The Saatvik diet is one of the oldest diets, almost as old as the Upanishads, the Rig Veda and from the times when yoga was first practised. But when we say Saatvik, what is the immediate association that comes to your mind? A diet that is vegetarian of course, and healthy but also tasteless? "Following a saatvik diet doesn’t mean that the food becomes tasteless and plain," says Manu Nair, Corporate Executive Chef at Southindies, Bon South and Upsouth. A saatvik diet is aimed at creating and cultivating a pure mind and body, a diet rich in nourishing and calming foods, aimed at healthy living and keeping your mind happy and peaceful.
"A Sattvic diet is a diet based on foods mentioned in Ayurveda and Yoga literature," says Nair. "These are said to contain the sattva quality (guna)." Sattva foods are essentially foods that have a high concentration of prana or the life force within them and are pure, promoting a harmonious energy and vitality.
According to this Ayurvedic system foods were classified into three categories. Saatvik, Rajasik (the foods that have Rajas guna are said to increase anger, irritability and restlessness) and finally Tamasik (foods that have the Tamas guna and are said to benefit neither mind nor body, and are considered the unhealthiest food of all).
"Saatvik foods are those which pure, natural, organic and essential foods which provide necessary nutrients and proteins to the body," says Nair. "These are foods that are easily digested by the body, thus considered best for mind, body and soul." Nair explains that Rajasik are those foods that stimulate the body, which are not useful for the body but at the same time aren’t harmful for the body while Tamasik foods are those foods that harmful for the body. These foods are gastric in nature and take a longer time to digest in the human body thus leading to various health problems.
So what would the fundamental principles of a Saatvik diet be? According to Nair, the basic premise is to eat in moderation and eating a balanced diet. "One should avoid over eating," he says, "rather the best diet is one that is tasty, nutritious and is enough to meet the needs of one’s body." Other basic tenets include eating only when is hungry and care should be taken to not overeat, nor eating as much as filling one's stomach, rather one quarter of the stomach should be left empty, which three-fourths should be filled with Saatvik food and clean water.
"Some people believe that Saatvik food is only about avoiding onion and garlic in the diet, but in actual its just one small part of it," says Nair. Tamasic foods like onion, garlic, non-vegetarian food, alcohol and over processed food should be avoided.
Fruits like apples, kiwis and prunes, vegetables like lettuce, beet, greens, peas, sprouted whole grains like amaranth, bulgar, millet, quinoa, rice like brown and wild rice, oils like olive, sunflower, spices like asafoetida, coriander, basil and cumin, nuts like pumpkin seeds and walnuts, dairy products like seed milk and almond milk and sweeteners like cane juice, and raw honey are all part of the saatvik diet. Essentially saatvik foods are those that are freshly prepared, that do not irritate the stomach, rather have a cleansing effect on the whole body
Southindies is organising a saatvik food festival 'Divinely Saatvik' which is on till 19th July.
# 276, 100 ft road, 6th main Junction, Above Giria’s, Indirangar. +91 80-41636363
Located in Sadashivanagar it promises a culinary experience that is "divine, pure and spiritual"
Sattvam, 35, Sankey Road Opp Shell Petrol Bunk, Sadashivnagar . +9180-2360 8000
Located inside the ISKCON temple, this restaurant offers buffet as well as a la carte options.
ISKCON Temple & Cultural Complex, Hare Krishna Hill, Chord Road. +91 80-22766501