Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The golden Guidelines, or what does a non-veg yogini eat, anyway?

Recently, after my one of my previous articles had been published on Elephant Journal, I was asked to write for a diet website. When I received this request, I admit that my first reaction was to giggle.  When I was asked to contribute to a website on diets, I giggled.  Me, write about diets? I hate diets!  I think they are absolutely useless, as they rely on a short-term mentality to solve a long-term problem. In my experience, the best ones force you to rely on their system that is rarely sustainable for anything outside of a regular life-pattern (and as someone who has my hand in four separate businesses, calling my lifestyle regular would be pretty far off course.)  The worst teach you to starve yourself, mess with your metabolism, loose some water-weight, and gain it all back the instant the diet has run it’s course (and often gain even more.)

When it comes to weight loss and nutrition, I am a firm believer in the “moderation in everything, even moderation” way of life.  This has worked quite well for me, as with few changes (due to illness) my weight has stayed consistent within a few pounds for the past six or more years.  I am certainly no stick figure, but I have a lovely, curvy and athletic body that looks fabulous in clothes (and I’ve had no complaints from my boyfriend, either!)
However, as a yoga teacher and a personal trainer, I constantly have people coming to me asking how to lose weight, how to have shapelier thighs, how to make their bum tighter, flatter abs, bigger boobs, smaller nose (well, not really the last one.) And on a website about diets, having the opportunity to be the voice of moderation and sensible, healthy choices for the every day yogi or yogini in all of us felt like an awesome way to put my mantra where my mouth is. 

So, I thought I’d let you know how I try to eat every day, and succeed about 80% of the time. 

All right, so how do I personally eat, if I don’t diet or restrict, but still want my tight jeans to fit?  Well, I just follow the Golden Guidelines, and all is taken care of for me.

Here they are: the Golden Guidelines I stick to (80% of the time, anyways):
-          Vegetables at every meal, including breakfast. 
-          For every meal, half a plate of veg, ¼ plate of carbs, and ¼ plate protein. Which looks something like this:
-          Small meals every 3-4 hours, preferably including a vegetable.
-          Small amount of “good” fats (olive oil, nuts, avocado) daily
-          Alcohol, cheese, processed food (including gluten free products, for wheat-free folks like me), nuts and other saturated fats in intense moderation.

While this might sound difficult, not enjoyable, or even nuts (Brussels sprouts for breakfast?!) once you get used to it, it becomes fairly simple to follow, transportable around the world, and absolutely delicious.  Plus, I really do get to eat as much as I want, whenever I want, provided it fits in the framework above. 
So, what does my daily food look like?

 Breakfast:  Two corn tortillas, 2 egg whites, arugula and 2 tbps mint ‘hummus’ (recipe to come next week!) extra cooked left-over veggies (if eating out, an eggwhite omelette loaded with veggies)
Snack: A rice-cake or two with almond butter, with half a sliced cucumber, a cup of tea sweetened with stevia and some almond milk,
Lunch:  Veggie-bake (more in a later post) with a small piece of protein (small can tuna (line caught if I can find it), left-over chicken breast, etc.) optional piece of gluten free bread, OR vegetable based soup with a piece of gluten-free bread.
Snack: Mary’s gone cracker’s with hummus, and/or steamed Brussels sprouts, a glass of wine (occasionally two) in the evening.
Dinner: (options:) 2 sushi rolls with brown rice and hijiki salad, OR veggie-bake with protein, OR vegetable soup with chicken sausage, OR chicken with arugula and chickpeas, or, once a fortnight, gluten free pizza or pasta. YUM!

Now, that said, this meal-plan works really well for me and for my body.  While I don’t necessarily advocate this exact food plan for everyone, as everyone has their own nutritional needs, the golden rules listed above have really helped me maintain a great figure, have plenty of energy, great skin and hair, excellent health, and a calmer, happier attitude in general. I couldn’t recommend them more highly.    In the coming weeks, I’ll write more information about all this, with recipes and research, etc.  Namaste!

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