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The Yoga Life

Yoga and Food

– how to feed your self the yoga way and will it make you happier and healthier if you do?

“Recognising that food can be yoga and that I can feed my “self”, as well as my body, has helped me find the joy in healthy food. These days cooking and eating is as much a part of my yoga practice as the time spent on my mat. Here are some ideas on how you can feed your Self the yoga way, recipes for joyful and healthy eating, yoga philosophy insights and the thoughts of others on yoga and food.  Together we can discover whether that makes us happier and healthier.”

 

Spring to Summer 2019

Yoga And FooD

– baking biscuits with saucha and ahimsa

Healthy Anzac Biscuits

Recipe and Photography by Claire Plastow

Our after class nibble of choice recently is the oaty, coconuty anzac biscuit. I’ve been baking them as an homage to my recent trip to Australia and the biscuits baked for me whilst there. My version is a healthy blend of antipodean culture and my belief that wholesome, local produce feeds the soul as well as the body.

“Cooking and eating is one way in which I experiment with bringing yoga’s ethical code to everyday life. I can source and cook with wholesome ingredients that have a low environmental impact express those ideas day to day.”

Why nibbles after class? You might be aware that I consider eating as much a part of my yoga practice as my mat time. Cooking and eating is one way in which I experiment with bringing yoga’s ethical code to everyday life. And eating is fun and tasty too. Baking and sharing these “experiments” with you means I can share some of yoga’s ethics along the way.

The yoga philosophy bit then, consider saucha and ahimsa for starters. Saucha can be interpreted as purity and ahimsa as a dynamic loving peacefulness. I can source and cook with wholesome ingredients that have a low environmental impact and express those ideas day to day. The ingredients are as pure as I can get and harvesting them has been done with minimal harm to the environment.

What’s the effect of that? Do I benefit as well? It feels harmonious. I can’t say scientifically what the effects are on my health, certainly not on my karma, but I do feel good. When I eat one of these cookies I’m really feeding myself. I’m fairly certain that the environment will benefit too and that’s good enough for me.

Wow, all that in a cookie, who knew!

This is my super-easy recipe. It’s vegan and when kept in an airtight tin these cookies last for ages (but not in my house ‘cos the kids eat them all!)

Ingredients:

  • 85g porridge oats
  • 85g desiccated coconut
  • 100g white spelt flour
  • 100g honey
  • 100g coconut oil
  • 1 generous pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp boiling water

You will need:

  • Scales or measuring cups
  • Oven set to 180 C
  • Flat baking tray
  • Baking paper optional but handy as reduces the washing up
  • Large mixing bowl and microwave OR a large saucepan and hob
  • Wooden spoon or spatula and 2 teaspoons
  • Wire cooling rack or cold oven tray with a sheet of baking paper

Here’s how:

  1. Heat the oven to 180.
  2. Gently warm the honey and coconut oil together in a saucepan until warm and liquid, not hot (or microwave in a bowl).
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  4. Blend the boiling water and bi carb to activate it and stir into the oil and honey.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the oil and honey mix and blend well.
  6. Spoon small quantities into littles piles spaced a few cm apart on the lined tray. Lightly press them down until slightly flat.
  7. Bake for five minutes or until golden all over. Keep an eye on them they cook very quickly.
  8. Cool for on the tray for five minutes, carefully slide off onto a rack or lined oven tray. They’ll crisp up as they cool.
  9. Eat and feel good.

Pimp it, add; raisins, chocolate or lemon, lime or orange zest to the mix.

More about the heritage of Anzac biscuits*

*ANZAC – Australian New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac biscuits have a long heritage that spans the first and second world wars. Legend has it they were baked and sold by wives of active servicemen to raise money at fetes and galas for the war effort. The long life ingredients made them suitable for wives to send out much-needed home comforts to loved ones is active service.

Bibliography:

Anzac biscuit heritage – various online sources and Cameron. Cameron who heralds from Australia and amongst other things is baker of Anzac biscuits and other Australian goodies at Birdhouse on St John’s Hill.

Saucha and ahimsa – various yoga texts and personal notes.

 

Autumn to Winter 2018

Yoga And FooD

– how to feed yourself the yoga way

Carrot, Tomato and Coconut Soup

Recipe and Photography by Green Kitchen Stories

Here’s a simple, everyday soup recipe I’ve been cooking recently and a verse from yogic philosophy that sheds light on how to feed your self the yoga way. This is a great one to start with because it’s a great recipe that uses everyday ingredients and the philosophy is totally relevant to modern lifestyles.

First the philosophical bit, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika tells us that “The Yogi Should Take Nourishing And Sweet Food.” In essence this one’s all about purity and personal-fit. Sweet in this context suggests fresh, pure and untainted, and here’s the great bit – pleasing. Pleasing here means suitable – suitable to you, suitable to sustain you with the energy you need to manage the demands that are placed on you.

we notice more keenly the toxic or uplifting effect of different foods and drink and become more able to move towards food that nourishes us and makes us feel content

But how do we know what is “pleasing” to us, we’re all different after all… I think this is a great example of yoga in action – this is where self-awareness comes in. The self-awareness we learn on our yoga mat pays dividends when it comes to making the right choices about what we eat and drink day-to-day. On-our-mat asana and breath work cleanse and refine us, toxins are processed and we feel energised. In quiet moments we learn to tune-in to our body, listen to its rhythm and respect how it feels.

Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not that begins to have an effect when we’re off our mat too. We notice more keenly the toxic or uplifting effect of different foods and drink, we become able to move away from what doesn’t please us and towards food that nourishes us and makes us feel content. Little by little we are learning how to feed our selves as well as our bodies.

So, how to feed your self the yoga way… Choose fresh, pure food that sustains you and tastes great. Food that you look forward to cooking and eating and that brings a deep sense of satisfaction …and you may well find you feel happier and healthier.

This Carrot, Tomato and Coconut Soup recipe by Green Kitchen Stories ticks the fresh and pure boxes and is certainly pleasing to me. I’ve been cooking this up in huge quantities recently, it’s seasonal and healthy, quick and looks great – I really do feel happy and healthy after a bowl of this.

Carrot, Tomato and Coconut Soup.

Autumn to Winter 2018

Can One Truly Be A Yogi And A Foodie?

Traditional foodie Tim Hayward vents beautifully and asks us yogis to please leave food to proper foodies…

Article by Tim Hayward courtesy of The Guardian

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Claire Plastow

Claire Plastow teaches hatha yoga in Wandsworth and South London. She holds a 500 hour, British Wheel of Yoga Diploma in teaching yoga and has over fifteen years of personal yoga practice experience

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