What people eat affects how they think and act, and the same is true for nature. According to the Chhāndogya Upaniṣhad, eating satvik foods is also important because they clean the mind and make us more like the gods. “āhāra śhuddhau sattva śhuddhiḥ” Sattvic food is what people with clean minds like to eat.
It is believed that consuming Sattvic foods purifies the mind and incorporates us more fully into our pure consciousness. It has also been emphasized that mindful eaters often gravitate toward the Sattvic diet.
Diet and Gunas
The three Gunas are groups of different kinds of energy in parkriti, which is matter. Gunas, or “tendencies” of the mind, body, and soul, or awareness, are one of the three. They are present in all living things. You can name them Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. These groups describe and show how our health, behavior, thoughts, and food are.
- Sattvic signifies wellness, health, purity, and harmony.
- Rajasic signifies activity, restlessness, anger, and stress.
- Tamasic denotes boredom and lethargy.
All of us have these gunas, but the relative amounts of these three gunas in each of us are different. The goal of a yogic lifestyle is to cultivate Sattva Guna by maintaining a healthy body and mind. The foods we eat have an effect on us on all levels—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Thus, one of the most important factors in making headway on the spiritual path of one’s choosing is diet.
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What do the Rajasic, Tamasic, and Sattvic diets mean?
A Rajasic diet is mostly made up of spicy and flavorful foods like onion and garlic, as well as deep-fried foods, coffee, tea, refined foods, sweets and candies, and so on. In the short term, these foods give us quick energy, but in the long run, they make us tired or stressed. A diet that is mostly Rajasic upsets the balance between the mind and body. This kind of food is good for the body but bad for the mind. The digestive system of a Rajasic person is weak; they are always in a hurry to eat, and they like rich foods.
A tamasic diet is mostly made up of reheated and chemically processed foods like meat, eggs, cigarettes, booze, and so on. A person with tamas will be boring, unimaginative, unmotivated, careless, unaware, and sluggish. Illnesses like diabetes, fat, and liver disease will happen to them.
The Sattvik diet includes fresh fruit that is in season, lots of fresh veggies, whole grains, beans, sprouts, dried nuts, seeds, honey, fresh herbs, milk, and dairy products that don’t contain animal products. These foods make us more aware or raise our sattva. When you cook and eat Sattvik foods, you do it with love, gratitude, and understanding. Someone who is sattvik is calm, peaceful, serene, friendly, full of energy, enthusiasm, health, hope, goals, creativity, and a well-balanced personality. One more benefit of the Sattvic diet is that it helps you keep your weight in check and is a very good way to lose weight. If you overprocess, store, or deep-fry a sattvik food for a long time, it will turn into a tamasic food.
The Sattvic diet contains fruits and vegetables in season, plenty of whole grains, pulses, nuts, sprouts, seeds, honey, fresh herbs, and milk and dairy products made without animal products. These significantly help enhance sattva, or the state of one’s awareness. Love, gratitude, and mindfulness are used to prepare and consume Sattvic food. A sattvik person is one who is balanced in all aspects of their being: they are not overly anxious or worried about anything, and they get along well with others. The sattvic diet, along with practices like yoga, is not only really healthy but also a great way to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Visit India Yoga School to read more about it!