Every year in the Vedic calendar there are two, 9 day periods of time called Navratri (one falls in the spring and one happens in the fall); both are considered to be high spiritual energy days. During these periods, yogis recommend doing extra japa practices, meditation and really just spending as much of the nine days going inward.
In addition to doing practices those nine days, I usually try to stick to a yogic fasting diet. Yogic fasting is interesting because there is a lot of eating involved. For the fast, you primarily stick to foods that are completely sattvic (pure) so that they are light for the body to digest and have little impact on the mind, but are still nourishing and satisfying to the body so that one can then focus on their practices.
The following is a list of yogic fasting foods:
VEGETABLES & FRUITS: root vegetables, carrots, spinach, opo (a specific type of Indian squash), cucumbers, lemons, limes and all fruits
DAIRY: All dairy is acceptable; milk, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt, etc, etc (just make sure it’s all rennet-free)
SEEDS/ NUTS/ FLOURS: Quinoa, buckwheat, tapioca, sesame, sunflower and all nuts
HERBS & SPICES: salt, pepper, cumin, ginger, jalepeno, cilantro, basil, oregano, thyme, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg
MISC: Coffee, tea, sugar, honey
So every year during this period, I like to experiment and try out new recipes. This year I created a new Quinoa Spring Salad recipe. I will definitely be making this on days even when I’m not fasting…because it’s so light, tasty and refreshing.
We will be serving this new dish tomorrow at Dhyanyoga Center’s Hanuman Jayanti Celebration. If you’re watching from a far…you can make this yourself and join in the fun via the awesome live web-streaming that they will be doing :)!
- 4 cups cooked quinoa (should be light and fluffy)
- ¾ cup carrots, diced into ¼ in. cubes
- ¾ cup cucumber, peeled and diced into ¼ in. cubes
- 3 cups spinach, washed, dried and finely chopped
- ¾ cup mint, washed, dried and finely chopped
- ¾ cup basil, washed, dried and finely chopped
- ¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 – 1½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste
- Fluff quinoa and place in a large bowl. Then add all of the above ingredients and toss lightly. ENJOY!
Vegan: omit the feta cheese and then enjoy!
Gluten-free: Totally gluten free :)!
Yogic Cooking: this is completely a sattvic meal; good for all body types. Vata body types might want to add some nuts to make it a little heavier and kapha people might want to add a little heat to help digest the feta.