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By Kirpal Singh
Yogi Bhajan recommended a diet of only fruits, nuts and vegetables to beginning yoga students. He encouraged them to take the steps to break away from a meat-based diet and embrace a healthy lifestyle.
My first yoga teacher introduced it to me at a time when my muscles were tight and my life was full of tension. I was out of touch with my body and my natural rhythms. He promised that it would complement the cleansing process initiated by the yoga.
A group of us from the class committed ourselves to thirty days. It changed my life. I can’t say that I lost weight—at age eighteen I was a skinny guy anyway, but many of the other students did lose weight, lots of it. For me, the most important result of this diet was that it opened my eyes to the joy of eating lightly and consciously.
According to the Master, “This diet is used in India when the person looks old—the body is wearing out and becomes impotent. It is said to cleanse the system and revitalize the body. The first few days you may feel weak, but then gradually your strength will increase and you will start to feel light and happy.”
The best season for this diet is the warmer months of spring, summer and fall, when fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available.
•Physical: Cleansing, weight loss, clearing mucus
•Mental: Break negative food habits, be happy
•Spiritual: Transition to a more energetic and higher frequency vibration; to become more in harmony with your body and with your world.
Yogi Bhajan said to do it for thirty days. It can be done up to 120 days. I first did it when I was eighteen years old. Since that time I have chosen this diet on numerous occasions for cleansing, to break negative food patterns, and simply to feel light and energized. If thirty days sounds like too much, try two weeks. It may give you confidence that you can continue it for the full time. Once you start the diet, there may be a short period when you feel weak or low energy. This is to be expected, especially if you are coming off a diet high in processed foods or animal products. Keep up. Allow your body to adjust to a higher frequency of energy. You will never want to go back to your old habits.
Meat, fish, fowl, eggs, alcoholic beverages, drugs of any kind (including caffeine), dairy, grains, legumes, packaged foods, canned foods, concentrated sugars, including honey (except a little in Yogi Tea), roasted nuts, nut butters and fried foods.
•Lots of salads—fresh lettuce and other greens and sprouts dressed lightly with cold pressed oil and natural vinegar or lemon juice, with optional additions of: alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts, fresh raw vegetables, avocados, raw sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
•Steamed vegetables garnished with a little olive oil, a touch of sea salt and black or red pepper
•Raw almonds soaked and peeled
•Potatoes—yes, they are vegetables too, and very alkalizing to your system. Prepare them Punjabi style with peas and onions, with fresh cauliflower, or baked, and served with a little olive oil and soy sauce.
•Fresh fruit anytime
•Fruit and vegetable smoothies—add a little fruit juice for sweetness.
•Yogi Tea with almond milk and a little honey
After thirty days, gradually add skim milk, rice and legumes and transition to a yogic maintenance diet.
Yogi Bhajan gave this diet in 1969 to the flower children that showed up in droves to his first yoga classes. It is an excellent introduction to a healthy lifestyle with the wide variety of options possible. Still the ego may freak out. Remember, our relationship to food and diet are deeply ingrained habit patterns involving security, comfort and self-image. Change is a challenge. The way to meet the challenge gracefully is to thoroughly enjoy the new experiences coming across your tongue. Savor every bite. Chew your food well and relish it. If you are overweight, you begin the process of losing your excess. Do yoga and breathe deeply. You may be amazed at the new you.
Suggestion: Do the diet with friends. Create a support group. If possible, include family. The more people doing it and the closer you are, the easier it will be. Have fun!
[Always check with your personal physician or licensed health care practitioner before making any significant modification to your diet to ensure that the recipes and ingredients are appropriate for your personal health condition and consistent with any medication you may be taking. The information presented here is ancient yogic wisdom and not to be construed as medical advice.]
Kirpal Singh Khalsa served as director of Guru Ram Das Ashram, Boulder, from 1972 –1992. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Colorado and taught in the Sociology Department from 1980 to 1992. From 1992 – 2003 he served as Academic Director for Sikh Dharma Education International and helped found Miri Piri Academy in Amritsar, India. He currently lives in the Sikh community in Espanola, New Mexico.