- Sattva, which is purity (example: an apple)
- Raja, which is activity (example: applesauce)
- Tamas, which is inactivity (example: apple cider vinegar)
Sattvic food is considered the most pure and wholesome food. Yogis (and by "yogis" I mean those that practice any form of yoga, be it hatha, karma, bhakti or jnana yoga) can benefit greatly by consuming mostly sattvic food. It calms the mind and nourishes the body making it strong. Sattvic food gives the body maximum energy, reducing fatigue and increasing strength. It also allows the vital energy to flow more freely.
Types of sattvic foods include:
- Fresh fruits
- Dried fruits
- Fresh fruit juices
- Fresh vegetables (best eaten raw or lightly steamed)
- Pulses, nuts and seeds
- Honey, molasses & maple syrup (used as sweeteners)
- Herbal teas
- Grains (such as corn, barley, wheat, rice, oats, millet & quinoa)
- Wholegrain breads
- Milk, butter, cheese & yogurt (not considered sattvic by me, but the texts do advise to use them in moderation and only organic forms)
- Food should be eaten in as natural state as possible, which means no pre-packaged foods, canned food and no preservatives or artificial colourings.
- The texts encourage food to be eaten raw (YAY!), steamed or lightly cooked
Rajasic foods, on the other hand, are spicy, bitter, sour or salty. This kind of food overstimulates the mind, what is often referred to as "monkey mind". It makes body & mind over active, restless and unable to focus in concentration. Eating rajasic food will disturb the mind-body balance.
Types of rajasic foods includes:
- Hot spices
- Pungent herbs
- Coffee and caffeinated teas
- Salty foods
- White sugar
- Soft drinks (sodas)
- Prepared mustards
- Eating sattvic food in a hurry is also considered rajasic
Lastly, tamasic food withdraws the body's energy, leaving the body inactive, lazy and dull. The mind is clouded and a general sense of inertia is experienced.
Types of tamasic foods include:
- Meat, fish & eggs
- Fermented foods (such as vinegar)
- Alcohol, tobacco & drugs
- Stale, overripe or unclean foods
- Food that has been burned, fried, barbecued or reheated
- Canned, processed and pre-packaged foods
- Eating too much sattvic food is also considered tamasic
It's important to remember that each individual must find their own balance of sattva, rajas and tamas. I'm taking a course next week, so I've chosen to eat only sattvic food to prepare for my spiritual journey in June. If you eat a mushroom here or there or BBQ up some fresh veggies for a family gathering, don't sweat it! When your diet is balanced, you'll soon find your body and mind follow.
Any questions ...?