Live and Simple Eating

What are simple ways to make proper diets easier?

The best way is to think simple. Too often, diet plans are complicated, with ingredients we don’t normally eat, or don’t fit into our personal schedule. Most of us enjoy eating but not cooking, want the benefits of healthy food without the health food store price, and want meals we look forward to instead of dread (which makes us binge).

Yes, health is important, but it’s not something we think about until we’re sick – which is why thinking simple is important. Eating so that health is not a concern, having loads of energy, boosting our immune system, improving our cardiovascular health, having healthy skin, protection from inflammation, and fewer colds and flu, are all empowering things. And more importantly, simple to achieve and maintain!

As a Yogini, diet is part of my lifestyle. Many think of Yoga as just an exercise routine, but its far more. Yoga is a way to be fit physically, mentally and mindfully.

Eating like a Yogi meets all the nutritional requirements, builds health from the ground up .. at the cellular level, involves few calories, is inexpensive, takes little time to prepare, is nutrient rich, and no .. you don’t have to be a vegetarian! Told ya’ it was simple!

To begin, think “lifestyle”, not “diet”. Also think, “What do I really like to eat?”

A single day example looks like this:
~Breakfast:
-Green tea or coffee. If you normally add sweetener, consider using only half or one-quarter. In other words, don’t take away what you enjoy, just lower your portion size. Also consider a bit of spice, like cinnamon in coffee, or honey in tea.

-Grain and Fruit. ‘Grain’ is a carbohydrate, such as oatmeal, your favorite cereal, bread/toast, or a granola bar/cookie. Breakfast should always include carbs .. to give us that ‘full’ feeling. And ‘Fruit’ should be one you enjoy. So your breakfast ‘Grain and Fruit’ can be: oatmeal with berries, toast with peanut butter, cereal with a banana, or a granola bar with an apple. Finally, portion is important! One cup of oatmeal is a lot to me, but may be just right for you. So my portion would be ½ cup of oatmeal with ½ cup of berries. With commercial cereals, the suggested portion size is a great place to start. With toast and granola bars, start with on – remember, eaten with fruit! – but try not to exceed two.

Bottomline: Think whole grains, and consider bulgur, kasha or even brown rice for breakfast. And sweeten with cinnamon and cardamom, or vanilla or almond extracts.

Snack:
-Protein and Fruit. Just like carbs are the perfect way to start the day, so too is protein for your first after-breakfast-carb snack. Some ideas include: peanut butter and banana, yogurt and an orange, or nuts with raisins (yea! for trail mix).

Lunch:
-Greens and Protein. Think: taco salad, chicken or turkey salad, tuna salad, or Greek salad (with feta).

Bottomline: With greens consider yogurt instead of salad dressing, season with garlic and onion for additional flavor.

Snack:
-Fruit or Veggies. Lots of option here! Think one apple, an orange, a pear, a few slices of pineapple, or a mango. Or, think celery or carrot sticks, cucumber slices, broccoli bushels, radishes, or avocado.

Bottomline: Another great way to eat fruit is applesauce, or some other fruit sauce. They are easy to make at home because they only take a few minutes, and you can add nuts and your favorite spices.

Dinner: This should be your largest meal of the day, which is not a reason to pig-out, just to eat more than you did for breakfast and lunch.
-Veggies and Protein. This can be any combination, such as: salmon with sweet potatoes, chicken with peas, tuna with celery and onion, steak with homemade salsa, beans with Brussels sprouts, turkey and spinach, or hummus with celery and carrots.

Bottomline: Think more veggies, less meat.

Desert: Yes, you can have desert!
-Fruit and Sweetener. Think: grapes with honey drizzled over the top, berries with sweet nuts (like almonds), strawberries with grated chocolate, plums or figs with yogurt.

There it is, no fad diet (so no yo-yo effect), no counting calories, no wondering if and which vitamins you need to take. Always think ‘simple’, ‘tried, true and tasty’, and you can’t go wrong!

Be Happy, Healthy and Whole!

Yogini Valarie Devi
hamsayoga-shala.com

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