Through the years I have evolved from being slightly chubby to a cardio bunny, then to a state of limbo between those two. I am at the leanest but strongest point in my life now and while I can attribute it to my exercise regime (which is 80% yoga), I really owe the biggest contributing factor to diet.
In my late teens, the Atkins diet was a big thing. My diet saw a lot of breadless burgers. Then I joined a gym and started clocking 10-15 kilometers a week, sustaining my energy with bananas, peanut butter and hummus, while still veering towards the Atkins diet. Subsequently for the 4 years where I had a desk bound job, most meals and snacks came from wherever was convenient- restaurants and cafes.
Now that I am home most of the time, I hardly eat out and everything that is prepared at home is fresh and balanced. Most herbs and sprouts are even grown outside my kitchen. While I am generally more active than I have ever been in my life (keeping up with a toddler) I am also eating less but feeling more alive.
I hadn’t realized this till I learned it earlier this week but what the way I have been eating coincides with the Sattvic diet, or what most people refer today as “eating clean”.
The yogic belief is that food nourishes not only the body but also the mind and spirit. The three gunas (qualities) broadly speaking, are:
Foods that are grown with energy from the sun, such as fruits, veg, nuts and seeds. A Sattvic diet is associated with peace, balance and purity/cleansing.
Foods such as caffeine, spice, even stimulants like tobaccos. A rajasic diet feeds the body more than the mind thus resulting in an imbalance.
Foods that are processed, fermented and stale. A tamasic diet is devoid of nourishment for both mind and body.
This isn’t to say that we need to adhere strictly to a Sattvic diet. Everything should be consumed in moderation with a larger intake of fresh produce. We don’t have to eat less, but eat more of the right foods- those that nourish the mind, and energy to the body will follow.
200h Hatha Vinyasa YTTC
June weekday 2015