The Best Diet by Dr. Amrita McLanahan

Integral Yoga Teachings   |   August 23, 2013

What is the best way to eat? The very best is to eat foods as closely as possible to the way that they come in nature. At least fifty percent of the diet should be raw, because vital nutrients are destroyed by cooking. Raw salads, fruits, nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds and yogurt or cottage cheese form the basis of the diet. These foods build a perfect body if taken in the right quantity. To know the right quantity, develop the alertness to eat only when you are really hungry— not because it is a certain time of day. Ask the stomach, “Did you empty yourself fully of the last meal?”

The Best Diet 1Most of all, moderation is important. The ancient South Indian scripture, Tirukkural, says, “No medicine is necessary for the person who eats after assuring him or herself that what has already been eaten is digested.” Overeating any food produces mucus. The real mucusless diet is simply not overeating any food.

Try to eat only one main meal per day; the other two very light. Eat the main meal at noon so that it is fully digested before bed. Train yourself to be conscious while eating of how your stomach is reacting. Stop when it is three-quarters full. If possible, sit in Vajrasana while eating and for ten minutes afterward. Just as we should not overeat, neither should we take the other extreme and fast to excess. You can judge for yourself how much you need to fast. Start with one day a week. If needed, try a longer one later. Return to taking food with an attitude that food is medicine for the body, not only sensory pleasure for the tongue. In this way, you will avoid getting caught in overeating, and you will remain in a light state. You will be better able to manifest your own inner Light.

VajrasanaThe Best Diet 2

Vajrasana looks simpler than its dramatic effects reveal. It increases the digestive fire manifold, tones the digestive tract and eliminates gas.Keeping the knees together, kneel on the floor. Point the toes, spread the heels and sit back on the feet. Keep head, neck and trunk in a straight line. Let the weight fall on the ankles; place the palms on the knees, and relax. At first, you may not be able to hold the pose long because of tension in the knees or ankles, but, gradually, it will become comfortable. If possible, sit in this pose while eating and for at least ten minutes afterward. You will notice a great strengthening of the capacity of the digestive tract, as well as a toning of the entire nervous system.

The Best Diet 4Amrita (Sandra) McLanahan, M.D., is a nationally recognized authority on preventive medicine, nutrition, stress reduction and primary family health care. As Director of Stress Management Training at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute for twenty years, she worked with Dr. Dean Ornish to document the benefits of dietary change and stress management to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dr. McLanahan is the author of the book Surgery and its Alternatives: How to Make the Right Choices for Your Health and is the medical consultant for the book, Dr. Yoga.

(from the November, 2012 IYTA Newsletter)

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