What is a yogic diet?

You are a unique individual, you deserve special and nourishing food! 

The body has different needs at different stages of life; little children need energy producing foods, adolescents need more body building foods. With increase in age, the food requirement decreases. Different circumstances and even occupations have different needs. In times of stress and sickness we need lighter food that is easier to digest. In occupations requiring heavy physical work energy producing foods are needed. Pregnant women need at well balanced diet. The diet depends also on climate and lifestyle of the person.

So you see, it is difficult to recommend a diet to a large spectrum of people. Rather than explain what one should eat, it is easier to experiment with different categories of foods and find what is suitable for your age, climate and lifestyle.

Sattvic Foods

Sattvic Food is the food is conducive to spiritual practices such as japa, prayer, Yoga meditation practices. It is also suitable for others doing mental work such as programmers, designers, managers, bankers, writers and those in academics or other knowledge based industries. 

  • Freshly cooked, whole, natural foods. Food that is not processed, light and easy to digest. 
  • Fresh whole fruit 
  • fresh vegetables 
  • mung beans 
  • chana beans (chick peas)
  • mung dal
  • rice 
  • Spices and condiments such as ginger, coriander, cumin. 
  • Fresh milk (not processed)
  • Fresh home made yoghurt not sweetened with live and active culture 
  • Fresh sprouts

Rajasic Foods

Rajasic Food is suitable for those doing physical work such as gardeners, household staff, construction workers. 

  • Meats, specially red meats like beef and pork
  • Spicy foods, chillies, onions, garlic
  • Heavy and difficult to digest lentils and beans like kidney beans
  • Coffee 
  • Tea 

Tamasic Foods

Tamasic foods are those that should be really avoided. These foods are not suitable for anyone.  

  • Old stale food 
  • Processed and frozen foods
  • Fatty fried foods
  • Processed milks with long shelf life
  • Diet containing preservatives, insecticides, artificial flavours, artificial colorings
  • Fermented foods and drinks such as wine, beer, cheese, industrial yogurt without live and active culture
  • Processed, industrial foods
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Tobacco

Some Dietary Guidelines

  • Cook and eat food that is light and easy to digest 
  • Do not eat too much. The yogic guidelines are: Half full stomach with food, one fourth liquids, one fourth empty
  • Any liquid that is not water, is food and has to be digested
  • Drink water at least half hour before meal to prepare stomach
  • Avoid drinking water during meals
  • Eat freshly cooked foods 
  • Eat lots of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables
  • Keep a daily fast of 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast  
  • Eat when hungry: Do not force yourself to eat
  • Eat your food with awareness, consciously
  • Do not watch TV, read book or play with gadgets during meals
  • Choose small portions and eat slowly. Slowing down at meals and choosing smaller portions can help avoid overeating by giving the brain time to tell the stomach when it’s had enough food
  • Limiting distractions—turning off the television, computer, or smartphone—can also help us focus on the food
  • Eat at home. Fast food, restaurant meals, and other foods prepared away from home tend to have larger portions and be less nutritious than the foods we cook for ourselves
  • Eat mindfully. Taking time to think about why you’re actually eating is an easy way to avoid needless calories. When you do eat, focus all of your senses on the food, so that you can truly enjoy what you are eating
  • Sometimes you are not hungry. You may be thirsty. Make sure you drink enough water
  • Eat small portions at regular intervals, if possible at the same time everyday

What to Eat

  • Choose minimally processed, whole foods such as whole grains (whole wheat, steel cut oats, brown rice)
  • Add grain alternatives such as gram flour, buckwheat, millet and corn to your diet
  • Eat lots of vegetables (a colorful variety—not potatoes)
  • Eat a variety of whole fruits (not fruit juices)
  • Eat a variety of nuts, seeds, beans, and other healthful sources of protein (if you are not vegetarian, fish and poultry)
  • Use plant oils such as sesame, sunflower, peanut, olive and other cold pressed vegetable oils. Do not use processed vegetable oils
  • Drink water or herbal teas that are sugar-free and without additives

What to avoid

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks)
  • Fresh Fruit juice (no more than a small amount per day)
  • Refined grains(white bread, white rice, white pasta) 
  • Chocolates and sweets
  • Limit intake of potatoes (baked or fried)
  • Red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed meats (salami, ham, bacon, sausage)
  • Other highly processed foods, such as fast food
  • Avoid fatty, fried foods
  • Avoid hot spicy foods
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Avoid aerated drinks
  • Do not eat old, stale foods
  • Avoid frozen foods
  • Avoid black tea and coffee