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Four Dietary Tips for Earth Day

World Earth Day is April 22. Many years ago, as a corporate PR strategist in Miami, one client always participated in tree-planting ceremonies on Earth Day. But just like I believe we should give thanks every day versus just on Thanksgiving, I try to honor and respect the planet every day. 

Yoga is not about our bodies. Yoga means union. Yes, the union of body, mind, and spirit is essential. But so is the union of self with nature and the planet. 

Unfortunately, as our society “progresses” humans become less “humane” — and human — and more robotic. How many of our daily duties are done mindlessly? We often drive on auto-pilot. Likewise, we typically eat without connecting to the source of our foods, or the growers or harvesters.  Following are four important dietary tips,

Health is wealth. Tune yourself with nature. -- Swami Sivananda

1) Consume Mindfully

mindful eatingDid you pick a piece of fruit today from the orchard? Milk a goat or cow? Forage in the forest for seeds, mushrooms, or wild herbs?  Probably not.

On the other hand, did you swing by a drive-thru, order a meal to-go, Uber Eats, pull a non-perishable item from your pantry, or pop something in the microwave today? Probably yes. 

That’s why I’m launching “The Yogi Diet” workshop.  Pre-register for my March 23 at Serasana Dripping Springs or April 4 at  Serasana in SW Austin. 

As a longtime marketing communications veteran, I can attest that our society promotes mindless (and meaningless) unhealthy consumption.

Yoga, on the other hand, instills mindfulness in everything we do, including ingesting food or drink.  At the Sivananda ashram in Kerala featured in my book, “From the Boxing Ring to the Ashram,” all meals were in total silence.  Mauna (or mouna) is a practice of non-verbal expression which enhances mindfulness. Eating in silence draws attention and all your senses to every bite or sip. 

Take the time to enjoy the smell, taste, texture, and sight of whatever you intake. As far as sound, yogis often eat in silence, to be more mindful of every bite. —Excerpt from  From the Boxing Ring to the Ashram

2) Consume Non-Violently

say no to factory farming. Free range hens.Furthermore, the first commandment in yoga is ahimsa, do no harm, or non-violence. Yet there's plenty of harm when we eat junk food or consume factory-farmed eggs, dairy, chicken, meat, or pork. We are harming ourselves, other sentient beings, and our planet, as detailed in “From the Boxing Ring to the Ashram,” chapter 7, Your Choices Matter.

50 years ago, I visited a slaughterhouse in Mexico. Until then, I was a mindless eater disconnecting a hamburger from the gruesome killing of a cow. Later, for both health and humanitarian reasons, I gave up eggs and dairy. Unfortunately, nowadays in the U.S., eggs and milk are rarely produced humanely. Few people have hens, goats, or cows in their yards. Factory farms are brutal.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, toxic food and drink have adverse effects on the body, mind, and spirit. Plus, Hippocrates agreed with Ayurveda when he said “All disease begins in the gut,” which is another prominent concept in my book.

Neither my book nor The Yogi Diet forces you to overhaul your food and drink choices. Rather, they encourage you to reevaluate what, how, and when you consume.

3) Consume for your Constitution

humans are as unique as snowflakesAlmost all health issues can be traced to what you put in your mouth and your belly’s reaction. But the best diet for me may not be the best for my sister. 

Ayurveda recognizes each person is as unique as a snowflake. And there's definitely a big difference between me and my big sis!

Our dietary habits soothe or strangle our physical and emotional well-being. Therefore, the Ayurvedic mantra is to eat according to your constitution aka dosha. 

Some people’s constitution promotes excellent digestion. But most of us need to balance that out through appropriate food, drink, and even the time we eat or don’t eat, our meals. 

Your dosha isn’t like a blood type that’s yours forever. They are always in a state of flux. Seasons and dayparts alter them, and through food and drink, we can find balance. For example, ice cream or frozen yogurt are fine on a hot summer day, but not on a cold damp evening. Bananas and pineapple are tasty in the tropics, but these fruits are not meant to be shipped across the globe to locales where they never grow. There are many reasons for the trend of seeking locally-grown foods, or farm-to-table, but Ayurveda’s principles are to eat local and eat seasonal for better digestion, less allergic reactions, and to balance the doshas. 

4) Consume “Pure” Food and Drink

picking fresh fruit from orchardAs I explain in The Yogi Diet, Ayurveda encourages everyone to eat sattvic (pure) foods. 

The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, in “Practical Ayurveda,” says “Sattva is the energy of harmony and clarity. A sattvic diet helps create happiness of mind and

Is made up of pure foods that are delicious, wholesome, and give mental strength. A sattvic meal is prepared from fresh, natural ingredients.”

As an example of what’s NOT sattvic, Michael Pollan, in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” writes, “Breakfast cereal is the prototypical processed food: four cents’ worth of commodity corn (or some other equally cheap grain) transformed into four dollars’ worth of processed food. Further value is added in the form of color and taste, then branding and packaging…the cereals group generates higher profits for General Mills than any other division.”

The switch doesn’t have to be cold turkey… What is important is to be mindful. Recognize that any effort will have a positive impact on your health, the environment, and the lives of other living creatures. — Excerpt from From the Boxing Ring to the Ashram”

Additionally, because sattvic food is fresh, foods that are not in-season, or imported from far away should be avoided. Of course, an imported kiwi is still better than eating a can of peaches, or a frozen peach pie. But the closer you can get to consuming local, seasonal foods from organic growers, the better. 

Learn more by joining The Yogi Diet. In-person, in Austin, March 23 and April 4, or on-demand from anywhere in the world.

 

Somehow, in the I me mine world that we live, emotional and physical well being has escaped the vast majority. The Namaste Counsel encourages simple proven practices to live a healthier and happier life. Any time. Any where. By anyone.
The Namaste Counsel © 2021 All Rights Reserved.
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