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Finding the Yogic Diet
There are thousands of diets out there and all promise improved health, happiness and longevity for those who follow their guidelines strictly and faithfully. The reason diets fall out of fashion is because the majority of them fail to deliver the results they promise to the masses. What diet is ideal for those who follow the principles of yoga in their daily lives?
Opinion varies widely from yogi to yogi regarding the ultimate yogic diet; the majority are vegetarian, some are vegan, others insist on only eating raw foods and some even eat meat. How can there be so many different diets among this mindful group of people?
Yoga texts offer some advice regarding diet. The first guideline is to be sparing in diet, and this advice will be confirmed by almost anyone of any walk of life. It doesn't mean starving the body though; it simply means being sensible. Eating just enough to satisfy hunger works well. As a rule, always stop eating when you feel that you could continue, even if this means taking another meal sooner.
Sour, bitter, excessively salty and greasy foods are not recommended, in addition to garlic and onion as well. Meat and fish are also discouraged. At the same time, wheat, barley, rice, milk, ghee, sugar, honey, ginger and water are recommended.
Something that must be kept in mind when referring back to these ancient texts is that food allergies have risen dramatically since the time of writing. Allergies to wheat and dairy are common and make these foods less than ideal for many people.
The recommendations for intake of essential fats through ghee is solid advice, though one could substitute olive oil, chia seed and coconut oil if desired. Contrary to what was once popular belief the body cannot function properly without a good source of healthy fats on a daily basis. Healthy fats facilitate the absorption of nutrients and prevent the miscommunication of neurotransmitters in the brain. Good fats can even bring bad fats into balance in the human body, thus countering disease.
Many people looking to incorporate the guidelines of a yogic diet into their lives find themselves saying goodbye to their salt shaker, but this may not be necessary. Simply avoiding processed foods and sticking to foods made from scratch will eliminate a ton of sodium from the diet, and allow individuals to enjoy moderate amounts of salt on top of food.
When it comes to avoiding sour, bitter foods or shunning meat and fish, this likely depends on the unique constitution of the individual. Some people are tired and sluggish after ingesting animal flesh or sour foods, while others are energized and refreshed by it. Listening to the cues of the body is essential in finding your unique yogic diet.
Adding a food journal to your daily routine is a step in the right direction for anyone looking to build their own yogic diet. Taking note of the effect a variety of foods have on the mood, energy and health of the body will make it easy to single out foods that are poor choices for your constitution. Simply put, if it's doesn't make you feel properly fueled, don't eat it.
Universally, no matter who you are, the keys to the yogic diet are balance and moderation. Never consume too much of any one thing. Some people feel the one exception is water, but there is a limit on everything. Eight glasses of quality drinking water per day seems like a reasonable ceiling. A varied diet equals a healthier, happier you.
Generally speaking, a Yogic diet is plant-based. Many faithful practitioners of yoga are very aware of what they are eating and the diet that they consume, though this is not something that is true for all who perform yoga. Those who are already conscious of what they consume are on the right track, but there is never a time too late to look at the holistic approach of a plant-based yogic diet. Shifting focus to this type of a diet requires focus and dedication, but it can be accomplished by anyone who is interested in the many benefits provided by it.
Holistic diets are focused on bringing as many benefits to the body and mind from nutrition as is feasible. Ultimately, the goal of a holistic diet is to achieve a level of complete balance within the body. A holistic dietary approach is one that treats any pathological or physiological disorders in all bodily systems, rather than focus entirely on a short-term solution to a potentially long-term problem. This is the problem that many diets do not produce the desired results; they do not focus on treating the causes of a problem, but only the effects that it produces.
Plant-based diets have been proven to provide many of the same nutrients in the same amounts that animal tissue does, however the form of these nutrients is often different and may require a different breakdown process by the body. This is beneficial, as plant-based diets often instigate more activity by the natural micro flora in the gut that produce volatile fatty acids and amino acids that are needed by the diet. The additional fiber associated with plant-based diets adds regularity to the gut motility, enhancing the overall health of the gastrointestinal tract.
Fruits are some of the best foods to eat when looking at the holistic benefits of a plant-based diet. The naturally sweet fruits, such as plums, are not as beneficial as others. Just as with fruits, some vegetables provide better nutrition than others, and when following a yogic diet, avoiding onions and garlic is suggested, as both cause irritation to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
Many things that are usually consumed in the average diet should be avoided. For example, though many do not prefer them, whole grains and sugar in the raw are significantly more beneficial to the body than processed white breads and sugars are. Though meat is a staple is many diets today, it should be avoided in this type of diet as it is difficult to process. The food consumed is not the only important factor to a holistic yogic diet; those who eat in a calm and grateful state are often much healthier than those who eat in a rushed or stressed state.
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