All foods that we eat have some combination of the three universal powers (gunas): sattva, rajas, and tamas. Ayurvedic knowledge states that according to its dominant principle our food can be blissful, impassioned, or ignorant. You can find the complete list of each food category in the article How Food Affects the Mind.
When we eat, we take on the dominant quality of the food. For example, meat increases impassioned qualities (rajas) such as violence and agitation. It then causes ignorance, and dullness (tamas).
One of the main arguments for eating meat is that animal proteins are widely believed to be irreplaceable. This, however, is obviously not the case. When a vegetarian woman gives birth to her baby and breastfeeds her, the child’s body grows the same way the non-vegetarian mom’s child would grow. This means that animal protein is not required to form a new organism.
The total calories of a food are found in its proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, as is illustrated in the table below, which states the percentages of the total calories of a food found in its three main components.
Nutrient Content of Common Food
|Fruits||% Calories from Protein||% Calories from Fat||% Calories from Carbohydrates|
|Grains & Beans|
|Nuts & Seeds|
|Chicken (dark meat, w/skin)||44||56||0|
|Chicken (light meat, w/skin)||56||44||0|
|Eggs & Fish|
Source: “Nutritive Value of American Foods in Common Units,” USDA Handbook No. 456.
Surprisingly, 99% of all foods including cucumber, cauliflower, and broccoli contain protein. In fact, numerous studies have tried to create a diet in which you DO NOT get enough protein. The only diet that has succeed is one consisting of mainly processed foods.
TODAY’S TIP: As you can see, creating a diet rich in protein without eating meat (and thus gaining qualities such as dullness) is quite simple. The addition of applicable spices will greatly increase the benefits of a vegetarian meal. See also: Vegan eating in A-da; Myth about Vegetarianism and Anemia).