Sattvic Food

In yoga philosophy, all matter including food is organized into three Gunas:

  • sattvic - promoting goodness
  • rajasic - promoting passion
  • tamasic - promoting darkness

A yogic diet consists of sattvic [pure] foods that calm the mind and sharpen the intellect. These are pure, wholesome, and naturally delicious, without preservatives or artificial flavorings. They include fresh and dried fruits and berries, pure fruit juices, raw or lightly cooked vegetables, salads, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole-grain breads, honey, fresh herbs, and herbal teas. In the book Yoga, Mind and Body it says, "A sattvic diet is easily digested and supplies maximum energy, increasing vitality, strength, and endurance. It will help eliminate fatigue, even for those who undertake strenuous and difficult work. Yogis believe that people’s food preferences reflect their level of mental purity and that these preferences alter as they develop spiritually.”

A yogic or sattvic diet is a plant-based diet filled with phytonutrients and fiber. Medical research going back for a hundred years shows that this kind of anti-inflammatory food is best for optimal health. It can be an easy and delicious way of eating. In general, you can fill your plate like this:

  • ¼ plate – protein (beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, and soy products like tofu, tempeh, and soy milk)
  • ¼ plate – whole grains (brown rice, rolled oats, barley, millet, quinoa, and sprouted breads)
  • ¼ plate – lightly cooked vegetables
  • ¼ plate – raw vegetables, salad, and/or fruit

In a sattvic diet that promotes inner-peace and well-being, one may over time reduce intake of:

  • Animal Products
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Processed food
  • White rice or white flour (whole grains are best)

Yoga acharya Scott Orton says, "Most important is gaining awareness of how we are affected by what comes into our bodies and making adjustments based on direct reason and experience.” Start to notice how the food and drinks you eat affect you and gradually make changes for improved health, greater energy, and peace of mind.

As for me, I had been trying to solve the food "puzzle" since I was 12 years old. I wanted to avoid the diabetes in my family and eat in a way that keeps me trim and distanced from food and body issues. Having finally landed on a sattvic, plant-based diet, I feel healthier than I ever have in my life. 


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