In general, a sattvic diet is primarily plant-based and focuses on organic, whole, natural fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains that are grown in harmony with nature. Sattvic foods are generally sweet, fresh, light, nourishing, and aromatic and create feelings of contentment, joy, and aliveness after digesting them. Sattvic foods keep the body lean and healthy and make the mind clear and sharp.
Work on adding the sattvic foods listed below to promote and support a yogic lifestyle. Eating more of these foods will support your meditative, spiritual, and yogic practices:
Packed with prana (life force energy) and antioxidants, fresh fruit can form up to 50% of a yogis diet. All fruit that is sweet, fresh, and organic is considered sattvic, so adding more fruit is the easiest and most effective way to make your diet more yogic. Minimize frozen, dried, or preserved fruit in favor of fresh and in-season fruit. You can easily swap out desserts with fruit and use fruit as a snack food or as a side dish to your daily meals. Swami Sivananda notes that the combination of fruit and milk boosts mental concentration and aids in meditation.
Ghee or clarified butter tastes slightly sweet, which makes it the most sattvic cooking oil to use. Ghee is an essential power food, but it is also energetically cold and heavy, so it should be used moderately. Ghee is rich in fatty acids and Vitamins A and E and is traditionally used more during the early stages of a yogi's practice to increase power and stamina. Try to replace all other oils with ghee, or at least only use plant-based oils, like sesame, sunflower, and olive oil. You can easily make your own ghee or purchase pre-made ghee.
Honey is a sattvic food as long as it’s raw, organic, and free from preservatives. Honey is the least perishable amongst all foods included in a sattvic diet. It also helps the detoxification process and is easy to digest. Like all sweeteners, you’ll need to consume it in moderation, as eating too much can be harmful. Honey should never be boiled either, as Ayurveda promotes the intake of honey with cold water. Remove refined and artificial sweeteners from your diet and replace them with raw unfiltered organic honey, raw sugar, maple syrup, or molasses.
Basmati rice is the king of all rice according to Ayurveda as it helps to balance all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). As well as being easy to digest and nourishing to the body tissues, it also has a low glycemic index and promotes healthy brain function. Avoid instant or pre-cooked rice as Ayurveda suggests that this has less nutrition and contains less prana. Whole grains, especially oats and wheat, are also considered sattvic unless made into yeasted bread. Try organic Basmati rice over other varieties of rice.
Most mild and sweet vegetables are considered sattvic, such as beets, carrots, celery, bok choy, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and squash. Potatoes, cabbages, spinach, and tomatoes are also considered very sattvic. Avoid mushrooms, pickles, radishes, turnips, onions, garlic, and chilies. Fresh vegetable juice is an easy way to add more sattva to your diet and be an easy replacement for soft drinks, coffee, tea, or other beverages.
Packed with healthy fats, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, fresh raw nuts and seeds form an important part of the sattvic diet. Raw organic almonds, in particular, can be eaten to energize the mind, and the high magnesium and calcium content work to nourish the bones. Ideal for those suffering from lactose intolerance, they can also be used to make almond milk to build strength, immunity, and grounded energy. Cashew and pistachio nuts provide a good source of protein, while pumpkin and sunflower seeds can be used to pacify the Vata dosha. Ayurvedic experts don’t recommend eating peanuts as part of a sattvic diet, as they can cause you to feel lethargic and are difficult to digest. Soaking nuts and seeds overnight is recommended as this will remove any natural enzyme inhibitors and make them easier for your body to digest. Consume seeds and nuts in small portions as a snack or add them to meals as a source of protein.
Try not to make a big fuss about your diet as this can lead to excess stress and worry. Instead, focus on eating simple fresh food that is easy for you to digest and best suits your constitution. Pay attention to the effect food has on your body, mind, and heart, and refine your diet accordingly. With awareness and patience, you will find the sattvic foods that are the most effective at creating long-term inner peace both on and off your yoga mat.
Heilbron, C. (2020, December 17). 6 Sattvic Foods to Make Your Diet More Yogic •. Yoga Basics. https://www.yogabasics.com/explore/yogic-lifestyle/yogic-diet/sattvic-foods/\