Yogi diet: Should you be avoiding gluten, or are you being diet-washed?

We’ve talked enough about our avoidance of wheat — something different from a pure gluten-free diet. (Well, effectively the same, only the reason is different.)

This weekend, the New York Times delved into the big question: Should we be avoiding gluten? From one of the answers:

How was this gluten-free diet fad created? In the same way the low-carb fad was cooked up (celebrity endorsements, for one thing). Fads can run concurrently, but none of them seem to “have legs.” By their very nature they die. This fad too shall pass. Remember the Scarsdale and Atkins diets, or the vibrating belts? (Of course, if you have celiac disease, you should stick to a gluten-free diet.)

All we know is that staying mostly raw and staying away from wheat — Alas, poor bread, I knew him, Bobbie — works for us. But we’re fortunate to be able to think long and hard about our diet, to play around, to see what works.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

3 thoughts on “Yogi diet: Should you be avoiding gluten, or are you being diet-washed?”

  1. Was Gluten Free started out of a fad or as a reaction to how badly people were feeling eating what is mostly available out there? I think Gluten Free is different than low carb as most people eating low carb are trying to loose weight vs. eating gluten free to feel good.

  2. Wheat has been an integral part of yoga practice for much, much longer than the gluten free fad. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika outlines the foods a yogi should eat: wheat and rice are mentioned first and I would argue that they are the most important for one with a consistent Ashtanga practice.

    While the yoga goes deeper, if one practices a full series, 6 days a week, they had better be eating like a professional athlete just to deal with the physical strain. Even the beginning series with every vinyasa included becomes like an extreme gymnastic workout if we view it from the outside. Complex carbs are absolutely essential for maintaining stamina and long-term energy.. the ancient yogis were down….

    We all approach yoga from a different age with a different body, thus we need to eat differently. But my practice could not be maintained without whole grains, wheat being an absolutely essential one (love me some chapatis). Happy cooking to all!

    1. Hi Cee.

      A few thoughts. One, if you click on the Yogi Diet links to the right, you’ll see the various discussions of wheat we’ve had — it more has to do with the recent hybridizing and what that’s done to wheat’s protein structure. (There is some compelling evidence that wheat isn’t good for you.)

      Two, I’m not sure I’d compare ancient yogis and modern Ashtangis. While one could debate the history of yoga (see our more recent post, for instance), there’s certainly a lot of difference between the “extreme gymnastic workout” we’re all waking up too early to do and asana as a seat for meditation.

      That said, I think our basic tenet is: Do what works for you. And that very well may be very different from what works for someone else.

      Food, as they say, for thought.


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