When diet is wrong, medicine is of No use. When diet is correct, medicine is of No need. Ayurvedic Proverb
The food we eat has a major influence on our physical as well as mental health. Yogic Diet is one of the best available solutions. Most of us know that food is important for physical fitness we should also understand Diet has intimate connection with the mind also. Mind is formed out of the refined portion of food. There have been several mentions of importance of food we eat in various ancient scriptures on Yoga which is now researched throughout the world and found the great influence of food overall health of human beings. There is a common saying ‘we are what we eat’ a good diet is of prime importance. Yogic Diet not only helps to maintain the body’s health and vitality, but also has a great effect on the well being of the mind. A truly healthy human being is the one who has a strong body and sound mind.
Food plays an important part in strive of Mental Health Incarnation also. Different foods produce different effects on different compartments of the brain. For purposes of mental piece & better control, the food should be light, nutritious and Sattvic it should not be Rajasik or Tamasik.
Types of Diet
It consists of fresh fruits like pomegranates, apples, bananas, oranges, grapes; grains like basmati rice, wheat in small quantities, and dairy products like milk, yoghurt and ghee (clarified butter). These foods help to keep the body lean and agile and the mind calm and quiet. Fresh buttermilk, fresh green vegetables like spinach, green beans and green peas or split peas are good examples of satvik food. Although a mild sweet taste is considered satvik, a strong sweet taste as in chocolates and heavy sweets increases the tamasik qualities.
Consisting of food recipes of spicy, salty and sour nature. Vegetables like onions, garlic and spicy or sour preparations like ketchup and vinegar have rajasik qualities. Wines, pickles, meat- especially red meat, and stimulating drinks like coffee and tea, and all types of alcoholic drinks are rajasik in nature. These foods aggravate Pitta and Vata and increase restlessness, anger and irritability. Some rajasik-type foods, if vegetarian and taken in moderation by Kapha types can be energizing.
This diet is comprised of stale, over-heated, oily, heavy to digest, canned meat and fish products containing lots of preservatives as well as large quantities of cold pasteurized dairy products like milk and yogurt. These foods increase Kapha and lethargy, ignorance and apathy. Frozen and preserved foods as well as hybrid foods also increase the tamasik quality.
A beginner should be careful in choosing food-stuffs of Sattvic nature. Food exercises tremendously vast influence over the mind. You can see it obviously in everyday-life. It is very difficult to control mind after a heavy, indigestible, rich meal. The mind runs, wanders and jumps like an ape all the time. Alcohol causes great excitement of the mind. Evolution is better than revolution. You should not make sudden changes in anything, particularly so in matters pertaining to food and drink. Let the change be slow and gradual. The system should accommodate it without any trouble.
Food is of four kinds. There are liquids which are drunk; solids which are pulverized by the teeth and eaten; there are semi-solids which are taken in by licking; and there are soft articles that are swallowed without mastication. All articles of food should be thoroughly chewed in the mouth until they are reduced to quite a liquid before being swallowed. Then only they can be readily digested, absorbed and assimilated in the system.
The diet should be such as can maintain physical efficiency and good health. The well-being of an individual depends more on perfect nutrition than on anything else. What is needed is a well-balanced diet, not a rich diet. A rich diet can be harmful. A well-balanced diet helps human beings to grow, to turn out more work, increases / decrease his body-weight, and keeps up the efficiency, stamina. You are what you eat.
Yogic diet suggests to focus on Veggies
The most of us dig their own graves through their teeth. No rest is given to the stomach. After all, human wants limited portions of balanced diet. This will adequately suffice to healthy. People, on the contrary, stuff their stomachs with all sorts of things, eatable and uneatable, on account of the force of habit even when there is no appetite. This is not good. Most diseases take their origin in overloading the stomach. Control the tongue first then all the other senses can be easily controlled.
Vegetarian diet has been acclaimed to be most conducive for health incarnation. It has been found that meat enlarges animal passion and decreases intellectual capacity. Meat is not at all necessary for the keeping up of perfect health, rigour and vitality. On the contrary, it is highly deleterious to health. Fruit-diet exercises a marvelous influence upon the human structure. This is a natural diet. Fruits are tremendous energy-producers. Fruits and milk help concentration and meditation.
Take Away –
Live a natural simple life. Take simple food that is wholly agreeable to your system. You should have your own menu to suit your structure. You are yourself the best judge to select a Sattvic diet. In the matter of food and drink you will do well to eat and drink as a master. You should not have the least craving for any particular diet. You should not become a slave to this food or that food. Simple, natural, non-stimulating, tissue-building, energy-producing, non-alcoholic food and drink will keep you moving towards Health incarnation.
To summarize in our strive for overall health (physical & mental) incarnation we should have Yogic diet. Yogic diet is balanced diet with majority of plant based food in adequate quantities, quantities are based upon individual’s physique & activity levels. Control your tongue do not overeat, don’t get carried away. Stay away from addictions & Tamasik food.