Satvik Food – The Soulful Diet Of Yogis
The main philosophy behind Ayurveda is that the mind, body and soul are interconnected and thus, inseparable. To live a life of purpose, one must live a Satvik life and to do this, consuming Satvik food is essential.
The priceless boon of Ayurveda was passed on by the creator to these Yogis through meditation. They then dedicated their lives to passing down this newly acquired knowledge to their descendants orally for thousands of years. Soon after, the Rishis began to pen down their learning into what is now Hinduism’s most sacred text, and the world’s oldest form of literature, the Vedas.
The Vedas were written in Sanskrit and were subdivided into four major categories. Each of the four Vedas, namely, the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda were dedicated to different aspects of life and how to live it. Initially, the Satvik diet was consumed by sages seeking a higher consciousness. They believed ‘what you consume, you become.’ Even the Bhagavad Gita has mentions of Satvik food in its holy scripture:
Satvik Food: A Diet Of The Highest Order
Satvik food includes natural, fresh, locally harvested food such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, whole grains, nuts and seeds, natural oils and dairy products obtained from humanely treated cows. Satvik food is believed to be abundant in Prana (Universal Life-force). Prana is energy that gives life. It is the binding agent of the Universe and all its elements.
Meaning & Significance Of Satvik Food:
Satvik means pure, natural, vital, energetic, clean, conscious, strong, true, honest and wise. Satvik food is a lacto-vegetarian diet that is believed to be the purest type of food. The perfect Satvik diet is constitutes of food that taken while being in harmony with nature which is grown in mineral-rich soil from the plant has been exposed to abundant sunlight, fresh air and clear water.
What’s NOT Satvik?
Any food that is obtained through violence over other living beings is not considered to be Satvik. This is why meat and eggs are excluded. The food must be fresh and natural, this means food that have been subjected to the use of pesticides, preservatives and frozen food do not classify as Satvik food.
When it comes to dairy products, only those that come from happy cows can be consumed. This would mean it allowed to graze in open fields and has access to fresh air and sunlight, calves are allowed to sustain on the mother’s milk, and male calves are not sent off to become veal. Onions, garlic, mushrooms (or any fungi for that matter), alcohol and processed food are a big no, since these are known to have harmful effects on the body.
Read More About Rajasic & Tamasic Food
Ayurveda categorizes food into Satvik (pure, natural), Rajasic (stimulants) and Tamasic (dark, destructive, unnatural, and stale).
Rajasic diet can be categorized into food that are very spicy, dry, salty, bitter or sour in taste. Although not considered harmful, it must be consumed in moderate quantities. Too much rajasic food triggers strong emotions, making the mind restless and uncontrollable. Rajasic food include spices, sweet food like chocolate, stimulants like energy drinks and carbonated drinks, and caffeinated drinks. Eating in a hurry is also considered Rajasic.
Tamasic food is considered to be the most impure food. It includes food that are stale, oily, heavy, or preserved in some way. Meat is also considered to be Tamasic. Yogis believe that when an animal is killed, it releases stress hormones and radiates negative energy which is transferred into humans when consumed. Although plants are known to produces stress hormones when under attack or at the time of drought. Alcohol, tobacco, onions, garlic, fermented food, such as vinegar, and stale leftover food, contaminated or overripe food fall under the Tamasic diet. Overeating is also regarded as Tamasic.
6 Amazing Facts About Satvik Food You Must Know!
1. Satvik Food Has 6 Flavours (Rasas) In One Meal
The Satvik diet has been consumed by most of sages and seers since the beginning of time. A traditional Satvik diet has six distinct types of taste that is included in every meal, namely, sweet, salty, sour, spice, bitter & astringent. Each of these flavours have a specific role to play in regards to achieving an absolute balance between the mind, body and soul. Satvik food also provides ample amounts of nutrition that the body requires to function properly.
The 6 flavours of the Satvik Diet:
Sweet: Contrary to the popular belief that sweet food are desserts, chocolates or marshmallows; as per Ayurveda, sweet is associated with honey, milk, butter, oils, sweet potatoes, grains and ripe fruits like bananas, papayas, etc. These kinds of food are rich in proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fat.
Sour: Food that can be associated with sour tastes are fresh yogurt, cheese, sour cream, vinegar, tomato, tamarind and citrus fruits including oranges, grapes, berries, peaches, plums, etc. While consumed in moderate quantities, this type of food stimulates appetite, digestion, and elimination.
Salty: The third taste, salty can be found in black olives, or food that contains sea salt, Himalayan salt or rock salt. Salt enhances taste, stimulates digestion, helps electrolyte balance, cleanses tissues, and increases absorption of minerals.
Bitter: The fourth taste is bitter and is often found in leafy greens, turmeric, and herbal teas. It is great for detoxification of impurities from the body and is also rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients. These also act a coolants.
Pungent: This flavour is the hottest of all the taste types, and can be found in spices, hot peppers, and ginger. It helps in digestion, improves appetite, clears sinuses, stimulates blood circulation, and heightens the senses.
Astringent: This is less of a taste, more of a saliva provoking tannins you get when you consume food like an unripe banana, green tea, spinach, coriander, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, artichoke, celery, sprouts, turnip and very fresh green beans. Astringent food helps to cool and dry the system – hence that dryness in the mouth when you eat them.
2. Food That’s Best For Your Dosha
Everything in nature is made up of five basic elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Even the human body is made up of these elements. A lack or abundance of any these elements in the human body results in an imbalance.The 3 Doshas are Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Pitta is fire and water, Vata is ether and air, and Kapha is earth and water.
Based on a person’s Dosha, Ayurveda recommends a distinct diet for each person. It includes handpicked flavours to be consumed in every meal. Knowing your Dosha will help you get to know your body better. It indicates what your body lacks and how to regain it by following a Satvik diet according to your Dosha.
You can meet the many sadhus and saints at their Akharas in the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj. You will also get a one-on-one interaction with renowned Ayurvedic mentors at Sangam Nivas to know more about your Dosha, and the right diet to follow.
3. Satvik Food Must Be Fresh
Only organically grown, fresh produce is used to cook Satvik food. Once cooked, it must be consumed within 6 hours. Ayurveda suggests that fresh food has all its nutrients intact. Food that is refrigerated eventually loses its natural essence. It is best to consume conventionally grown local produce rather than buying food off a supermarket.
Vegetables and fruits in the supermarket may look appealing to the eye, but are mass produced food produced with the use of pesticides, fertilizers and may also genetically modified. If you don’t have access to local produce, then opt for organic food produced from certified companies. Organic food are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, and free of toxins.
4. Satvik Food Is Always Cooked With Love
Ayurveda teaches us that Prana (vital life force) is present in everything that we see, touch and feel. This energy is also present inside every living being, including us, humans. When a meal is prepared with great love, this energy is transferred from the cook into the food. Even the energy from the Earth, is believed to be transferred into from organic food. The energy calms the mind, boosts physical health and heals the soul. So, if you are planning to cook Satvik food, then make sure you to maintain a positive frame of mind, and cook with happiness and love. The result is going to be amazing!
5. Mindful Eating Is Crucial
Okay, you cooked! And the food looks appetizing. You just can’t wait to gobble it down now, can you? Stop right there. Take a moment to appreciate the food placed in front of you. Your thoughts and emotions while you eat affects your system beyond your imagination. Understand that you’re not eating just to fill up your stomach, but that you are consuming the elements of nature. You are creating vital energy while you eat.
Show respect and gratitude to the creator – this could be the cook, the farmer, the Earth or God. This is why in many religions, prayers and showing of gratitude before a meal is practiced. Chew your food and eat at your own pace. Eating Satvik food is also the path to attaining a higher state of consciousness. Take small portions and you can then help yourself for more.
While consuming Satvik food, moderation is key. Stop eating when your body is satisfied, and never overeat. Overeating leads to laziness and fatigue, and vital energy is wasted in your body during digestion. Also, forget about your calorie-intake; and eat only when you are hungry. Healthy food that is consumed in moderation, can never be harmful.
6. Yoga & Meditation Go Well Satvik Food
The Sanskrit word, Prana, translates to “vital air”, “life-force”, “universal-force”, or “vital energy”. It is the root source of all energy in the universe. Our thoughts make up our life, and so, self-introspection is crucial in order to live a Satvik life. A negative thought, no matter how small or insignificant, can wreak havoc in the system. When your mind is stressed, the body loses this vital force called Prana.
Ayurveda put forward the ancient practice of Yoga and meditation that liberates the mind off its negativity and make the body a temple of the forces of the universe. Through yoga and meditation, Prana extends from your lungs in the form of air and positive energy and revives the whole body. The way we eat, breathe and live impacts your life; it feeds the body, enlightens the mind and nourishes the soul. It is therefore a way of life followed by ancient Rishis since the dawn of humanity, and is practiced even to this day.
At Sangam Nivas, you can join the Yoga sessions conducted every morning at the camp by renowned a yoga therapist and also consume an authentic Satvik diet for the duration of your stay. Book Your Journey NOW
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