Yoga distinguishes three qualities (Gunas) — Tamasic, Rajasic and Sattvic which are incidental to the material World. And all food products subdivide into three relevant groups:
Tamasic: dead, tasteless, non-vitamin, dry, floury, cooled and warmed many times, technically processed, refined, not fresh, fermented, decomposing and foul smelling, synthetic, etc.
Rajasic: arousing desires, salted, sour, bitter, spicy, sickningly sweet, roasted, fat, smoked, canned, etc.
Sattvic: live, rich, full of vitamins, sprouted, fresh, pure, tasty, etc.
Sattvic products exert a «gentle» effect, and cause natural and «soft» taste sensations. Whereas Rajasic food causes a «rough» effect, and its consumption is accompanied by «firm» taste sensations. As to their impact on the sensory system, Sattvic food is accompanied by weak signals, whereas Rajasic food has strong signals. But the human body usually adjusts to regular sensations, and this is accompanied by the sensory system becoming accustomed to the level of signals relevant to one’s regular sensations.
The stronger the sensations, the stronger the dependence on having them is, and the easier it is to develop desires for this sensation. This sensory cycle makes Freedom of Spirit harder to obtain.
When the signal system is transformed and the Sattvic food has been gotten used to, the enjoyment one will have from eating it will not be inferior to the enjoyment of tasting Rajasic products (although yogis do not use the categories of enjoyment). But this transformation results in purifying the energy system, developing sensitivity and reducing the load on the signal system and psyche, which leads the person to become calm, balanced, healthy and happy.
It is better to determine the Guna of the product by sensing and sniffing it like animals do before eating, rather than by analyzing it with the mind and knowing «what is what». In this way often it is possible to find that the food which seemed delicious a minute ago is now inedible, «synthetic» or «plastic». Or the food, which according to all canons, corresponds to healthy and nutritious food, was, in fact, polluted from the karmic point of view when it was obtained or processed.
All living beings on the Earth are fed from the energy of the Sun and the obligatory availability of water.
Sunlight feeds the plants. Herbivores eat plants, and carnivores eat herbivores. Carnivores eat other carnivores. There are animals that eat carrion. These processes are all fed by the sun’s energy, but with each transition from one living creature to another substantial qualitative changes are undergone.
The elements of a burning tree disintegrate into elementary components. When this happens, the sun’s energy, which was previously accumulated in the tree, is released in the fire, and the tree turns into ashes, which will no longer burn, since ash no longer contains the relations of sun energy, which have already been released.
In chasing new taste sensations, people have developed numerous recipes, many of which imply multiple thermal processing. But they did not take into account that each thermal impact on food products like their slow combustion (oxidization) with qualitative change and the sun’s energy loss.
With each subsequent warming of cold food, it continues to decompose and «live» products turn into «dead» ones, in terms of the quality of their energy-related activity.
When one living being eats another one, this results in oxidization processes similar to combustion. But, the main point is that the quality of the consumed food and the activity of life energy are changed, that causes a deep change in the state of consciousness of that living creature. Observing the psychic types of a herbivorous elephant and a carnivorous hyena, it is easy to «catch» the difference. Compare their «intellectual», «warm-heart» and «generosity» levels. Of course, such comparison is not absolute, but one can easily «catch» the difference.
Digesting food is like a fire. It is possible to try to make the fire of digestion with heavy billets (eating meat and fish). This takes a lot of time and effort, and the ashes after such a fire will be rough and solid. Whereas, you can easily make a fire of brushwood (eating easily consumed products: grains, fruits, vegetables, and etc.) throwing it into the fire regularly. This will not take much time and effort, the fire is made easily, and burns brightly and warmly. There are almost no ashes after such a fire, and, if something remains, it is easily taken with the wind of digestion.
The outdated diet theory of calorie capacity and the energy value of different products, was misunderstood in western countries for several decades. Whereas, the East never used such a theory in selecting the diet, their primary was on the qualities of the food and to its impact on consciousness, a fruit diet being preferred.
Fruits contains concentrated forms of all the valuable life elements produced by nature. Nature’s intent being to extend life on the Earth in two ways: reproduction from a fruit seed to a living organism, and extending the life of an existing organism through feeding on what was produced.
This is exactly why nature provided for the production of an abundant variety of fruits, i. e., much more than would be required for extending the life of a particular variety. This abundance is produced to provide for the creatures that eat these fruits.
The Tradition of Yoga prefers Sattva Guna in selecting food products and recommends a vegetarian fruit diet: fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, milk, non-refined vegetable oil and honey. Of all animal products, some Yoga schools allow eggs and caviar to be eaten. Others exclude even milk from the diet, ignoring all animal products.
Moreover they eat food raw, «live» or, in exclusive cases, at minimum thermal processing with minimum quantities of salt and sugar.
A Sattvic fruit diet is based on natural nutrition and implies no violence. It facilitates rooting out numerous body and consciousness diseases of the present times, endows a man with strong health, vigor, sensitivity, contentment, balance, deep internal peace and joy.
Speaking impartially, if a man is capable of controlling his senses and eats consciously, he controls the characteristics of his body and consciousness, rather than his sensational satisfaction controlling him. His convictions, moral foundations and life goals require strength, and the qualities of a predatory wolf or a carrion-vulture, then he can eat carrion, making everything on the contrary and he will quickly succeed in attaining these goals.
In the conditions of the present abundance of food, in order to make the diet correspond to this ancient standard, to have robust digestion, to have the organism clean and healthy, and to make the body qualities assist in the development of Yoga practice, one should consciously each oneself always live with hunger.