Elgi Ultra explores the health benefits of a Sattvic Diet
A meat inclusive diet provides essential proteins and vitamins, in some cases, it may even be prescriptive; however, the yogic way of life, advocates a pure, simple and fresh vegetarian diet or a Sattvic diet. It is also believed to be life prolonging, nourishing for the body, mind and consciousness. Today, veganism and switching to locally grown, fresh and an organic vegetarian diet has crossed the threshold of being a diet fad and has become more a way of life in kitchens worldwide.
It may be surprising to know that in the last few years of his life, the renowned scientist Albert Einstein, switched to a vegetarian diet and quoted that, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
A Sattvic diet, is a fresh, vegetarian diet that includes a few non-meat animal products, in moderation. For years, Ayurvedic cleanses and rejuvenation programs have prescribed a Sattvic diet. It is in line with the belief that, we are what we eat. A Sattvic diet includes foods enriched with life giving Prana; it is filled with Sattva Guna; a quality that restores purity and brings balance to the mind and body.
Ayurvedic practitioners classify foods according to their characteristics or Gunas. The emphasis is to not just eat vegetarian or fresh and organic but to choose the fruit, vegetables, pulses and legumes that have the Sattva energy.
What is a Saatvic diet?
- It’s primarily a vegetarian diet and a clean diet. Saatvic diet is not vegan and does include, in small quantities, ghee, yoghurt and buttermilk (fresh not too fermented), all made from the milk of an A2 cow (indigenous Indian cow)
- It revolves around the principle of fresh from farm to table. Food that is consumed within three hours of cooking.
- Foods that are not fermented, no excessive use of oils or spices, fresh and cooked foods that aren’t excessively sour, bitter or astringent.
- Foods are cooked bland, with very little oil and mildly seasoned. Ghee is used sparingly. Pungent or sour vegetables like garlic, onions and tomatoes are not included in a pure saatvic diet.
Diet and Gunas:
Saatvic diet clarifies the energy of the mind, body and consciousness. Guna can be used to describe the tendency of any matter (Prakriti). For instance, some foods are soothing and calming while others, like chillies, are hot and have a fire element in them. The elements of our diet and their Gunas transfer to our physical and mental state. With this broad idea, Ayurveda classifies food into Rajasic, Tamasic and Sattvic.
The identifying characteristics of Rajas would be stress, anger, high activity and restlessness. The Rajas Guna is essential for challenging oneself and accomplishments at work. However, the Rajas mind is very active and prone to aggression. Rajasic foods include, spices, deep fried foods, sweets and confectionaries, foods rich in taste, stimulants like coffee and tea and pungent ingredients like garlic, onions etc.
Tamas is identified with laziness and dullness. The Tamas mind is slow to process lacking sharpness, disengaging, lethargic, sedentary in lifestyle and could be destructive in certain situations. A Tamas Guna is however essential for sleep and rest. Tamasic foods include dead foods like meat, eggs, and alcohol, cigarettes etc.
Sattva embodies purity, balance, health, harmony and wellbeing. While every person will have qualities of all three Gunas, a person with pure Sattva is rare. A Saatvic person is very mindful, has a strong sense of truth and light leading them to making the right decisions and having the ability to endure and realise their aspirations. Saatvic foods are fresh and filled with life giving energy; they include, fresh greens, fruits, vegetables, sprouts, whole grains, nuts, herbs, milk (A2), yoghurt, cheese and animal products free from rennet (enzymes produced in the stomach of mammals).