“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” — Ayurvedic proverb
A common misconception among modern yoga instructors and practitioners is that eating meat is somehow forbidden. Many people who have studied Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra—generally regarded as the canonical text of yoga—confuse vegetarianism with the idea of ahimsa, or nonharming. When someone studies yoga, it’s normal for them to want to live a completely different lifestyle that aligns with their newfound dedication to balance—both mentally and physically.
However, the Yoga Sutra states that you are not required to adopt a vegetarian diet. A misinterpretation of ahimsa and the fact that the majority of the first wave of American yoga teachers studied under teachers who were traditionally vegetarian like B.K.S. Iyengar or Sri Pattahbi Jois—are contributing factors to the confusion. Within the yoga community, there is a notion that confuses yoga with vegetarianism. However, ahimsa practice is more complicated than that and also extends to the self.
Nonetheless, one of the most crucial components of yoga is the absence of judgment, which allows practitioners to consume any kind of food they like. In actuality, a large number of people regularly practice yoga and eat meat. To benefit from yoga’s fitness and health benefits, you don’t even need to be a vegetarian.
Yes, by choosing to practice ahimsa, you can also choose not to eat animals. But if your body does not respond favorably, then have you thought about how you are not honoring ahimsa of the self? Think about the potential damage that not eating meat is causing to you. The Indian vegetarian diet is not helping you; rather, it is hurting you if you are not obtaining enough nutrients from the diet for your body type and genetics. Therefore, in order to practice ahimsa of the self, it is important to honor the fact that your body needs animal products to be working on all four-cylinders.
Chef Jessica Catalano, RYT-200, teaches the importance of eating natural, local, humanely raised and dispatched, organic whole foods while avoiding processed foods. Most yogis are vegetarian, but Chef Jessica Catalano follows an animal-based diet due to ahimsa of the self, and this is where the ancestral diet comes into play. She is on her 10th year of an ancestral diet after leaving a plant-based and vegetarian diet of 8-years.
The Ancestral Diet is a lifestyle that understands the ever-changing needs of each individual, unlike many diets with inflexible, one-size-fits-all guidelines. A diet centered on unprocessed, organic, natural, and healthful foods that can be obtained from the land and water by hunting, gathering, fishing, and farming is known as an ancestral diet. It is a catch-all phrase that refers to a variety of diets, including raw food, keto, and paleo, that aim to promote health and resemble the diets of our ancestors before the industrial revolution.
It’s crucial to remember that there wasn’t a singular “ancestral diet”, that all ancient humans adhered to. Based on their geographic locations, agricultural season, genetic makeup, and the eras they lived in, our ancestors’ dietary habits and the food that was readily available to them varied greatly. For instance, the diets of African hunter-gatherers and European subsistence farmers were very different from one another. Nevertheless, despite their differences, several of these diets had some fundamental similarities across the board. These similar traits have been extracted and combined to form what we now refer to as the Ancestral Diet.
What are Ancestral or “Traditional Foods”?
- Pastured raised animals
- Raw grass fed dairy
- Bone broth
- Organ meats
- Animal fats
- Fermented vegetables, dairy, meat, & fruit
- Soaked & sprouted seeds, nuts, and legumes
- Sourdough & fermented breads
- Soaked & sprouted and fermented flour baked goods
Take a journey to wellness with RYT 200, Chef Jessica Catalano and learn how to enjoy going back to nature for your body’s individual needs. Find out what foods are ideal and nutrient dense for your body, which heavily influences your well-being. Learn how to alter your own eating habits to reflect the seasons with fresh local ingredients full of prana, or life force. You’ll also learn the importance and game changer of adding at least 75% raw foods into your diet. Combine this with a daily yoga practice and you will be amazed how your body changes.
Catalano grew up alongside Sikh and Hindu traditions through close family friends of her parents, who were treated as family. It was through this upbringing that she was able to learn Southern Asian cuisine, culture, and medicine. Chef Catalano draws upon her experience growing up as a child, as a 15-year raw foodist, a professional 14-year cannabis chef, pioneer in the cannabis industry, 10-year ancestral diet enthusiast, and 8-year yoga teacher to help people reach their fullest human potential through the animal-based, ancestral lifestyle and yoga.
There is no such thing as a one-size fits all diet, as each one of us has a unique constitution with a body that is beautifully unique. Chef Jessica Catalano will address these differences by offering free karma classes on YouTube, affordable yoga classes on the Kitsap Peninsula in Port Orchard, online yoga classes, private yoga classes, ancestral wellness coaching, & animal-based recipes – making yoga and ancestral wellness accessible for every BODY.
When we consider starting a yoga practice today, we often find ourselves stymied by mental and physical obstacles, such as the belief that we are too old or too young, that we are not making enough money, that we are from a low-income household, or that our bodies are unable to perform the tasks that yoga teachers do. Stop immediately, right there.
Chef Jessica Catalano is here to make Yoga accessible to everyone. She is here to show you how to get started with yoga, regardless of age, income level, or mental or physical limitations. Anyone who wants to practice yoga can actually do it! Chef Catalano will offer free karma classes on her YouTube channel, @AmericanSpiritYoga, every Friday at 2 pm PST. To receive notifications when new videos become available, be sure to subscribe and hit the bell icon! Also, make sure to LIKE her videos so that they are visible to a larger audience. Let’s form a small online community of like-minded people together!
“Yoga, as a way of life and a philosophy, can be practiced by anyone with inclination to undertake it, for yoga belongs to humanity as a whole. It is not the property of any one group or any one individual, but can be followed by any and all, in any corner of the globe, regardless of class, creed or religion.” – K. Pattabhi Jois
Chef Jessica Catalano share’s videos EVERY FRIDAY all about yoga, workouts, ancestral diet recipes, weight loss advice, free Friday classes, & more! Be sure to subscribe to her channel for updates on all her new videos! American Spirit Yoga – YouTube