Yogis all over the globe have their version of a perfect post-practice snack. That can range anywhere from a protein bar to a green smoothie to some fruits or veggies, or anything in between. But what post-practice bite lends itself to nourish the mind, body and soul after a healing yoga session? They can look to the power of plant-based protein.
Historically, the lifestyle and eating habits of a yogi lean towards veganism or vegetarianism. While there is no right or wrong way to eat, a plant-based diet and lifestyle provide impressive energy and align with many holistic values of different yoga practices. Experts such as Luke Coutinho agree that for an energizing after-class snack, plant-based protein is the way to go.
“Yoga usually prescribes a plant-based diet. A wholesome diet — filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and a good source of protein — works well with yoga,” says Coutinho. “It’s not just the exercise or the asana part of yoga, but also the mental part when you’re meditating. Any food that can be easily digested quickly allows you to get into a meditative state much quicker and easier.”
Luke Coutinho, a holistic lifestyle coach in the field of integrative medicine and founder of Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems Pvt Ltd., takes a unique approach to prevention and healing through holistic mental, physical and emotional healing, with an emphasis on pillars of balanced nutrition, adequate exercise, quality sleep and emotional detox.
“I recognized there was a gap in the system. People had the best doctors, the best nutritionists, yoga experts, everything, but yet people were getting sicker and sicker,” says Coutinho. “The gap is that people don’t change their lifestyle and they don’t respect bio-individuality; we’re all different people, and what works for me may not work for someone else.”
Coutinho’s extensive background in holistic practices, including yoga and meditation, bring him an abundance of experience when it comes to the perfect post-practice meal or snack.
“We’ve been studying pistachios over the last couple of months,” says Coutinho. “When you adopt a plant-based diet, you have to make sure that you have the right amount of protein since you’re not going to get it through meat. That’s when you start using more green leafy vegetables, more lentils, more legumes, more nuts and seeds. We’ve started putting a lot of pistachios in our yogic diets because a small handful of them can give you a lot more protein than the other nuts, especially for people who are calorie-conscious.”
Pistachios, along with other plant-based protein sources, add to a healthy, tasty and colorful diet for yogis, athletes or anyone looking to be more conscious of the fuel they are feeding their body. Mixing and matching different plant-based nutrients to enhance your diet not only leaves you feeling better mentally, but matches the energy you put into your practice; this is the power of plant-based protein.
“We advise that mix and match with pistachios because there are some nutrients and almonds which can also be helpful for you,” says Coutinho. “So, if I’m doing a salad, for example, how many different colored vegetables can I get? How can I add more protein and more color to it by adding almonds, pistachios, raisins or cranberries, and make it tasty and not so boring?”
We can align ourselves with our practice in many ways, be that through meditation, activity or in this case diet. It all goes to serve the idea of our practice as a lifestyle, and through a plant-based post-practice snack, you can fuel yourself and leave your mind, body and soul feeling satisfied.
“It’s not just about the exercise we do when we practice yoga. It’s the way we eat and the way we ultimately embrace yoga as a way of living,” says Coutinho.
Photo courtesy of Backbone Media.
Olivia Lyda is a former editorial intern for Spoke+Blossom
and YOGA + Life
magazines. She is a recent graduate and studied communications, journalism and writing at the University of Colorado Boulder. Olivia is passionate about the Colorado lifestyle and works to convey this in her studies and publications.