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In Hinduism, food is categorized into Tamasic, Rajasic, Sattvic, or combination of them. What does these categories signify? Can anyone consume food from any of these categories?

Are there any restrictions on which types of food to be used in offerings and prayer?

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  • I am positive the divission of fertilized eggs as tamas and unfertilized as rajas is from Manu smrti, The Laws of Manu. As far as scriptural basis goes.
    – user3312
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 20:02
  • In nutshell, "Tamas" = Stale/Preserved food, "Rajas" = Tasty/Stimulating food, "Satvik" = Fresh/Healthy food.
    – iammilind
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 5:06
  • You can ask Ayurveda related questions here: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/102499/ayurveda Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 22:57

3 Answers 3

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There are Three types of Guna

1. Sattva (the quality of goodness): Sattva is Calm, Saintly. Its brings up quality that allows spiritual holiness, forgiveness and submission to God. Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome, and pleasing to the heart. BG reference

2. Raja (the quality of passion): Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry and burning are dear to those in the mode of passion. Such foods cause distress, misery and disease. Onions and garlic fall into this category.BG reference

3. Tamas (the quality of ignorance): Food prepared more than three hours before being eaten, food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food consisting of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in the mode of darkness.BG reference

We are what we eat, so you see. When you see the whole picture in Gunas perspective it will start making sense altogether. Why we can't eat certain types of foods, why we do not use some types of food in our Pujas (rituals or worship).

In order to be a saint/God's servant, humans must suppress raja and tamas guna, and eating sattvic food is a large part of that.

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    Please append your information to the community wiki above instead of creating a new one. The purpose of this Q&A is to have one canonical answer to the question instead of several scattered ones. Thank you! :)
    – Akshay
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 13:21
  • Please update the BG reference links. Giving Page not found error.
    – gangadhars
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 4:04
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Regarding food in Sattva, Rajas, Tamas Sri Kṛṣṇa answers to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita 17.8-10 -:

आयु:सत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धना: । रस्या: स्‍निग्धा: स्थिरा हृद्या आहारा: सात्त्विकप्रिया: ॥ ८ ॥

कट्‌वम्ललवणात्युष्णतीक्ष्णरूक्षविदाहिन: । आहारा राजसस्येष्टा दु:खशोकामयप्रदा: ॥ ९ ॥

यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यत् । उच्छिष्टमपि चामेध्यं भोजनं तामसप्रियम् ॥ १० ॥

Translation by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda -:

“Foods in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one's existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such nourishing foods are sweet, juicy, fattening and palatable. Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, pungent, dry and hot, are liked by people in the modes of passion. Such foods cause pain, distress, and disease. Food cooked more than three hours before being eaten, which is tasteless, stale, putrid, decomposed and unclean, is food liked by people in the mode of ignorance."

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An Explanation of the Three Tastes of Ayurveda

Tamasic Foods

Tamasic foods are known for having dull colors, being heavy to digest and having a bitter or pungent taste. These foods tend to leave people feeling sluggish after eating them. Examples of these type of foods include onions, garlic, meat, processed foods, alcohol and stale/leftover food. Tamasic foods should be avoided as much as possible if you want to stay healthy and energized!

Rajasic Foods

Rajasic foods can be recognized by their intense aroma, spicy flavor and colorful presentation. These type of foods may leave people with an adrenaline rush soon after eating them due to its stimulating nature but also result in feelings of anxiety or restlessness shortly afterwards because they are hard to digest. Examples include chili peppers, coffee, fried food and highly processed products such as chips or candy bars. However, they can also provide us with a boost when we need it most! So enjoy them in moderation!

Sattvic Foods

Sattvic foods are the opposite from Tamasic or Rajasic ones since they are light on digestion yet still filling at the same time and have subtle flavors (sweetness being the most common one) along with vibrant colors. Eating these type of meals will make you feel energized without feeling agitated afterwards like with other types of food. Examples include fresh fruits and vegetables, grains like rice or quinoa, nuts, seeds and dairy products (yogurt). Consuming sattvic foods regularly is key for maintaining health and wellbeing according to Ayurveda practitioners!

Conclusion

All three types of Ayurveda diets provide different benefits when consumed on a regular basis so it’s important to understand what each one offers in order to get the most out of our meals! If you want more energy throughout the day then focus on consuming Sattvic meals while avoiding any kind of processed/stale food that might make your body feel heavy after eating it; if instead you’re looking for an adrenaline rush then opt for some Rajasic dishes but stay away from anything too spicy; lastly if your goal is relaxation then it’s best to go for some Tamasic meals that will help calm your mind and body down after a long day! No matter which type of diet you choose though make sure that it fits properly with your lifestyle so that you can reap all its benefits!

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