Yoga and Vegetarianism

A book I love as it combines my two passions is: Yoga and Vegetarianism by Sharon Gannon. Below is an excerpt from the introduction with a great interpretation of the Yamas – Yoga guidelines regarding how to treat others, including animals.

Sharon comments that if we really want to have a lighter impact on the planet, a compassionate vegetarian diet is a good place to start. We can practice compassion 3 times a day when we sit down to eat.
Ethical vegetarians eat only plant-based food in order to show compassion towards animals and other humans and to benefit the planet. Ethical vegetarians eat no eggs, dairy products or fish because these are not plant-based and eating them causes great harm to other beings and the planet


“If we are interested in Yoga we might ask ourselves, “What is Yoga interested in?” Yoga has one goal: enlightenment, a state in which the separateness of self and other dissolves in the realization of the oneness of being. What hold us back from that realization is a false perception of reality. Instead of perceiving oneness, we see separateness, disconnection and otherness. Because the term Yoga refers not only to the goal of enlightenment but also to the practical method for reaching that goal, all of the practices must address the basic issue of “other”. Otherness is the main obstacle to enlightenment. Killing or harming others is not the best way to overcome that obstacle. How we perceive and relate to the others in our lives determines whether or not enlightenment arises.

In the Yoga Sutras, Pantanjali lays out and eight-limbed plan for liberation called Raja Yoga. The first limb is called Yama which means restraint and includes five ethical restrictions.

1. ahimsa – nonharming

2. satya – truthfulness

3. asteya – nonstealing

4. brahmacharya – continence

5. aparigraha – greedlessness

The yamas describe how an unenlightened person who desires Yoga should restrict his or her behavior towards others. Pantanjali says that as long as you still perceive “others” and not one interconnected reality, then (1) don’t harm others, (2) don’t deceive them, (3) don’t steal from them, (4) don’t manipulate them sexually, and (5) don’t be greedy, selfishly depriving them of sustenance and happiness. ”

The transition to an ethical vegetarian diet can be challenging, start by making small changes and referring to the Yamas when making your food choice. Small changes can lead to large scale healing of our health and our planet.

Tempeh is a great way to transition from eating meat, it’s great on the BBQ, simply marinade and grill (no saturated fat and loaded with flavour)!

Grilled Marinated Tempeh Steak with Avocado, Radicchio, Orange Dressing, and Tahini

Epicurious Sept 2008, by Executive Chef Chris Miller, Como Shambhala Estate, Begawan Giri, Bali
Editor’s note: This recipe is part of a healthy and delicious spa menu developed exclusively for Epicurious by Chris Miller, executive chef at Como Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri in Bali.
This zesty dish proves that grilling isn’t just for carnivores. Tempeh, a fermented soybean cake with a nutty flavor and firm, almost meatlike texture, can be found in many grocery stores, health food stores, and Asian markets.

Yield: Makes about 4 servings

For tahini sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tahini (Middle Eastern sesame paste), well-stirred
  • 1 clove garlic, germ removed and clove crushed with back of knife
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 small lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

For tempeh:

  • 4 (4-ounce) pieces soy tempeh

For orange dressing:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 2 medium oranges)
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

To grill and serve:

  • Olive oil (for brushing)
  • 2 heads radicchio, cut into eighths through core, with some core still attached to each piece
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 firm-ripe avocados, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 medium lemon)

Make tahini sauce:In blender on high, blend tahini and garlic until smooth, about 30 seconds. With motor running, add 1/2 cup water, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and blend until incorporated, about 30 seconds. (Tahini sauce can be prepared ahead and refrigerated, in airtight container, up to 2 days. If sauce is too thick after storage, whisk in several drops of water to thin.)

Marinate tempeh: Reserve 1/2 cup tahini sauce for serving. Brush remainder in thick layer over both sides of tempeh pieces. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.

Make dressing: In a 2-quart pot over moderately high heat, bring orange juice to a boil. Lower heat to moderate and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Whisk in vinegar, then gradually whisk in olive oil, orange oil, salt, and pepper. (Dressing can be prepared ahead and refrigerated, in airtight container, up to 2 days. Whisk to reemulsify before using.)

Grill tempeh and radicchio: If using charcoal grill, open vents on bottom, then light charcoal and preheat grill to moderately high. If using gas grill, preheat burners on high with hood closed 10 minutes, then turn down to moderately high. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill tempeh, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Grill radicchio, turning once, until beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes per side.

Assemble and serve: Cut each piece of tempeh into 4 slices. In large bowl, toss together radicchio, parsley, and orange dressing. Divide salad among 4 plates and top with tempeh and avocado slices. Drizzle with lemon juice and reserved tahini sauce. Serve immediately.

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