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The Yogi Diet - an Introduction   

by L.Littlewing

'We are what we eat' - this is a well known saying that is literally true. Food is necessary for our physical well being, and the purer the food - the purer and healthier the body. But this also works for the mind too - a diet of pure food creates purer thoughts resulting in a purer mind.

If ever there was a time I was reminded of neglecting my yoga practise, it is when I came to the mat after many days abstinence and could barley touch my toes! This has certainly been the case in my past experience, - until I began seriously eating a diet of pure, raw and natural foods. I came to do my practise after a week of feeling unwell - and a time of eating 100% raw fruits and vegetables - and where I would have usually felt stiff - I was surprisingly bendy. This was my proof, and my moment of 'ah I see!' surrounding the relevance and importance of the Yogi diet.

A pure and natural diet - 'Sattvic' - is one of fresh fruits, vegetables and some grains. Energy - 'Prana' - runs through all living things - to eat a piece of food that is 'alive' will nourish your body and mind and be highly beneficial in Yoga. Foods should be eaten in their pure and natural state - alot of which should be raw.

The elements of sun, water, air and earth (soil) work together in order to create our food here on earth - fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, plants. They are charged with the energy of the sun - and by eating them in their raw and untampered state, we gain their maximum goodness.

The 3 Gunas

The 3 Gunas are the 3 qualities of the energy of the unmanifested universe - and apply to every living thing, including foods. Sattva (purity), Rajas (activity, passion, change), Tamas (darkness). When energy actually takes on form then one of these energies becomes predominant (although the others are always present). A good example is the fruit on an apple tree - the ripe fruit is sattvic, the ripening fruit is rajasic, and the overripe is tamasic. It is only in enlightenment - 'Samadhi' - that the Gunas are completely transcended.

Sattvic Food - This is the purest of foods - and the perfect Yogi Diet to follow. It is nourishing to the body and mind, resulting in a peacefeul state. A sattvic diet will lead to pure, true health. Sattvic foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wholegrains, legumes, sprouts, milk, butter and cheese, honey and herbal teas. (all should be organic and NOT tinned or frozen)

Rajasic Food - These foods are hot, bitter, sour, dry or salty. Too much of these foods will over stimulate the body, exciting the passions - resulting in one feeling restless and uncomfortable. Rajasic foods include strong and hot herbs and spices, stimulants such as tea and coffee, fish, eggs and salt. To eat in a hurry is also considered to be Rajasic.

Tamasic Food - This diet will not give any benefit to the mind or the body. The energy - 'Prana' - is missing in these foods, the body's resistance to disease is destroyed, and dark emotions occur. Tamasic foods include meat, alcohol, tobacco, onions, garlic, stale and fermented foods. To overeat is also considered Tamasic.

Animal flesh contains a higher amount of protein than we actually need, and is also loaded with toxins and tends to cause disease - (it has been reported that 80% of food poisoning cases are caused by eating meat). We must ask ourselves if we can eat meat with a clear conscience - 'Ahimsa', the sanctity of all living creatures, is among the highest laws in yogic philosophy. This cannot be disreguarded if we are to grow spiritually. All life is sacred. Being fully 'concious' should apply to the food we eat too.

Many people worry that if they stop eating meat they will get a protein deficiency. Animal protein in fact contains too much uric acid which is very difficult for the liver to break this down - some is eliminated but the rest is deposited in the joints which causes stiffness. The less meat you eat - the less stiff your body will be. Good sources of protein are nuts, legumes (including soya) and dairy. Vegetarians eat around twice as much fibre as meat eaters, consume less fat, and get more fibre.

The choice of sattvic foods are vast and even the simplest of ingredients can be prepared in a multitude of different ways. To ensure a balanced diet - eat a regular combination of the food groups mentioned for a pure diet.

About the Author

Lorna Littlewing is the Webmaster of  www.rawfoodhomepage.com


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