Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Yogic Kitchen: Nutritious Vegetarian Diet for Yoga Practicioners

The yogic diet is mainly vegetarian, with a small amount of dairy products, namely milk, yogurt and cheese.  Based on fresh and organic plant foods as much as possible, avoiding preservatives and chemical additives. What are the benefits of such a diet? What do we gain by including the combination "rice, sabji, dhal" in our daily eating habits? 

The dhals are legume dishes (usually beans, red lentils etc) cooked with a specific combination of spices (basis) which assist and accelerate our digestive process.
The sabjis are vegetable dishes, cooked also on the same basis spices.  The vegetables used should be mainly seasonal since they are the fresher, cheaper and easier to find. 

Fans of meat-eating oppose a diet derived exclusively from the vegetable kingdom, and stress that we cannot draw the proteins needed only by plants.Our body certainly needs 22 amino acids to synthesize protein. Our body can synthesize most of them through the decomposition of food, however there are 8 amino acids that cannot be composed and need to be drawn directly from food.  Those who eat meat, fish, eggs or animal products (milk, yogurt, etc.) have no problem with these 8 "suspicious" of amino acids while someone on a Yogic diet needs to combine legumes, grains and vegetables, along with spices, on a daily basis to receive this essential amino acid chain 8.

Since the beginning of yoga the practitioners have found that a diet consisting of freshly cooked vegetables, along with grains and legumes while using specific spices is complementing the practice. The spices used contain elements which are identical to the enzymes in the body and facilitate digestion, and such is for example, coriander, anise, cumin, mustard, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom etc. 

A great example of an ashram meal is a combination of rice (cereal) and dhal (legumes soup).  Daily eating a combination of rice and dhal gives us all the 8 amino acids that we need. At the same time our body needs vitamins and minerals.  These derive mainly from vegetables (cooked as a sabji) and it is recommended to use a variety and try not overcook them. We also need to emphasize the vitamin B12 and iron intake if we decide to go vegetarian diet. 

Another important benefit of yoga diet is that the food is digested easily. To assist the digestion it is recommended that the food will neither be too cold nor too hot and that the yogi should eat up to the point that feels ¾ full. This is important because we do not spend all our energy to digest but use it to create, produce and live fuller lives instead. 

* This article is from the Greek book "The Yogic Kitchen: Nutritious Vegetarian Diet".


  1. This may be a stupid question but is the book written in Greek or English? Or better yet can it be FOUND in English :)?

  2. Would love to have a read of this book too if it's in English. :)

  3. I am afraid it is only in Greek ladies, the book is publish by a local Ashram and there is no translation. I will contact the ashram and let you know if I find out anything that may be helpful.


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