in depth


Simply Vegetarian

Nourishing Food for Life

Shifting to, or maintaining, a vegetarian diet to create a healthier body and a more peaceful mind can be a very simple process. Just as you brush your teeth and shower to keep your outside body clean, you can also eat foods that keep your insides clean and well nourished. In the process, you can practice ahimsa by not harming animals. (Ahimsa is a Sanskrit term for non-violence, which is the basis of yoga philosophy.)

As a lifelong vegetarian, raised by parents who shifted to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (no meat, fish or chicken) before I was born, I didn’t have to give this diet much thought. When others ask, "What do you eat?" My answer is simply, “Everything but the meat.” It is simply not in my consciousness that animals are food. For those of you who do see meat as food, if you increase your daily intake of vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits, you may decrease your desire to consume meat, as you feel better overall.

Yogic diet is typically one in which vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and some dairy (yogurt, ghee or non-dairy substitutes) are eaten in balance to create optimal health and vitality for the body and to support a peaceful mind to meditate on your spiritual self.

With proper balance of the protein and nutrients your body needs, you can shift to or maintain a vegetarian diet with ease. Keep it simple, not eating too much or too little protein and balancing meals with vegetables and grains while making it appealing to your taste buds. Let your dietary habits support “an easeful body, peaceful mind and useful life,” as Swami Sachidananda taught as the goal of all yoga.

Enjoy this recipe from the Sivananda cookbook for a protein-filled main dish:

Baked Tofu (serves 4)
1 lb. firm tofu
Organic butter (melted) or sesame oil
2-3 T tamari
Shaved fresh ginger (optional)
Nutritional yeast flakes

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the tofu* into 10-12 pieces. Mix melted butter or sesame oil with tamari. Lay the tofu flat on a cookie sheet or glass baking pan. Pour or brush the tamari mixture on top. Sprinkle some yeast and ginger (if you like) on top of the tofu and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the tofu is lightly roasted and slightly crispy. Enjoy with steamed rice or your favorite vegetable dish…it’s simply vegetarian.

*Tofu may be marinated or prepared with lemon juice to assist in ease of digestion.

Enjoy this Creamy Tahini Kale with your Baked Tofu

Stacie Dooreck
Certified Gentle Integral and Chair Yoga Instructor

Recommended: The Yoga Cookbook: Vegetarian Food for Body and Mind by The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers


Lilly commented on 13-Jun-2011 08:54 AM5 out of 5 stars

I needed a new way to make tofu, this is perfect. The book recommended is also excellent. Thank you

Alonzo commented on 13-Jun-2011 10:43 AM5 out of 5 stars

Ohh la la!

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