Do you know that what we consume influences our behaviour and thinking?
According to the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC in its report diet, Nutrition and Cancer, stated that 30-40% of cancers in men and 60% of cancers in women are caused by diet. An overconsumption of sugar, saturated fats, and refined food products is to be blamed for the rapid increase in modern diseases.
Food plays a vital role in determining our daily health, state of mind and bio-energy of our consciousness. Every food carries the qualities of 5 different elements (i.e. earth, water, fire, air and ether), so when we eat different types of food, it influences and nourishes our body, mind and consciousness. In the Yoga tradition, the most important thing is the effect of food on one’s consciousness. Depending on the food’s influencing qualities, the Siddha Tradition classifies food into 3 categories:-Sattvic food, Rajasic food and Tamasic food. In other words, our physical body as well as our mental constitution are touched by the influence of the 3 Gunas (primary quality of nature) through the food we eat. The 3 gunas are Tamas (impure, negative, dull), Rajas (stimulating, restless, selfish) and Sattva (balanced, pure and divine).
Sattvic food keeps the body light and gives mental clarity. They are the natural, unprocessed and wholesome food which stabilizes the consciousness and which are easy to digest and will permit one to apply one’s energies to yoga rather than digestion.
Rajasic food provokes excessive activity in the body and makes the mind state agitated. They are the food that stimulates the nervous system like caffeine, wine, onions, garlic, green chillies and certain spices.
Tamasic food generates heaviness in the body and dullness of mind. This includes meat, eggs and preserved food which bring out animalistic tendencies and the pain muscles memory at the point of death as well as the toxins in the poultry.
Since food is an external factor, it allows us the possibility of consciously changing and choosing our diet to influence ourselves. One could start and first aim to neutralize the abnormalities arising in the state of mind or attend to any discomforting signals our body may be sending out by gradual changes in one’s diet. Then the diet can once again be re-designed to enhance the natural healing process within the body and mind.
For instance, an individual’s suffering from chronic depression, dullness and lethargy could be due to an imbalance in his diet such as an excessive intake of Tamasic food. This can be corrected by gradually making the required dietary changes in the following manner.
After examining the diet, the imbalance can be first neutralised by introducing Rajasic food as its qualities remove the restraining tendencies or Tamasic qualities. Soon, the individual should experience freedom from the continued dullness of Tamasic nature and begin to enjoy the newly acquired briskness generated by Rajasic food. As a next step, this should be appropriately stabilised, balanced and most importantly, sustained by introducing Sattvic food into the diet.
A prolonged intake of Sattvic food evokes freshness, enthusiasm, lightness, calmness and clarity in one’s being as Sattva is the harmonious and integrated blend of Rajas and Tamas. Not only should our daily diet be appropriate to the state of our mind and body constitution but must resonate even with the changing climate, season and the environment around us.
In essence, one has to choose his or her diet consciously as food affects our entire body, mind and bio-energy which is responsible for us to experience our pure consciousness. Namaste 😀