The importance of food that we eat
The food we eat is what we become. This is a fact, as old and true as the scriptures. We are the food that we eat. So, the importance of food that we eat should not be neglected. In fact, it can make or break our life.
Can you imagine that the food is giving its own life in order to make our life? If only we had the awareness that the food is sacrificing its own life to sustain ours, we would eat with much gratitude.
Wisdom from ancient yogis
Modern scientists analyze the value of food according to their physical properties and how they react on the body. However, yogis who delved in the spiritual science of food, consider its vibratory nature in determining what is beneficial, stimulating, or harmful when ingested. Such classification by the yogis starts with the basic verity that all things have evolved from God and are materializations of His one intelligent vibratory creative consciousness.
Manifested objects come into being and are subject to metamorphosis under the influence of the interracting sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance) qualities of Nature. These three gunas (virtues, qualities) distort the pure cosmic vibration into an infinite variety, characterized by varying degrees of elevating, activating, or stultifying properties.
Vibrations of different frequencies alter one another when they interact. The aim of the yogi is to purify himself of impurities by nurturing his sattvic qualities. He does so by interacting with the internal and external manifestations that are clean, uncontaminated, sparkling and spiritually inspiring. He recognizes that even the food he eats, and also the manner in which he partakes of it, has its salutary or debasing effect not only on his body but also on his consciousness, according to the vibratory quality of those edibles.
The spiritual quality of food
Proper diet is a vast subject unto itself, one that captivates many a health faddist – often to his detriment. The Gita (longest poem ever written) in these simple verses offers a concise and easy guideline for determining the spiritual or unspiritual quality of foods. Whatever food is beneficial or detrimental on the vibratory level is correspondingly so in its nutritional effect on health.
Prepared foods should be combined and cooled in a manner that retains or enhances their nutrients. They should be aesthetically pleasing to the eye and tasteful to the palate (mildly seasoned), and agreeable to the body’s constitution.
The vibratory harmony and balanced nutrition of a sattvic diet (restraining any temptation toward greed or overeating) promote good health, vitality, and longevity. They also work on the mind to nurture a calm, contented, cheerful disposition inclined toward goodness and spiritual aspirations.
Whatever food is beneficial or detrimental on the vibratory level is correspondingly so in its nutritional effect on health.
The 3 basic classes of food
The food that we eat can be divided into 3 categories or classes. These 3 classes are:
Sattvic food gives us excellent physical health. They also lead to clarity of mind. We must consume these types of food regularly.
Sattvic food can be obtained without the need to injure one’s self or any other living beings on this planet. Thus, we will live in harmony with nature following its laws.
These food foster cheerfulness, endurance, good appetite, longevity and vitality. They are agreeable, mild, savoury and substantial to the body.
Such foods include cereal grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, pure water, nuts, unpasteurized and unhomogenized fresh milk, milk derivatives like clarified butter, cream, fresh or cottage cheese, yoghurt and raw honey.
Rajasic foods are those that have a stimulating effect on the mind and body. They are the neutral type of food, that is, they are neither beneficial nor harmful. These foods are the causes of aggressiveness and irritability in the body. Unfortunately, they are often obtained in a way that harms other living beings.
These food are bitter, sour, saltish, excessively hot, pungent, harsh, and burning.
Some examples of rajasic foods include coffee, black and green tea, soft drinks and energy drinks, brown or black chocolate, spicy and salty food.
Tamasic foods are those that act as sedatives on the mind and body. In general, they are harmful and injurious to the body. Ayurveda claims that these foods should be avoided as they can cause mental dullness and physical numbness. However, in times of pain, they can be used to treat oneself and alleviate suffering.
These foods are nutritionally worthless, insipid, putrid, stale, and impure.
Here are some examples of tamasic foods: any type of meat, fish, fertilized egg, alcoholic beverages, blue cheese, eggplant, opium, canned food and, any other food which has been kept overnight before consumption. Also included in this category are onion, garlic, scallion, leek, chive and mushroom,
Habits to cultivate
Always begin your meal with a prayer. You can begin with a prayer such as the following:
“Heavenly Father, receive this food; make it holy. Let no impurity of greed defile it. The food comes from Thee; it is for Thy temple. Spiritualize it. Spirit to Spirit goes.
We are the petals of Thy manifestation; but Thou art the Flower, Its life, beauty, and loveliness. Permeate our souls with the fragrance of Thy presence.”
~ Sri Paramahansa Yogananda ~
Our thoughts have a big influence on our food. So, while cooking, make sure that you are creating elevated thoughts, thus creating positive vibrations. These pure vibrations get mixed with the food and increase their frequency. Whenever someone consumes these foods, this will lead to changes in emotions.
Emotions are energy in motion.
Negative energy emotions can have undesirable effects on our physical body over time. They can affect our mood, attitude and personality. They can even act as toxins and create diseases in the long run.
However, the high-frequency emotions will lead to cheerfulness, enthusiasm, happiness and joy.
Never, ever, throw food away. Before doing so, just think of those unfortunate souls around the world who are starving.
“Foods are blessing and gifts from The Almighty. By throwing them away, we are refusing those blessings and gifts.”
Although we produce enough food to feed 10 billion people, poverty and hunger are still prevailing. The main reason is economics and not scarcity.
Food for the next generation
Not long ago, there was a video which went viral on Facebook. It showed how a 3D printed pizza was made. Also, it was promoting a meat substitute designed and processed in the lab.
After watching the video, I just kept wondering for a few moments. Then I said to myself, this is how the next generation is going to be consuming food. And honestly, it just freaks me out.
We can finally conclude that what we eat is of great importance for our physical, mental and spiritual health. Our body cells are built from the food that we eat. So, we must choose our food very carefully. We must opt for sattvic diets as far as we can.
Recognizing that the food, the act of eating, and the one who eats are all expressions of Spirit, the sattvic devotee considers his mealtime as a form of prayer. When possible, he eats in silence and with his thoughts interiorized, in a quiet, peaceful atmosphere.