According to yogic philosophy, everything in our imaginary world consists of 3 gunas: Sattva (purity), Rajas (action, energy) and Tamas (darkness). These 3 properties are present in everything: people, objects and therefore also in food.
Do you want to eat as pure as possible to increase your life energy (prana)? Then the yoga diet (also known as the sattvic diet) is really something for you.
Creating balance in your yoga diet
Learning a new way of eating is a lot easier if you understand why you are doing something. Therefore, we’ll tell you some more details about the 3 gunas. Energy has three properties known in yogic philosophy as the three gunas: Sattva (purity), Rajas (action, energy) and Tamas (darkness, stillness).
These 3 gunas are mutually in a state of equilibrium. For example, on an apple tree, part of the fruit may be ripe (sattvic), part ripening (rajasic) and part overripe (tamasic). Once energy takes form, one of these three properties dominates.
But whichever quality predominates, something of the other two gunas will always be present. It is therefore important not to label the gunas as positive or negative. All three properties are necessary to create balance.
The sattvic diet
In every human being one of the gunas dominates. Does Sattva predominate? Then you have a positive attitude to life and you experience harmony. Increasing Sattva can be done by reducing Rajas and Tamas in both body and mind.
This can be done through yoga, meditation and following a sattvic diet. The sattvic diet is considered the purest diet. It is nourishing for the whole body, calms your mind and allows it to function optimally. A sattvic diet increases your prana (life energy) and leads to ‘true health’ or: a peaceful mind that controls a healthy body.
Does a sattvic way of eating appeal to you? Then these simple basic conditions will help you on your way:
- Whole grain. Use whole grain products as much as possible because they contain many minerals and fiber.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables. Eat fresh vegetables and fresh fruit every day, preferably organic.
- Avoid processed food. Eat as little as possible from pre-packed packages, bags or cans.
- Eat in moderation. Everything is allowed, but in moderation.
- Eating regular meals. Eat three times a day a good meal. You can eat some (dried) fruit or nuts in between.
- Rest. Give your body and digestive system a rest. Try not to eat anything 3 hours before going to sleep.
- Avoid cold food. Don’t eat too cold. Your body is warm inside and digestion is easier if you don’t burden your body more than necessary. Also prefer to drink lukewarm water instead of cold water.
Although the sattvic diet is considered one of the most healthy diets, 100% sattvic eating is not feasible for many people. Besides this, it is not necessary at all. Try to eat mostly sattvic and don’t be too wary of rajasic or tamasic food. Just make sure that rajasic or tamasic food does not get the upper hand.
Food that is very spicy, bitter, sour, dry or salty is rajasic. Rajasic foods include pungent spices, strong spices, and stimulants such as coffee and tea, fish, eggs, salt, and chocolate. Eating in a hurry is also considered rajasic.
If you do eat too much rajasic food, then the balance between your body and mind can be disturbed. This way your body will be overstimulated, which can cause your mind to become restless and uncontrollable.
A predominantly tamasic diet benefits neither the body nor the mind. Tamasic diets include meat, tobacco, alcohol, onions, garlic, foods with flavor enhancers such as vinegar, and stale or overripe foods. Overeating yourself is also considered tamasic.
If your diet is predominantly tamasic, your prana (life energy) will stagnate and a feeling of slowness will occur. Your resistance drops too, which will put pressure on your immune system. You can even become gloomy and suffer from dark thoughts such as greed and anger.
Yoga diet conclusion
A perfect yoga diet comprises a lot of unprocessed, seasonal, and locally sourced whole foods that are fresh and organic, aiming to keep them as close to their natural form as feasible. Following a yoga diet is primarily driven by its ability to foster healing, equilibrium, and inner peace. This way a yoga diet promotes a happy life!