Sattvic eating is eating with compassion to the body, animals, loved ones, and the Earth as a whole. The word sattvic derives from the Sanskrit word sattva, which is the quality of purity and goodness. For a food to be sattvic, it must abide by the law of free will, which is every beings’ right to manifest its own reality and destiny, to the highest degree it can. Essentially, food must not infringe upon a being’s life, deciding its living circumstances, relationships, and time of passing for the being without its consent.
Eating in a Sattvic manner allows for a clear, calm, and compassionate mind while keeping the body lean, light, and agile.
Foods that possess purity support anushasanam, which is the force that maintains a quiet mind and gentle nature. Anushasanam is a combination of two Sanskrit words: anu, which is a prefix, and shasanam. Anu means within a practice or learning from prior teachings. Shasanam means the learning of virtue through discipline. Together, anushasanam is indirectly translated to: growing from discipline through one’s commitment to a particular practice.
Sattvic foods are foods that are:
- Pleasant to the stomach (not deep fried and possess low amounts of gluten)
- Fresh; close to the source of origin
- Freshly prepared; assembled and cooked as close to consumption as possible
- Prepared in a state of love and awareness with respect to the food, oneself, others eating, and the law of free will possessed by all living beings
- Mildly cooling (not to be followed as closely by those in colder climates), refreshing, and/or subtly sweet.
With these qualities in mind, a diet comprised of sattvic foods would consist of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (in light amounts), and dairy in many traditions, while avoiding foods that are heavily sour, spiced, salted, and processed. The purpose of eating sattvic foods is not follow a specific diet, it is to develop compassion, maintain a peaceful state of mind, and make eating an act of selflessness as opposed to gluttony.
Practices that cultivate mindful eating include:
- Chewing throughly
- Shopping close to the source (whole fruits, whole vegetables, whole grains, dried beans)
- Buying ethnically produced ingredients such as those from farmers’ markets and suppliers with good intentions
- Home growing food
Cooking allows love, passion, and art to be inputted into food, which is important because food carries energy, much of which is accumulated during the cooking process, all of which is then transferred into our bodies. Chewing throughly, is vital as chewing every bite of food at least twenty times allows enzymes in saliva to begin breaking down food, encourages mindful eating (focusing on what’s in the mouth as opposed to getting ready to shovel in the next bite), and gives the stomach time to realize when the body has had the right amount of food, therefore overeating doesn’t occur. Stomachs don’t send signals of “fullness” to the brain based on the quantity of food consumed, stomachs send the feeling of being “full” to the brain when it has digested an appropriate amount of energy (calories) and nutrition. For this reason, more calories of processed foods must be consumed to achieve “fullness” as they are lacking nutrients and are high in calories. The whole process of shopping for food has monumental impact on workers, animals, conditions of other countries, and the environment, which is why research and feeling the energy of the food and place of purchase must be conducted. Growing one’s own food allows a relationship constructed of love, respect, and compassion to form with plants, all of which good energy is then transferred into the body.
Food and water are the only things humans must actively consume; effort has to be exerted to eat and drink. While people actively consume things other than food and water such as social media, alcohol, television, clothes, and culture, food and water are required to live in the third dimensional space, as humans currently do (however, much of our race is making a transformation into the fourth dimension). Therefore, understanding food and holding the entire growing, purchasing, cooking, and eating process in the utmost important regard is vital for the prosperity of the human race and Earth, particularly with large populations eating unsustainable foods in excess. The way most “developed” countries currently eat places taxing burden upon the environment, developing countries, starving populations, and future generations. There is no more direct path to how humans shape the outside world than how humans eat. Albert Einstein described humans relationship with food and the impact it has on the world perfectly in this sentence: “nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Much love & namaste
P.S. Many of the subjects I briefly covered in this post such as shopping, chewing, and the environmental impact of our food choices fully deserve their own posts, as there is a wealth of important knowledge behind each of these subjects.