Recommended Yogic Diet

A sattvic  or pure diet is recommended for serious yoga practitioners as sattvic foods promote tranquility of mind, which in turn promotes purity in thought, word and action.  Sattvic foods are high in prana or life force and are nourishing to body and mind. Fresh foods, fruits, milk, honey, salt free nuts and foods cooked with minimal spices or condiments are considered to be sattvic foods. Saatvic foods are easy on the digestive system. A sattvic diet quiets the mind.

Rajsic foods are foods that stimulate the senses. They are usually hot,spicy, pungent, sour and salty.  Such foods should be avoided by the serious yoga practitioner as they agitate the mind and arouse anger, hatred, passion and restlessness . A rajsic diet promotes an over active mind.

Tamsic foods are foods that dull the mind and senses and leaves us feeling sluggish.  Foods like meat, cheese, stale left overs belong in this category. A tamsic diet induces sleep.

Although the saatvic diet is recommended for serious practitioners of yoga, I have personally found that as you advance in your spiritual journey, you will naturally develop a gradual aversion towards foods that belong to the tamsic and rajsic category. You will feel drawn towards foods that are light, pure, and nourishing in nature.  So instead of trying to force any sudden changes to your eating habits, it is best that you find a good balanced diet that works for you.  You may create a diet that includes a bigger percentage of foods from the saatvic category, followed by the rajsic category and a sparing amount from the tamsic category. When translated it is no different from what the doctors and nutritionists recommend which is- eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grain and avoid refined flour, white sugar, processed food etc.  Overeating and dieting should be strictly avoided. Moderate intake of food is recommended for yoga practitioners.

The table below provides a breakdown of foods by sattvic, rajsic and tamsic categories.  The list  is by no means all inclusive.  There might also be difference in opinion regarding the category placement of certain foods. I created  it as a general guideline. It is important to remember that the method of  preparing foods can change the nature of the food.  For example sprouted garbanzo beans are rich  in prana/life force and hence make a great saatvic food, whereas garbanzo beans  that have been cooked in onions,, garlic and strong spices transform it into  rajasic food. This when left in the fridge for days becomes tamsic in nature.  Also the state of mind in which the food was  prepared can also influence the affect it has on you.  Similarly, overeating sattvic food or  consuming saatvic food too quickly will render tamsic and rajsic effects on mind and body.

  Sattvic Rajsic Tamsic
Fruits mangoes, bananas, papaya, oranges, apples, melons, grapefruit, cantaloupe, Underripe fruits, sour apples, Overripe fruits
Vegetables cucumbers, squash family vegetables, pumpkin, sprouts, beets, carrots, sweet potato, corn, lettuce, green beans, okra garlic, onions, peppers, foods that produce gas like cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, potato, spinach, potatoes Mushrooms,
Grains Wheat, cracked wheat, oatmeal, barley, Rice, mung beans, yellow split peas, lima beans Millet  
Others Organic milk, soy milk, yogurt, nuts, olive oil, butter,  tofu, honey, unrefined sugar, saffron, tulsi (basil, cinnamon basil), small amounts of ginger, cinnamon, cardamoms, unfermented cheeses, turmeric, tea, raisins, prunes, ghee (clarified butter),rice pudding, tapioca pudding Coffee, soda, chocolate, sour cream, ice cream meats,  fish, eggs, fermented foods like cheese and vinegar, alcohol, overeating, fried and barbecued foods, processed foods, canned foods
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