Let’s face it—despite what Instagram might have you believe, most of us don’t actually spend hours on end daily creating super delicious and healthy meals. Maintaining a healthy diet is a critical aspect of taking care of ourselves and anyone in this practice will know that finding the time to make meals that are both delicious and nutritious for your health takes some research and practice. With that in mind, we reached out to Natalie Murray, certified holistic health coach from Jamaica, for her view on eating vegan in Jamaica. Here are her tips (and delicious recipes) for bringing the Healthy Vegan Vibe to your own home.
Eating to support your yoga practice will mean including in your diet various foods that may differ from yogi to yogi because our makeup is quite individual. What you seek is a balanced approach to eating that supports your practice. You want to eat in a way that does not feel heavy on your system. You want to eat energy giving foods that promote a feeling of lightness and restful sleep while ensuring adequate protein and a variety of nutrients.
Going long periods without food before your practice, perhaps even fasting, may seem like a good idea to heighten your awareness. This however can leave you dehydrated, hypoglycemic and not at all prepared for a meaningful class. On the flip side, over eating before class can leave you feeling sluggish. So if your practice will occur any later in the day other than first thing in the morning I suggest you eat a light meal or have a snack that works for your body no less than an hour before class.
Oh! And eat slowly please, not drinking water with your meal as this interfered with digestion.
What foods to avoid:
Be mindful of what you eat and as a result you will naturally begin to avoid foods that result in indigestion or heartburn. Pay attention to how you feel during, immediately after and up to hours after a meal. Avoid foods that make you feel sleepy or bloated. Also avoid foods that make your nose itch or result in a post nasal drip. These are all signs that this food does not agree with you.
What foods to always include:
Always eat more veggies. Steamed, raw, roasted, sautéed, in smoothies…any way that tastes good and will make you eat more of ‘em.
How to bring the healthy vegan vibe into your home kitchen:
The easiest way is the silent breakfast - which means taking a meal and eating it mindfully, without distractions. By paying attention to how the food makes you feel, you can really allow the body to absorb and digest but also allow it to guide you as to what it needs for optimal well-being.
Here are a few of Natalie's favorite recipes for getting that Healthy Vegan Vibe in your own home:
Grain Free Muesli
2 apples washed and rough chopped
2 dates pit removed
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Dash of sea salt
Optional add in ¼ cup grated dry coconut
***layer in a glass jar with coconut yogurt for a breakfast parfait
Lebanese rice and lentils (Mujadhara)
1 cup brown or green lentils soaked overnight
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
½ head of garlic crushed and chopped
Dash of sea salt
¼ cup brown rice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
Coconut Curried Chick Peas and Cashews
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder or grated turmeric root
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
***serve with salad and quinoa or brown rice.