my "no-diet" diet

As a yoga teacher and Health Educator I am regularly asked by my students what kind of diet I follow. I figure since it is asked in those settings, perhaps it is questioned by our readers as well. It is actually a more complicated question for me to answer. The yogic diet (or sattvic diet) suggests you eat a vegetarian diet full of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains light in nature that help clear the mind. They suggest you avoid meat, coffee, refined sugar, or excessively spicy, salty, or sour foods. More on this diet can be found here at Yoga Journal.

While I actually do follow this diet for the most part, I make daily exceptions. For one, I love a cup of coffee in the morning and have no plans to take this out of the morning ritual. My diet most closely resembles a pescetarian diet, where I do not eat meat but I do eat fish. With that being said I don't label myself as anything; vegetarian, pescetarian, vegan, gluten free, paleo, etc. My diet usually consists of vegetarian or vegan meals, but I do throw seafood into the mix once in a while. Sushi is my everything. With that in mind, I take ahimsa, the sanskrit word of non-violence and a large part of yogic philosophy, always into consideration. I try to do the least amount of harm to the environment and animals through my diet. I pay close attention to where my food comes from. I use the Monterey Bay Aquarium's seafood watch program to choose the best seafood choices. I buy most of my vegetables and fruit from JP Organics, a local CSA program, and my eggs from a local woman with a small farm. 

I eat what feels good to my body. I listen to my cravings, what I need, and have just that. I believe in all things in moderation and balance, meaning if I want the dessert I will have the dessert and then in turn choose a healthier, less sugar filled meal next time I eat. And above all, I do not go on diets! I did this once, it was the Atkins diet, about 10 years ago. While I did lose weight, it was not sustainable or satisfying. As soon as I went back to my normal eating patterns, the weight came back and then some. My metabolism had slowed and I ate substantially more of the foods I had been denying myself. It was a lesson I thankfully only had to learn once to leave a lasting impression. Besides, food is such an enjoyable part of life I don't want to miss out on through restrictions.

I recently read the book, French Women Don't Get Fat, which made me think of writing this post. It is a fabulous book (recommended to me by Ashley), not about dieting, but about living a healthier lifestyle in order to keep the body at an equilibrium and avoid putting on those extra pounds. Much of what the author discussed was similar to my viewpoint, and what I described above. She also brought up some great practices I need to incorporate more into my day to day, like drinking more water and walking more. A highly recommended read.