Within the science of Ayurveda, Sattvic, Tamasic or Rajasic are the three main diets that come into consideration when reviewing overall mental, physical and spiritual health. In this blog, we will be focusing on the Sattvic diet, following a Sattvic diet is recommended by Ayurveda as a way to develop and maintain Sattva, which is a pure and clear mind filled with stability, the knowledge of truth and overall fulfilment.
But What Is A Sattvic Diet?
When following a Sattvic diet according to Ayurveda, you predominantly eat foods that have a high level of prana or life force. One of the reasons to do this is to help develop and foster your higher self and a mind that find it easier to contemplate and comprehend deeper teachings and truths.
It also facilitates a sense of spiritual contentment, all the while keeping you grounded and able to carry on with everyday life.
What determines the prana level of food depends on a variety of factors, such as the environment it’s grown in, it’s level of freshness, the way it is prepared and the way it is consumed.
What Makes a Diet Sattvic?
A Sattvic diet is made up of easy to digest, soothing and light foodstuffs. The word Sattva translates from Sanskrit as pure, Sattvic foods have a high quantity of Prana or life force, essentially what the western world calls “Live Foods” for example foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
Sattvic diets are especially intense in their inclusion of ground and sun foods. The definition of a sun food is any type of vegetable that grows for a meter or more above ground and is dense in “sun energy”. These foods produce a lightening effect of the central nervous and digestive systems of the body. Ground foods are types of food that grow within a meter of ground, these soil grown foods draw in earth energy and are very high in minerals and nutrients.
The Different Types of Sattvic Foods.
Sattvic foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly made fruit juices, sprouted seeds and whole grains, seeds, nuts and whole grains (including nut milk), cheeses and paneer, honey, legumes, certain herbs and spices and a variety of herbal teas, essentially foods that do not irritate, agitate or upset the stomach and digestive system.
Sattvic foods should also have a balance of all of the six different types of taste and when eaten should be consumed in moderate portions as overeating is unnecessary when following a Sattvic diet.
Foods That Aren’t Sattvic
So Sattvic foods should essentially be straight from your garden, farmers or organic market and vegetarian. They should never be (or as little as possible) GMO strains of crops, as organic is always better, as we know Sattvic foods are filled with pranic life energy, to give you an idea of food that contains little to no pranic life energy you need look no further than foods such as ready-made meals, “out of the box” meals, canned foods, deep-fried foods and frozen foods. While these foods can be eaten they should ideally be avoided or consumed as little as possible
How to Eat Sattvic Foods
Another ideology of Sattvic eating is to prepare and eat your food mindfully. Eating organic fresh food, that is prepared with calmness, gratuity and love and eating mindfully are essential to Sattvic eating, when you are ready to eat your meal, take a moment to pause and breathe a few times, notice the full colours, flavours and textures that make up the dish.
It is also important to take note of the way a Sattvic dish makes you feel, not just from a digestive point of view, but also in terms of mood and emotions (and if you practice yoga, how it affects your practice that day).
Over time, eating slowly and mindfully and really taking enjoyment from your food will become habitual, and your meal times will almost gain a meditative quality of relaxation.
The Three Maha Gunas or Mental Energies
Maha Gunas are the three mental energies that we all possess, and that make up the constitution of the mind. Ideally, your predominant mental energy should be Sattva, as this allows the mind to perform in a content and pure state.
Tamas is the guna of rest and relaxation, but also of stagnation and inactivity, while Rajas is the guna of creativeness, passions and movement. While there is nothing wrong with Rajas and Tamas; if fact we need a balance of all three mental gunas to allow for things such as sleep, action and passion while working, exercise and a healthy sex drive, Rajas and Tamas are just harder energies to control and they tend to lean towards imbalance, Rajas and Tamas speed up or slow down the mind accordingly.
If you have too much Rajas mind energy you will have rapid thoughts that leap around uncontrollably and not be able to still your mind or sit quietly, likewise, if you have excessive Tamas energy, you will find yourself tired, unenergetic and unmotivated, with sluggish thoughts.
Somedays, even when following a Sattvic diet, you will have either predominant Rajas and Tamas mental energy, as the energetic qualities of the mind will often change, however, eating a Sattvic diet will help you to always return your mind to a state of calmness, purity and balance.