Yogic Diet – Wholesome and Vegetarian
Bhujyate sivasamprityai mitaharah sa ucyate||”…(Hatha Yog Pradipika)
It is said that ,” Eating sweet, unctuous food offered to the Almighty leaving one-quarter of stomach empty is Mitahara.”
To really understand Yoga’s approach to diet you must familiarize yourself with its effect on the mind and body:
I. Sattvic foods are pure and health promoting, (sattva-quality of love, light and life)
II. Rajastic foods are stimulating (Rajas-quality of activity and passion, lacking stability)
III. Tamastic foods are impure (Tamas-the quality of darkness and inertia, dragging us into ignorance and attachment).
I. Sattvic Food:
The yogic-diet is lacto-vegetarian, which means that it is made up entirely of non-animal foods. Evidence suggests that a predominantly vegetarian diet is good for our health. Yogic diet consists of pure, simple, natural foods that are easily digested and promote health. Simple meals help easier and faster digestion and assimilation of foods. The premise is that, such a diet being healthy, it will help develop a stronger body and a calmer, more peaceful state of mind with a balanced flow of energy between them.
Sattvic diet is the most suitable one for any serious student of Yoga. More importantly, as a Yogic diet has a very high nutritional value, the food is also rich in Prana or vital energy. When you feel the upsurge of life force as a result of this diet, you will understand why the sages said, “You are what you eat.”Food should be organically grown if possible, and free of preservatives and additives.
Saltvic foods include: cereals and whole meal bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds and grains, sprouted seeds, dried peas, lentils and beans, honey, pure natural fruit juices, herbal tea, pure water etc…
II. Rajastic Food:
Rajastic foods make people physically more active, but over the long term too many Rajastic foods may over stimulate the body, excite the passions and make the mind restless. Rajastic foods feed the body at the expense of the mind; they destroy the mind-body equilibrium. Rajastic foods are stimulating; very hot, spicy, dry, salty, stale etc. Even eating in a hurry is considered Rajastic.
Rajastic foods include: non- vegetarian food like fish, meet etc.., eggs, hot substances, such as sharp spices or strong herbs, stimulants such as coffee, teas and cola drinks, too much salt, chocolate, onion and garlic, cayenne peppers, turmeric, curry powder etc…
III. Tamastic Food
Tamastic diet benefits neither the mind nor the body. Prana is withdrawn, powers of reasoning become clouded and a sense of inertia sets in. The body’s resistance to disease is destroyed and the mind is filled with dark emotions, such as anger and greed. Tamastic foods are bad smelly, left-over, stored, spoiled, burnt, tasteless or impure etc… Foods that are factory farmed or highly processed would be considered tamastic. Overeating is also considered Tamastic.
Tamastic foods include: alcohol and tobacco, fermented foods such as vinegar, stale overripe substances, processed food, canned and packaged food, junk food, pickled and salted foods, stored non-vegetarian food like chicken, fish, mutton etc….