As yogis, we want to bring awareness into our bodies and minds. In time, that awareness starts to seep away from the mat and into our everyday lives. So how do we eat with awareness in a highly processed world? One of the hardest parts of <a href="http://www.myyogaonline.com/healthy-living/green-living/planet-namaste-ahimsa-for-green-living" target="_blank">going green</a> is changing the foods we eat. Food can be a tremendous emotional trigger for many people, and with so many choices and differing opinions on what is truly healthy, simply shopping for groceries can seem overwhelming. Luckily, when given the right tools, improving our diets can also be one of the easiest transitions.
- Replace as you go: The best way to start is by not getting overwhelmed with a complete dietary overhaul. Simply start by replacing things when you run out of them; search for products that are healthier versions of your current staples.
- <a href="http://www.myyogaonline.com/healthy-living/nutrition/top-ten-reasons-to-eat-organic" target="_blank">Organic </a>is king: Look for organic ingredients, even if it is a packaged food. Usually, when food is labeled organic, it is less processed and contains fewer preservatives and chemicals than its mainstream counterpart. Remember, the fewer ingredients the better.
- Produce: There are several great tools and lists of which produce always to buy organic, and which produce you can opt for the non-organic (produce sprayed with pesticides and herbicides). For me, the best way is to look at the ones I use most; if I’ll be consuming them more, then I will buy them organically grown.
- Cut back on <a href="http://www.myyogaonline.com/videos/mind-body-tv/is-dairy-the-right-food-for-you" target="_blank">dairy</a>: I know this is a touchy subject, because milk is often considered a nutritional staple, but honestly, it is not. Try these two approaches: If you do consume dairy, look for milk from cows that are grass-fed, and organically fed, with no hormones or antibiotics given. This way, if you are eating and drinking dairy, you are cutting back on the amount of extra additives you consume. Also, try using a milk alternative: almond, coconut, rice, and soy are all delicious options.
- Cut back on meat. Our intestinal systems are not made for processing large amounts of meat, and neither are our hearts. If you do continue to eat meat, look for grass-fed animals, without added hormones or antibiotics. For chickens, look for birds labeled “free range”, with ample space to roam. Finally, of course, go organic with your meat. Start simple. Replace when you run out. Try organic versions of your pantry staples. Buy organic in your dairy, meat, and most frequently used produce. Start small for big changes. You’ll be a conscious grocery shopper in no time.
Jessi Andricks is a yoga and mind-body fitness teacher in Charleston, SC. She teaches a blend of vinyasa, as well as mind-body fitness classes. Jessi is a certified Green Living Expert and is receiving training in Holistic Health Coaching. She hopes to help people learn to live vibrant, healthy lives through holistic lifestyle habits. Website: <a href="http://www.thehouseofhealthy.com/" target="_blank">www.thehouseofhealthy.com</a> <a href="http://www.thehouseofhealthy.com/" target="_blank"></a>Facebook: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/HouseOfHealthy" target="_blank">House of Healthy</a> Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/househealthy" target="_blank">@HouseHealthy</a>