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 A daily diet for better health

Since we are created from the three gunas – sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic -- each intrinsic to everyday living, we cannot live on sattvic foods alone. The body, mind, and senses need to be nourished by all three principles, with predominance in sattva or light and peaceful, and with secondary emphasis on rajas or bright and energising and least emphasis on tamas or dark and immobile. Most of our packaged, processed, fast food and medicines are of tamasic or rajasic. Oily or spicy fried foods, coffee, intoxicants such as liquor or wine, chocolate, and other processed sweets, commercially produced milk and dairy, bread and crackers, are all rajasic. According to an ancient book, “Foods that are bitter, sour, pungent, salty, hot, dry, oily and burning produce pain, grief and disease. These foods are liked by the rajasic in nature.” Excessive intake of these foods, which are radically diminished in life supporting energy, disturb body chemistry, disrupt inner harmony and dull our power of intuition. 

Excess of tamasic food is detrimental to good health. It consumes large amounts of energy during digestion, weakens the digestive fire, and disturbs vital tissue transformation that follows digestion. Tamasic people prefer foods that are dry, aged, stale, malodorous and impure. Foods that have been processed, canned, frozen, irradiated or tampered with are tamasic in nature. Fermented food such as soy sauce, cheese and pickle are also tamasic. Animal flesh – meat, fish, fowl and egg – have tamasic qualities. In excess, alcohol also becomes tamasic. Drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and hashish, and prescription drugs -- pain killers, sleeping pills and antidepressants are tamasic.

Tamasic foods promote lethargy, depression, ignorance, negativity, paranoia, and disharmony in body and mind, and should be avoided in large quantities. There are, however, seasons when we should imbibe each of the three energies of sattva, rajas and tamas, in proportionate quantities. Spring demands more rajasic foods than summer, when more satavic foods are needed. Winter menus have a stronger touch of tamas when root vegetables like onions, potatoes and radishes which have a naturally tamasic nature since they are sheltered in the darkness of the heavy earth is considered good for the body.

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