While I am happy to share what my breakfast looks like, as with yoga practice, I believe that a truly yogi approach to eating breakfast and any other meal for that matter will follow a yogi approach to life. By understanding more about yogi principles, the ayurvedic approach to eating and simple conscious eating ideas, you can create your own unique yogi breakfast...and conscious meal practice. So what do yogis eat for breakfast?
Eating and meeting yogi and conscious living values.
As with any yoga practice, the way you eat should be aligned with understanding your body and your needs. This may change over time and allow space to try different approaches to food. Nourishing the body has a direct link to nourishing all our tissues. Listening to your body is the key aspect of adopting a conscious approach. Your approach to food should be more than the content of the food itself. The impact of the food from the way it was grown, harvested and packaged before making its way to your table impacted the environment. Just as yoga practice is more than being on the mat. For most yogis, conscious eating is more than the type of food combinations that they eat. Conscious eating is also related to appreciating your food, where your food comes from, and the impact creating that food source will have on you and the world around you.
Ayurvedic principles for eating
Ayurveda, derived from the Sanskrit word Ayur (life) and Veda (science or knowledge), is a natural medicine system that originated several thousands of years ago. Ayurveda relates to certain lifestyle approaches, including a food classification system and is often considered a sister practice to yoga. The traditional Ayurvedic approach to food includes 3 different classes - Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. This system links to how each food relates to energy levels and how to support your yoga practice and body. Sattvic foods are those that purify the body and calm the mind. Rajasic foods stimulate the body and the mind into action, and Tamasic food dulls the mind and bring inertia and disorientation. Some yogis will follow this system strictly, and others (as with many other approaches to food combinations) will use this to guide certain food groups and explore more about how they feel when they eat and drink certain foods.
Ten conscious approaches to eating a yogi breakfast
Here are a ten simple approaches that you can try to add a greater level of awareness to the food that you are putting in to your body:
Keep a simple food diary - make notes for a few days to a week on what you eat and how you feel, both physical symptoms and energy levels, emotions, and sleep quality. This will help to develop an awareness of your food patterns and any emotional triggers. Reflect on any habits that you would like to swap out of your meals. Identify the foods that made you feel alive and amazing...these are the foods that your body loves and should be key to a yogi breakfast or meal plan.
Match your food with your current body needs. Listen to your body and its response to certain foods. Mindful eating encourages you to develop an awareness of the food and drink you consume and be in the present moment without judgement. When you are eating, try to think about how the food impacts your body and what nourishment it is giving you. The more you practice conscious eating practices, the more you will tune in to what your body needs.
Consider what is important to you concerning how your food is produced. Do you want to support local producers, eat more organically, grow your own, avoid animal products or limit packaging? Think about what values are the most aligned with your approach to yoga and wellbeing, and try to mirror these in your food choices. It may be helpful to start with one or two principles that are easy for you to achieve. This could be shopping more often at your farmers market or buying a veggie box, or taking a meat-free day in the week.
Eat more local seasonal food, or even better, try to grow a few veggies in your garden. By growing your own food or observing what can be grown in your neighbourhood, you can increase your connection to food and reduce the gap from garden to table. This connection will remind you that you are part of the natural world around you and that your behaviour directly impacts other beings. By reducing the distance from your food to plate, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your meals and at the same time eat fresher and more nutritious food.
Eat organic where possible and avoid unnecessary additives at any stage of the food production process. The more natural the food is, the more your body will absorb and use the nutrients. The principle of ahimsa and no harm is crucial here, both for yourself and for the earth and soil that the food came from. Cleaner food is better for your own microbiome and for maintaining the biodiversity of the planet.
Consider the animal products that you are happy to consume and the amount that feels most nourishing for your body. If you want to continue including meat in your meals, consider how you can source ethical produce that aligns with your thoughts on minimising harm and waste. If you want to avoid animal products, find recipes that incorporate all the nutrients you need from grains, legumes and vegetables. Work out a simple approach to eating outside your home, if you are a guest or eating in a restaurant and other options are limited. In these situations, it often helps to have a simple guide to what you would like to eat if no plant-based option is available.
Plan out a shopping list to ensure that you minimise waste. Ensuring that you only purchase what you really intend on eating will help you be a conscious consumer and eater. Take a look at some lists for stocks so that you can have a good store of tasty adds in your store cupboards. These approaches will help to ensure you have all you need to make nutritious meals and follow recipes when you want to.
Look at the packaging that your food comes in and minimise or select recyclable packaging where possible. Being aware of packaging helps to consider the energy that was used in getting the food to you. A simple way to be more aware of this is to try a shop where you only buy food in recyclable packaging or, even better, take your own containers to be filled. Reducing the packaging will also reduce the additives and preservatives in the food and enhance the quality and nutrients you are eating.
Be conscious of the quantity of food on your plate and be creative in using leftovers to avoid waste. Some of the best meals can be made from food not used the day before. Part of using what you have relates to being resourceful and grateful for having food to eat. By connecting these principles, you might find joy in the least expected plates.
Enjoy and practice gratitude for each meal that you eat. Take time to eat consciously and appreciate the resources required to get your food to your plate. Appreciate the food and the taste as well as the nutrients it gives you. If you have a gratitude practice try adding this to your mealtime so you can also add the food you eat to your list.
Some simple approaches can help you to be more aware of eating habits and the food that you eat. The best thing about breakfast is that it is the start of the day. By consciously starting the day with nutritious food, you can set the tone for the day ahead and make sure you are nourishing your body as best you can. What do yogis eat for breakfast will be something that you can ask yourself every day!
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Image by Michelle Burton on Unsplash