Yoga Philosophy – Yogic Diet

According to yoga philosophy, yogis should follow a lacto vegetarian diet.   In a nutshell, it is a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products but excludes eggs.                                                                            
The dilemma….
Although there are several reasons to follow a vegetarian diet (e.g., physical, spiritual and psychological), the reality is that for many yoga practitioners a complete vegetarian diet may not be appealing or in some instance, not even suitable for their body.  Our eating habits are determined by factors such as personal preferences, cultural, social, religious, economic, environmental and even political factors…. Yes….by all that, think about it (In some countries chewing gum is not allowed, period).
As a result, for some of us, the switch to vegetarianism may be one of the most challenging aspects of the yoga practice. 
I found myself in such dilemma a month ago.  What should I do?  Become a vegetarian overnight?
After reading various articles in the www and more important, after spending time doing “self-analysis”, I was able to answer my question: “I need to stay true to myself and the change will come”. 
Yogis follow the principle: “Eat to Live, not Live to Eat”!  As such, it appears that the main point of the yogic diet is to find a balanced and natural diet that provide you with the nutrients necessary to increase your energy levels ( needed to perform the asanas) and that increase your mental clarity.
Sattvic Food are the ideal group of foods for the yogic diet.  Sattvic foods are pure and provide energy and vitality.  This type of food is tasteful, fresh and if the budget allows, organically grown.  Rajasic (rotten or putrid foods) and Tamasic foods (decomposed, unclean and fermented) should be avoided.
Therefore, if you make the effort to choose your food according to the yogic guidelines listed above, you should be in good shape.  However, if you are seriulys considering becoming a vegetarian, keep reading….
According to experts, it takes only 21 days to change a habit.  Therefore, if you are considering diving into the world of vegetarianism to complement your yoga practice, the change may be around the corner.  If you still considering the option, the following tips may help you during your transformation:

  1. Go Slowly! Start by removing your least favorite meat dish from your meals and replace it with a vegetarian option.
  2. Understand your reasons to become a vegetarian (If you are vegetarian because you don’t believe in animal cruelty, remember that you should not be wearing leather shoes or leather handbags).
  3. Involve your friends and family and ask for their support.
  4. Allow yourself a “holiday”, if you think you need so. At the end of the day…nobody is counting!
  5. Educate yourself! Read, visit a doctor, and talk to fellow vegetarians to get more information.
  6. Enjoy!   At the end of the day, is a lifetime commitment, so you better enjoy it.

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