6 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy and Honor Your Body Using Yogic Principles
Does the way you eat have a large effect on your mind and body? Absolutely. Not only does proper nutrition help you live better, but improper nutrition can severely damage your mind and body. Yogis know the importance of the mind and body connection, along with importance of honoring our body with healthy lifestyle and food choices.
A large part of our yoga practice relates to meditation, self-awareness and the healing of our mind, and our diet can easily interfere with our mental state. An improper diet, such as one high in refined sugars, can lead to impaired brain function and even contribute to depression. Yogis make healthy eating and lifestyle choices part of their practice to gain deeper insight about themselves and their life path.
Another part of yoga is the physical poses, or asanas. There are many yoga styles that require a certain level of strength, flexibility and endurance during class. And an improper diet will certainly leave a yogi’s body feeling less than adequate for their yoga practice. A yogi who cannot be in tune with their body will miss out on many benefits of their practice.
The food you ingest has a direct influence on your physical and mental well-being.
A healthy diet can help increase productivity, clarity, happiness and contentment, while poor food choices can lead to constantly feeling tired, overwhelmed, and unorganized. In this sense, you truly are what you eat, since the food you ingest has a direct influence on your physical and mental well-being.
Many yogis are aware of how their body feels when they don’t eat healthy. In order to feel stronger and more connected in your yoga practice, you must focus on what you put into your body.
Here are 6 easy tips to eat healthy and honor your body based on yoga principles:
Yogis are well aware of the importance of proper hydration. Drinking plenty of water helps your muscles and joints function properly, helps detox your body and promotes cardiovascular health. But staying properly hydrated doesn’t just mean drinking a large amount of water each day. There are many ways to change your diet that will promote better hydration.
Check out How to Hydrate Your Body with the Foods You Eat for more tips to hydrate your body.
Have you wondered why herbal tea is often offered after your yoga class? Apart from herbal tea’s calming properties, teas are generally nourishing, cleansing and hydrating to your body’s lymphatic system – which is the natural detox pathway of your body. Choosing tea over coffee, juice or soda will help keep your body healthy and hydrated.
Check out 7 Signs of Dehydration and 5 Tips to Prevent It for more information about staying properly hydrated.
Eat for better digestion
Many yogis believe the root cause of disease or illness can be traced back to a poor diet and improper digestion. That’s why the food you consume should be in its most basic form which can in turn facilitate better digestion, efficient nutrient absorption and proper elimination. Think fresh, whole foods that aren’t processed and are free of chemicals, preservatives, and unnecessary extras like added sugar.
Instead of eating processed foods which can cause toxins to accumulate in your body and hinder digestion, try eating whole grains, oatmeal and vegetables like spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, swiss chard and lettuce to promote healthy elimination and proper nutrition. Shop in the produce section as much as possible and you will be on the right track to better digestion.
Check out Chew on This: 5 Tips for Better Digestion for more information.
Focus on whole foods and clean eating
Whole foods are nutrient dense and rich in amino acids. Since our body needs 22 amino acids in total and nine of these cannot be synthesized by the body, the remaining amino acids must come from your diet. These amino acids are essential for tissue repair and muscle metabolism and cannot be found in processed foods.
Focus on proteins to gain the needed amino acids and buy fresh and organic foods to keep your body free of toxins and chemicals. Avoid eating canned foods, since they contain preservatives that are toxic to your kidneys. The easiest way to eat a whole food diet is to be prepared. Shop with a list and know what you are able to prepare and cook that week.
Choose healthier cooking oils
Cooking with healthy oils like coconut oil, olive oil, hempseed oil, grapeseed oil, and flaxseed oil is an easy switch to eating a healthier diet. Including these oils in your diet will help provide your body with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are the only two fatty acids your body cannot produce itself.
The right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can have amazing benefits on your skin, nails and hair. These fatty acids also help regulate your weight, keep a healthy blood cholesterol level and can help prevent heart diseases. So, instead of using regular cooking oil to cook your food, explore alternative oils that help keep your body and mind healthy.
What people don’t often realize is that healthy oils supply ‘healthy fats’ which actually help with weight management. Learn more by reading Everything You Need to Know About Coconut Oil and Weightloss.
Replace salt with healing spices
Salt and other sodium-filled seasonings like soy sauce can damage our kidneys. Start replacing your processed seasonings and sodium-filled flavorings with healing spices like cilantro, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, sage and mint to get a healthier dose of flavor.
These colorful spices will help neutralize your blood pH levels, which improves your digestion and helps keep your body free from disease. Some of these spices have anti-inflammatory agents which help fight acute and chronic inflammation to help with pain management and detoxifying your body. This simple switch of how you season your food can have amazing benefits on your body.
Want a really easy way to jumpstart your healing spice cooking? Try These Ayurvedic Spice Packets!
Create good eating habits
Take your yoga practice to your dining table and practice more mindful eating. Focus on slowing down and chew slowly, enjoying your meals bite by bite, and finding gratitude for your food and the nourishment it provides for your body. Turn off the television and put your phone down so you can eat in silence and avoid distractions. The more mindful you are during your meals, the more aware you are of what you are putting into your body.
Remember that food is there to nourish your body, not to satisfy your cravings. Stay away from processed sugary foods which can lead to complications like obesity, chronic inflammation or diabetes. Focus on alternative ways to satisfy your cravings like replacing candy with fresh fruit. Continue to create better food habits and choices and you will quickly see and feel the positive results.
Yoga has many benefits and as you immerse yourself in this ancestral practice, you will become more mindful of your food choices and how they affect your mind and body. Yoga and a nutritious diet go hand in hand in a self-reinforcing mechanism that will make you both happier, healthier and have a more fulfilling yoga practice.
Featured image: Clean Eating Magazine