Everyone needs food. It gives us the fuel to perform a lot of our daily activities as well as the necessary building blocks for us to grow and develop to our optimum. However, not all food is created equal. And Yogis know this very much. In fact, yoga practitioners emphasize the importance of adhering to a Sattvic food diet to achieve oneness between the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of our being. According to Ayurveda, Sattvic diet promotes the purity and oneness of body and mind. It helps cultivate a calmer, clearer, and more compassionate mind so we can live and exist harmoniously with our inner selves and with the environment surrounding us. In essence, Sattvic foods are those that promote health and honor and respect the interconnectedness of our life with all else around us.
To understand how Sattvic food diet works, it is important for us to consider the three fundamental types of foods that have an effect in our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Foods that ensure the health and wellness of the mind and body are known as Sattvic while those that do the opposite are called Tamasic. There are also foods that do not have any impact on the wellbeing of the mind and body and are called Rajasic foods. Sattvic foods are best described as soothing and very nourishing as they are intended primarily to promote and maintain a calm, steady, and quiet mind. This helps sharpen one’s intellect and can give someone an enhanced sense of empathy.
Sattvic Food to Enjoy
Strictly speaking, Sattvic diet is vegetarian. These do not include food products that have been derived from animals especially those that have been harmed. Also important are foods that have been cultivated and grown naturally. Foods that do not contain additives, preservatives, or even artificial flavorings and colorings are also considered as Sattvic food.
Generally, if you want to enjoy a Sattvic diet, here is the list of foods that you can enjoy.
- All types of fruits especially ones that are naturally sweet
- All types of vegetables with the exception of garlic and onion
- Fresh and organic vegetables and fruits
- Plant-based oils such as olive oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, and sunflower oil; these should also be cold-pressed
- Whole grains especially wheat, oats, spelt, barley, and rice
- Dairy products like milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, and ghee; however, the product must be freshly made and that the animal from which these are sourced from should have been treated with care and affection as well as it should not be pregnant when the milk was collected
- Nuts and seeds as long as they are not overly roasted and not sated
- Beans, lentils, aduki beans, mung beans, chickpeas, bean sprouts, and organic tofu
- Honey, molasses, natural and unrefined sugars, and mildly sweet food items
- Herbal teas and water with lime or lemon
- Spices such as basil, ginger, cardamom, fenugreek, cinnamon, mint, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and fennel
- Unrefined salts like unbleached sea salt and Himalayan salt
Food to Avoid
It is safe to assume that whatever food is not listed above is considered a big no-no when it comes to a Sattvic diet. Generally, these foods are considered harmful to the body and the mind leading to physical and mental imbalance. To achieve optimum health, the following foods must be avoided or, at least, minimized.
- All types of meat and fish as well as eggs, especially fertilized eggs
- Animal-based fats, oils, and margarine
- Foods that have been processed or have been artificially made including junk food, soda, and artificial sweeteners
- Foods that have been genetically modified or engineered
- Refined white sugar and white flour
- Fried food items
- All canned foods with the exception of those that are naturally canned like fruits and tomatoes
- Spicy foods, garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives, durian, mushrooms
- All foods that have been microwaved
- All foods that have been overly cooked or have grown stale
- All foods that are consumed or eaten in a hurry
- All foods that are consumed or eaten in a harried or disturbed environment
Sattvic Food – Final Thoughts
Living in harmony with ourselves and our immediate environment requires an understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things.
Sattvic foods are here to help us achieve harmony and balance by improving the interconnectedness of our mind, body, and spirit. It should be understood that these are genera parameters upon which we can perform our own practice of self-discovery, self-inquiry, and self-discipline to find the Sattvic food that will comprise the right diet for our optimum health.