HomeAyurvedic CookingHow Food affects the Mind (Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic Food)


How Food affects the Mind (Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic Food) — 10 Comments

  1. To: Webmaster

    [email protected]
    You have mentioned Soya as satvik food. But acccording to ayurveda
    prolonged consumption of soya bean causes imbalance in our body and is
    referred as tamasic food.
    No qualified ayurveidc doctor or ayurvedic veds
    recommends soya beans.
    Pls clarify how you have included soya bean as satvik food.

  2. Dear Jeegar,
    Thanks for your inquiry.

    The fact that soy beans are hard to digest for Vata and partly for Kapha
    types doesn’t make them tamasic. My article says that one should find
    sattvic food in the food list appropriate for her/his dosha.

    Soy beans are probably the most disputed point among Ayurvedic
    nutritionists with variations from wonderful to awful. Some authors (e.g.
    Vasant Lad) consider them rajasic since they are gas forming when poorly
    prepared and eaten either not in accordance with you constitution or not
    fresh cooked.

    Some authors believe they are sattvic since soy beans meet the definition
    of sattvic food: calming and strengthening for the mind and body.

    I chose the opinion of Amadea Morningstar who considered soy beans sattvic
    because she is a practicing nutritionist. That means she has been
    consulting her patients for more than 20 years and can tell the impact of
    soy on them.

    I’ve never seen an Ayurvedic author saying soy beans are tamasic unless
    they are frozen, micro waved, processed, or left over night.

  3. Dear Larisa
    I have spoken to many practioner of original ayurveda (not the fake one’s)
    over here in India. They say that Soya is food of horse and not suitable for
    human beings. They never recommend soya and also advice their patients to
    avoid soya.

    Best Regards
    Jeegar Shah

  4. Dear Jeegar,
    Thank you for your opinion. I appreciate your advice a lot.
    I admire Vedic knowledge as given to all mankind without any specific
    location. I think that Ayurveda is not about eating food that is common in
    India. It is about understanding the energy of food. Some stuff that is or
    is not recommended in Indian climate may work differently in colder
    countries and vice versa. Cheese for example (not paneer but real
    fermented cheese). Ayurvedic practitioners in the West recommend cheese,
    but as far as I know it is not that popular in India. Is it true? We here
    in colder climate need more heat produced from fermented foods and beans
    (including soy).
    And a word about horses. Do you believe that the whole Japanese nation is
    consisting of horses? Soy is their national meal.
    I am very thankful to you for the feedback.
    Are you practicing Ayurveda or just following it in your life?
    Regards. Larisa.

  5. Dear Larisa
    I don’t follow Ayurveda.
    I do interact with lots of Ayurvedic doctors and Veds.
    I follow Jainism.
    According to Jainism food is not for its energy but for spirituality.
    Which ever food harms you spiritually is tamasic.
    We are basically grain eaters. We consume lots of grains , selected
    vegetables and fruits.
    There are some specific grains , fruits and vegetables which can be consumed
    during specific seasons only.
    Also important is the time of eating the food during the day. If not
    consumed at proper time than the food becomes tamasic.
    There are lots of things to be said about food in Jainism. Infact Jainism is
    very vast topic and covers all the points related to life and death.

    If you are interested than we can share lots of things , which will help in
    expanding our knowledge.
    Best Regards
    Jeegar Shah

  6. Hi,Jeegar,

    That’s very interesting what you are saying.
    You probably follow your diet and life style in generations. I am just
    learning how to stay healthy physically and spiritually. I was happy to
    discover Ayurveda and adjust my diet and daily routine to it. Again, most
    books you can find here are written by Westerners or Indians who live
    In my diet I quit eating meat, fish and eggs. I eat grains every day:
    rice, wheat, oats; and legumes: mung, lentils, and beans. I personally do
    not like soy beans :). I eat a lot of cow products (milk, yogurt, paneer,
    cheese, sour cream, butter, and Ghee).

    Western Ayurvedic doctors do not pay attention at time when certain food
    is eaten. That’s a shame.I just recently discovered an author who stress
    the importance of eating food at proper time. It is a Russian doctor who
    studied Ayurveda in India. I follow his recommendations and eat as
    following: in the morning paneer with soaked raisins, soaked almonds and
    fresh fruits (mango, pear, banana) or berries (blueberries or raspberries)
    and drink chai. At lunch (12 to 1:30) grains and beans with steamed
    vegetables (carrots, cabbage, squash, spinach,califlower). In the evening
    I eat steamed vegetables or nothing. Before bed – a cup of hot milk with
    some sugar and nutmeg. I also love honey and all nuts.

    I have some questions to you.
    1. What milk products do you eat if any and when.
    2. Is there any difference in men’s and women’s diet?
    3. Do you fast? If yes, on what?

    Thanks in advance.

  7. Dear Larisa
    Thanks for your mail.
    I reply to your questions:
    1. What milk products do you eat if any and when.
    I consume milk (full fat, not low fat or pasteurized), yogurt or curd made
    from the same milk at home, butter milk ,Ghee and paneer(occasionally).
    Milk: Morning. Who can have milk at any time , but not with fruits or pulses
    Yogurt or curd or butter milk: In afternoon after finishing the lunch and
    cleaning the mouth properly. In evening, I avoid yogurt but prefer butter
    Ghee: we have ghee with rotis, khakras , khichadi, in sheera and many other
    Please take care that milk and yogurt should not be taken with fruits,
    pusles and dals. As far as possible warm the yogurt before consuming.
    Consume only the yogurt which is prepared overnight.
    2. Is there any difference in men’s and women’s diet?
    Normal diet is same. But taht are some seasonal dishes which are prepared
    separately for women and Men. And of course there are some special diets for
    women during pregnancy and lactation.
    3. Do you fast? If yes, on what?
    We do fast. There are many types of fast like whole day and night without
    food and water, whole day and night with only boiled water during day time,
    Have only one meal in day and nothing else, have one meal only during day
    that to one of boiled pulses and grains, and many others. There are many
    days in a year in which one has to fast. But specially in monsoon season
    when it rains heavily over here and also during change of seasons form
    summer to winter and winter to summer. Than there are some specifica days in
    month when you can fast.

    Most important thing is eat only after sunrise and before sun set.

    For food health important thing apart from food is spirutuality. You
    thinking , your actions and your intentions do play a important part in
    maintaing good health. As we say never hurt anybody by your thoughts or by
    your action or by your words.

    I hope I have answered your queires. If you have any questions you can write
    to me.
    Frankly speaking I am not an expert on these things, it is only whatever
    little I know , I share with people.

    Best Regards
    Jeegar Shah

  8. Hi,Jeegar,
    Thank you for your detailed answer. Yes, I agree that the way you think
    greatly influences all aspects of us.
    About diet:
    I also consume full milk. Most the time it is availible to buy raw. I boil
    it and prepare paneer or butter milk at home. I also prepare lassi.
    Being raised in Russian Christian tradition I observe fast. In fact there
    are 200 days during a year with different kind of lent. Every Wednesday
    and Friday it is lent without animal food and milk. 40 days at Christmas
    (half the time fish is allowed) and 49 days of strick fast on Easter. And
    another two shorter lents in summer.
    I try to incorporate Ayurvedic diet into Russian-European-American food
    and am very happy with the results.
    Did I understand correctly that it is unhealthy to eat after the sunset
    all the year long?
    I also would like to ask what spices you use?
    Thanks again. Larisa.

  9. Soy as a food has many drawbacks. Nowadays it is almost all GMO. But even if it is “Organic” it has many anti-nutrient properties. It is best consumed fermented (Miso, Tempeh, Natto). For more on this visit the Weston Price site or do a search on problems with Soy. http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/
    High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
    Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
    Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
    Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
    Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.
    Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D.
    Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
    Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
    Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
    Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.

    By the way, there are many “awake” ones who consume meat (eg the Dalai Lama). When one sees that Everything is consciousness, and that plants are every bit as sentient as animals, the perspective on food consumption changes.

    While I basically follow an Ayurvedic diet, I find that being open (not fanatical) is an important part of healthy eating.


  10. Hi Robert,
    In my article I do not advocate soybeans, soy refers to tamasic food that “increases inner darkness and confusion. Such food slows us down, depresses us and enhances inertia”
    Meat, fast food, fried food, frozen food, microwaved food, processed food, food left over night , alcohol, all drugs, and chemicals belong to tamasic food as well.

    Soy is not a substitute for meat. I eat no meat or soy but plenty of dairy. See more about non-animal protein in my article “Non Animal Protein”.

    The last thing I’d like to mention is that healthy living means not only physical well being but peace of mind and ability for compassion. One can never have peace of mind while consuming products of violence.

    Best wishes.

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