Yogic system of Shri Krishna categorizes diet into three groups:
“Those that increase lifespan, mental essence, strength, health, comfort, and pleasantness, that are flavorful, Unctuous, stable, and satisfying to the heart are the foods that are favored by sattvic.”
Sattvic diet is also referred to as the Yogic diet. It is considered a natural state of unprocessed food that is fresh and free from any additives or preservatives. A sattvic diet should be consumed in its natural form as possible, i.e. raw, steamed or very lightly cooked. Sattvic diet comprises of Whole grains (carbohydrates), Pulses, lentils, nuts and seeds (proteins), Fresh fruit and vegetables (vitamins and minerals), Herbs, Natural sweeteners such as honey (in small amounts), etc.
“Bitter, sour, salty, excessively hot, pungent, dry, and burning are the foods favored by rajasic, causing discomfort, depression, and illness.” (Bhagavad Gita, XVII, 9)
Rajasic items of food should be retrained in a yogic diet; they include Caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee, Overly processed food, Artificial additives in food. Hot chili or anything that can irritate the mucous membranes. Garlic, onion, mushrooms, etc.
“Not fully cooked, flavorless, smelly, stale, leftover by others, not fit as an offering is a food flavored by the tamasic.”
The tamasic diet contains food items that are heavy and cause fatigue or lethargy in a person. Such foods are best avoided by people suffering from chronic ailments or depression. Tamasic diet includes food items like Red meat, Alcohol, Stale or rotten foods, Overripe or unripe fruits, Burnt food, Overly processed foods, Fermented food, Deep fried food.
Basis of yogic Diet
Various yogic scriptures identify food items to be as Pathya (wholesome) and Apathya (unwholesome) food and form the basis of the Yogic diet. They are discussed as follows:
Apathy/ Un-Wholesome food:
The foods which are prohibited (for the yogi) are: those which are bitter, sour, pungent, salty, heating, green vegetables (other than those ordained), sour gruel, oil, sesame and mustard, alcohol, fish, flesh foods, curds, buttermilk, horse gram, oil cakes, asafetida and garlic.
An unhealthy diet should not be taken, which is reheated after becoming cold, which is dry (devoid of natural oil), which is excessively salty or acidic, stale or has too many (mixed) vegetables. Pathya/Wholesome food:The most conducive foods for the yogi are: good grains, wheat, rice, barley, milk, ghee, brown sugar, sugar candy (crystallized sugar), honey, dry ginger, patola fruit (species of cucumber), five vegetables, mung and such pulses, and pure water.
The yogi should take nourishing and sweet food mixed with, ghee and milk; it should nourish the dhatus (basic body constituents) and be pleasing and suitable.