The Yoga Diet
By Fabiana Santana
It’s that time again… The beginning of a new year when promises of a new healthy lifestyle are being throw around like fists at a Mob Wives rooftop party. Chances are you’ve vowed to get into yoga this year. Not just take a class or two, but really get into yoga. After all, look what it did for Jennifer Aniston? But yoga is about more than just stretching. To really reap the benefits that yoga sows, you’ve got to overhaul your lifestyle. That means everything from how you exercise to what you eat. And what’s a makeover without some new threads!
Yogiis believe that man is essentially a herbivorous animal. Studies at the Bombay Yoga Institute have shown that people on non flesh, low-protein diets actually have greater endurance. That doesn’t mean you can order your pizza sans pepperoni and consider yourself pure. The idea is to consume whole, healthy foods that are not processed and therefore easily digested. Think natural butter, honey instead of sugar, wheat, barley, legumes, fruits and veggies. Also, al dente is key here. No food should be overcooked (actually raw is preferred) or spiced up too much. Things like ginger and coconut milk – instead of salt and cream – can add richness and flavor to yoga focused recipes. Also, skip the water. Yes, you read right. Yogins consider it harmful to consume beverages during meals as they can wash away the nutrients in the food. Instead, drink up when you first wake up. The idea is to eat to live, not live to eat.
Every now and then you will want to detox your system. That is, get all the impurities that have built up in your system from environmental pollutants and food. Garlic may not smell great, but it does wonders for your body. It helps stimulate the liver to produce detoxification enzymes that aid in clearing out your digestive system. Leafy greens are loaded with chlorophyll which rids the body of free radicals and toxins and actually helps the liver to purify your blood. Citrus fruits like lemons and limes also aid the liver and jump start your digestive track. Caffeine is not ideal in a yoga diet, but if you must indulge, make green tea your jump start of choice. Not only will it rev you up, but it is full of antioxidants that keep you healthy and purify your body.
Now that you have done your body good from the inside, do it good from the outside, too! Nothing says motivation like some new clothes. The Aneka Yoga collection from New Balance can take you from class to café easily. The collection utilizes extra soft LIGHTING DRY™ polyester and spandex fabrics with ergonomically placed design lines to provide a flattering and extremely comfortable fit. That means no riding up during the downward dog.
So, now you will be able to squeeze in a workout no matter where you are coming and going from.
The Yoga Diet Recipes
Lentil Soup Recipe
Recipe by Prue Charlton, author of The Yoga Diet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil 60 g (2 oz) butter, ghee or oil
- 1 onion, chopped small
- 1 carrot, chopped small
- 1 stick celery, chopped small
- 30 g (1 oz) pancetta or bacon, chopped (optional)
- 250 g (8 oz) canned Italian tomatoes, cut up, with juice
- 250 g (8 oz) dried brown lentils, washed and drained
- 1 litre (1 and 3/4 pints) stock freshly ground pepper
- 1 bay leaf a few sprigs of thyme
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Sauté the onion in oil and butter till soft, add celery and carrot and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Add the pancetta or bacon and sauté 1 minute more.
- Add the tomatoes and cook at a gentle simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered. Stir from time to time with a wooden spoon.
- Add the lentils, stirring and turning them over a couple of times.
- Add stock, bay leaf, thyme and pepper.
- Cook for about 45 minutes or till lentils are soft, adding more stock or water if necessary.
- Serve with parmesan cheese and wholemeal bread.
- Lassi is a delicious cold drink often taken with or after a meal. It is both nourishing and helpful to the digestion.
- Mix one part yogurt into two parts water.
- Sweeten with honey and a pinch of ground cardamom.
- May be made in the blender with fruit added (e.g., mango, strawberries, soft dates etc.)
- Add 1/2 teaspoon rosewater for a special touch.
Green Beans with Mustard Maple Glaze Recipe
Recipe by Wai Lana
- 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
- 3 cups young green beans, ends trimmed only
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. Bragg liquid aminos
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp. water
- Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet on medium heat until light golden, stirring constantly. Set aside for garnishing.
- Steam the beans for about 5 minutes, or until bright green and just tender. Arrange neatly on a serving plate when done.
- Combine the next 6 ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Thicken with the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Drizzle the sauce across the beans and garnish with the sesame seeds.
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