Let’s talk about what kind of diet is best for meditation, health and self-awareness.
I usually have a better day when I eat a breakfast high in nutrients instead of junk. While it feels good at first to have those mouthfuls of decadent deliciousness, an hour after I’m out the door I start to feel my batteries beginning to run out. My gas is low. My eyes are heavy. I start to feel lazy. Maybe I have a hard time concentrating. Then I start thinking I need an energy boost, so I grab some other not-too-healthy munchies. The cycle goes again.
You are what you eat, right?
Absolutely. Food can affect our mood, energy levels and motivation. Everything that goes into our bodies has a effect on our mind. We can be energized or lazy. Focused or distracted. But what foods exactly cause those effects? How do we choose the least agitating foods for our body and mind? If we turn to ancient Indian spiritual wisdom, all food falls under three categories, each affecting our consciousness differently.
1. The Mode of Goodness.
Nutritious foods that are palatable, sweet, juicy, or healthy fats. “If one eats in the mode of goodness, then the mode of goodness increases the beauty of his body.” (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya lila 1:92)
- Symptoms: self-control, feeling satisfied after eating, increased duration of life, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction.
- Examples: whole fruits, vegetables, milks, nuts, grains, seeds, legumes, beans, herbs and spices that increase life expectancy are preferred by those in the mode of goodness.
- Symptoms: over-eating, feeling uncomfortable after eating or constantly seeking more, eating for enjoyment rather than nourishment, this food causes pain, distress, misery and disease.
- Examples: junk food, spicy/burning food which causes pain and discomfort while eating them and leads to bodily distress are preferred by those in the mode of passion.
- Symptoms: feeling sick or having altered mental states after eating, seeking sense-gratification and enjoyment as major priorities
- Examples: Alcohol, wine, meat, fish, eggs, old food, mushrooms (an overgrowth of fungus), onions and garlic preferred by those in the mode of ignorance. Onion and garlic stimulate passion and lust in the body, not preferred by those trying to control their senses. Garlic is also known to de-synchronize brain waves, which is not good for meditation.
Now, this knowledge is from the sacred Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, two of the earliest texts of spiritual wisdom of mankind. It’s so interesting to me, because I’ve heard over and over statements like, “After I went veg, I felt my heart open. It’s almost like I could feel things I couldn’t feel before, like I was more awake to the world” or “When I changed my diet, gave up junk food, and started ‘eating clean’ I felt more energized than ever.” Why do you think that is? People think they’re discovering something new, but this wisdom has been around for thousands of years!
What mode are you in most of the time? :)