Sugar. We love it, plain and simple. And the more we eat the more we want. It is a fact that when we taste something sweet, whether it is a piece of chocolate, or a cookie, or even a sweet drink, our brain is triggered to produce chemical messengers that identify this taste as “pleasurable”. And of course when we feel pleasure, we are happy, leading our brain to crave more of this “pleasurable” taste, so the next food we reach for is likely to be something sweet or sugary as well. So what does this mean for our yoga bodies?
Over-indulging in sweets, or simple refined carbohydrates can cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Our bodies then release the hormone insulin which causes sugar to be stored elsewhere in the body and blood sugar levels to be lowered. Some signs and symptoms of this drop in blood sugar include nervousness, irritability, headaches, fatigue as well as hunger and cravings for foods – often carbohydrates or sweets. And when our blood sugar drops during our yoga practice, that extra round of sun salutes may seem out of the question, and sivasana just can’t seem to come soon enough. So how can we fuel ourselves properly to help move through our practice with steadiness and ease?
Increasing the amount of fibre in the diet, including large amounts of fresh veggies or fibre-containing fruits, such as pears or apples can help to minimize fluctuations of blood sugar levels between meals. Recent studies show that we should consume a minimum of 30 grams of fibre each day. Furthermore, snacking on healthy, whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre can help reduce the amount of foods consumed at larger meals, and helps prevent cravings for refined foods that are high in sugar.
In yoga, the word “Sattva” translates as a state of harmony, balance, joy and intelligence. Sattvic foods nourish the body and maintain it in a peaceful state. The following sattvic snacks are high in fibre, vitamins, minerals and good fats to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and are the perfect fuel for before and after yoga practice:
- Trail Mix – ensure any nuts and seeds are not roasted in oils
- Whole food bars (Lara bar, Elev-8 me bar, “Raw” organic food bar)
- Apple or pear with a handful of almonds, walnuts or a piece of organic cheese
- Rice or rye crackers with nut or seed butter (such as sunflower, almond pumpkin
- Yogurt – organic, naturally sweetened (with chia seeds, ground or whole)
- Carrot and celery and red/green/yellow pepper sticks with hummus
- Guacamole with brown rice crackers
- ½ cup mixed bean salad
- Raw salsa with rice crackers or organic corn chips
- Protein smoothie
Join me for an invigorating and joyful practice set to uplifting music in our new drop-in Power Yoga Vibe class.
Adrienne Kelly-Durys is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, 500Hr RYT and lover of feeling good in mind and body. She teaches Yoga and wellness classes at Balanced Life Yoga and specializes in detoxing and nourishment. Classes include Power Hour Yoga, Power Yoga Vibe, and Hot Power Yoga.