Raw Food for Flexibility – Secret #5 of 7
In 2002, I stopped eating.
I lived in New York City at the time, and after returning from my first 10-day, silent Vipassana meditation course, I got off the subway in a daze and said, “Forget it!”
Forget pizza and beer, calzones and cigarettes. I had more bad habits than good ones, and so I quit everything right there—just like that.
I began this new, healthy chapter of my life with a 5-day juice feast.
I had no idea what I was doing, but since I was starting at zero (in terms of health and nutrition), I could only really go up. So I drank carrot juice, orange juice, watermelon, cucumber juice—anything I could find. Some of it was fresh, most of it was in bottles, boxes or even cans (gross, I know).
I don’t do cleanses that way anymore (today, we teach low-glycemic, green cleanses), but it was good enough to get me started. And I got started indeed.
My head was spinning, my belly was shrinking, and a little voice in my head said: “You’re on to something here, Luke!”
When I started eating solids again at the end of the week, I ate only raw foods and ended up living exclusively on plant-based, uncooked meals for the better part of two years.
In my case, “raw foods” meant nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and nothing else.
Lucky for me, I really like plants, but as you can imagine, eating this way became a lifestyle and turned my world upside down.
I dropped 41 lbs in 6 weeks, my clothes hung from my lean frame like laundry on the line, and I had this crazed look in my eyes of someone who just discovered a huge secret… and I had.
Wanna hear it? Food is the most powerful drug on this planet.
Eat the good stuff, and like a German diesel engine, your body will perform like a champ for a century or more. But if you like to eat the processed junk in the middle aisles of the grocery store, then you better invest in a premium health insurance plan.
Yes, but what does any of this have to do with flexibility? Everything.
When I started on a plant-based diet, my flexibility gains were pronounced. I’ve really never experienced anything like it. Healthy body, healthy tissues, fast healing, it all works together.
The more mineral-dense, raw foods I ate, the better my body responded to my training.
From running to weight lifting, almost every movement practice has a “preferred diet” because specific nutrients tend to produce different results. You’d be hard-pressed to find a body builder that doesn’t use protein shakes, for example, but what about yoga people?
In the same way that it takes a specific set of nutrients to bulk up like beast, it takes a specific set of nutrients to stretch your soft tissues and train your nervous system.
For different body composition goals, you need different nutrients. It makes sense.
As a yoga student, there are dozens of things you need including magnesium, organic sulfur, vitamin C, omega-3 fats, B12 and B complex vitamins among others. And where do you think you find the richest sources for these micro-nutrients?
It’s all about raw, unprocessed plant foods.
The fresher the better, the less heat applied the more nutrients retained. Sprouts, nuts, seeds, salads, fresh produce, and green everything is what makes a “yoga body” happy.
When I founded YOGABODY in 2007, I did a very unscientific 30-day case study with about 12 friends to increase their flexibility. Before we did any Gravity Poses, we started simply by increasing the raw food in their diets to a minimum of one completely raw meal per day—ideally the first or last meal.
Since I knew some people would flake out when it came to actually doing their stretching homework, I deliberately chose to start with food. Why? Because everyone has to eat…
The results (though limited) were amazing because without exception, everyone felt the dietary changes in their yoga practice as well as their health. One of the great things about yoga is that it helps you feel the subtler energies of your body: your nervous system, digestive system, and mental states.
Right away, participants were feeling the results.
Just as protein powders are a staple for body builders, raw food is a staple for yoga students. So here’s your assignment. Add one completely raw meal to your day today, ideally breakfast or dinner. You’ll find some great recipes here (search for the raw ones):
Free Online Recipes – YOGABODY Resources