How Yoga Made Me an Enlightened Eater

Kathryn Budig by Kathryn Budig | April 13th, 2011 | 10 Comments
topic: Detox, Fitness, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Yoga

Yoga DietI love food and I’m pretty sure it’s got a thing for me too.

I grew up in Kansas where cheese came in the form of a thin orange square wrapped in plastic. Dinner often came out of a box and I thought Miracle Whip and mayonnaise were the same thing. I lived blissfully unaware as I continued into my college years thinking the vegetable garden blend of cream cheese was healthy because it contained vegetables. You can’t fault a Kansas girl for trying.

It wasn’t until I started a full-time yoga practice that I started to change my ways. The interesting part was that no one pushed their yogic eating principles on me. It was simple — the more I practiced, the more my desire for good, healthy fuel grew. I even explored being vegetarian for a year because meat started to make me feel heavy. I started shopping at the farmers’ market instead of the grocery store aisles. I learned about the ancient practice of Ayurveda and absorbed the organic food culture that Los Angeles so abundantly supplies. Everything fascinated me, but the most enlightening part was how I felt when I ate this way: awesome.

My acupuncturist is also a homeopath, and she talked me into doing the 21-day Standard Process cleanse. I was open to 10 days, but 21?! Talk about putting a major damper on my social life and kick to my refrigerator’s rump. Needless to say, she is extremely persuasive, so I agreed.

The cleanse consisted of a few simple rules:

  • No processed foods. Everything must be organic and come directly from source.
  • Take the natural supplements and powder in a daily smoothie.

My diet consisted of tons of sautéed kale, steamed artichokes, smashed cauliflower, poached eggs, lentils, baked fish and homemade soups. Fresh fruit started to taste like candy and my creativity in the kitchen flourished. I chronicled my recipes on my Yogi-Foodie blog for MindBodyGreen and found myself loving this way of eating. My skin was glowing, and I forgot what it felt like to have a “fat” day or feel bloated. My energy was soaring and my taste buds were completely satisfied.

Once I completed my 21 days and my DVD shoot for Gaiam, I figured I would want to run home and dive head-first into an endless bowl of pudding, but the craziest thing happened: I wanted quinoa, kale and a warm bowl of soup. Okay, I did have half a donut from the set, but hey, it was pink with rainbow sprinkles. Even I couldn’t turn that down.

Point being, if you want to change your life and feel good every day, start a yoga practice and take a look at what you’re putting in your mouth. This is our temple, and we all deserve to glow and feel our absolute best.

So, turn off the computer, go hit up the organic aisle and make your tummy the feast it deserves.

Take a class with Kathryn on our streaming video site, Gaiam TV!


  1. I became vegetarian at the same time as I started practicing yoga, and I began both because I wanted to age healthier. My idea of being vegetarian at the time meant that I ate a lot of breads and cereals, fruits and some vegetables, and a LOT of cheese and dairy and eggs, because protein had to come from somewhere, didn’t it? As I’ve matured (at least I like to think so) so has my diet practice, and I find too that I feel the best when I don’t eat a lot of processed stuff. Over the winter my intake of fresh vegetables has gone way down (living in Northern Michigan, we don’t have a long growing season), and I am so looking forward to this season’s crop of freshness!

    Regina | April 14th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  2. Oh what a challenge but so worth it! Breaking bad habits and letting go of great bottles of Italian wine is hard!

    DivineYoganista | April 14th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  3. Kathryn…I’m pretty sure you won’t remember me, but our dads worked together at KU and you and I occasionally played together when we were very little! :) Anyhow – I found you on someone’s blog (can’t remember who now) and have been following you on FB. It’s been wonderful reading about your travels and experiences! I have recently become more aware of clean eating and have been trying to get my husband and two little girls to eat more organic and CLEAN. It’s a process…especially with a family! I’m also a Pilates instructor and working on adding more yoga into my life. I’m extremely into the mind/body connection and it is life changing! My acupuncturist has been a huge help with this! I’m about to start the Standard Process cleanse, so it was great to read this article you just posted! Thank you for writing about your experiences…you’re an inspiration!

    Lindsay | April 15th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  4. As I read this I am eating a homemade salad with apples nuts cranberries and white vinegar with olive oil. I love eating healthy but the chocolate cravings still linger. I teach yoga as well and really try to eat very healthy although not vegetarian but my family only eats any kind of meat 2 0r 3 times a week in very moderate portions. I am anxious for my garden to be planted, as there is nothing better and more alive tasting than fresh picked produce.

    Sandy | April 15th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  5. Appreciate this article…..Yoga shifts us into the “light” in so many ways. I also teach & for the past year have been 90% vegan…my teacher who is a direct disciple of Swami Prabhupada (Hare Krishna movement founder) taught me the Veda’s say a person can’t even begin to contemplate spiritual life if you are eating animal meat. It’s very interesting to observe how much you change from making that eating shift…

    Heidi Rayden | April 15th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  6. Great article Kath! Well done, loved it. Look forward to receiving more…I myself know how big the difference can be with some small changes…

    Skye Baird | April 16th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  7. [...] 3. In addition to an entire website of information, Gaiam has an aptly named blog, Stream of Consciousness, which features expert answers to your most burning questions about living greener and healthier. Recent contributors include Hanuman Festival instructor Kathryn Budig! [...]

  8. I started working towards my yoga teaching certification earlier this year which has resulted in me practicing a lot more (yay!) and I completely agree that it has a profound effect on what you eat. I have noticed that I like that sort of empty feeling – I no longer feel hungry I feel almost weightless and I can tell my asana practice benefits when I feel this way. I have also cut back on processed foods and it wasn’t really this conscious decision it just happened. I noticed my lunch was filled with more fruits & veggies and I didn’t want to get McDonalds in fear of how crappy I would feel later. So here’s to yoga & eating better! ;)

    Sunshine | June 15th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  9. I totally agree with what you have said about healthy eating and going vegetarian because of Yoga. It definitely does make you feel great awesome if you are able to eat fresh organic grains, fruits and veggies, esp with spices and superfoods such as cacao/wheatgrass! Indeed, the vedas are right about one genuinely doing a spiritual practice if he/she is not a meat eater!

    Stuart | November 16th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  10. Dear friends, Brahmakumaris are vegetarian… and emphasize the importance of keeping thoughts pure… when preparing food… they either enhance or

    decrease the vibes of what we eat…thus affecting our health… vegetarian lifestyle is also more conducive to achieving total peace of mind.
    There is Brahmakumaris meditation…that relaxes the mind…nurtures a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds…recharge… rejuvenate the inner-self…

    Gita | January 20th, 2014 | Comment Permalink

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