All those asanas and flows can deplete a yogi’s batteries – and when that happens, it’s time to whip out a tasty yogic nom and call it snack time. The raw food, vegan, vegetarian, Ayurvedic, and macrobiotic diet are popular among avid yogis, but each of them has shortcomings, along with its positives. So, what nutrition plan is ideally suited to a yogi’s long-term health and wellbeing, and how can you custom-tailor a diet that will fit the yogic lifestyle and allow you to get the biggest muscle gains from your yogic grains?
The vegan dietary deal
Most yogis are vegans by carte du jour, and the animal-free menu seems to be working for them like a charm. And there’s no good reason why it wouldn’t, mind you: although many builders are doubtful when it comes to the brawn power served on a meat-less plate, the plant-based diet is both nutritious and sustainable, granted the daily food intake can cover the yogi’s nutrient needs and energy expenditure. If you opt for a vegan diet, you’ll need to watch your calcium, protein, and iron: these nutrients are the toughest ones to make up for once you drop meat and dairy from the menu.
Eat like vegetarians do
Another carne-free nutrition system popular among yogis, the vegetarian diet is ideal for folks who can’t imagine their lives without yoghurt or milk. Since the vegetarian menu includes eggs and dairy, meeting your recommended daily protein and calcium intake will be easier, and you won’t have to renounce your favorite desserts if these contain milk or egg whites. Still, note that you’ll have to monitor your iron levels and possibly use supplements to patch up the nutrient deficiency, as it commonly occurs during the transition to meat-free diets.
The Ayurvedic banquet
The Ayurvedic diet is another sustainable nutrition system loved by yogis, and it’s centered on fresh, seasonal, and local foods. In Ayurveda, the individual nutrition agenda is based on mind-body type (Vata, Kapha, and Pitta), and food intake is supposed to be in line with temperament, metabolic function, and other aspects of the mind and body. If you want to take the Ayurvedic dietary cue, you should first establish your dosha and then structure your meals around foods classified by their taste.
Beyond mainstream diet hypes
If mainstream nutrition systems are too tight for you to fit into, you can come up with your own meal plan that’s both delicious and optimally suited to your daily energy and nutrient needs. To set your yogic munch sessions on the right foot, you can use the tips below and adjust the menu to accommodate your total daily energy expenditure and nutrient requirements.
1. A light yet nutritious breakfast
To kick start a long day, busy yogis should treat their palate to a light, nutrient-dense breakfast consisting of porridge and fruit. You can make delicious porridge from quinoa, oats, barley, rice, or amaranth: these grains have high protein content and are also rich in minerals and vitamins. As for toppings, you can spice up your porridge with soy yoghurt and either fresh or dried fruit; it will infuse your first meal of the day with precious vegan-friendly carbohydrates.
2. Indulge in a belly-filling lunch
At noon, digestive function hits an all-day peak, which is why you should make lunch the biggest meal of the day. To promote digestive processes and keep your engines revved up for the rest of the day, you should structure your lunch around fiber-dense staples, such as raw or cooked leafy greens and root vegetables, and protein-rich foods such as chickpeas, tempeh, beans, and tofu. Finally, round off lunch with a nutritious soup and salad laced with olive, hemp, or flax seed oil. Make sure to invest in a good skillet handle cover, to stay on the safe side.
3. A lean and nourishing dinner
Many yogis make the fatal mistake of overindulging in energy-dense foods late in the evening. If you want to stay on the slim and optimally energized side of the table, go for light dinners such as lentil soups, miso, cooked leafy green or root veggies, and boiled rice. Also, it may be a smart choice to skip high-carb late-night meals if you’re looking to banish stubborn fat: as efficient as first-rate weight loss pills and fat burners may be, they won’t produce desired results unless you make adequate diet and lifestyle changes as well.
Last but not least, be sure to ditch junk food from your menu, drink sufficient quantities of clear water and organic juices to keep your yogic engines revved up for tough mat routines, and be mindful of your eating sessions. After all, you are what you eat, and the least you can do is to strive and eat the right foods with the right attitude. Bon appétit!