Food is one of the basic necessities for the survival of living beings. It provides us with the life force or prana and therefore, it is important that we make the right food choices to live a healthy and longer life.
According to ancient Indian medical sciences, the food we eat not only nourishes the body, but it also feeds the mind and soul. An internal imbalance in the human body is the root cause of all diseases. Wrong food habits lead to the accumulation of toxins in the system, which lead to sickness. This can be avoided by having a simple, nutritious and unadulterated diet.
According to Ayurveda, three types of gunas (qualities) exist in all individuals
Rajasik, characterised by passion and activity which is over-stimulating
Tamasik, which is full of destruction and negative energy
Sattvik, which is pure, calm and positive
These qualities are present in all of us in different proportions and the dominant one defines our behaviour and character. These tend to fluctuate depending on seasons, time of the day and the food we eat. Yogis who lived in ashrams for centuries have developed a proficient diet which they call the sattvik diet. This kind of diet is based on food items that possess the quality of sattva.
Food items that can be called sattvik are the ones that are fresh and produced organically, easy to digest and can be eaten in their most natural state – raw or lightly cooked. A sattvik meal contains seasonal fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. Spices that can be used are fresh herbs like basil and coriander. All food items adhere to the principle of non-violence.
A sattvik diet has several health benefits
- It takes minimal time and effort to cook
- It is nutritious and tasty because of the fresh produce used
- It is easily digested and absorbed by the body
- It soothes the mind while nourishing the body
- It generates more positive energy and promotes a peaceful attitude
- It helps steady the mind and raises consciousness
Dr. Deepali Kampani is an instructional designer with expertise in curating content for education, healthcare, and culinary domains. She is a research specialist in Indian cuisine and culinary history.