journey…you got this!
What an informative and lovely blog post! I love the principles of nonjudgment and listening to your body. I think we could all use more of that in our lives! I often eat at my desk or on the go but I know I enjoy food much more when I sit down and slowly savor it.
Thanks so much Nisha! I think they’re great principles to live by both in the way we eat as well as the way we live our lives:)
Yoga teacher training in India —wow! That’s certainly on my bucket list. I love these points, especially #5. For food and all of life 🙂
Thanks Natalie! And I totally agree. Such important concepts in both the way we eat and the way we live our lives!