According to the ayurveda, medicines and foods are sattvic, rajasic or tamasic or a combination of these gunas.The gunas are three fundamental attributes that represent the natural evolutionary process through which the subtle becomes gross. In turn, gross objects, by action and interaction among themselves, may again become subtle. Thus the three gunas are defined as :
Sattva : Essence (subtle)
Rajas : Activity
Tamas : Inertia (gross)
People equally can be more or less dominated by one of the three gunas and an important way to regulate these gunas in body and mind is through ayurvedic cooking :
Sattvic foods :
- Are fresh, juicy, light, unctuous, nourishing, sweet and tasty.
- Give the necessary energy to the body without taxing it.
- The foundation of higher states of consciousness.
- Examples : juicy fruits, fresh vegetables that are easily digestible, fresh milk and butter, whole soaked or also sprouted beans, grains and nuts, many herbs and spices in the right combinations with other foods,…
Rajasic foods :
- Are bitter, sour, salty, pungent, hot and dry.
- Increase the speed and excitement of the human organism.
- The foundation of motion, activity and pain.
- Examples : sattvic foods that have been fried in oil or cooked too much or eaten in excess, specific foods and spices that are strongly exciting, …
Tamasic Foods :
- Are dry, old, decaying, distasteful and/or unpalatable.
- Consume a large amount of energy while being digested.
- The foundation of ignorance, doubt, pessimism, …
- Examples : foods that have been strongly processed, canned or frozen and/or are old, stale or incompatible with each other - meat, fish, eggs and liquor are especially tamasic.
Saints and seers can survive easily on sattvic foods alone. Householders that live in the world and have to keep pace with its' changes also need rajasic energy. They ought to keep a balance between the sattvic and rajasic foods and try to avoid tamasic foods as much as possible.