Eating for balance: Sattvic foods
When people first learn about Ayurveda they are drawn in by the feeling of peace that surrounds everything about this ancient science. This peace is far different from the way much of the world operates these days, one that fluctuates between extremes of too-much-to-do-too-little-time and “vegging out” in front of the television with a dinner of microwaved leftovers.
Sattva in your life
Ayurveda was originally grounded in the idea that we can experience freedom from suffering by eating foods that nourish our bodies and living in alignment with nature's rhythms. As the science spread around the world, it has been misinterpreted with rigid practices and rules that seem complicated and confining. At Hale Pule, we are bringing Ayurveda back to its simple, sattvic nature.
The true practice of Ayurveda is about understanding the attributes of everything in the world around and within us and using that information to create balance in all aspects of your life. This becomes much easier when you are eating sattvic foods that connect you with your higher consciousness. Sattvic foods are grown with mindful practices (organic, non-GMO, ideally from your own garden). They digest easily and provide the strength and vitality you are meant to naturally have.
The three gunas
Ayurveda and Yoga are built on the philosophy of the three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. These concepts represent the qualities that are present in food, nature and actions, as well as our body and mind.
Tamas is inertia, darkness and death. When a seed is resting inert in the darkness of the earth, it is in a state of tamas.
When tamas is dominant in our lives, it looks like heaviness, sleeping too much and eating leftovers, meat and deep-fried foods. Too much tamas leads to lethargy, lack of purpose and depression.
Rajas is activity and movement. When a seedling cracks through the endosperm and pushes through the earth to reach the sun, it is in a state of rajas.
When rajas is dominant in our lives, it looks like stimulation, stress and overexcitement. Too much rajas imbalances the body and mind, leading to anxiety, disturbed sleep and overindulgence.
Sattva is balance and harmony. When a seedling has turned into a beautiful flower, unfurling its petals to soak in the beauty of the sun, it is in a state of sattva.
When sattva is present, it looks like lightness and grounding, peace and serenity in the body and mind. This is our ideal state, one that defines true health.
Sattvic foods are balancing and harmonious, and they are plentiful; this is only a partial list. When in doubt, remember that sattvic foods can be loosely categorized as most fresh fruits and vegetables, most whole grains, legumes and nuts.
Lentils (black or
Milk (fresh, raw
(whole and split)
Oats (steel cut)
Sugar cane (raw)
Rajasic foods are stimulating and contribute to physical and mental stress. Small amounts of rajasic foods are not a problem in an otherwise balanced life, but a diet made up of too many rajasic foods overexcites the body and mind and will lead to circulatory and nervous system disorders.
Onions (all kinds)
(affects the mind)
Salt (all kinds)
Tamasic foods are impure, rotten, or dead and produce feelings of heaviness and lethargy. Eating tamasic food makes you dull, lacking motivation and purpose and tending to negativity.
Animal meat (beef, chicken,
fish, fowl, goat, lamb, pork,
rabbit, shellfish, turkey, venison)
Mushrooms (all kinds)
Refined sugars (affects the body)