Healthy Diet: Yoga Perspective

What is Healthy Diet according to Yoga?

Is there such a thing as a Yogic Diet?

The first principle of yoga is Ahimsa, which means non-violence. Non-violence would be the priority in the dietary choices of a yogi.

Ahimsa, by the way, applies to everything (not just food). More about Ahimsa on the Yoga Lifestyle page.

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A yogi's diet reflects Ahimsa just as anything else a yogi does.

If you are interested to learn more, go to Yogic Diet recommendations.

Healthy Diet

Healthy Diet

This is a diet which delivers optimal amounts of nutrients to the body.

It's a diet which creates health and vitality, supplying your system with ample energy, physical strength, strong digestion, effortless elimination, crystal-clear mental focus, and sharp memory, along with other physiological, emotional, and mental benefits.

Components of Food

These are macro- and micro-nutrients.

Macro-nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Micro-nutrients are vitamins and minerals.

In a truly healthy diet, there must also be:

a) a surplus of antioxidants, constantly neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals;

b) plenty of fiber and food enzymes, facilitating digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food; and

c) a rich supply of living vibrant energy, present in the fresh food itself.

This may sound confusing and too difficult to fit in our daily menu.

Did you know that:
"Only 11% of U.S. adults meet the guidelines for daily consumption of both fruits and vegetables."

Solution: Make it simple. Take ONE action at a time.

Healthy Diet Recommendations

There are so many actions we can take to improve our diet and nutritional choices.

But, please, don't overload yourself.

Having ONE healthy dietary habit is better than JUST reading about twenty of them.

I think my most favorite phrase that describes healthy diet is written on the front cover of Michael Pollen's book "In Defense of Food":

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

In his own words, he needed the rest of the book to explain this seemingly simple recommendation.

Healthy Habit~ Eat simple meals.

The more simple your meal, the fewer digestive enzymes your body needs to use.

Simple meals are easy to digest. Choose only a few types of food at a time.

Healthy Habit~ Eat as much
organic food as possible.

Environmental pollutants like pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers (full of heavy metals), and chemical sprays are the real cause of many chronic degenerative diseases.

Not only does eating organic foods reduce your exposure to the harmful chemicals, but buying organic foods also reduces the violence caused by killing the insects and the animals directly exposed to chemically treated crops.

Healthy Habit~ Eat as much
locally-grown food as possible.

Locally-grown usually means more fresh, which equals higher vitamin and mineral content.

Every day after being picked, fruits and vegetables lose their nutrient content by 20%!

In addition, you'd support the local farmers, and reduce our impact on the environment as the food doesn't have to be shipped and trucked thousands of miles.

Pick one Healthy Habit at a time!

Healthy Habit~ Go easy
on proteins and fats.

Our body doesn’t need too much protein or fat. It can use only a certain amount of protein. If you consume more than your body needs, it will convert the extra protein into fat. (Fat is the most efficient way for our body to store any excess).

Cultures that live the longest and healthiest lives, eat the lowest amounts of protein.

In fact, our body doesn't need protein per se. It needs amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Where do we find amino acids?

Everywhere. Literally. Most foods contain amino acids, with plants as the richest sources.

Want to be as strong as a bull? Or as an elephant? Or as a 500-pound silverback gorilla?

Eat green plants. All of these animals are 99% vegan. See the side bar to the right for more information.

"Gorillas eat some 200 types of leaves, tubers, flowers, fruit, fungus and some insects. Favorite foods include bamboo, thistles and wild celery. Gorillas do not drink water. They obtain all the moisture they need from the vast amounts of foliage they consume. Males consume approximately 50 lbs. a day!"
- The Gorilla Foundation

Healthy Habit~ For healthy protein,
eat foods rich in amino acids.

These include:

A. sprouted grains such as wheat sprouts, barley, quinoa, amaranth, oats, millet, and buckwheat;

B. sprouted legumes such as lentils, mung beans, aduki beans, chickpeas, green peas, black beans, etc.;

C. other sprouts: alfalfa, broccoli, radish, etc.;

D. soaked nuts and seeds (just a handful a day);

E. dark leafy greens (kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, parsley);

F. micro-algae (spirulina – this is a complete protein food with all essential amino acids, chlorella, wild blue-green);

G. fresh vegetables and especially their juices (carrots, beats, celery, spinach, etc.); and

H. the amazing wheatgrass juice.

Healthy Habit~ Get a daily
surplus of antioxidants.

Antioxidants, Free Radicals, and Oxidative Stress

Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, enzymes, or plant-derived nutrients called phytonutrients, found in food. They do what their name implies: ANTI-OXIDATION...

Healthy Habit~ Eat pro-biotic foods
a few times a week
to maintain healthy bacteria
in the large intestine.

Healthy intestinal flora helps digestion.

In addition, it's able to 'produce' certain enzymes and amino acids, otherwise required to obtain from food.

I've heard that healthy bacteria (created by green raw foods and raw pro-biotic foods) is able to make Vitamin B12.

B12 is essential for the red blood cell production, and is known to lack in the vegan diet due to the cleaning and disinfecting of our food.

Pro-biotic foods: kombucha (fermented tea), raw Apple Cider Vinegar, raw sauerkraut, kim-chi (Asian sauerkraut), yogurt (soy or dairy), cottage cheese, miso, and tempeh (fermented soy beans).

There are a few other cultural foods obtained through fermentation.

Old cultures have always had one or two pro-biotic foods consumed on a regular basis. They must know better.

Check out other healthy habits for Healthy Digestion.

Healthy Habit~ Eat a good daily share of
raw foods rich in enzymes.

Especially fresh fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, sprouted grains and beans, seaweed and micro-algae.

Only raw foods have enzymes and life-force, and they are more important to our health than taking vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It’s the life-force and enzymes that keep us vibrantly alive and internally clean.

Enzymes play a vital role in the digestion, in fighting disease, and in breaking down foreign matter. Our breathing, sleeping, eating, working, and thinking are all dependent on enzymes.

They are substances that make life possible. They are far more important that any other nutrient in our healthy diet. Proteins cannot be utilized without enzymes, nor can vitamins and minerals.

Enzymes are destroyed after use or by cooking and must be constantly replaced. Cooked foods draw from the enzyme reserves.

Let yourself explore with raw salads, and use plenty of sprouts and greens. Any true healthy diet always includes at least 50% raw foods.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are based upon the opinions, research, and experiences of Surya (Slava Kolpakov), unless otherwise noted. The information on this website is not intended to treat, prescribe, diagnose, or replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or yoga therapist and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.