What is a Yogic Diet

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A Yogic diet is a balanced diet that ancient Yogis believed had a huge influence not only over our physical well being, but also over our thoughts, and ultimately our emotional and spiritual well being. This diet can also be called lacto-vegetarian, which means that it is made up of non-animal foods with the exceptions of dairy items and honey. With continued awareness about the body through yoga you may find that vegetarian foods become a natural choice. It can also help you maintain the same energized, light feeling that is achieved through yoga. Also, if you are going a more spiritual way you may decide that your love for every living being outweighs your need for animal foods. Non-animal foods can help you attain a higher level of spirituality by generating positive energy. You don’t need to be a ‘Yogi’ to establish this diet in your life, just a desire to live healthier and happier.

Many believe it’s difficult to switch to a non-animal diet. The thing you need to remember is that you don’t have to stop eating meat and fish all at once. But you can gradually reduce these foods from your diet. First cut down on red meat, and then gradually eliminate it from your diet.As you find other vegetarian foods you enjoy, you can give up poultry and fish as well.Eating the right kind of food is important in achieving a healthy balance in your body and mind.

In yogic literature, foods that are beneficial to us are said to be Sattvic, or pure. Sattvic foods form an ideal diet, keeping the body nourished while being easy to digest. They create new energy, clarity and a clear, calm mind, enabling us to use all our mental, physical, and spiritual abilities. Sattvic foods include cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, butter, nuts, seeds, lentils, rice, grains and honey.

Impure foods that can upset our physical or emotional balance are referred to as being Tamasic (stale) and Rajasic (stimulating). Too much of these foods can cause restlessness, agitation and a distracted mind. Foods in this category are sour or pungent foods, like onions, garlic, curry, fish, meat, eggs, salty or spicy foods and beverages, such as alcohol, coffee and black teas.

How to start

Eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. Cooking vegetables destroys vitamins so you should try to eat some raw vegetables everyday.

Whole grain products are a must. They provide much needed fiber that keeps our metabolism functioning at a high level.

Water, water, water… hydration is key to a healthy body and mind.

Avoid processed foods… always. Heal your body and the environment.

Respect the food and yourself. Sit at the table, even if you’re alone, and put out your best silverware. Treat yourself as you would a guest.

A true yogic diet may seem strict and not everyone wants to or can follow the rules.But even applying a few of these suggestions to your diet will enhance your well being. While you will find great improvement through regular yoga practice, without intentional eating, it can be limited. Make the effort to create a new life balance for yourself through a Yogic diet.

This simple Tomato Soup recipe shows how delicious the Yogic diet can be.

FRESH TOMATO SOUP

  • 1 pound tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, torn
  • 3 cups hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 400° F and roast the tomatoes until the skins fall away, about 10 minutes. Remove the peels and chop tomatoes. Sauté the pepper, carrot and celery until soft. Add oregano and basil. Simmer on low for 3 minutes. Add water and chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes. Use blender to puree. Serve topped with fresh basil.



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Alternative Medicine Part 2: Ayurvedic Medicine

Twenty — even 10 years ago, if a patient wanted to explore unconventional treatment options, they were on their own. Traditional health professionals generally didn’t encourage alternative medicine or treatments, discouraging departures from allopathic treatment models such as drugs and surgery. But as the efficacy of non-traditional treatment models, such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) mentioned here in part one, ayurvedic medicine, massage and chiropractic adjustment, naturopathy, diet and natural supplementation — even homeopathy and sound therapy, is being validated by research, new branches of medicine are emerging.

Integrative, Functional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine

The “integrative” medical model developed during the early 1990s, but was formalized when the National Institute of Health (NIH) created the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). This classification covered non-conventional treatment and research, and was the beginning of a slow recognition of alternative systems. Integrative models include consideration of a patient’s lifestyle, body, and mind, and how to promote well-being for the whole person rather than just diseases and their symptoms.

“Functional” medicine refers to holistic and alternative medical practices intended to  improve overall functions of the body’s systems, and explores individual biochemistry, genetics, and environment to determine underlying causes of disease.

According to the NIH, “complementary” medicine combines non-mainstream practices with conventional treatment in a coordinated way. This has  helped drive acceptance of alternative therapies such as TCM, diet, and nutraceuticals, or supplements.

Alternative medicine is any practice that falls outside conventional systems, and is not combined with traditional treatments. For example, if a patient chooses ayurvedic medicine, dietary changes, and supplementation to treat their cancer, and excludes conventional therapies, they have entered the realm of alternative medicine.

Exploring Alternative Medicine Models

In recent decades, relatively obscure healing modalities have emerged as treatment options. Some are ancient, such as TCM, Ayurveda, herbalism, and shamanic energy medicine. Others, such as osteopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, and chiropractic, arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most recently, biofeedback, structural integration, aromatherapy, energy medicine practices such as reiki and sound wave therapy, music therapies such as singing bowls, and mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) have found enthusiastic patient support.

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