Ayurveda And Food: Simplifying The Sattvic, Rajasic, And Tamasic

In Ayurveda, food has a major role to play in our health and well-being. The three words are used to describe the properties of foods according to the Vedic principle of nature explained by these three words: Sattva (virtue), Rajas (passion), and Tamas (ignorance).

These properties have been attributed to different foods based on their effects on our mind, body, and soul.

Let’s take a quick look at what these words mean:

Sattvic food

Sattvic foods are those that make us feel calm and composed. They are light and easy to digest. They are also low in fat and sodium. Sattvic foods are distinguished by their ease of digestion. This means that they don’t make the body work hard to digest them. This is a great way to start the day. You will have more energy and clarity to focus on your work. Sattvic foods are also beneficial to people with high blood pressure because they do not raise it.

Here are some examples of such foods:

    Vegetables, rice, wheat, oats, beans, moong dal, and other grains (whole green gram)

    Spinach, green beans, and other fresh green vegetables steamed with mild spices

    Pomegranates, apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes, all fresh from the tree

    Juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables

    Raw or lightly toasted seed and nut mixture

    Freshly-made yoghurt (curd), butter, ghee, and buttermilk (pasteurized milk is more toxic than fresh milk)

    Oils from coconuts, sesame seeds, and olives

    Ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seed, coriander, dhaniya, and haldi

    Raw sugar, honey, and jaggery

Rajasic food

Rajasic food is fiery, hot, and heavy, rich in spices, and also high in sodium and fat. The digestion of this food is slow, which makes it difficult for the body to process it. Consuming rajasic food is a bad idea because it takes away your energy, makes you lethargic, and eventually takes a toll on your health. It is also not easy on the blood pressure and can increase it significantly.

Here are some examples of such foods:

    Foods that are overly salty, sour, spicy, or fatty

    Vegetables high in Sulphur, including potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, which are consumed in large quantities.

    Preserved and flavored foods such as jams and jellies

    Coffee, tea, colas, sodas, and alcoholic beverages

    Mustard, ketchup, and fried and roasted foods

    Cream and sour milk

    Hot peppers or chilies, garlic, onions, pickles, and vinegar

    Chocolate that's brown or black

Tamasic food

Tamasic food is damp, heavy, and difficult to digest. It has a tendency to accumulate fat in the body, which can lead to a lot of diseases. It can also raise blood pressure. It is not easy on the mind either. It can make you feel lethargic and dull.

Here are some examples of such foods:

    White flour, preservative-laden foods, fish and meat, and leftovers

    Starchy foods, as well as canned and tinned goods.

    Preserved foods, flavors, and condiments

    High-proof spirits, such as whisky and rum

    Salted snacks, French fries, and other salt-preserved foods

    Milk, curds, and cheese are either too cold or have been pasteurized

    Sweets, fried foods, and other fatty foods

    Pure whites: sugar and flour

Based on your unique dosha, or body type, the ayurvedic diet prescribes specific times of day, preparation methods, and food choices.

To help you figure out which dosha is right for you, here are some of the most prominent characteristics of each:

1.    The Pitta element combines fire and water and is characterized by superb brainpower, diligence, and resolve. This dosha is characterized by a moderate build, a temper that can flare up quickly, and susceptibility to conditions like indigestion, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure.

2.    Vata (space plus air) is alive, dynamic, and innovative. When out of whack, those who have a Vata dosha tend to have a delicate frame and suffer from digestive problems, exhaustion, and anxiety.

3.    (Earth and Water) Kapha: Naturally steady, reliable, and dependable. Kapha dosha people tend to be stockier in build and more likely to struggle with conditions like obesity, asthma, depression, and diabetes.

This diet tells you to eat certain foods based on your dosha to help you feel in balance.

    The pitta dosha, for instance, favors cooling, energizing foods and restricts foods high in spices, nuts, and seeds.

    In contrast, foods that are warm, moist, and grounding are preferred by the vata dosha, while dried fruits, bitter herbs, and raw vegetables are avoided.

    Finally, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are recommended over heavier foods like nuts, seeds, and oils for the kapha dosha.

All three doshas should limit the amount of red meat, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods they eat.