A weekend spent in the woods at The Floyd Yoga Jam, without cell service, and with some of your closest friends (and strangers that make you feel like you’ve been friends since birth), leaves a bit of down time to discuss, share, and journal about, you guessed it…food!
Those familiar with the practice of yoga are aware that the eating habits of a yogi today are as varied as the different styles routinely practiced. While there are no ‘food rules’ of a yoga practitioner etched in stone, vegetarian style meal patterns (including flexitarina, pescatarian, ovo-lacto vegetarian, vegan, raw food vegan, fruitarian, etc.) are probably more common than not.
How the two elements of yoga and plant based eating evolved to be synonymous primarily stems from ancient texts, thousand years old traditions, and other principles of yoga like ahimsa, or non-harming. Whether or not one should or shouldn’t include meat on their plate (we’d love to hear your feedback below), one thing is certain; plants should probably be the main attraction. Providing more nutrients, less waste, more food, less pollution, more energy while promoting better digestion, less disease and improved health overall, there’s no question that a whole foods, plant based meal style of eating (one that includes animal product od doesn’t) can be right for everyone, yogi or not.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of exploring a plant-based lifestyle or simply feel it’s time to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes, herbs and spices, etc. check out the simple ‘how to’ tips below:
1. But First… Real, Whole, Food
It can seem easy and convenient to stock up on frozen veggie burgers and sausages, potato and corn chips, and hey, even ice cream and cake are vegetarian, right? But lets get down to the heart of the matter. It’s probably more important to focus on what you are eating, rather than what you are not! Take a step back, or maybe a step forward by keeping a food diary, and ask yourself, ‘How often am I eating real whole foods, and how often am I eating processed food product (aka, junk)?’
Pictured Left: Yogini Joan of Studio 8 whipping up a vegetarian Thai veggie medley over a camp stove.
Pictured below: Moroccan stew using lentils and chickpeas for protein in place of meat, along with lots of filling, nutrient dense vegetables like butternut squash, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and carrots for flavor)
2. Plant Power Your Favorite or Traditional Meals
It can be daunting to think about completely overhauling your lifestyle when adopting a plant based meal pattern, so that’s why my biggest advice is, don’t! Start slow, ease your way in and think about what you already eat. Can you continue to eat your favorite foods, but simply swap the animal product out for a plant based, whole food alternative. For example, pizza this weekend was served up locally by DogTown Pizza in Floyd, VA and instead of processed meat product, they sliced a few summer vegetables just the same and threw them on the pizza for more flavor, more nutrients, and less waste!
Pictured: Food from DogTown Pizza – Floyd, – Garden vegetable woodfire pizza and a warm kale salad!
3. Keep it Simple, But be Adventurous
People often ask what to snack when they’re trying to scale back on animal snacks (it’s still up for debate where animal crackers fall into play), but rather than trying to decipher the ingredients in all the bars, cookies, chips and frozen treats, try whole foods. Take a look at how Colby and Jen fuel up in between Acro-Yoga classes at The Jam. Grabbing a whole cucumber, a pear, and a handful of nuts is not only quick and convenient, but gives them the energy they need to balance, fly, and have fun for hours on end.
(Psst check out Floyd Yoga Jam Facebook Page for more cool pics).
(Pictured: Portable and convenient snack food – grapes, pears, cucumbers and a premade trail mix are all free of added sugar, animal products, and chocked full of energy boosting nutrients)
4. Create the Environment to Create the Change
No question, change isn’t easy, but rather than trying to overhaul everything and change your life completely, focus on trying to change your environment to support your lifestyle change. For example, if you’re trying to cut back on the meat you and your family consume, start by buying less at the grocery store. Maybe only enough for 2 or three meals a week as opposed to every day. More importantly, set yourself up for success by seeking out the guidance of an experienced plant based eater or the expertise of a registered dietitian. There are also thousands of books, websites, and documentaries that can be great resources for helping families and individuals shift their lifestyle. Some of my favorites include:
Local Floydian sharing his grape harvest with other festival growers.
BBQ temphe burrito with brown rice and Asian slaw
Blackeyed pea hummus with fresh veggies, goat cheese and artisan whole grain bread
Local Lynn sipping White Grass Café’s fresh pressed juice)
Looking forward to your feedback. Let us know if, how, and why you veg out!
Lacy Davidson – RDN, LD, CDE, RYT
Nutritionista – Yogini – Wanderluster
(Pictured: Studio 8 Yogis having a wild time at The Jam!)