“Sattva” is an ancient Sanskrit term that means harmony, clarity, and balance. Eating sattvic food and following a sattvic lifestyle was (and still is) according to Ayurveda, a major goal in the pursuit of optimal physical and mental health. This concept of healthy eating and healthy living that existed thousands of years ago, is fascinating, thought provoking, and remarkably relevant today!
Let’s see what we can learn from such ancient thinking…
According to Ayurvedic philosophy, food is the “Prana” or life force of the body and mind. Prana also enters, and is distributed throughout the body via the breath – hence the reason why proper use of the breath through yoga, breathing exercises or Pranayama is essential to good health.
The act of eating is considered to be a sacred act, based on the premise that a food item has to give up its own living existence, in order for us to benefit from it. Remember, food has the potential to nourish the body, the mind, and the spirit. It might be wise, therefore to consider some of the following “Sattvic” food principles. Some will make you stop and think. Some will surprise you, and some you may simply laugh at! Take from them what you wish, and enjoy reading them…
1) Eat from the farm as often as possible… such produce has been through fewer hands to get to you.
2) Avoid all foods that have been wrongly prepared, i.e. overcooked, undercooked, burnt, unripe, over-ripe, putrefied or stale.
3) Sit whilst eating, in an isolated, clean area, facing east in the direction of the sun… the earth’s source of fire and heat.
4) Pray and give thanks to Mother Nature for providing you with food. A practical thanks to Nature takes the form of a food offering, either to another human being, or to a plant or animal. This is, in a sense an “exchange” of sacrifice. Food is for the greater good of all mankind, and not just for one’s own satisfaction.
5) Eat alone or with people you know and trust.
6) Avoid habitual uses of restaurants. Most people who sell you food are more concerned with their own profits than with your health and digestion!
7) Only someone who loves you should be permitted to cook for you, transferring his or her love into the food.
8) Women should not cook while menstruating as they are going through a cleansing process and should be relaxing instead!
9) Immediately before eating, chew a little ginger that has been sliced and marinated in lemon juice. This awakens the taste buds, starts the digestive fire, and purifies the mouth and tongue. After eating, drink a little yogurt mixed with water to assist digestion.
10) Concentrate on your meal… no TV, radio, music or conversation should distract you. Sit and chat afterwards.
11) At the end of the meal give thanks, clean your mouth, apply water to the eyes to prevent weakening of vision due to high heat from digestion, urinate, and then walk 100 steps!
You may never look at mealtimes in the same way again!
Reference and further reading on this subject:
Prakriti – Your Ayurvedic Constitution, by Dr Robert E. Svoboda - see "BOOKS" on the left!