The yoga diet part two: 11 tips from yoga for healthy eating habits

Did you know the way food effects the body is not only influenced by what you eat but also by how you eat? The way we eat has a big influence on our health. There are some simple rules to this, amongst others to become present before we start eating, and to be grateful for what’s on our plate. I will explain to you the why and how in 11 tips to eat the yogi way.


Let’s recap some of the most important stuff from part one of my series about the yoga diet. Thinking from a perspective of yoga/Ayurveda our food can be divided in three different food groups:

  • Sattvic foods: foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. These foods give us clarity, calmness and promote health and happiness.
  • Rajasic foods: These promote willpower and strength, increase energy. Examples are stimulants, like coffee. Spicy food and salt.
  • Tamasic food: These foods make us feel sluggish and dull. They decrease the energy in our body. Examples are alcohol, eggs, meat and fish.

Keep your food simple and fresh

the yogi diet

It is not rocket science that a yogi diet consists mainly of the sattvic foods. If you have an active and demanding lifestyle adding a bit of rajasic food can help to give some extra energy. On the other hand, if you are feeling hyper or stressed you can consume some tamasic food to balance it out.

You are what you eat

‘You should just eat healthy’ is a good mindset to start, but it is often easier said than done, so be easy on yourself and remember that everybody is different with different needs. We all know the saying ‘you are what you eat’, but the way you eat is also very important. That is the topic of this blogpost. It is about eating habits from yoga and Ayurveda, the so called sister sciences. Read more about that here .These eating habits will make sure you van be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself.

You are how you eat

The yogic diet not only describes what you should eat but also how. The way we eat has a big influence on our health. There are some simple rules to this. First and foremost we need to become present before we start eating. It is time to bring mindfulness to the dinner table! Western science also talks more and more about being mindful before starting a meal. When you focus on the present moment before you start eating you will become more aware of your food, acknowledge where it comes from and eat less. In this way it is not only healthy for yourself but also for our planet.

“The best way to eat is to have no distractions during your meals: Bye bye phone

Mindful eating

Research has shown that people who are more mindful tend to make better environmental choices.  A great way to become present is to pray and/or bless your food. What yoga and religion have in common is to start with being grateful before starting a meal. If you are not into praying or blessing, simply acknowledge the food that is in front of you and the route it took to get on your plate. In this way you will become present to what you are about to eat. Taking the time to acknowledge what you are grateful for is a great tool to become aware of the present moment and what it is offering you.

Eat slow, chew well, no distractions

Eat slowly and chew well. Together with mindfulness comes slow eating. Try to not shove your food down, even when you’re hungry, but take your sweet time for every meal. The food will digest better and you will eat less. The best way to eat is to have no distractions during your meals (bye bye phone). In yoga it is a tradition to be silent whilst eating. This sounds very strange to us because sharing food has become such a social aspect of our lives. But see if you can give it a try at least some part of your meal. 

Re-learning the hunger signals of your body

Another point that needs attention but where a lot of people struggle with, is to only eat when you are hungry. Food will digest better if you are hungry. In these days we get bombarded with advertisement about food. In addition, there is always something available to eat. It is so easy to think that we’re hungry when we, for example, are just bored.

‘’It is time to bring mindfulness to the dinner table.”

Again, learn to listen to your body. It can take some time to feel those hunger signals again. If you have no appetite, do not eat and give rest to your body. You don’t have to stick to only three meals a day. You can also have smaller meals if this fits your body type better. Again, yoga promotes to do our own research and see what our bodies need. Make sure to leave enough time between your meals for your body to digest the food.

Make your lunch a feast

So what does yoga think about the old saying “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper.”? Ayurveda teaches us to live in harmony with nature and with ourselves. In Ayurveda it is advised to eat the biggest meal when the sun is the strongest, when it is at the highest point. This is because in that time of the day our digestive fire is also the strongest, so our food will digest the best. It makes sense to eat our biggest meal at that moment. Where yoga/Ayurveda do gree with this saying, is that breakfast is important. Do not skip meals. Breakfast sets the tone of your day. Start with a healthy and light breakfast to energize your body. Another thing about timing is to avoid eating food two hours (or more) before exercising and sleep. This is because the body needs time to digest.

It is all about energy people!

In the sattvic diet it is important how you prepare your food. If you prepare your food when you’re angry, your food will become tamasic. It is all about energy people! Try to avoid over cooking your food. The environment where your food comes from also is important. Is it riped naturally or artificial? For example, did you know a lot of fruit is artificially ripened by chemicals? Read more about the banana and its journey to the supermarket here. Is it grown on healthy soil? Do not overcook your food. On the other hand, eating only raw veggies can be hard on your digestive system.

To sum it up

Every body is different with different needs and different habits. Try to take a look at your eating habits. Are they serving you? Are they beneficial for your health? It can take some time to start noticing what your body needs because we are so conditioned to move on autopilot. Give yourself time to figure it out and take these tips with you on your journey.

11 tips from yoga for healthy eating habits

Here is the list with eleven tips to create healthy habits around eating. Use these tips before and during your meal:

  1. Be present
  2. Be grateful
  3. Eat slowly and chew well
  4. No distractions
  5. Cook mindfully
  6. Be mindful where your food is coming from
  7. Let your biggest meal be in the middle of the day
  8. Do not skip meals
  9. Avoid eating 2 hours before sleep/exercise
  10. Only eat when you are hungry
  11. And most important… Listen to your body!! Let your mind and body become a team.

Thanks for reading. Next up in the series about the yoga diet. The ins and outs about fasting. See your next time. Namasté.

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