The Yogic Diet
People of all nationalities, social classes, and age know what constitutes healthy eating habits. We are taught from a young age what foods to eat regularly and what to eat in moderation so we can achieve a balanced diet. School cafeterias plastered with posters of the food pyramid, along with our parents’ constant reminders to eat our vegetables and drink our milk, gave us a good indication of what would help our bodies grow.
In order for one to be healthy, we are taught to abide by certain rules when deciding what foods to put in our mouths. The same can be said for the teachings of yoga, and the diet that all yogi are suggested to follow. The dogma of yogi diet was developed along with the other teachings of yoga thousands of years ago. Most yogic theories revolve around balance and what one can do to achieve universal balance, including eating the correct proportions of the right kinds of food.
Yogis believe in a solely vegetarian diet and the use of animal products is frowned upon. One reason is diet, but the main reason is because of the suffering animals endure so we can enjoy feasting on their meat. In fact, the first principle in the ethical code of yogi (yogic ethics are also called yama) is the idea that we should practice non-violence toward all living things. We do not need meat to survive; therefore it is not essential to include meat in the human diet. There are other ways of including protein in our meals with soy, nuts, and beans.
Yogis are also taught to consume a great deal of dairy and fruit juices as well as water, if it is safe to drink. The body does not require the extra sugars that are found in sodas, or the alcohol in adult beverages. The goal is to first satisfy the body’s needs, and then occasionally give in to cravings of your own.
In yoga, a person should have minimal things in life, possessions for example. This makes living simpler and more enjoyable. The same concept should be used toward the feeling of hunger. Eat what you need, and don’t overindulge or things can become complicated. Obesity, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other health complications are often caused by a lack of self control.
A person can still be considered a yogi even if they do not abide by the nutritional rules set forth by ancient instructors, but their health may reflect their choices. The saying: “Your body is a temple” is taken very literally by the people involved in yoga. Most things in life are a choice; remember to choose wisely.