What even is a yogic diet?
One of my favourite parts of learning about yoga was learning about the yogic approach to foods. In this post, I will share about two misconceptions that I’ve since corrected.
#1: There are no “good” or “bad” foods.
I always thought about this in very black and white terms – What is good to eat? What food should I not eat? But what I found about the yoga philosophy and approach to food is that there are no good or bad types of foods. Rather, there are foods that dull your mind, energise your mind and calm your mind – Tamasic, Rajasic and Sattvic foods respectively.
There is no value judgement on what is good or bad, just some suggestions on the types of food you should consume to put your mind in a dull, energetic or calm state. In fact, some yoga practitioners say that you should consume Sattvic food in the morning, Rajasic food at midday and Tamasic food in the evening. Which makes perfect sense if you think about it!
That said, most people associate “yogic food” with this last category – Sattvic. Consuming Sattvic foods are said to help keep your mind balanced – not too dull and not too energetic. You can think of this as the middle ground food or the baby bear’s porridge that was neither too hot nor too cold.
#2: It is not just about what you are consuming, but how the food is prepared
I always thought that vegetarian or even vegan food minus mushrooms (Tamasic), onions & garlic (Rajasic) could be a good proxy for sattvic food. But I realised that sattvic foods are not just about the raw ingredients, but the modality in which they are prepared.
For food to be classified as Sattvic, they must be consumed in a form that is as natural as possible. This means no fried food, no excessive salt and no preservation. So, kimchi (with no garlic), kombucha and breads are all not sattvic because of the fermentation they undergo, despite them being made of Sattvic ingredients!
You learn something new every day!