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Those of you who have known me a while know my yoga training in India last February included all of us following a sattvic diet; which is basically vegan without onions, garlic, mushrooms and red chillies.

It also espoused dry fasting (no liquid or food) for 24 hours twice a month, which, in over 30 degree heat I chose to refuse to follow.

In truth, I wasn’t too sure about the “science” explanations we were being given about why we should avoid these foods. My instinct to question so called “facts” means I can be seen as somewhat sceptical! I prefer to check things out first.  

However, I couldn’t refute the fact I did feel better, lost weight, and felt more “vital”, even though I was already a reasonably healthy vegetarian prior to the training.

What was even more interesting for me was what happened when I went back to eating exactly as I used to. I've been feeling a little more sluggish, sometimes a little bloated, and whilst I don't feel I've regained any of the weight I'd lost, I feel heavier somehow!!

Which led me to taking some time out to review, do further research and consider how I might make some changes to my eating habits and see what happens!

It's not that easy! Having spent time researching, and reading, I'm finding the debates about which diet will help us stay fitter for longer continue to be a contradictory, often confusing sets of claims, all too often with a hidden agenda of trying to sell us a particular pill, food or diet! There are some interesting social studies, observing communities across the world where they seem to live longer and healthier lives - but in truth, there will  almost certainly be other factors contributing to their wonderful longevity too - so its difficult to extrapolate it to one thing.

So - finding credible research, done with at least some clear objectivity and scientific rigour is not easy!

However, I did find one piece of research (done by Katz and Mellor from Yale University) I particularly liked. It's recent for one thing - done in 2014; it is clearly non-biased; and it reviews dozens of other trials in order to come to its conclusions.

  Here’s my overviewof their findings:

  • Improvements in our diets have been repeatedly shown to be associated with significantly increased life span and (more importantly as far as I’m concerned) with a far better quality of life as we age.
  • In their conclusion they say: The case for eating "true food" mostly plants, is all but incontrovertible.
  • They also conclude: vegan diets, when well constructed, are associated with health benefits such as reduced inflammation; reduced cardiac risk; healthier body size and shape and insulin sensitivity.

So - I'm trialling one day a week as a vegan only day!

I'm reviewing my shopping and cooking habits to see if I could move a little nearer to the vegan/sattvic way of eating - and indeed to see if it actually makes me feel any better!

I'll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, when was the last time you reviewed your eating habits? eliminating meat and dairy may not be for you; but what small changes might you make to  achieve better health and vitality and support yourphysical yoga practice?




 Well....not fully! But every journey begins with a  single step!!

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Shona Garner

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