A branch cannot survive on its own. It must connect to the tree trunk and roots in order to absorb the elements and thrive in nature.
Just like a tree, we must maintain a constant exchange between being an individual and balancing with the universe. Everything we do as an individual including eating, drinking, breathing and living must be harmonious.
It is when we fall out of harmony that we find ourselves in a state of disease. Yoga’s philosophy is based on the philosophy that your mind, body and spirit is one and cannot be separated.
Yogic philosophies recognize food as being responsible for the growth of the body. This is why it is often called Brahman, or God. Food is sacred.
In addition to yoga and meditation, food plays an important role in balancing the body from within. If you are looking to achieve physical strength, sound mind, good health, and longevity, you’ll want to shift your focus to sattvic foods. These are the purest types of food you can consume, according to Ayurvedic principles.
Sattvic foods can help enhance your practice and promote a calm mind and fit body with a balanced flow of energy between the two. The soul depends on the body and the body depends on food.
The basic principles of the sattvic diet consist of light and easily digestible food. Many are sun foods, meaning they grow above ground, and have a fast effect on the body’s nervous and digestive systems.
Try to incorporate the following foods in your daily diet to promote holistic wellness and to help bring your mind, body, and soul into alignment.
Ghee, is sweet tasting, cold, and heavy. This is one of the most talked about sattvic foods because its importance has been reflected upon in the ancient Vedas. The most common, and most often recommended, is ghee from cow’s milk. Milk is unique because it contains the best nutrients a mother can provide. And ghee is considered the essence of milk.
Sprouted Whole Grains
Yogis may sometimes fast from grains, but they are included as an important part of a sattvic diet. According to sattvic tradition, grains should be a vital part of every meal. Whole sprouted grains provide nourishment and are symbolic of health, happiness, and prosperity. There’s a great deal of variety, so you can easily include a grain with every meal.
Fresh Organic Fruit
Who doesn’t love fruit, right?, any fresh organic fruit can be included in the sattvic diet. You’re safe to eat most fruits, including apples, bananas, berries, grapes, melons, oranges, peaches, and plums. These are considered especially sattvic. However, there are some exceptions. Avocados and tomatoes are considered rajasic and should never be consumed in excess. Yogis may also fast from fruits, but otherwise, they are an important part of the sattvic diet. They are considered symbols of generosity and spirituality. Eating fruits and vegetables is believed to increase one’s magnetism.
Natures natural sweetener. Honey is on the short list of sweeteners that is acceptable to use in moderation in a sattvic diet.Brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, sucanat, and sugar cane juice are also acceptable in moderation. Try to avoid processed white sugar where possible.
Organic Land and Sea Vegetables
You’d be safe eating almost any vegetable on a sattvic diet. Juicing vegetables is a great way to gain nourishment in there rawest form. Hot peppers, mushrooms, and potatoes are not considered sattvic. Stick with mild, organic veggies, such as beets, carrots, celery, cucumbers, green leafies, sweet potatoes, and squash.
Nuts, Seeds, and Oils
Choose fresh, pure nuts or seeds. If they have been overly roasted or salted, they lose their sattvic properties. Almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds are all great choices. Most oils should be consumed raw, but some can be used in cooking. These include ghee, sesame oil, and coconut oil.
Herbs directly support the mind and are often used in conjunction with meditation. Common sattvic herbs include:
- Ashwagandha – Used to combat stress, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
- Bacopa – Used to reduce anxiety and improve memory formation.
- Calamus – Used as a sedative and muscle relaxant.
- Gotu kola – Commonly used to enhance meditation.
- Gingko – This popular herb is used to balance many symptoms of dis-ease within the body, including issues with the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
- Saffron – Saffron is believed to pacify all three doshas, and it is often used in cooking.
- Tulsi – Also known as holy basil, this herb is used in medicinal teas to help balance the body.
Just as yoga and Ayurveda aren’t singular practices, neither is nutrition. These sattvic foods consumed on their own may have nutritional benefits, but do not expect to receive the full benefits of a sattvic diet unless you are taking a more holistic approach. In order to be in harmony with the way we eat, drink, breathe, and live, we must approach wellness from a higher perspective. Together, yoga, meditation, nutrition, and herbal supplements can help ground the body and enlighten the mind.breath and mind.