Why should you switch over to Saatvik Khana (Food)?
In this era of a hectic schedule where a human being does not even have time to breathe and clear his or her mind, more and more people are turning towards ready-to-cook meals, microwave meals or any other unhealthy, full-of-preservatives meals. What is the excuse? Lack of time to whip up a healthy meal. Therefore, in this blog, I will be discussing the merits of Saatvik Khana which I believe every human being should follow to lead a healthy lifestyle and curb lifestyle –based diseases such as high or low blood pressure, high cholesterol level etc.
To increase the productivity of the soil, it is being pumped with all sorts of chemical fertilizers that does increase the production but ultimately leads to turning into barren land because of the loss of natural fertility of the soil and natural fertility can never be replaced by the manmade chemical fertilizers. Also, to protect and enhance the crops, pesticides, hormones and insecticides are used which leads to serious disorders in the human body. But this is not the case of Organic Food.
Grown on a soil that has been fertilised by using natural agents such as cow dung, fodder waste and kitchen waste etc and are kept separate from the conventional products is called organic products. The only chemicals an organic crop will have will be the naturally produced chemical by the plant. There should be no chemical intervention in their growth and cultivation.
Saatvik Khana does not include any kind of meat and is a strictly vegetarian organic meal which is high in nutrition and comprises of the seasonal vegetables and fruits so that so chemical creeps in.
I would like to talk about some key terms which are associated with the Saatvik Khana and describes the science present in Saatvik khana.
Sattva – free of impurities, clean and energetic.
Rajas – Agitated, sensual and passionate.
Tamas – dark, destructive, spoiled and unclean.
Dosha – According to Ayurveda, three energies (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) govern the physiological activity. Dosha comprises three energies in balance.
Vata – Air or the air-related activities that control the bodily functions such as breathing, blinking, heartbeat etc.
Pitta – Water or the energy that controls your metabolic functions that includes nutrition, maintenance of your body temperature, digestion and absorption.
Kahpa – Earth or the activities that control the growth in the body. It refers to the maintenance of the immune system and supplying of water to keep the skin moisturised.
Therefore, a traditional Saatvik diet would mean including all the natural and organic food elements that follow the above-mentioned elements. Also, it is not just about diet but also about eating habits such as avoiding overeating and maintain a healthy eating habit so that the body receives the nutrition it needs. Therefore, according to the Saatvik diet theory, one should eat according to one’s dosha since it not only governs one’s physical well being but also emotional and behavioural well being. The aim is to strike a balance between the mind and body.
Is Saatvik diet tasteless or bland?
This is where you are completely wrong. Healthy food does not necessarily mean that it should be tasteless and that is one myth that most of the people associate with not only a Saatvik diet of any other kind of healthy food. Remember, Saatvik diet does not mean that you put together few raw vegetables, pour in some olive oil and some salad dressing and voila! The dish is ready. Saatvik diet must include six kinds of taste – sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent and stringent and therefore each meal should include all the above mentioned six tastes.
Below are some of the dishes that include all the Saatvik requirements. The key element which you should be careful of is that no garlic or onion must be used in any dish. Also, tubers such as potatoes, mushrooms and yeast etc. The dishes need to be freshly cooked and should be simple. There should be no canned, processed or packaged food. The ingredients need to be as fresh as possible thus opt only for the seasonal fruits and vegetables. The seasonal produce is full of flavour and nutrients which are either partially or completely lost when kept in cold storage and thus the stress on the fresh produce.
Lunch and Dinner Menu:
Kashmiri Dum Aloo
Tender coconut phirni
Yam kilangu Kheer
Why are onion and garlic excluded from the diet?
According to Ayurveda, these ingredients contain properties that can cause anxiety, aggravation, agitation which can be physical, mentally and emotionally harmful for the person. You might be surprised to know that not only Ayurveda but ancient Chinese medicine also recognises this fact.
This leads us to the second part of this blog, which is the direct opposite of the Saatvik diet – Taamsik diet. Whatever does not fall under the category of Saatvik is Taamsik and below are some of the popular Taamsik food items.
Taamsik Food Items:
According to Ayurveda, consumption of Taamsik food items leads to the production of strong dark urges like greed, anxiety, anger which can lead to serious repercussions and such as person will be unable to achieve enlightenment in his life.
I had mentioned right in the beginning that the regular consumption of Taamsik food items can lead to severe health problems such as high cholesterol levels, low or high blood pressure levels or diabetes etc. It also leads to the weak functioning of the immune system and can lead to several mental problems such as short temperedness, anxiety, panic attacks etc.
In India, the Jain community is known to follow strictly a Saatvik diet. The governing principle of Jainism is non-violence and the same is reflected in their cuisine as well. Therefore, I will be discussing some of the governing the Jain cuisine.
Food items that involve injury or death of mobile objects like meat are strictly prohibited.
Food items that can cause injury or death to other living organisms such as the root vegetables since they have the potential to cause harm to one-sensed beings.
Objects that are not worthy of use such as saliva, stool or urine.
Any kind of intoxicant is strictly prohibited.
In the case of Taamsik diet, meat is a major component and worldwide research has shed light on the disadvantages of consuming meat and therefore, I will discuss some key cons of consuming meat.
Degenerative diseases such as arthritis or gout affect the meat-eaters because when an animal is butchered not all waste is removed from the body. Some waste products like uric acid and adrenaline remain in the tissue of the animal which is actually the factor behind giving that delicious taste to the meat. Also, when the animal is butchered, it experiences fear of death and struggles to escape it and this stimulates the release of certain hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine and steroids which are harmful to the human beings. The human body has to work 15 times more than the usual to work off all these toxins from the body but still, some of these hormones remain in the body tissues which later on manifests as diseases.
What to do?
I know making a change is not an easy task. Healthy meal means regular trips to the supermarket, taking out time to cook meals, watch what goes inside you and it is also not possible to give up everything and lead a completely healthy life but you need to draw a line somewhere before your body gives up and forced you to draw one. Start with baby steps. Get a health check-up, know where to concentrate, start an exercise routine and start interacting with people who follow the same routine because a diet change without ample amount of exercise is simply a waste of time, money and energy. It will be difficult, there will be cravings and you will even feel a sense of loss or dissatisfaction but as someone had rightly said, no pain no gain. So take those baby steps by removing one Taamsik item from the list. Cut down on the junk you consume or keep a cheat day. Believe me, reserving one day to fulfil your cravings really help but do not go overboard or you will be undoing all the good thing you did in the entire week.
Remember, Saatvik khana or diet is a treasure house of numerous health benefits and the mental benefits. You will start experiencing more peace, calm and there will be a change in your attitude and temperament. You will be more at peace with your body.
So say yes to the Saatvik diet and no to the processed, unhealthy, packaged and ready-to-cook Taamsik diet!