The Art Of Sattvic Cooking: A Tale Of Tradition And Nutrition
Image Credit: Sattvic Food

Sattvic food is a type of cuisine that is based on the principles of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine and holistic health. The word "sattvic" comes from the Sanskrit word "sattva," which refers to purity, balance, and harmony. In the context of food, sattvic cuisine is characterized by the use of fresh, whole, and natural ingredients that are easy to digest and nourish the body and mind.

Sattvic cooking has a long and interesting history that goes back to the first civilizations in India. In the Ayurvedic tradition, food is seen as a crucial aspect of health and well-being, and the sattvic diet is believed to nourish not only the physical body but also the mind and spirit.

The concept of sattvic food has its roots in ancient Indian philosophy, which suggests that all living beings are made up of three main energies, or "doshas": vata, pitta, and kapha. Each dosha is associated with certain physical and mental characteristics and is believed to be influenced by the food we eat. Sattvic food is thought to balance all three doshas, helping to maintain holistic health and happiness.

The use of fresh, natural ingredients is a key principle of Sattvic cooking. This means avoiding processed or artificial foods and instead opting for whole, unrefined ingredients that are grown or raised in a natural and sustainable way. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all staples of the sattvic diet and are often consumed in their whole, unprocessed form. There are several rules governing what foods are considered sattvic, and the degree to which an individual follows those rules varies greatly depending on the religious sect in question. Vegetables from the Solanaceae family, such as bell peppers and chilies, are considered rajasic (foods that energize the body), and root vegetables, such as onions and garlic, are considered tamasic (foods that de-energize the body). These vegetables are avoided by puritans but are consumed regularly by people who are more lax in terms of their adherence to the diet. It is also not uncommon for practitioners of the diet to consume meals with both rajasic and tamasic components in order to capitalize on the supposed positive mood changes associated with said ingredients.

Another important aspect of Sattvic cooking is the use of healthy spices and herbs, which are thought to have numerous health benefits. The list of approved spices initially included only those that were in the form of herbs, such as tulsi and coriander leaves, but was later expanded to include commonly used spices in order to increase palatability. Sattvic cuisine now includes the use of spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, and cardamom, among others. These spices are used for both flavor and supposed medicinal properties that can help balance and harmonize the body. Sattvic cooking, in addition to using fresh and natural ingredients, places a strong emphasis on the energy and vibration of the food.

 According to Ayurvedic principles, certain foods are believed to have higher or lower vibrations, and it is thought that consuming high-vibration foods can help to elevate the mind and spirit. Foods that are considered to have high vibrations include fruits, vegetables, and grains, while those with lower vibrations include meat, dairy, and processed foods.

The use of diary in the diet is subject to a strict rule set. Butter and paneer that are consumed as part of the diet must be made fresh and consumed on the same day. All milk that is consumed should be unprocessed and obtained from a cow that is not pregnant, after the calf has had its fill.

As with any traditional cuisine, the art of Sattvic cooking has evolved over time, and today it can be found in many different forms around the world. Sattvic cuisine is still popular in India and can be found in many traditional households and restaurants. People from other parts of the world may have various reasons as to why they adopt the diet, from delving deeper into a yogic way of life to simply being more sustainable by limiting the intake of processed foods. Sattvic principles can be easily adapted and incorporated into a variety of different dietary styles, including vegetarian, vegan, and whole food diets.

Sattvic cooking continues to thrive today, several thousand years after its inception. The cuisine remains a great option for those seeking to nourish their body and mind, offering a wealth of delicious and nourishing options that are sure to delight the senses and promote overall health and well-being.