Food is always close to my heart.
At The Yoga Institute, Mumbai, when I learnt about various energy transactions our body goes through while eating various kinds of food, I started being aware of everything I consumed throughout the day. Thanks to the regularity in the timing and type of food being cooked there,
I had enough time to see the changes in me. Happy Transformational Changes.
It is important to know what we are eating as that will make us what we are. Every act in this universe exchanges energy, eating food as well.
There is food which gives us energy, food which takes away energy and then food which does neither.
Indian literature derived from the Vedās has categorised food into three forms. But remember that food itself can not be categorised by the name we call it by. The determining factors should always be
– The Ingredients
– The mindset of the cook
– The time and manner of consumption
Now let us understand the Vedic categorisation of food and their origins.
Thousands of years ago when humans became civilised and started living in communities, there were various forms of tasks being performed by the various group of people, whoever is capable of doing whichever task.
Some chose to fight for the community and save their tribes.
Some chose to serve the people by doing various forms of livelihood trades and businesses.
Some chose to ensure cleanliness of society, or perform hard laborious jobs.
Some chose to educate the people, perform prayers or be in leader’s counselling teams.
and many more type of community living tasks.
This way everyone was using a different level of their mental or physical capabilities and functions.
Hence they chose a different type of food to fuel their body to get ultimate results in what they were doing.
Sātvik (pronounced Saat-vik):
Balance, purity, health and well-being.
Sātvik food was eaten by people who used more mental than physical tasks. They were required to be always relaxed to give suggestions to the people in need, coaching them to live life.
Sātvik Food is fresh and sweet by nature and requires minimal cooking. Fresh fruits, vegetables, lentils, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, also dairy (not what we usually get today). Food which will raise our consciousness, inspire us to perform a positive action, deeper our focus and unleash our hidden potential & creativity.
Food which is prepared by not harming another soul. Food cooked with love, respect, calmness, attention and cleanliness.
Tāmsik (pronounced Taam-sik):
Lethargy, dullness & laziness.
After whole day’s of a tiresome labour of cleaning the city, or working in the fields and farms, building roads by breaking huge stones, and several other tasks which makes one so tired that taking rest is also difficult.
At that time this group of people chose to eat food which will take away their energy to make them rest and sleep peacefully.
Tāmsik food includes alcohol, meat, nicotine, excessively oily, artificial, additives/preservatives, stale food. It also includes food which is dominant in one particular taste – salty/sweet/pungent/bitter/sour. And not balanced.
Rājsik (pronounced Raaj-sik):
Activity, restlessness, stress and anger.
Rājsik food was eaten by the Kings or warriors as they need the aggression and heat to fight in wars to save their kin. They must build their bodies larger and strong to hold weapons and ride, run and walk and be agile always.
Food which neither gives energy nor takes it away comes under Rājsik.
Spices, heat generating food, caffeine, chocolates.
Now that we know what food brings us which state of mind, the big questions is
Should we be rigid in our approach to eating what is Right for us, always?
Situations make us do what we feel Right at that particular moment. But rigidity always brings Chaos and Pain.There is nothing called Good or Bad Food. As we saw in the Vedic literature too, every food has a purpose, as per one’s requirement.
Bringing Balance is the Key
Taste will always meet Nutrition, its all up to the Cook and their Intentions.
The okra (aka ladyfinger) I have cooked in the picture above is a classic example of Rājsik food as it has-
Garlic, onions, mustard oil.
On the other hand, the Salad is Sātvik as it has-
Nuts, seed, raw vegetables.
The bread (or roti/chapati) contains whole wheat flour, water & a teaspoon of Ghee (clarified butter).
You can bring this balance in your lives too.
Don’t take excessive efforts, just be in the moment and be determined.
I am a big meat lover.
& Fresh veggies turn me on.
But too much of anything brings one down.
Enjoy the sumptuousness of flavours in everything you eat.
And if you think (even once), have a doubt (even once), on what is on your plate, either don’t eat it or change the way you think and then eat it.
Because everything is in the mind.
Even a small Feeling of jealousy, hatred, anger, sadness, dissatisfaction, violence…can turn a Sātvik food into Tāmsik.
take a deep breath,
close your gadgets,
Enjoy your meal.
Think about the nutrition your body will derive out of it.
Inspiration for this Blog comes from The Yoga Institute, Mumbai
Cooking inspiration came from our stay in the Havelock Islands, Andaman.