For yogis, picking the right foods is as important as determining the best postures. You have to pick a diet plan that complements this practice, making you gain the most from it. It may seem straightforward, but in the real sense, it is very challenging and perhaps overwhelming for beginners.
While picking a yogic diet, you have to choose the one that aligns with the practice. It means that you have to go through the food list of what is preferable to eat. Most of these diets contain meal plans that not only satisfy your hunger but also nourish your mind and body. So, you get to extend the nourishment and relaxation from your yoga exercises to your food.
Like any other diet plan, a yogic diet also has to meet your nutritional needs. Do not just randomly pick foods that tend to calm you and fit them in this list. You have to consult with an accredited yogi and dietitian to develop a fulfilling and nutritious meal plan.
Defining a Yogic diet
There is a notion that most yogis are vegetarians. It stems from the fact that most people in this practice hardly eat meat. The statement contains some element of truth. Most yogis are indeed vegetarians.
However, the vegetarian concept is quite broad, meaning that yogis fall into one of its categories. Vegetarians can either be lacto-ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian, or pescatarian. All of these categories prohibit the consumption of various things.
For example, in the lacto-ovo-vegetarian category, you should not eat any fish or meat but can eat eggs and other dairy products. Most yogis are lacto-vegetarians. So, the yogi diet falls into the lacto-vegetarian category (8).
The Lacto-vegetarian diet merely entails the consumption of whole foods and dairy products and not eggs, fish, or meat. It means that you would most likely not find any of these three components in a yogic diet recipe or meal. A yogic diet is also referred to as the sattvic diet.
Why Switch to the Yogic Diet?
For many, the idea of sacrificing not to eat meat, fish, or eggs is mind-boggling. Meat lovers will undoubtedly have a hard time trying this meal plan, as well as the fish and egg lovers. However, it does not mean that they cannot stick to it.
You can always obtain most of the nutrients from these products from other plant-based or dairy products. So, do not feel like you are sacrificing both the flavors of these products, as well as their nutrients.
Plus, there is a lot to gain from the yogic diet. Some of the benefits of embracing the sattvic diet include:
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are among the top health conditions that most people are fighting today. Experts acknowledge that focusing on a diet without red meat can reduce your risk of getting heart disease (7).
Since yogic meal plans do not encourage any meat, they ranked as safe to eat to prevent the risk of heart diseases.
Reduced Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels
You will find most people, in today’s era, with increased levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. The two stems from the sedentary lifestyles most people are living, as well as what they eat. If you eat a lot of processed and refined foods, you will consume high traces of saturated fat, and cholesterol.
All these factors are threats to your well-being as they cause conditions like increased blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. However, you are less likely to acquire these conditions when you adopt the sattvic diet.
It primarily comprises whole grains and foods, which have fewer traces of added fats, sugars, and preservatives. So, your chances of becoming susceptible to increased cholesterol and blood sugar are less when you adopt this diet.
Better Weight Management
Most people are incorporating the yogic diet for weight loss. Experts acknowledge that this diet can help you shed fat and lose extra pounds (2). Usually, a good meal plan for weight loss should contain various things.
These include fruits, whole grains, vegetables, fiber, and complete proteins. Since the yogic diet contains all of these, it precedes as effective for weight watchers.
Hidden Secrets of Yogic Diet for Weight Loss
There are various elements in this meal plan that makes it stand out in any weight loss program. These aspects include:
Its Low Calories
Most yogic diets are quite low in calories, as they are built around foods that are low in calories. The key to shedding fat is eating fewer calories than your body is burning.
It can be challenging to continually track the calories of the foods you take in a day. The best way of ensuring you stay on track is by identifying a low-calorie diet such as this yogic diet. You will not strain, and hardly will you fall off track.
Its Importance on Eating Mindfully
A yogic diet will not only help you lose weight by including the best weight loss foods. Instead, it will also help you lose some pounds by emphasizing the importance of eating mindfully. Yogis emphasize mindfulness.
It could entail being mindful of their breathing, focus, postures, and even their eating. They emphasize the need for determining what, where, and how you eat (5). Eating fast can make you overeat on some foods. As a result, you might exceed your daily energy requirements.
Similarly, if you eat while watching television, chances are you could overeat. It is because you are not paying attention to what you are eating. However, if you eat sitting at the dining table, you are less likely to overeat since there are no distractions. Mindful eating is another concept in this meal plan that makes the yogic diet very helpful in weight loss.
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It’s Key to Planning Ahead
An effective weight loss program is more likely to be successful if you plan your meal plans. Otherwise, you will continue to make several trips to the kitchen to get more food, and all these trips could make you give in to a food that does not help you shed fat.
For example, if you want snacks, you might opt for sweets. Sweets contain added sugar and high calories and are, therefore, not recommended for people trying to improve their eating habits. If you were to plan, you would determine the best snacks to substitute for sweets.
The same case applies to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You are more likely to overeat and consume the wrong meals for weight loss if you did not plan.
Its Advocacy on Water Intake
Water is a staple in weight loss (1). Daily intake of water can help you shed fat for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, hydrating before eating makes you regulate the number of calories you take. You tend to eat fewer calories.
Secondly, hydrating helps you avoid overeating. In most cases, you tend to mistake thirst for hunger. So, instead of hydrating, you often opt for food. Such a habit can make you exceed your daily energy requirements, making you gain a few pounds.
The yogic diet requires constant hydration throughout the day. It does not necessarily emphasize drinking water only. It also accommodates other products like milk. The latter helps with hydration and gives your body nutrients such as calcium and protein. Ensure you opt for low-fat or fat-free milk for better results.
Where to Attain Your Nutrients from in a Yogic Diet?
Being Lacto-vegetarian does not mean you compromise on your nutrients. Here are foods you can eat to acquire various nutrients:
An adult 19 years and above is required to take at least 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium in a day. You can attain this nutrient from your sattvic diet by incorporating various foods. They include broccoli, cheese, tofu, turnip greens, kale, milk, and yogurt (9).
You need about 1 to 18 milligrams of iron in your body every day. You can obtain it by adding foods such as lentils, tofu, cashew nuts, spinach, beans, and green peas to your yogic diet.
If you are allergic to any of these foods, consult with your dietitian before substituting them. It will save you research time as well as other unforeseen health complications.
You can attain this vitamin by basking daily in the sun. However, you can also obtain them from your yogic diet if you use various foods to prepare your dishes. These foods are fortified soy milk, breakfast cereals, and fortified dairy.
Zinc plays an integral role in your body’s immune system. You need about 8 to 11 milligrams of this nutrient to help it attain its goal. You can acquire zinc from your yogic diet from foods like nuts, dried beans, fortified cereals, soy, and dairy products.
Your body also needs this vitamin to help in the proper functioning of your body organs. You can acquire it from sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts, sunflower and soybean oils (4).
Most people fear incorporating a yogic diet for fear of missing their proteins from the eggs, meat, and fish. The truth is that these are not the only three sources of proteins. So, there is no need to back away from this meal plan.
In the yogic diet, you attain your proteins from multiple sources. They include foods like cereals such as beans, nut butter, seeds, pulses, nuts, and soy milk. On a daily basis, you need about 0.8g per kilogram of body weight.
So, meet with your dietitian and determine the best protein source to meet your protein needs. You can always ask them for more alternatives to help you switch your meal plans once in a while. However, their suggestions have to range in the category of the acceptable foods in a yogic diet.
Your body needs about 2.4 mcg of this vitamin if you are an adult. Add yeast, dairy products, and fortified foods to your yogic diet to ensure you do not miss out on this nutrient.
Iodine is another essential mineral in our bodies, and it requires about 150 mcg of iodine daily. It also helps with thyroid functioning (10).
Ensure that you obtain it from your yogic diet from foods like prunes, seaweed, cheese, green peas, milk, and lima beans. You can also acquire iodine from yogurt, enriched bread, bananas, and enriched macaroni.
Yogic Diet Recipes
If you are thinking of trying the yogic diet, then you need to be aware of the acceptable and non-acceptable foods. Before we recommend some sattvic diet recipes, let us evaluate some of these foods.
Acceptable Foods in the Yogic Diet
- Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk, legumes, whole grains such as quinoa, seeds, and nuts, vegetables like spinach and broccoli, almonds, and tofu.
What to Avoid?
Foods Lacto-vegetarians should avoid include:
- Eggs, poultry, meat such as mutton, beef and veal, pork, and seafood such as lobsters and fish.
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Recipes to Try
The modern yogic diet offers numerous options. Some of these include:
- Tofu scramble
- Almond, wild blueberry, and flax smoothie
- Apple cinnamon baked oatmeal
All these lunch ideas are from the Medical News Today website (4). They include:
- Butternut squash soup
- Quinoa black beans tacos
- Rosemary balsamic roasted vegetables
- Tuscan bean salad
- Coconut cauliflower curry
- Sweet potato chickpea Buddha bowl
- Chili Non Carne
- Butternut, sweet potato, and red lentil stew
- Quinoa salad
- Cauliflower pizza
You can snack on the following when you embrace the yogic lifestyle diet:
- Basic hummus
- Peanut butter banana protein bars
- Salt and cinnamon kale chips
For dessert, you can have any of the following:
- Dark chocolate covered figs
- Apples with almond apricot sauce
- Peanut butter cup energy bites
Tips for Sustaining a Yogic Diet
Yogic meal plans can be overwhelming for beginners. They can also take a toll on meat and egg lovers. Without a guide, there are high chances that such people will eventually drop the diet plan. Here are some basic tips to help you stick through with this meal plan:
Eat What You Enjoy
The key to sustaining any diet plan is enjoying it. Otherwise, if something feels torturous, chances are you will hardly go through with it. Yogic diets are quite tasteful and flavorful. They also offer a wide range of options.
So, there are no reasons why you should not enjoy such meals. Identify what pleases you and add this to your diet plan (3).
Have a Goal
Like any other diet plan, you must come up with reasons why you are adopting these meal plans. Your goal could be weight loss or adopting healthier eating habits. The good thing about these goals is that they will help you remain consistent.
Make the Most Out of It
The other fascinating thing about this diet is that it does not limit your ingredients. So, you can always come up with new recipes that still fit under this category. Make the most out of these ingredients and try to switch things up with new recipes.
The Bottom Line
The yogic diet is slowly being embraced by people in today’s society. It has numerous benefits, perhaps the intriguing one being its capacity to help in weight loss. The other benefits range from reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels to reducing your risk of heart diseases.
The diet plan incorporates a lot of healthy foods, making it a great recommendation if your goal is healthy living. There are a few yogic diet samples you can check out to help you sustain this diet. However, before you embrace them, consult with your dietitian.
If you want to do even more for your body, why don’t you supplement a healthy diet with some exercise? Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
All the opinions in this article do not constitute medical advice in any manner whatsoever. We strongly recommend you do your research and/or consult with a physician before trying yogic diets.
- 11 Easy Ways to Get More Water (2018, webmd.com)
- 10 tips for successful weight loss (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Adriene Mishler: ‘Focus on three things intimately rather than 300 things half-arsed’ (2018, theguardian.com)
- Everything you need to know about plant based diets (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Mindful Eating for Your Family (2016, webmd.com)
- Sustainable diet: Everything you need to know (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Vegetarian and Vegan Diets Explained (2018, webmd.com)
- What is the difference between veganism and vegetarianism? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about the vegetarian diet (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about vegan diets (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)