Well as many others already know too . . . it's nothing new, it's been around for years ~ in different forms, under different guises. In the Times yesterday the article read about how certain religions & cultures naturally encourage their followers to have a fast day once a week, or at the least drop down to simply prepared light meal ~ thereby resting the body, cleansing the soul, keeping us healthy.
So, if you're wondering what all this has to do with Yoga (and maybe you go along to a regular weekly class already) . . . Yoga is not simply a weekly stretch of the body alongside maybe a clear of the mind if you practice meditation and pranayama in your classes too ~ but it is all about a healthy lifestyle.
Everything in balance.
Everything in moderation.
Healthy Mind. Healthy Body. Healthy Soul . . . and that also includes what you EAT!
* A classical Yogic diet is Vegetarian (mainly Alkaline forming foods, so light on your stomach, healthy for your bones, heart, digestive system and peace of mind . . . non-harm to animals). It's good for you in many ways.
* Yogis avoid alcohol and toxins so they can be clear in body, mind and spirit for meditation, asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques).
* Yogis are recommended to avoid over-eating and Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh suggested that the stomach be only half full of food, leaving space for a quarter for water and a quarter for air (prana or breath).
* For enhancing heath, wellbeing and for deepening their spiritual practice, it is suggested to have a fast day one day a week. Giving your body time to absorb what is needed to maintain optimum health and optimum energy. And you can have a day off, from planning, cooking or thinking about what you are going to be eating ~ giving your mind a rest too. It's actually proven to be good for your brain to have a rest day or low food intake day, helping to keep the brain energised, focused, gaining more clarity of thoughtfulness, mindfulness, peacefulness.
There are so many reason's why I chose to become a Vegetarian nearly two years ago ~ mostly because of my Yogic values and choosing to deepen my spiritual practice, but along the way I feel healthier, happier in myself, more energised, physically fitter (alongside my Yoga practice), calmer more peaceful, and can honestly say have never missed meat since! And my added bonus was that I lost any excess weight and find it easy to maintain it too. So a great win win for me personally.
I have in the past dabbled with 'trying' to be a vegetarian, which I have to admit had been challenging 10 - 15 years ago due to lack of options, lack of knowledge and lack of restaurants/friends/family being able to cater for the 'veggie' . . . "Oh, what shall we cook???? How does Beans on Toast sound or a Mushroom/Cheese Omelette!"
But thankfully the culinary world has changed and there is an abundance of choice nowadays to make it easy for all to embrace a few meat free days.
Meat traditionally was for special feasts, festival days, celebrations . . . it wasn't a daily meal. Meat is the hardest protein to to able to absorb, digest and assimilate into our bodies. Can you imagine how long it can take to leave your stomach from the moment you ate it? It can be anything from 10 hours to a couple of days . . . so if you think about that and you have meat more than one meal a day, you could potentially be loading chewed up meat on top of chewed up meat on top of chewed up meat in your gut and that makes your energy sluggish, leaving you feeling tired, bloated and for some even constipated.
So if you have been intrigued by the benefits of fasting days where you reduce your calories down to 500 calories for a woman and 600 calories for a man on the 5:2 fast plan, then give it a go.
If you fancy having a few veggie days in your week . . . then give it a go (your body and gut will thank you ~ and so will your energy too!)
. . . you never know you may even like it and wonder why you've not done it sooner . . . Oh and benefit from losing weight too!
When I work with my Cognitive Hypnotherapy clients who come to see me for weight loss, I explain that it is a life-style change, a new way of being. Because we all know, that if you keep doing what you've always done . . . then you'll keep ending up with what you've always had . . . so it's important to change . . . it's good to change . . . change is the one thing that will get you to your goals and maintain being slimmer, healthier and fitter.
Diets don't work if they are just for a short term quick fix, because the moment you go back to eating "normally" (i.e. what you used to eat ~ chocolate, pasta, bread, beer, sweets, crisps etc) the old weight creeps back on . . . plus a little bit more for good measure ~ so you just get on a cycle of yo-yo dieting, which is damaging for your internal organs, your scales and ultimately your self-esteem!
So being successful in losing weight healthily and maintaining that way of being . . . is exactly that, you discover the healthy lifestyle, foods and exercise which suits you best, which you can embrace as a new way of being. Putting you in the driving seat and in control of who, how & where you want to be.
Even though I made a life choice 2 years ago to stop eating meat, I was already well on my way there, as I have my own veggie plot in our garden and have been an avid veggie grower for many years. That being the case, at home we would often make veggie based meals 3 - 4 times a week as the norm ~ finding ways to be creative with excess courgettes, runner beans, broad beans, tomatoes and so on . . . so out would come the recipes books and it was amazing what we found.
My favorite veggie recipe books at the moment are still ~
- Leith's Vegetarian Bible ~ see http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leiths-Vegetarian-Bible-Polly-Tyrer/dp/0747557160
- Plenty by Yotom Ottolenghi ~ see http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/
If anyone would like to share their favorite Veggie cook book's at the moment then please do here . . .