Food nourishes us and our nature. Our nature is attracted to food which matches our nature.
What is Sattvik Food?
Food is probably the most intimate thing to all living beings and especially to humans who spends at least an hour daily with it.
Bhagavad Gita a text about human life, speak about three primary fundamental nature (Guna in Sanskrit)of which everything is made up of, including our food. These are sattva, rajas and tamas- stability, action and rest mode. Generally people consider that food and philosophy are mutually exclusive, food being something that nourish body and philosophy is an activity of brain & heart . But Gita explains they are all connected. Some food will enhance our Sattva Guna- stability, longevity, strength, disease free body and ability to grasp philosophy of life.
Bhagavad Gita 17.8
rasyāḥ snigdhāḥ sthirā hṛdyā
“Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome and pleasing to the heart.”
A small indication is given here in Gita about the impact of and nature of Sattvik Food. Impact is clear. But the type of food is just a pointer- juicy, fatty and wholesome. Now fatty doesn’t mean slaughtered animal fats. Because Gita says- prīti-vivardhanāḥ, that it must increasingly pleasing to the heart . Since ancient time using various Vedic Texts like Ayurveda, the sages have listed which all ingredients increase our sattva. The amazing news is that the variety is endless.
Where as some other food will increase our Rajo Guna, resulting in unsatiating desires. This initiates overstretched activities resulting in various physical diseases as well as mental stress which in turn feeds the physical sickness. Yet another category of food nurtures Tamas Guna, thus inducing laziness, sleep, indolence and finally inaction and depression.
How does Sattvik Food help build our body & mind?
Now every human and everything around us is made up of these natures/ gunas- sattva, raja and tamas. Obviously this includes our body & mind. We also understand the advantages and disadvantages of these modes.
Ahara means taking something into our system. Food which predominantly sattvik will nourish the sattva Guna in body and mind. Sattva imparts good health, longevity etc to body and peace, tranquility, soberness to mind and clarity to intelligence. The more sattvik our food is more we are likely to have these qualities. Because we the atma or soul who is essentially spiritual acquires material nature by taking association of the three gunas or nature. Gita says- “kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya”- through repeated association one acquires certain qualities. As food is a source of constant companion, by adjusting it to to sattva we will gain sattvik qualities.
So the conclusion is to increase the sattvik intake, especially in terms of food. But please note that every choice of our association should be tuned-in to sattvik, for otherwise we can’t become sattvik just by changing food habits!