Well, first off, you DO NOT have be vegan or vegetarian to do yoga, or to reap the benefits of a yoga practice.
Over the years I have learned, as I put it: Yoga with capital ‘Y’ and yoga lowercase ‘y’. Studying the huge umbrella of capital ‘Y’ I found what I think answers this question!
Keeping in mind that balance and equanimity is our yogic challenge, in the ancient medical system of Ayurveda there are three gunas, or qualities of nature: tamas, rajas and sattva.
Applying this to food:
- Sattvic- denotes a class of foods that are fresh, juicy, light, nourishing, and tasty, and thus gives energy to the body, helps achieve balance. (fruits, vegetables)
- Rajasic- are foods that often provoke mental restlessness. They are not completely beneficial, nor are they harmful to body or mind. (Examples: coffee, tea, chocolate)
- Tamasic- are foods (generally animal flesh) that have a sedative affect on the energy of the body, considered to cause bodily harm or detrimental stress to some physical organs directly or indirectly.
Add to this Patanjali’s Eight Limbed Path to Right Living,
specifically the Yamas and Niyamas (universal morality and personal observances toward others) where kindness and causing no harm are embodied and you’ll find many yoga practitioners have chosen vegetarian or vegan diets.
While I am not strictly vegan or vegetarian, I am fascinated by what the Ancients observed and passed on to us through Yoga and Ayurveda. I have personally observed how the three categories of food (as listed above) affect my body and it resonates with me. But again, there is NO OBLIGATION to be vegan or vegetarian in order to reap the benefits of a Hatha Yoga practice! I just love experimenting with all the tasty vegan and vegetarian alternatives available out there.
For those of you not so interested in exploring vegan recipes, no worries; I’ll try them out first and only pass on the GOOD ones!(On a more personal note: Discovering that I cannot tolerate dairy, vegan recipes have caught my eye. I especially miss cheese.)
ENTER: THIS RECIPE for Almond Herbed Cheese Spread! Look at the Nutrition values:
Serving: 4 tablespoons Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g
It starts with soaking raw almonds for 24 hours. SO WORTH IT!
Herb Almond Spread– great as a veggie sandwich spread, with crackers and wine, or a dip
1 cup raw almonds (not slivered or roasted) I left the skins on-totally up to you
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (see note below)
Place the raw almonds into a glass container and cover with water. Cover, and place in the refrigerator. Soak for 24 hours.
Drain and rinse the soaked almonds after the 24 hours have passed.
Place the soaked almonds, water, lemon juice, ( I used rice vinegar,) nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth.
Empty mixture into a bowl, add chopped herbs and mix until everything is combined.
Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for a few hours so the flavor can develop.
Store unused spread in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I know I have!