Ahimsa (non-violence) has been referred to in the ancient Vedic texts as ‘Do not harm anything’ and is an important aspect of the code of conduct of a yoga practitioner. This principle of Ahimsa is challenged by the food chain hierarchy as one has to eat other living beings (whether plants or animals) in order to survive. In such a situation, a practical approach is prescribed to have a vegetarian diet where harm to living beings (in particular those with more developed senses) is kept to a minimum.
In Ayurvedic terms, a Yogic diet comprises of food which are of a Sattvic (pure) nature such as fresh fruits, salads and grains. Hot and spicy or very cold foods are Rajasic in nature and cause excitement. Fried foods are examples of Tamasic foods which make you feel heavy and bloated. Such types of foods are to be avoided. Sattvic foods are those which keep you satisfied and, are energising and refreshing.