Simple Vegetarianism: Food for Life

Switching to or maintaining a vegetarian diet for health and peace of mind can be very simple. Just as you brush your teeth and take a shower to keep your body clean on the outside, you can eat food that will keep your inside clean. In the process, you can also practice ahimsa without harming the animals. (Ahimsa is the Sanskrit word for non-violence, the basis of yoga philosophy).

As a lifelong vegetarian raised by parents who became lacto-ovo vegetarian (did not eat meat, fish, or chicken) before I was born, I never thought about nutrition. When people ask me what I eat, I answer: “Everything except meat.” There is simply no setting in my mind that animals are food. Those who consider meat as food can reduce the desire to eat meat by adding more vegetables, nuts, grains, and fruits to the diet.

A yogi diet is usually based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and some dairy products (yogurt, ghee, or non-dairy substitutes), which are consumed in a balanced way that is optimal for the body, which maintains a healthy body and mind and allows you to meditate.

With a good balance of protein and nutrients, you can go vegan with ease. The key is balance! Keep a balance of protein, eat vegetables and cereals, cook them deliciously. As Swami Satchidananda taught, let your nutrition support “a light body, a calm mind and a wholesome life” which is the goal of yoga.

Try this recipe from Sivananda’s cookbook:

Baked tofu (serves 4)

  • 450 g of firm tofu
  • Organic butter (melted) or sesame oil
  • 2-3 tbsp. l. tamari 
  • Grated ginger (optional) 
  • yeast flakes


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the tofu* into 10-12 pieces. Mix oil with tamari. Place the tofu on a baking sheet or glass baking dish. Pour in the tamari mixture or brush over the tofu. Sprinkle yeast and ginger (if you like) on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the tofu is toasted and slightly crispy. Serve with steamed rice or your favorite vegetable dish. This is an easy vegetarian dish!

Tofu can be pickled or cooked with lemon juice to aid digestion.  


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