You Are What You Eat

Gunas are the qualities representing the natural evolutionary process, and anything in nature has these qualities such as people, activities, and of course even the food we eat. The 3 gunas are Sattva (pure), Raja (stimulating) and Tama (dull).

While each of us has all these three qualities, there is always one guna that dominates the way we feel, act and think. Interestingly, the type of food we eat – whether sattvic, rajasic or tamasic, significantly affects which guna dominates us as beings. Remember the saying “we are what we eat”?

Let’s first briefly define gunas in relation to food:

Sattvic food like organic fruits, fresh and easily digestible vegetables, beans, whole grains and some nuts, will give you an abundance of energy and will make you feel lighter, more peaceful, happier, centered and have a generally more positive outlook in life.

Rajasic food are very stimulating and influences a very passionate and driven attitude. Of course we all know that with passion & desire, comes the possibilities of pleasure & pain, high expectations & great frustrations, and even greed. Examples of rajasic food are onion, garlic, chili, and anything with caffeine.

Tamasic food, on the other hand, can make you feel lazy, distracted and at your lowest energy level. Preserved (food with preservatives and chemicals), canned, frozen, dried and oily food, meat, eggs and liquor are tamasic food.

Hey now, calm down! Do not be too intimidated by this. If you are not really on a spiritual path to yogi heaven or guru-dom, you do not need to get rid of all tamasic and rajasic food and just go pure sattvic. You do, though, need to have all 3 guna food types in moderation for your general health and wellbeing 😉 Okay, I know what I just said is pretty much actually easier said than done. To eat the three guna food types in moderation is a bit of a challenge as most of us eat mostly tamasic and rajasic.

Let me share a personal experience. I have always considered myself a generally healthy person. I seldom buy food from outside, especially from the hawkers because I would like to avoid food that are deep fried and too oily, plus I do not really know what goes in the food if I’m not the one preparing it. So I try my best to prepare my own food like sandwiches, pasta, wraps and the like. But guess what? Because of my very hectic work schedule, out of convenience, I stock up my fridge and cupboard with ingredients that will last and will not have me running back and forth the grocery a.k.a. canned vegetables, instant pasta, bottled pasta sauce, non-organic (also meaning affordable) vegetables and vacuum sealed ham. Ta-da! And that’s how you turn a genuine intent to be healthy into a tamasic nightmare of disastrous proportions!

So yes, it really is not that easy to shift into a well-guna-balanced diet but, hey, awareness is always the first step. From this first step follows a fun journey of truly becoming mindful of what you eat, and enjoying every step of the journey towards a balanced, calmer and more blissful YOU.


© Karen Cornejo, June 2014