What we eat is connected to the nourishment of our minds and emotions.
So, just as we practice meditation, asana and mindful breathing, we must practice eating well, too.
Healthy organic foods can offer your body the right nutrients and fuel to power through the day.
And even though there isn’t a by-the-book yogic diet plan, Ayurvedic tradition reveals three different categories of food that must be balanced:
Sattvic: These foods, which are said to lead to good health, mental clarity and spiritual advancement, include most vegetables, fruits, legumes and sprouted grains.
Tamasic: These foods, which are said to make the body and mind slow and sluggish, include meat, alcohol, fermented foods, processed foods, onions and garlic.
Rajasic: These foods shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis, however, they’re not off limits (some are even considered nutritious). Items that fall into this category include stimulating foods such as coffee, chocolate, spicy anything and salt, which are not as easily digestible as sattvic foods. Rajasic foods should be avoided at dinner time.
Considering the aforementioned foods, always remember to choose healthy organic food when possible and that fresh is best. It’s important to practice mindful eating by expressing gratitude for your food and chewing carefully. A yogic diet also encourages to avoid eating before practicing asana.
The following guide includes meal inspiration, recipes and tips for cooking oil-free (just use lemon!), meat-free and sugar-free without compromising flavor or variety.
You can only rely on $12 16-oz. smoothies from the corner juice bar for so long. At that price, you can make a few days’ to a week’s worth of smoothies all on your own! So what’s the secret to making thick, professional-tasting smoothies? All you need are the basics—a high-speed blender (it’s worth the investment — we’d highly recommend this one) and an abundance of ripe, frozen bananas.
Whatever else you have in your fridge or pantry, such as vegan protein, algae powders, coconut water and greens, is a bonus. Same goes for smoothie bowls! If you’re still looking for a bit of inspiration, check out some recipes we’ve created for you here.
2. Quinoa bowls
This one’s a two-parter because any healthy quinoa bowl is going to contain sweet potatoes. Quinoa is crazy easy to prepare and it keeps well in the fridge, so prep a batch on Sunday for the week.
Spoon it on top of raw veggies and greens, such as curly kale, and layer some steamed or roasted sweet potatoes on top (I like to roast mine with lemon juice, turmeric, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and parsley—no oil needed). When combined, these superfoods make for a nutritious and filling meal fit for post-practice feast.
3. Rainbow salads
Salads are life. And they have zero limitations. Throw some fresh, detoxing greens in a bowl with your favorite fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and you’ve got a salad! Keep it healthy by ditching the store-bought dressings. Either top with a spoonful of homemade guacamole or make your own dressing by combing raw tahini, lemon juice, parsley and ice-cold water in a food processor. Toss and enjoy!
4. Fruit-infused waters
This one’s pretty self-explanatory—but there are so many variations! A great goal is to drink 32 ounces of water when you wake up in the morning to hydrate your body after sleeping. Do this before consuming any food. By infusing your water with tasty fruits and herbs, you’ll absorb antioxidants, vitamins and receive an energy boost. This is definitely the yoga version of a pre-workout drink!
If you’re new to this, we recommend two different types. The first one is a detox turmeric-lemonade. Fill a glass with room temperature water, juice from one lemon, a tablespoon of raw coconut nectar and a few dashes of turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. For the next type, fill a glass with chilled water, sliced fruit and herbs. Try out different combos using berries, sliced cucumbers, mint leaves, citrus fruits and more. Bottoms up!
5. Energy bliss bites & bars
These bites will keep you full for a while and light on your feet! Great to keep on hand for a boost of energy, these often require only a few ingredients and can be shaped into balls or bars. With dates being a main ingredient, they make for a calorie-dense snack that offers instant refuel whether you’re at a yoga festival or in a studio teaching all day.
6. All-you-can-eat tacos
What if I told you that you can have all the tacos you want, without the post-dinner food coma. I don’t care if it’s Tuesday, my birthday or Mother’s Day—I’m always down for tacos. But since the typical taco comes with a processed, white flour tortilla or in a fried corn shell (not very sattvic) it’s not quite conducive to a yogic diet.
So, the alternative would be to go green! Stuff your favorite taco veggies (I like bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and purple cabbage) inside a large collard leaf or sprouted grain tortilla and top with homemade tomato-mango salsa and a dollop of fresh guac for a clean plate of tacos you can feel good about.
7. Zucchini noodles
Zucchinis are SO low in calories that you can eat piles upon piles of zoodles and you won’t get fat. Seriously. You’ll never get sick of these either. Spiralizers are an extremely inexpensive kitchen tool every yogi should own (check this one out; it’s handheld and comes with a free cleaning brush and vegetable peeler). In addition to zucchini, you can make noodles out of pretty much any fruit or veggie including sweet potato, cucumbers, carrots, squash and even apples.
From dairy-free Alfredo sauce to fresh, raw vegan marinara, there are so many sauces you can make to douse your zoodles in. My favorite is a blend of ripe mango, avocado, lime and cilantro, which is healthy, creamy and tastes amazing. If you’re not a fan of raw zucchini, you can always sauté your zoodles in a pan on medium-high for a few moments with a little bit of lemon juice to help soften the noodles.