Foreword, food for spirit
Yogis and sages teache moderation in food and being selective about the diet. They underline that true seekers, who wish to enjoy meditation, should only fill half of their stomach and that, we are what we eat. Why do they emphasize that we are what we eat? Human beings come from food and rishis and saints, since time immemorial, have indicated the following major points for us to ponder:
Right action, dharma, depends, on the food sheat,
Pure love, prema, is an offspring of the vital intuition and mental sheath,
Peace, shanti, is an offspring of the mental sheath,
Truth, satya, is an offspring of the intellectual sheath,
Non-violence, ahimsa, is an offspring of the intuition sheath.
As an introduction to a more conducive lifestyle, we are to deepen and understand the subtler effects of food on the body-mind
organism, because it entails a major shift from our Western food habits. To be convinced, let us review a few hints of the teachings we have received:
There are five vitals energies, or pranas, which vitalize all bodily functioning. One is related to breathing, another to excretion, a third to circulation, a fourth to digestion and a fifth to the upward flow, whip energizes the higher centres.
There are five types of life-breaths (pranas). The five pranas are known as prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana vayu. Prana comes from the sun and vyana comes from air. Apana comes from earth. Udana comes from fire and samana comes from space. Our body is sustained by harmonious functioning of the five life-breaths. And as there are seventytwo thousand blood vessels in a human being, the vyana vayu blows through the entire circulatory system; therefore, whenever the air we breath is polluted, all the blood vassals also become polluted.
The entired cosmos is permeated by the potency of the three gunas and they influence even our vision of the world. The five subtle elements of space, air, fire, water and earth emerged from the Source, and each one is constituted of the three gunas; under their influence the five subtle elements evolved into the five gross elements and the cosmos through the process of permutation.
(Meat, poultry, sea food, onions, garlic, tobbacco, alcohol, drugs, processed food, frozen or canned food, mushrooms, too salty, too sour, too sweet)
Further one may define a Tamasic all the poisons in the body created by any food reheated or leftover, stale or rotten food, un ripe or overripe, food containing additives like artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, or MSG, processed food like packaged chips and any junk food like sodas and so on.
Any food that induces laziness, sadness, tiredness, narrow vision, low energy, dull intelect, meanness, no initiative, and insensitivity to others, feelings is also considered tamasic.
Whenever any type to cooed food has cooled down, it becomes tamasic food. Therefore we may be surprised to learn that even bread, crackers and biscuits are totally tamasic, because they increased the stomach acidity. Food that has become odorous is also tamasic. The longer you wait in eating, the food you have cooked, the more tamasic the food becomes. Yogis also stress that the effect of salts worse than that of wine, because adding salt pollutes the blood and the consequently our mind becomes agitated. In essence we should be aware that too salty, too sour, too sweet or strongly spiced foods are tamasic.
(All types of meat, poultry, seafood, drugs, coffee, tea, refined sugar, chilies, strong spices, eggs, onions, carbonated beverages, garlic, alcohol and liquors, tobacco, excess of diary products)
In many countries people eat food that is very hot, completely ignoring that hot spicy food strengthens our Rajasic qualities. It is also a good habit to avoid (food that is served completely dry without any oil