The International Day of Yoga presents us with an opportunity to contemplate on health and wellness. While the world has embraced Yoga as a practice for living a wholesome, balanced and happy life, the rich heritage of Yoga also recommends a specific diet that helps purify and cleanse our bodies and mind. This diet is known as the Sattvic diet. The Sattvic diet is primarily a vegetarian diet that is based on the belief that all foods contain yogic qualities or gunas. These foods also hold the power to either increase or decrease your energy. Foods that increase the energy of your body are classified as Rajasic and the ones that decrease the energy of the body, are labelled Tamasic. The foods that purify and cleanse the energy of the body are called Sattvic. The Sattvic diet, also called as the yogic diet is highly recommended for everyone who wants to engage authentically in a holistic practice of the yoga. 

Fruits and Yoghurt form an important part of the Sattvic diet. Credit: Pexels.

The Sattvic diet rests on the principle of ahimsa and therefore avoids meats of all kinds. The Sattvic diet is full of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and oil. Dairy products are permissible. The only principle to follow while engaging in a Sattvic diet is the principle of mindful eating - where you eat in moderation. Chefs and culinary artists have put together recipes for many Sattvic dishes that one can enjoy while practicing a yoga retreat. These foods are tasty, nourishing and purifying. Here are a few dishes that are popularly consumed while practicing a Sattvic diet: 

1) Sattvic Khichdi: 

Rice has an auspicious significance in the Vedic tradition. Khichdi is a comfort meal involving the amalgamation of rice and lentils. Sattvic Khichdi refers to the Ayurvedic Khichdi that’s made by cooking rice and moong dal together. According to Ayurveda, moong dal has a soothing effect on us and it cools our energy and de-toxifies our body. The best suited rice to make Sattvic Khichdi from, are Kolam rice. These rice are smaller than Basmati rice and are easier to eat and digest. The flavour of the Kolam rice is subtler than other varieties. Vegetables that go in Sattvic Khichdi include green capsicum, tomatoes, potatoes and cauliflower. Onion and garlic is avoided. A spoon of desi ghee can be poured over the hot and appetising khichdi to give it a flavour boost. 

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2) Dahi Aloo 

The purpose of eating Sattvic Bhojan (Sattvic food) is to soothe the body. Since yoghurt is replete with health benefits and is also a calming ingredient for the stomach, Dahi Aloo makes for a delicious side dish if you’re on a Sattvic diet. This dish can be relished along with Sabudana Khichdi. Dahi Aloo can be made by cooking potatoes in beaten dahi and adding various spices to it. The yoghurt that’s allowed to be consumed in a Sattvic diet should be obtained from a well fed cow’s milk. Some books on Ayurveda also recommend to avoid drinking yoghurt or consuming yoghurt based dishes for dinner. 

3) Sattvic Matki Curry 

The Sattvic Matki Curry is hugely consumed by people on a fast or people following the yogic diet. Matki are a form of legume. They are moth beans and are a good source of protein. Moth beans boost the immune system and can be cooked either in a gravy or as a chaat type of a snack by putting a dash of kaala namak (widely used in fasts) and lemon on them. When cooked as a curry, the Sattvic Matki curry is prepared without using onion and garlic (as is common in all Sattvic meals). This doesn’t impact the over all taste of the dish. The moth beans are cooked in a tomato gravy and seasoned with various spices. A hack for making the Matki curry a tad more flavourful is to let the moth beans sit in the curry and soak in the gravy after they are cooked, for a while. 

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