“If you are what you eat, I only want the good stuff.” This witty remark from Remy, the rat-chef in Disney Pixar's hit film Ratatouille, not only entertains but also carries profound truths. The nutrients we consume from our food are the building blocks for every cell in our body, affecting everything from our skin and hair to our muscles, bones, and immune systems. Unconsciously, we are always repairing and rebuilding our bodies through our diet. Health professionals emphasize that nutrients fuel our bodies, not just physically but also emotionally. The way we eat is as crucial as what we eat, a concept deeply rooted in ancient yogic philosophy, which is regaining its rightful importance.

Yoga extends beyond physical exercises and breath control to encompass dietary practices. Yogis who follow a sattvic diet, adhering to the principle of Mitahara, exemplify optimal health and well-being. Key principles of Hatha Yoga include consuming fresh, light, and enjoyable food, and practicing “drink your food, chew your water,” which means thoroughly chewing solids until they liquify and slowly drinking water to mix with saliva, aiding digestion. Mitahara, or moderate eating, suggests leaving 25% of the stomach empty to allow for gas movement, promoting better digestion and overall health.

To incorporate Mitahara into daily life, eat consciously, follow natural circadian rhythms, opt for fresh over processed foods, and focus on whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fresh produce. Diet should be balanced and moderate, avoiding overeating. Social and cultural influences often dictate our eating habits, making it challenging to always follow Mitahara. However, balance is key; if a meal is heavy, the next day should be lighter, and following an 80/20 rule can help manage dietary indulgences. Mastering this balance deepens our understanding of our body and mind, as Sufi philosopher Dr. Umar Faruq suggests, control over diet leads to control over life.

The benefits of Mitahara include optimal health, mental peace, vitality, easy digestion, toxin removal, and mental clarity.