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YOGIC DIET FOR HEALTHY LIVING

Ahara-Suddhau Sattva-Suddhih, Sattva-Suddhau Dhruva-Smritih, Smritilabhe Sarvagranthinam Vipramokshah.
By the purity of food, follows the purification of the inner nature, on the purity of the inner nature the memory becomes firm and on the strengthening of memory follows the loosening of all ties and the wise get liberation thereby. The discipline of food is very necessary for Yogic Sadhana. If the tongue is controlled, all the other Indriyas are controlled. If you can master the nine gates of your body – eyes, ears, nose, mouth, sex organ & rectum- then all the secrets of nature will open to you. What and how we eat affects us physically, mentally and emotionally.

YOGA & MENTAL HEALTH
For the health and proper growth of the body, a healthy mental attitude and sound mental health are essential. The mind depends upon the food for its formation. The Bhagwad Gita classifies food into three groups- Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. It is not just the food even human mind has been divided into three categories depending upon its Qualities or Gunas - Sattvic Mind, Rajasic Mind & Tamasic Mind.

Sattvic Mind
A Sattvic mind is completely at peace and balanced. Its qualities are kindness, truth, contentment, love, devotion, humility and happiness. In this state, the blood pressure remains normal and the living cells multiply and become stronger. They obey the orders of the mind without any hindrance.

Rajasic Mind
A Rajasic mind is clever. Its qualities are worry, sorrow, jealousy, greed, anger, fear and luxury. In such a state, blood circulation becomes abnormally rapid and leads to turmoil and confusion in the body. The cells are also in a disorganized and disturbed state. Their growth and development is stopped and their deterioration and weakness begins.

Tamasic Mind
Tamasic mind is sinful. Its qualities are violence, adultery and other sinful activities. In such a state our thinking is completely blurred because our blood circulation is so disorganized that the cells stop their normal functions. They start getting filled with poison instead of life. We start taking pleasure in all these debased activities.

An average person’s temperament depends on the predominance of one or other of these qualities. During the course of the day, each one of us shifts through various moods under the influence of these three qualities. These fluctuating moods, as we make a transition from one energy state to the other, throw us out of alignment. We can control this inner turbulence through Yoga, Pranayama and a wholesome diet. It will help us to combat the pressures and disturbances of life with equanimity.

CLASSIFICATION OF FOODS

SATTVIC FOOD
Sattvic food is totally pure, clean and wholesome. It nourishes the body & maintains it in a peaceful state & is dear to Sattvic type of men. The Bhagavad Gita describes the Sattvic diet as promoting life, virtue, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. It includes cereals, fresh fruits, fresh green vegetables, pulses, milk & milk products, nuts, seeds & honey. This food takes 4-6 hours to digest. Pure Sattvic food needs to be chewed carefully and eaten in modest portions.

RAJASIC FOOD
The Gita describes the Rajasic diet as excessively pungent, sour, salty, hot, harsh, astringent and burnt, leading to pain, misery and sickness & is dear to Rajasic type of men. It produces acidity. Such food items function as body stimulant & making the mind restless. One can get unhappiness, worries & diseases. It includes condiments, extra fried, extra oily, fish, egg, coffee, tea, meat etc. It takes 24 hours to digest. Eating in a hurry is also considered Rajasic.

TAMASIC FOOD
The Gita describes the Tamasic foods as stale, tasteless, smelly, leftover, rotten, foul & half cooked & is dear to Tamasic type of men. That is not at all useful to nourish either body or mind. It makes the body dull, lazy, and drowsy & reduces our immune power, filling the mind with negative /dark emotions such as anger, criminal tendencies & greed. It includes beef, fish, eggs, alcohol, tobacco, garlic, onion & fermented foods. It takes 72 hours to digest. Overeating is also considered Tamasic.

THE RIGHT WAY TO EAT

Food has to undergo a number of mechanical and chemical changes before it is turned into useable form and is assimilated in the digestive system. Carbohydrates are digested in the mouth with the help of the saliva. Proteins are digested in the stomach with help of the acid gastric fluid. Fats are digested in the small intestine. So, different foods require different ways of digestion. Never eat proteins and carbohydrates at the same time. Fats can be combined with both. You can eat these one after the other but be sure that there is at least three hours gap between eating food with proteins and with carbohydrates. This would give your body enough time to digest one food sufficiently before the next food comes which requires a different way of digestion. By eating proteins and carbohydrates at the same time, the digestion process is more complicated, needs more time and yet the food is not digested completely. This would often lead to obesity, acidity, flatulence, indigestion, bloating, gas, constipation, abdominal discomfort and poor absorption of nutrients. Adopt this golden rule of diet control – fill half the stomach with food & leave one fourth for water & one fourth for the movement of air.

Food Calories Chart per 1 gm
Carbohydrates Proteins Fat
4 4 9

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