The three gunas and food

In Ayurveda, it is believed that the food we eat, affects our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. They are categorized into 3 gunas: Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic.

Sattvic foods are mainly pure, organic foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, wholegrains, and lightly cooked vegetarian fare. Eating these foods make us feel happy, calm, healthy, and fresh.

Rajasic foods on the other hand, are foods that are sour, bitter, hot, and pungent in nature. It includes onions, garlic, spices, stimulants (coffee, tea), and even tobacco. Consuming these foods overstimulates the mind, and makes us feel emotions such as anger, greed, jealousy, and egoism.

Lastly Tamasic foods, are foods that are stale,impure, putrid, and rotten. Some examples are mushrooms, fermented foods, meat, intoxicants (alcohol, opium), and convenience foods (frozen, canned, contains preservatives). These foods make us dull and inert.

From a yogic’s perspective, we strive to be sattvic in nature (relating to the 8 limbs of yoga), as we want to feel calm, refreshed, healthy, and alert during our practice, and in our way of life. It is then important to include more fresh/ organic foods in our diet.

However, it is also important to have the Rajasic and tamasic attitudes in our lives, under different circumstances. Also, according to studies, spices are not just seasoning for food, they contain many health benefits, and some even healing properties. As for tamasic foods, I feel that it is all right to give in to our cravings from time to time (that cupcake, or some chips).

As for me, I would try to include more fresh foods (fruits and vegetables) in my diet. Not to take life with just a pinch of salt, but add a little spice in my life, and be kind to myself by having a snack from time to time. Eating in moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle 🙂

(Cassandra Mai  YTTC200 – January 2018)

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