What I’m Eating – The Enlightenment Diet!

May 25, 2011

Most of you know I tinker with my diet a lot. So far this year I’ve done a 10-week no intoxicants challenge, a no refined sugar/processed foods challenge, and the Paleo Diet.

Why all these odd restrictions? Because:

1. I’ve found through experimentation that my life is better when I “eat clean” – no alcohol, caffeine, sugar, processed foods, red meat. Specifically, I feel better physically and emotionally, I look better (people start using words like radiant/luminous/vibrant to describe me, even if they have no idea about what I’m eating), I have more energy, my skin clears up, I lose the squish on my stomach, and my mind is clearer.

2. I use food as an avoidance/procrastination tool and as a mood booster, which I want to change.

I’m doing a yoga instructor training program at Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica, and the other day in class I finally learned the name of diet that I’ve been trying to define these past few years – the Sattvic Diet.

Basically, eating Sattvic foods helps you along your path to enlightenment (or at least along your path to a healthier, happier life, which I can say with confidence  is something we all want). Sattvic foods lead to “clarity and equanimity of mind while also being beneficial to the body,” according to Wiki. I have found this to be true in my own personal experience by experimenting with cutting things out. Until you’ve experimented with these types of things, you can’t know how it’s going to make you feel. So I’d encourage you to make a pact with a friend to take a vacation from “normal” food for a week or two and see how you feel!

The Sattvic diet centers around organic vegetables and fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, grains, organic milk & its derivatives (ghee, yogurt), honey, water and herbal teas.

According to yogic belief, there are three types of foods – Sattvic, Rajastic, and Tamasic. Rajasic is stimulating (not in a constructive way), and tamasic is dulling.

Here’s a definition of the Sattvic Diet:

Sattva is defined as the quality of purity and goodness. Sattvic food is that which is pure, clean and wholesome. A sattvic diet is food that gives life, strength, energy, courage and self-determination. In other words, sattvic food gives us more than the gross physical requirements of the proper mix of proteins, carbs and fats etc. It also gives us the subtle nourishment necessary for vitality and consciousness. Food is seen as a carrier of the life force called prana and is judged by the quality of its prana and by the effect it has on our consciousness.
More: http://www.yogachicago.com/jan05/diet.shtml

A list of Sattvic foods:

Adzuki beans, Almonds, Amaranth, Aniseed, Apples, Apricots, Artichokes, Arugula (small amounts), Ashwagandha (herb), Asparagus.

Bacopa (herb), Bananas, Barley, Basmati Rice, Bean Sprouts (all kinds,) Beets, Black Beans, Blackberries, Black-Eyed Peas, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Buckwheat, Buttermilk (fresh).

Cabbage (red or green), Calamus (herb,) Cantaloupe, Cardamom, Carob, Carrots, Cashew Nuts, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Cherries (sweet or sour,) Chestnuts, Chinese Cabbage, Cinnamon, Coconut, Coriander, Cornmeal, Cranberries, Cucumbers.

Dates (fresh).

Endive, Escarole.

Fava Beans, Figs (fresh or dried), Filberts, Flax Seeds, Flowers (edible and sweet,) Frish Juices (fresh).

Ghee, Ginger, Gingko (herb,) Gotu Kola (herb), Grapefruits, Grapes (including dried), Green Beans.

Honey (raw), Honeydew Melon.

Jatamansi (herb), Jerusalem Artichokes.

Kale, Kohlrabi.

Lassi, Lentils (black or tan), Lettuce, Lima Beans (small amounts), Loganberries.

Macadamia Nuts, Mangoes, Maple Syrup, Milk (organic, unpasteurised), Millet, Mother’s Milk, Mung Beans (whole), Mung Dhal (split), Mustard Seeds.

Nutmeg (herb).

Oats (steel cut or berries), Oranges (sweet).

Papayas, Parsnips, Peaches, Pecans, Pineapple (sweet), Pine Nuts, Pinto Beans, Plums (sweet or sour), Pomegranates, Prunes, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Seeds, Purnarnava (herb).


Raisins, Raspberries, Rice, Rutabaga.

Saffron (herb), Sesame Seeds, Shankhapushpi (herb), Shatavari (herb), Soybeans, Soymilk (fresh), Spinach, Strawberries, Sugar Cane (raw), Summer Squash, Sunflower Seeds, Sweet Potatoes.

Tangerines (sweet), Tea (herbal), Teff, Tulsi (herb), Turmeric, Turnips.

Walnuts, Watercress, Watermelon, Wheat, Whey, Wild Rice.

Yacon, Yams , Yoghurt (freshly made).



Notable foods that don’t make the Sattvic list: Garlic (damn!), onions, salt, pepper, chocolate (damn!), meat (including fish and eggs), mushrooms, leeks, and leftovers.

I’ll be experimenting with eating off of this list for the next week or two. You’ve only got one body in this lifetime, why not play around with your diet and explore its effects?


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