Photo by Jeanine T Abraham @visAbleblackwoman Productions
So chuffed to have had this article published in SF yoga magazine in April during the midst of the lock down. We are committed to serving healthy and delicious farm to table meals on retreat in Southwest France. Hope you enjoy and would be pleased to hear your thoughts!
Unprecedented, uncertainty and uneasiness, 3 powerful adjectives that go some way to summing up Covid 19’s effect on our daily lives. Right now humankind is being challenged in a multitude of new and unorthodox ways.
So what you can do to help maintain your energy levels, improve your state of mind and ultimately feel good? The solution…The Yogic Diet.
And don’t get me wrong, during this period of unwanted “house arrest”, attaining a healthy diet might not be at the top of your agenda, especially with the little monsters demanding attention 24/7, however it’s a perfect time to learn something new.
We all know Yoga is a perfect way to unwind and relax helping you realign your centre while becoming more in tune with your body.
So why not take this one step further by enhancing your yoga lifestyle with the yoga diet, which aligns nicely with the puppy pose (my personal favourite), downward facing dog and every yoga pose in the book.
The yoga diet has several elements; before we dive in to the finer details, I want to clarify one thing. The yoga diet has nothing to do with your weight, about being skinny or losing weight; those factors are not our primary focus. Instead the focus is on the ways you can eat to enable you to better connect with the planet and yourself.
Many components have been taken into consideration when creating this diet, such as:
- Eating fresh foods
- Choosing healing foods
- Creating balance and strength
- Using vegan options
- Generating a peaceful mind
Does the yoga diet sound perfect for you? Continue reading to discover the five main components of this diet.
1 > Hydrate with the right beverage
You can switch out your morning, afternoon and evening coffee for green tea or even hot water with lemon. This simple switch makes a big difference, as the right hydrating beverage can be very cleansing and nourishing. We understand that sweet cravings will still rear their ugly head from time to time, especially at night, but the yoga diet offers an alternative. Switch out your nighttime sweets for different types of tea, for example, peppermint, turmeric or even ginger tea.
2 > Begin at breakfast
The yoga diet begins the moment you wake up, but you’ll have to push aside the sugary breakfast cereal, for something that provides long-lasting energy. Porridge with fruit is a staple piece of the yoga diet, especially since you can adapt this combination according to your tastebuds and needs.
Combine your porridge with rice, barley, millet or even yoghurt, which of course can be soy yoghurt or fresh coconut, to make it vegan.
3 > Enjoy your lunch
Diet doesn’t have to mean small, which is why the yoga diet involves making your lunch the biggest meal of the day. Lunch could be anything from raw vegetables, with chickpeas, tofu or even curries or miso soup. You should only be gaining fats from nourishing oils, for example, hemp, olive, nuts and seeds, which you should eat in small amounts.
By having your biggest meal mid-day, you are providing yourself with long-lasting energy to get you through the rest of the day, which can help reduce cravings for snack food.
4 > Ditch the snacks
In between your meals, you should be ditching the snacks. By eliminating those pesky snacks, you will be prompting nutrient absorption and proper digestion. Ditching snacks might be the hardest step in this diet, but you can subdue those cravings with your favourite flavour of warm tea.
5 > Keep it small and cooked
When you reach dinner time, you will want to make your dish lighter than your lunch, which means keeping your portion size small. These small portions should also be freshly cooked, such as lentil soup, cooked vegetables or similar.
The idea behind having smaller portion sizes is that you want your energy to be on the decline before bed, which is why lunch should be your biggest meal. Small portion sizes at dinner will also help to improve the quality of sleep you have.
Our top three yoga diet tips
We’ve also put together three more tips for conquering the yoga diet. Read on to discover what the pros have been doing.
- Expand your spice rack
Add some tantalising flavour and exotic spices to your meals throughout the day by expanding your spice rack. By adding some new spices to your meal, you will be surprised at how it can change the entire taste. Some spices to dabble in include, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, sage, caraway, basil, mint, parsley, cumin, turmeric, fennel and nutmeg. Plenty of small online busineses offer different spices and during these uncertain times, it is great to support small businesses.
Along with adding flavoursome punch, the spices are purpoted to offer a host of benefits from improving your mood, helping with anxiety and assisting with digestion.
- Mindset matters
An essential part of the yoga diet is your mindset. You have to incorporate patience, love and gratitude into every meal. Eliminate noise around you and take your time to eat your food, this means eating in silence as distractions can cause you to eat more without appreciating your food.
You could also eat outside, surrounded by nature to focus on your inner peace and improve your connection with the planet. Due to COVID-19 we highly recommend sitting in your garden, on your patio or balcony to reduce social interaction and to support social distancing.
- Combine the two
Combining the yoga diet with your yoga routine will improve your quality of sleep and wellbeing
We recommend practising yoga during the morning, preferable an hour after your breakfast. If you are a beginner aim for thirty minutes of yoga, whereas advanced yoga enthusiasts should spend at least an hour doing yoga.
Combine the two at our beautifully restored Chateau Bardouly in the French Dordogne, we hold a number of Yoga retreats combing the benefits of the Yogic diet and daily Yoga classes. Did I mention wine is also involved?
Stay safe and find the balance you need.
As published in SF Yoga Journal in April 2020. Come and visit us soon to retreat in France.