What to Eat Before You Meditate

Meditation

Can you say Om? Or is your mouth too full?

The practice of meditation is beneficial to many people. Over the last few years, I’ve tried many different types of meditations from yogic philosophy to guided visualization meditations where you walk down a path in a forest. Yoga and meditation have both changed what I eat to complement each practice.

Everyone’s meditation path may be different, and that’s what makes the experience so personal and unique. Meditation itself is a broad term that encourages relaxation. This part alone is important for today’s busy society; however, meditation also helps you build internal energy of life force, which may be referred to as prana, qi (chee), or ki. This healthy living practice also helps you cultivate more compassion, love, patience, forgiveness, and generosity into your life.

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Meditation is incorporated within many spiritual cultures from Buddhism to Hinduism. Meditation has been adapted to include many forms. The meditation practice of mindfulness is well known within Western society. Focusing on breathing, being present, detaching yourself from each thought, and accepting whatever thoughts enter your mind are several aspects of the practice. Transcendental meditation is a Hindu practice where you sit with your back straight, usually in the Lotus or half-Lotus posture. A mantra, such as the universal Om, is typically repeated with the aim of the practice being for your mind and spirit to leave your body.

Another form of mediation is derived from Buddhist tradition and it is simply a generic seated meditation. There are also meditations where you would open the flow of chakras, be guided through visualization for the purpose of gaining something deeper and personal to you.

From a health perspective, mediation is known to reduce headaches, and lower blood pressure while slowing your respiratory and heart rate. Meditation is also beneficial for increasing your serotonin hormone levels (low levels are associated with conditions such as depression, obesity, and insomnia).

Do the unhealthy or healthy foods that you eat affect how you mediate? Whatever form of meditation you practice, it is always important to focus on the healthy foods you put into your body.

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Importance of Healthy Foods and Meditation

The first rule when it comes to eating and meditation is to avoid eating for an hour before your meditation. If you do eat an hour before, then it makes sense to eat light because a large meal may have you feeling weak or dizzy. In general, vegetarian meals before meditation or yoga will help enhance the practices.

MORE: Practice Yoga? Here Are the Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

Yogic tradition suggests a diet that consists of mostly sattvic foods. These are foods that encourage your meditation and promote a peaceful mental attitude. The foods before your meditative practice will include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, natural sweeteners, and organic dairy. Good examples of meditation-friendly whole grains include steel cut oats, quinoa, brown rice, or millet.

Vegetables, legumes, and brown rice or other whole grains will give you an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which will benefit your digestive system. This allows for a peaceful meditation without any disturbances. You can also include nutrient-dense healthy foods within your pre-meditation meals such as cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, eggplant, kale, raspberries, grapefruit, or strawberries.

Foods to Avoid for Meditation

It is best to avoid all tamasic or rajasic foods before you begin meditating. Tamasic foods would include vinegar, mushrooms, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, or alcoholic beverages. You should avoid these foods because they are known to create impure and angry thoughts. You should eliminate rajasic foods such as garlic, onions, spicy foods, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and any highly processed convenience foods with either refined sugar or heavy amounts of salt.

If meat is part of your diet, it is best to consume organic and grass-fed animals because the energy from the animals will be pure. Factory-farmed animals will bring a negative facet to your pre-meditation meal.

If your diet typically contains some meat, poultry, or fish, avoiding tamasic or rajasic foods would create a heavy lifestyle change on your system. If you feel vegetarianism would be the proper diet for you, it is best to transition over a large period of time because you want to do the process right and make sure your body is really receiving the proper nutrients it needs.

To prepare for your meditation, it is useful to wear comfortable clothing and to create a regular routine with a particular time and place to allow complete solitude. You want to be in a comfortable sitting posture that will allow you to sit for a long period of time. Meditation time periods are different for everyone; however, 20-25 minutes is a good time frame. Meditation allows you to quiet the mind, let go, and connect to your sense of self. Now, put down that sandwich and…Om…

Sources:
The Yoga Cookbook: Vegetarian Food For Body and Mind (London: Gaia Books Limited, 1999), 9-13.

Mateljan, G., The World’s Healthiest Foods: Essential Guide for the healthiest way of eating (Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation, 2007), 752.
“Meditation,” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia web site; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation, last modified March 20, 2014.
Jnaneshvara Bharati, S., “Diet and Meditation,” SwamiJ.com web site; http://www.swamij.com/diet.htm, last accessed March 21, 2014.
“Preparing to Meditate,” The Guided Meditation Site web site; http://www.the-guided-meditation-site.com/preparing-to-meditate.html, last accessed March 21, 2014.
Bair, A., “8 Basic Kinds of Meditation (And Why You Should Meditate On Your Heart),” University of the Heart web site, June 12, 2010; http://www.iam-u.org/index.php/8-basic-kinds-of-meditation-and-why-you-should-meditate-on-your-heart.
Dale, H., “5 Mediation Styles For Beginners,” PopSugar web site, Sept. 4, 2011; http://www.fitsugar.com/5-Types-Meditation-18949375.