August 14, 2013.
Sattwic, or balanced, food brings vitality and health to the body and peace and joy to the mind. It is food that is simple, tasty, and as close to its natural form as possible. When food is natural, we eat less of it; our bodies are nurtured and satisfied, and our minds are in harmony.
Balanced foods satisfy our need, not our greed. They allow us to stop when we are physically satisfied without coaxing us. Do you remember the famous commercial challenging us to try to eat just one potato chip, knowing how difficult it is to take just one? When potatoes are thinly sliced, deep-fried in oil, and then salted, they are far from their natural state. If not stopped, perhaps many could eat the whole bag. While the potato, oil, and salt are each healthful in moderation, in opulent quantities they are not balanced and can be difficult to do digest.
How many apples could you eat? Could you eat one, too? Cut them up, add lots of sugar, cinnamon, butter, and spice and bake them into a pie. How many apples could you eat baked as apple pie?
Sattwic food has natural vitality. When food is whole and unprocessed, we chew more thoroughly releasing digestive juices and enzymes to aid in digestion. As food breaks down in the digestive process, it is important that it is not giving off toxins, which cause an unhealthy environment to occur in our bodies. If you liquefy the food by chewing it well before it enters the stomach, the work of digestion is half done. With fresh whole foods each nutrient is extracted and used. The remainder of the food is easily and efficiently eliminated.
To observe the life-giving qualities I am talking about, try this easy experiment:
Take an unpeeled potato and an egg still in its shell. Put them both in the back of the refrigerator and forget about them. Ten weeks later, take them out and observe. Crack the egg and smell the sulfuric aroma of decomposing animal matter. The egg, no matter what, will never grow another egg. The potato most likely has grown roots or some of it may have dehydrated or softened. Yet, you can still take the potato and plant it, and it will produce other potatoes. Even in its decomposing form, it still has life-giving properties. The potato and its properties are an example of what is meant by Sattwic food.
Some examples of Sattwic foods are fruits, vegetables, grains, breads, beans, nuts, seeds, and that which is in its most natural form.
Sattwic not only refers to solid food but to liquids we consume. Water is an essential part of our life on this earth. Our bodies are composed mostly of water. Yet, in most cases, we will drink anything but water. We consume large quantities of coffee, tea, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Many of our physical problems can be helped by drinking just plain H2O.
A doctor friend of mine always reminds us that it may not be the aspirin that cures the headache or pain, but the large glass of water you drink with it.
A dog and a man were weighed and each put on a walking treadmill for one hour. At the end of the hour they were given as much water to drink as they wanted. Then both were weighed again. The dog drank enough water to bring his weight back to where it started. The man only drank half. Somewhere along the way we have lost contact with what the body needs and when.
Balanced eating produces a healthy body and a calm, efficient mind. So, consider this as you consider your meals and snacks: Will this help me feel balanced, calm–in other words, Sattwic; or will it promote agitation and imbalance?
❤ The Healing Path of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi
❤ Article: Balancing Universal Energy, the Gunas (more about Sattwa)
❤ Meditation Guidance: Dynamic Stillness CD or Digital Download
Photo Credit: xenia | morguefile.com