India is an ancient land of well developed knowledge, more so of optimum lifestyle. It’s another matter that we’re not able to understand it in-depth or follow much of it in our modern day hectic lifestyles. Knowing some basics helps in getting back on healthy track whenever the occasion permits.

Human moods are largely divided into three gunas according to Indian life science. Satvik (pure), Rajasik (passion) or Tamasik (dullness). Each human being is characterised by one type of guna. Each of this guna dominates at different times in a person.

It’s amazing to learn that what we eat also influences our moods and accordingly, food can be classified under these three traits.

Satvik is the simple, fresh food and food that is cooked to consume immediately. It is easy on stomach and simple to digest. Fresh vegetables, fruits, natural cereals and grains, greens, honey, milk and milk products fall under this segment. When consumed in moderate quantities, these help in maintaining a good balance in those who have daily routine of normal activities. Satvik food provides calmness and intelligence and helps in maintaining good health for longevity. Physical strength and happiness are a result of consuming Satvik food and mental peace. Transition of moods is natural in satvik type and is seldom noticeable.

Organic food, regional food and seasonal food falls under this category.

Rajasik is food of kings. It contains a wide spread with many dishes, sometimes up to 56 and naturally includes all kinds of preparations from simple to those with rich content of fried, sweet and seasoned variety. This heavy food may be necessary for the young and those engaged in tough physical activity. Meat products, spicy, sweet and salty food are essential to replenish these people’s energies and strengthen their muscles. These foods hype senses and can be productive if taken in moderation at young age and when in control of the self. These are not recommended for regular consumption as these can create extra weight and fat; generate feeling of heaviness for a longer period of time after meal. These can be harmful when consumed in excess and at frequent intervals thus creating indigestion and uncomfort. Rajasik food characterises aggressive, highly passionate and ambitious people. Heavy mood-swings and restlessness are common and are strongly defined here.

High quantities, regular consumption can result in lifestyle diseases especially when combined with external factors like pollution and highly demanding work environment.

Tamasik is those foods we tend to eat or drink mostly out of sheer habit or desire but which have little nutritional value and are an impediment to digestion. Vegetarian or non-vegetarian food prepared with too many spices and heavy fat content are considered tamasik. Since activity is also very little during Tamasik guna, the food is accumulated in the body and can manifest into various disease conditions, starting with acidity if the habit continues for a long time.

Ready to eat foods that are prepared and packed long time ago, refined foods that are devoid of natural fibre that helps in assimilation, stale food that is prepared and stored for long time impart these characters. Tamasik foods promote dullness because it takes time for digestion. A person becomes lazy, irritated and angry. Heavy non vegetarian food, tea, coffee and other caffeinated beverages, alcohol & tobacco are tamasik in nature. Sleeplessness and lack of concentration lead to ignorance. The person whose diet depends mostly on tamasik food has a sense of insecurity and is unable to deal with others in a balanced way. Fatigue and chronic health conditions are common here.

A choice of regular satvik diet, occasional rajasik food during festivities and sparing consumption of tamasik food can keep a person healthy and happy.

By Anand & Madhura Katti


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