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April 27, 2015
When we speak of basic yoga food many of us refer to the Yoga, Yogic, or Sattvic diet. This has been around for thousands of years, but there are serious drawbacks. The yoga diet is far too cooling for northern climates.
Raw and slightly cooked natural foods don't go well if you live in a climate that has a 6 month winter and 1 to 3 months of warmth. In fact, raw food is very depressing to eat day after day while the snow falls outside. If you live in a northern climate, you are better off to heat and spice your food during the winter months. But don't over cook and be moderate with your spices.
Over cooked food isn't part of the Yoga diet. Coffee and many teas aren't considered Sattvic. One might say that this diet is far too difficult to maintain if you're in the upper Himalayas, but easier to live with if you live in southern India.
The same comparison could be made in any part of the world. If you live in Florida, Arizona or Southern California, you can eat salads and raw food all day, but what if you lived in Alaska or Northern Canada? It would be difficult to sustain a raw food diet in a climate that is naturally cold.
The yogic diet is usually a vegetarian diet. This consists of whole and natural foods that are raw and easily digested. You should have good working knowledge of nutrition in order to balance a yogic diet.
Over cooking, microwaving, packaging, and refining destroy nutritional value of raw foods. Whole and natural yoga food products like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains have different nutritional values. The Sattvic or yogic diet food is easily digested by the body. In yoga we are taught "eat to live."
This is an extremely difficult concept when most of the world lives to eat. There's a primal pleasure in eating and many people eat one meal in anticipation of the next. It is very hard to explain to people that the only purpose of eating is supplying our bodies with prana (vital energy). Therefore, there is no fun, no anticipation, and some yogis may feel that eating isn't a pleasure at all.
That said, I have to add that a Sattvic or Yoga diet is not for everyone. Yes, it is a calming diet, but some people walk around with bad or superior attitudes because their yogic diet is like a badge. This was never the intention of the original seekers. They avoided food that causes over stimulating behavior and chose foods that keep the mind in a tranquil state and leave the intellect polished.
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