What you eat is what ultimately affects your health. This is why doctors, dietitians and health experts suggest you to be mindful of what you put on your plate, especially right now in the pandemic, when health and well-being have assumed so much of importance.
Not just in India, but around the world, sattvic food has gained immense popularity. Radhika Iyer Talati, the founder of Food by Anahata, an entrepreneur, yogini, mountaineer and philanthropist, explains that the sattvic diet in Ayurveda believes in the balance of three gunas — tamas, rajas and sattva — which are important in order to lead a healthy life.
“Foods, therefore, are also divided into these three groups namely sattvic, rajasik and tamasik foods that, when consumed consciously, can enhance the energies of the mind, body and spirit,” she says.
Talati explains that sattvic foods are known to uplift purity, boost health, harmony and well-being in the body. This diet comprises “pure unprocessed food that is light in potency and rich in pranic energy”.
“Sattvic diet is high-fibre, low-fat, vegetarian and completely balanced. Cooked food, consumed within three to four hours of preparation, is also considered sattvic. Whole grains such as rice, wheat, oats, millets, legumes, lentils and pulses, milk, seasonal vegetables and fruits, ghee, honey, jaggery are all examples.”
Plan a simple balanced sattvic meal by following these three principles:
1. Eat according to your prakriti
Consult a good Ayurvedic doctor to determine your prakriti. There are certain foods one must or must not consume depending on their inherent nature. Once you can identify yours, it makes it simple to know the correct type of food combination for you.
2. Eat according to the season
Ayurveda teaches us that our bodies coexist with nature and our health and well-being depend on how connected we are to this biome. Ritucharya or eating according to the discipline of seasons, is an important aspect of living a healthy life. It consists of an Ayurvedic lifestyle diet routine that helps the body to cope with the seasonal impact caused on the body and mind.
3. Eating that which is locally grown and cooked traditionally
One of the most important steps to move into a sattvic lifestyle is to ensure that you get in touch with your base. Where do you come from? What is your genetic code? What is it that generations before you in your family were eating? While it is important to taste and experience everything that the modern gastronomical world is offering you, it is equally important to balance every meal with a required amount of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein and healthy fats.
Talati says that ‘rajasik foods’ elevate stress and anger, induce activity and aggravate restlessness. Caffeinated drinks such as chai, coffee, colas, chocolates, spicy food, eggs, and pungent foods come in this category.
‘Tamasik foods’, she says, make the body feel dull and lazy. It includes processed foods, preservative filled foods, meat, fish, eggs, onions, garlic, mushrooms, alcohol and stale food. Ayurveda states that any food that has remained uneaten for more than three hours becomes tamasik.