What is a Sattvic diet?
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
Have you ever observed the effects of the food you have eaten on your day to day routine? Rich foods which are too spicy and flavored can sometimes give you bloating and other digestive disturbances. It also affects your mind and mood which can ruin your entire day and make you feel dull, lazy, or dizzy. Eating a Sattvic diet can leave your body feeling light and energetic, while maintaining optimal digestion and absorption.
Why call it Sattvic
To eat a Sattvic diet is, to eat according to general Ayurvedic principles. The two Ayurvedic principles that decide a person's diet are the Dosha and the Gunas of that particular person. Your Dosha is your physiological makeup of energies while your Guna is your energy's state of being.
Your Dosha is a blend of 3 energies (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity. Their differing proportions determine individual temperament and physical constitution. Your personal Dosha is whichever energy is more dominant in the mix.
Vata (Air & Space) Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat.
Pitta (fire & Water) Energy that controls the body's metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition and your body's temperature.
Kapha (Water & Earth) Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin and maintains the immune system.
The word Guna literally translates to quality. The 3 Gunas are groupings of different qualities of energy in the human Prakriti (physical constitution). Any living being has gunas, and they are the three “natural inclinations” of the mind, body and soul or consciousness. The three gunas are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas gunas. These categories define and reflect our health, behavior and thinking. Everything you eat has either Sattvic(energy giving), Rajasic(increasing passion) or Tamasic(increasing apathy) qualities.
According to Ayurvedic principles, humans are best suited to life as a Sattvic being. Hence, the generally recommended ideal diet is Sattvic in nature. Ayurveda does recommend Tamasic and Rajasic foods, but those are only in certain cases where an imbalance needs to be corrected. For example, if a person's Prakriti has high Rajasic tendencies, then some Tamasic foods may be advised by Ayurvedic practitioners.
According to Ayurveda, a Sattvic diet is pure vegetarian food which is fresh, earthy, raw and organic in nature. Many people confuse this diet, as a diet of raw and uncooked food. In fact, Sattvic diet is a regimen that emphasizes on both raw and cooked seasonal foods such as fruits, dairy products, nuts, seeds, oils, ripe vegetables (except onion and garlic), legumes, and whole grains. Since this regimen empowers virtues such as Ahimsa (non-violence), it only includes vegetarian proteins hereby not harming nature and all its living beings.
Points to note while preparing Sattvic food
It should be always freshly cooked and simple.
Food should be combined to get nutrients from a variety of sources.
It encourages foods that are grown harmoniously with nature (seasonal foods), and foods that are ripened and grown naturally.
It forbids consumption of packaged, canned and processed food in any form.
Just the right amount of food is prepared so that there is no food wastage.
The food should be chewed properly, eaten at a moderate pace and not rushed.
And last but not the least, food is prepared with love and gratitude before consumption.
Everything we eat is food for the soul. And for our soul to be clean, virtuous and true, the food should also be sourced, prepared and consumed in the same manner. Hence, Sattvic food is the ideal diet for healthy body, mind and soul.
Whatsoever you eat, eat in moderation