Shifting to, or maintaining, a vegetarian diet to create a healthier body and a more peaceful mind can be a very simple process. Just as we brush our teeth and shower to keep our outside body clean, we can also eat foods that keep our insides clean and well nourished. In the process, we can practice ahimsa by not harming animals. (Ahimsa is a Sanskrit term for non-violence, which is the basis of yoga philosophy.)
For those of us who do see meat as food, if we increase your daily intake of vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits, we may decrease our desire to consume meat, as we feel better overall.
Yogic diet is typically one in which vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and some dairy (yogurt, ghee or non-dairy substitutes) are eaten in balance to create optimal health and vitality for the body and to support a peaceful mind to meditate on our spiritual self.
With proper balance of the protein and nutrients our body needs, we can shift to or maintain a vegetarian diet with ease. Keep it simple, not eating too much or too little protein and balancing meals with vegetables and grains while making it appealing to our taste buds. Let your dietary habits support “an easeful body, peaceful mind and useful life,” as Swami Sachidananda taught as the goal of all yoga.