When I first had the idea to create a cookbook called Eat Like a Yogi, I decided to base it on the first two limbs of yoga: the Yamas and the Niyamas, which I think of somewhat like the Ten Commandments of yoga.
The Yamas—there are five of them—are a set of prescribed restraints, or suggestions of what not to do. Ahimsa is the first that is listed, and it means non-harm. In other words, don’t harm other beings or the planet and you’ll be better off. This makes perfect sense when we’re talking about diet, given the way industrial farming harms not only animals, but the planet, too.
The Niyamas—there are five of these, as well—are a set of observances. In other words, things you should do. One of them is saucha, or cleanliness. When it comes to your diet, this could be interpreted as eating clean food (non processed, organic), or as keeping your kitchen clean. Great…kind of obvious.
But as I got further into researching the origins and intent of the Yamas and Niyamas, alike, things started to become a little fuzzier. Not all of them translate as well to our diets as ahimsa. So I realized I needed a different framework.
Necessity is the mother of invention. I realized quickly that no such framework exists. That, perhaps surprisingly, there’s not much conversation happening presently about how the philosophy of yoga translates to the way we not only eat, but live, shop, work, love, etc.
So I got busy writing my own.
My intention is that the Manifesto is an expression of our collective philosophy, so I wrote it to be as inclusive as possible. It is vital to me that it is affirming and positive. I want every person who reads it to realize that their choices about what they eat have a significant impact—not only on their personal health, but also on our collective well being.
I hope to encourage people to create positive change in their diets and to recognize that they have a voice. Whether they use it to speak up among family and friends, to advocate for those who are less fortunate (animals and humans, alike), to get involved in creating animal- and earth-friendly policy, or to motivate others to take action, their voice matters.
Your voice matters.
The Eat Like a Yogi Manifesto is a work in progress. I am hopeful that you will share your feedback about it—if there’s anything we missed, or if anything needs to be tweaked. We are all in this together. Let us work accordingly to create positive change on the planet for ALL.