In the summer of 2018, I happened to visit one of my nephews in Delhi. He was in his early 30's like me and going through frequent health issues. To be precise, he had liver issues. He was a huge fan of junk food. Now I have always been a tad-bit guilty of being a hypochondriac who imagines the worst for even the minutest health concerns. Therefore I had tried to snatch away his plate full of steak while trying to convince him to dig into a bowl of bottlegourd (lauki) and lentil soup while uttering the golden phrase, "You are what you eat!" And pat came his reply, "So I don't want to be a lauki!"
Though at that moment I had burst out into peals of laughter, I still internalise the profound meaning of this phrase. The energy of whatever you eat gets broken down and incorporated within your body affecting your thoughts, mental state and health, and this is the inherent wisdom and truth embedded in this phrase.
Your body has the prana or the vital energy to heal itself from multiple diseases. The pranic energy is the vital force that keeps your system rolling. Every food has a pranic quotient and that's where the magic of conscious eating comes.
Simple carbohydrates like rice, bread, pasta etc, break faster into glucose and give a sense of fullness. But that is followed by lull much earlier than what happens when we consume complex carbohydrates like vegetables or chapatis. The sudden spike in energy from caffeinated beverages can result in extended periods of lull.
The energy concept of food, though similar is not exactly the same as the energy effects of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. In yoga, food isn't grouped as carbohydrates, vitamins and proteins but is grouped as positive pranic food and negative pranic food.
In yoga, food isn't grouped as carbohydrates, vitamins and proteins but is grouped as positive pranic food and negative pranic food.Yoga identifies three gunas or energy states in which we exist at a given point of time. These are sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva is the ultimate state of calm and heightened awareness. The tamasic energy is that of extreme lethargy, hopelessness and defeat while rajas is a state of extra energy, essentially over-enthusiasm that is usually accompanied by restlessness and a desire for everything more in life.
Spiritually, sattva it is the most desirable state. It doesn't mean you will turn passive or less vibrant- quite the opposite. You will do everything minus the restlessness.
The food we eat could be sattvik, rajasic or tamasic depending on which energy state it is influencing.Raw food has very high prana. Every human body is different and so are it's needs. Hence it is always a good idea to follow a customized diet plan while choosing, energising food for a healing effect on the body. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains are positive pranic food while refined grains, sugar, processed meat etc are negative pranic food. Luckily for India, most of our kitchen essential spices have ayurvedic medicinal properties.
Sadhguru says that one should keep trying everything to find out which food gives the maximum alertness and energy levels. Sprouts, legumes, fenugreek (methi) seeds promote mental stability.To choose the right fuel, you need to know what kind of machine you are, says Sadhguru. It is imperative that we take a conscious note of which food energises us and which depletes us.Quick energy foods increase rajas in the body but that depletes faster. What we want is sustained stable energy for the body and mind. Excess of rajas in food is known to make someone aggressive and irritable.
Ever noticed how hunger makes us irritable? Likewise, when we are depressed or anxious, we tend to crave extra sweet food. Sadly, this sweet fare can give us a very temporary mood lift only to make us sulk later.It is easy to go grab a bowl of ice cream or a full-size tiramisu with loads of sugar. But if you are conscious you will realise how counterproductive excess sweet is and if you practice conscious eating, you can train the body not to crave for excess sweet when sad.
Food can impact our body's natural ability to heal even from deadly diseases. The medical field has started to take cognizance of this. Even cancer cells cannot grow when the body pH is alkaline. Using this simple method there are anecdotal evidences of people healing from early stages of various cancers.Having witnessed the profound impact of conscious eating on myself, I could go on for pages talking about how a well-chosen diet could potentially change your life. But in the interest of space and time, I would end this with one word of advice, "Consciously choose food and watch your mood throughout the day. Who knows you could turn super healthy and beat those Monday blues just by power of your diet?