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Dietary Guidelines for Yoga

You don't have to follow any certain type of diet to practice yoga, however the traditional yogi diet is lacto-vegetarian. Foods that are encouraged are fruits, vegetables, rice, grains, milk and ghee (clarified butter). Yogis classify food as either tamasic, sattvic, or rajasic. Sattvic foods are pure and health promoting, rajasic foods are stimulating, and tamasic foods are impure.

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Sattvic foods are pure, tasteful, health promoting and energizing. Most serious yoga practitioners make sattvic foods the mainstay of their diet. Food should be organically grown, if possible, and free of preservatives and additives. Sattvic foods include:

  • Honey
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dried peas, lentils and beans
  • Grains
  • Organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Milk, butter and clarified butter (ghee).

Tamasic - These are spoiled, tasteless or impure foods. Foods that are factory farmed or highly processed would be considered tamasic. Examples of tamasic foods include:

  • Beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages
  • Junk food
  • Fast food
  • Canned and packaged food
  • Picked foods
  • Salted foods

Rajasic - These are spicy, sour, pungent and stimulating foods. They include:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne peppers
  • Turmeric
  • Curry powder
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beverages containing caffeine such as tea, coffee, and colas.

Rajasic foods make people physically more active, but over the long term too many rajasic foods may lead to overstimulation and restlessness.





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