Foods that increase life span, mental essence, strength, health, comfort, and pleasantness, that are flavorful, unctuous, stable, and satisfying to the heart are the foods favored by the sattvic.
Bitter, sour, salty, excessively hot, pungent, dry, and burning are the foods favored by the rajasic, causing discomfort, depression, and illness.
Not fully cooked, flavorless, smelly, stale, leftover by others, not fit as an offering is the food favored by the tamasic.

Bhagavad Gita 17:8–10


We all know that food plays a great part in human life. The best selling of all books are not bibles or other spiritual books but cookbooks. Our eating habits in the modern world, both in the East and in the West, create disasters in our lives. People are obsessed with food, so much so that it seems that they are born only for eating.

Modern man eats many times a day without knowing what comprises a nutritious diet. Taste has become predominant instead of nutrition in the formation of our dietary habits. Artificial foods are increasing daily. We have lost the sense of food value, and we eat foods that are unhealthy.

The mind and body are inseparable; if proper food is not supplied to the body, the mind is affected. Food that is not fresh or nutritious, that is leftover and full of spices or grease, is unhealthy and tamasic. Overeating and eating impure, unfresh food and food that is full of fat and spices create many diseases. Such tamasic food makes the mind dull, passive, and inert. Liquor is also tamasic. Those who eat heavy food full of fat and who drink alcohol excessively suffer both physically and mentally.

On the other hand, rajasic food agitates the mind and creates hypertension; it is also unhealthy for the liver and hard on the kidneys. Rajasic food satisfies the senses, but it is not healthy physically or mentally. Neither is it healthy for those who want to tread the path of spirituality. Aspirants are advised that well-selected and well-prepared vegetarian food is healthier than a meat diet. Those who eat rajasic food become agitated, angry, and worried.

That food which does not cause inertia and heaviness and does not make one restless, lazy, or sleepy is called sattvic food. Those who eat sattvic food remain calm, quiet, and serene.

Food plays an important role in thought, speech, and action: it has profound effects on all aspects of human behavior. Diet and environment are two important factors that play a great role in sadhana. A calm, quiet, and serene atmosphere and a simple, fresh, and nutritious diet are essential requisites for the sadhaka.

Source: Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Rama

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