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Pure and Simple

Discovering Sattva

harmony winters

Something green - food wallpaper                                                                              
The more I learn about health and well-being the more I'm in awe of how amazing and complex our bodies are. The ability to maintain homeostasis, or a stable environment including temperature, pH, energy, pressure and volume makes me so grateful for my good health. The danger is that all these wonderful things are happening quietly, without requiring us to be active participants. We can 'survive' on processed food, lead a sedentary lifestyle, and fill our mental space with stress while our systems compensate quietly.  It's only when something forces us to think about it that we take action, whether it's illness or inspiration.

It wasn't until I was preparing for pregnancy that I became fascinated with the effects that food and stress had on me. As I learned about the benefits that certain foods have on fetal brain development, the chemical conversations between mother and child and the importance of maintaining proper pH levels in the blood that I realized I'd been living on primarily an acidic diet. yikes! The amount of energy it took to process the dairy, grain and meat that made up most of what I ate left no energy for repairing damage or living a vital life.


When our pH level is off our blood cannot absorb enough oxygen and a plethora of ailments ensue.  Fatigue, weight gain, poor digestion, and sickness (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis) have all sadly become commonplace in our society mainly because of the products that now pass as food.  Creating an internal acidic environment forces the body to take minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium from our organs and bones to neutralize the acid and remove it. Our systems are constantly fighting to regain the balance we've thrown off.  


                 alkaline foods                                                                    acidic foods
 citric fruits, almonds, coconut, avocado,                          meat, eggs, fish, milk, sugar, corn, rice
 green leafy vegetables, buckwheat, quinoa                      fried and refined food, cheese, beer & wine



Sandywoods Farm community garden
This also translates to our spiritual well being. Stress, like an acidic diet, is a toxic element that strains our physiological systems creating another list of ailments.  Our intuition will lead us to choose foods and a lifestyle that not only nourish our body, but our minds as well. The more you listen to that inner voice the stronger it gets. Be patient with yourself while you find a balance that feels right, without judgement.  


Through some inspiring friends and research I found the Sattvic diet, also referred to as a yoga or sentient diet. It is a way of eating to benefit both the mind and body. Simple, pure clean foods. I love it!


According to Hindu philosophy there are three types gunas, (think of them like types of energy) that are inherent in all food and objects. 

Sattva is defined as calmness, energy, purity, clarity, creativity
Raja is defined as energy, change, creation, action, generation
Tamas is defined as destruction, lethargy, death, darkness, inactivity


"If the food contains sattvic energy-then the body becomes more sattvic by eating it. It is very obvious that what we eat not only affects how we look physically, but also how we feel energetically and how clear and creative our mental energy is also. Some foods support and enliven our life-force energy, whilst other foods inhibit and undermine them." ~ Vidya Heisel

Here's a basic guide to eating a Sattvic diet from My Yoga Kitchen                                                                                                   

SATTVIC FOOD - EAT MOST

sattvic
Sattvic Foods are foods that should be eaten the most and that are very easily digestible. These foods nourish the body, purify the mind and heal the imbalance in the body by generating good health, energy, vitality, vigor, mental alertness, peace and strength. These include foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as vegetables, fruits, herbs; essential dietary fiber and carbohydrates required by the body include whole and unrefined grains; protein rich foods such as legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy; natural sweeteners such as honey and raw sugar, therapeutic spices in small quantities, oil and ghee (Indian clarified butter) in small quantities for the required fat in the body.

RAJASIC FOODS - EAT MODERATELY

rajasic
Rajasic Foods are foods that should be eaten moderately or occasionaly and are foods that are not as easily digestible like Sattvic foods. Although, these foods create restlessness and provide extra-stimulation, it is sometimes required when the body needs higher amounts of energy or during the fall and winter seasons. They include very spicy, hot, salty, bitter, sour, pungent, and gaseous foods such as chickpea, toor lentil, white urad lentil, black and green gram, soy bean, hot spices such as red chili powder and black pepper, stimulants such as onion, garlic, tea, coffee, chocolate and wine.

TAMASIC FOODS - EAT LEAST

Tamasic Foods are foods that should be eaten the least and are foods that are difficult to digest. These foods require a lot more energy to digest and are known to be the least beneficial to the mind and the body. Tamasic foods can enhance dullness, lethargy, depression the body feel heavy, generating the least amount of energy. When eaten too often or in excess they could destroy the body’s resistance to disease. They include meat, fish, eggs, intoxicants, alcohol, and foods that are processed, chemically altered, artificially flavored, food kept for over 24 hours, reheated and deep-fried foods.




Here are some resources if you'd like more information. I'm just beginning to learn about this and welcome all of your thoughts, recipes , book suggestions etc...
  
information- 
http://www.worldyoganetwork.com/articles/yoga-diet
http://amwellness.org/articles/vegetarianism/
http://tiffanyvidal.blogspot.com/2011/12/seeking-sattva.html
http://thealkalinefoods.com/


recipes-
http://shanghaimonkey.blogspot.com/p/recipes.html
http://tiffanyvidal.blogspot.com/search/label/Recipes
http://www.sattvicfood.com/
http://www.myyogakitchen.com/