Preparing for your yoga retreat – Healthy food

These step-by-step guidelines are great for when you are looking to make gradual changes towards healthy eating.

Ekhart Yoga recipes

This is also perfect if you are building up to our Home Yoga Retreat.

To receive the most benefit from a yoga, it’s best to not only focus on yoga poses but to adjust your diet to healthy foods as well. If you can find or make time, watch my classes on the Yogic Diet to learn why what and how you eat is so important. In those classes, you’ll also find yummy recipes that will help you to lean in to your retreat.

Leaning in

‘Leaning in’ to your retreat is recommended for everyone – regardless of how ‘yogic’ your diet is or isn’t. ‘Leaning in’ means that you take one step at the time. Each step, you’ll leave out something and replace it with something else. At the end of the road, you’ll have a healthy, balanced diet and are ready for your retreat. By taking these small steps, you’re not rushing into something and you won’t feel like the change is too much or too big for you. Because of that, the retreat will be easy and fun.

Day 1

It’s the first day of our ‘Leaning in’ time together, start to drink more water. Take a BPA free bottle with you wherever you go and actually use it! For men, the adequate intake per day is 3 litres, for women, it’s 2.5. Coffee, alcohol and black tea don’t count as water. 😉 

Day 2 to 4

Start to reduce your coffee, black tea and alcohol intake. If you smoke or use recreational drugs, start to reduce those as well.
For instance: if you normally would drink four cups of coffee a day, drink three on day two, one less on day three and only one on day four.

Day 5 to 6

Keep up the good work! From here on, leave your coffee, black tea, alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs out of your diet, keep on drinking lots of fresh, clear water and start to cut out refined sugar as well. Also, don’t use aspartame or other ‘chemical’ sweeteners.
To replace sugar, use fresh fruits, dried fruits or maple syrup. There are some other natural sweeteners that are ok to use as well (such as date syrup), but sometimes these are mixed with refined sugar, so make sure to check the labels.

Day 7 to 8

So you have had two days to say goodbye to sugar now you can start to replace dairy products with plant-based ones. Example: if you use yoghurt or milk in your smoothies, replace that by using almond milk (or rice milk, or hazelnut milk or any other plant milk you like) or water. To replace your usual sugary dairy ice-cream, blend two frozen bananas with a tiny splash of almond milk.

Day 9

So now you’re already drinking lots of water, you’ve replaced your sugar with healthier options AND are using way less or no dairy. Good job! Celebrate by making yourself a healthy and super easy snack: remove the pit from a date (or two), stuff the date with almonds and place that stuffed date on a slice of banana. Enjoy your little ‘cupcake’.

Day 10 to 11

Start to let go of eating meat, eggs and fish. If you’re used to eating meat, eggs or fish with every meal, try to eat only a little bit once a day. Replace these animal products with beans and lentils, veggies, fruits, nuts or seeds. Eat varied and balanced: if you focus on mostly veggies and fewer fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains (buckwheat, rice etc.) you’ll be alright. No idea how to do this? There are plenty of vegan and raw food websites. You can find some inspiration for your vegan meals here.

If you already eat little to no animal products, great – you can add even more plants to your diet by starting with the next step:

Day 12

Try green smoothies for breakfast! Maybe you’re already doing this – in that case, make them even greener (fewer fruits, no other sweeteners, more veggies).
If this is new to you, start with an easy recipe. This green apple and pear smoothie is awesome! 

In the evening enjoy the recipes I’ve suggested: Savoury and Yummy Oatmeal followed by Raw Apple Pie for dessert. 

By now you’re probably feeling more energized and healthier – you’re more than ready for the Home Yoga Retreat.

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Irina Verwer
Irina VerwerIrina Verwer is a yoga teacher, somatic and Ayurvedic coach, vegan chef and writer. Besides teaching Hatha, Vinyasa and Restorative yoga classes on EkhartYoga, she's written two yogic cookbooks and leads workshops, retreats, private classes and (online) coaching sessions. Irina also offers online courses for yoga teachers on the EkhartYoga Academy.