Nutrition, here is something that I like to stay away from as much as possible because it is impossible for me to say something that will actually possibly apply to more than one person. Although I have a very large and in depth back ground in nutrition, I am not degreed licensed or certified to understand or talk about it. However here is one thing I can say that pertains to everybody, and its something I say all the time “We are NOT all the same. We are all different, and we need to take the time to figure out what is right for each of us individually.” Every culture is different on what they believe looks “beautiful” and most of the time that directly impacts a persons eating habits, which can in turn create long lasting destructive, and bad habits. In America today we think of slim as beautiful, so much so that that when an “average sized” mannequin was used in a store, critics complained that it promoted obesity. Girls everyday are mutilating their bodies internally and externally, through eating disorders and cutting in an unhealthy attempt to deal with the overbearing need to look a certain way. Not only are these young women being told to look a certain way, but then they are not given the proper information as to how to eat in a healthy way. Fast Food and soda is readily available on every corner at a low price, while other healthier options are not so readily available, and certainly not for as inexpensive of a price. Plus lets not forget that over the past 10-15 years the idea of needing to fill our lives with an inordinate amount of activities is expected and the levels of stress have gone skyrocketing. These new factors lead to the increased need for food on-the-go and ready-made, and the conservative ideas on how to save and how to spend since 2008 have also influenced the need for the cheapest alternative. All of these factors have lead to the over eating of bad foods. On the plus side let me just add that in my studying of certain industries, the health revolution has most certainly started, with the fast food market becoming oversaturated and leading to many stores closing down, the alcohol companies relying more and more on the light beer varieties, the incorporation of healthier options, salads, juice instead of soda, and fruits being offered in a more available manor for the public. That being said, in respect to yoga, nutrition is based on a more basic level. Eat to live do not live to eat. When I say eat to live though I am not just saying in a Maslow kind of way through his system of hierarchy of needs, I also mean it on a spiritual level, which is what I am going to talk about here.
In order to understand what I am going to talk about you need to know something about the gunas. Gunas are a quality of being, and your quality of being is depended on the choices you make leading to your actions being rajasic, tamasic, or satvasic. You will never be all one quality, because all three are present in you and everything around you all the time, but different ones shine through at different times. Think of it in more common terms: You have many qualities such as creative, caring, and laziness. When you are drawing you are expressing your creative side, but that does not mean that you no longer have any care or laziness in you. When you are taking a nap instead of doing chores your laziness is shining through, but that does not mean that you cease to be creative or caring. The gunas are simply what you are on an energetic level. The three levels are rajas, tamas, and sattva. Rajas is a high level; a state of energy, action, change and movement. The nature of rajas is of attraction, longing and attachment. Tamas is a low level; a state of darkness, inertia, inactivity and materiality. Tamas manifests from ignorance and deludes all beings from their spiritual truths. Sattva is balance; a state of harmony, purity, joy and intelligence. Sattva is the guna that we strive towards as it reduces rajas and tamas and thus makes liberation possible. It is a zen like state. Think of this as the zen master unaffected by anything external. The ultimate goal with sattva is to transcend their misidentification of the self with the gunas and to be unattached to both the good and the bad, the positive and negative qualities of all life.
So how does this all pertain to food?
Tamasic foods include heavy meats, and foods that are spoiled, chemically treated, processed or refined. Some examples would be fermented cheese, Beer, wine, or whiskey, salt, turkey and gravy, and bacon and eggs. A Tamasic diet resembles the American diet because it consists of a lot of processed food full of chemical additives, fast foods, reheated food, alcohol, cigarettes and drugs of addiction. It is considered a dead food diet such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, stale food. These foods and substances do nothing to lift our energy and consciousness, if fact they pull us downward into laziness and inertia. Living on tamastic food and substances will lead to complaints such as obesity, diabetes, heart and liver disease. We will feel unmotivated, be careless, unaware of ourselves and others. Example Recipes:
Rajasic foods include fried foods, spicy foods, and stimulants. Some examples would be spices and refined sugars, coffee, peppers, and energy bars. A typical rajastic diet also resembles the American cultures diet, but this time it is because it is typically eaten on the run. We rush food and experience poor digestion and health as a result. A rajasic diet is one which is overly spicy or hot, includes food with onion and garlic, coffee, fizzy soft drinks, tea, sugary foods and too much chocolate. These foods may give us a lift in energy but ultimately we experience a low or increased stress. A predominately rajastic diet destroys the mind-body equilibrium, feeding the body at the expense of the mind. Examples Recipes:
Sattvic foods include whole grains and legumes and fresh fruits and vegetables that grow above the ground. Some examples would be Fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, ginger, yogurt, potatoes. A sattvic diet is pure vegetarian nourishment and includes fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, whole meal bread, pulses, grains and sprouts, nuts, seeds, honey, herbs, milk and dairy products which are free of animal rennet. These foods will raise our consciousness, inspire us to positive action, deeper meditation and unleash our hidden potential and creativity. Sattvic food is cooked with love and eaten with full awareness and gratitude. Example Recipes: