What are the different types of food according to Hinduism? It is not just vegan, vegetarian, and meat. Bhagavad Gita talks of three types of food. Swami Vivekananda says your thoughts are the result of the food you eat. Let’s look at the different categories of food prescribed by Hindu scriptures, including the Bhagavad Gita.
Types of Food According to Bhagavad Gita
Lord Krishna, in Bhagavad Gita, says there are three types of food:
Satvik food is food prepared with utmost care to keep impurities away. It should not be tasted by anyone else prior to serving. To rephrase, it means food that is not leftover on others’ plates. There should not be impurities like hair or nail dirt in food. This type of food is consumed fresh – soon after it is prepared. This includes food prepared using milk and clarified butter (animal milk ghee) and is devoid of too many spices.
Rajasik food is one which contains too many spices. It could be vegan, vegetarian, or meat. This doesn’t imply that Satvik food cannot contain meat and other non-vegan ingredients. Both milk and clarified butter come from animals (dairy), so the concept of being vegan doesn’t apply to both Satvik and Rajasik food. Rajasik food is generally rich in spices, salt, and oil. This type of food too should not be leftover on others’ plates. It shouldn’t contain hair and saliva of others.
Tamasik food is the one that is the lowest type of food one can eat. It is generally animal produce, stale, and leftover food. Food containing hair and saliva, nail dirt, etc is Tamasik food. This type of food may contain rotten ingredients as well.
Effect of Food on People
Swami Vivekananda said that the food people eat becomes their thought process. If a person sticks to Satvik food, his thoughts are pure. Rajasik food too induces energy to keep thought processes that though clean, might make a person crave material things. These foods induce desires, lust, greed, etc in the person consuming them. Tamasik food makes a person lazy, angry, and useless. People should avoid Tamasik food at all costs as they induce demonic thoughts.
People indulging in spiritual practices must make sure they are eating only Satvik food. Eating much oil and spices gives them desires that they would generally want to avoid and conquer. Rajasik foods give energy to the body along with desires and a biased thought process that makes them believe more in the materialistic world. Tamasik food ruins the spiritual quest and makes people lazy and demonic. It gives rise to anger and lust that may ruin the character of people consuming it.
How Soon Should You Eat Food After Preparing?
Sadguru, Sri Jaggi Vasudev, says that you should eat your food when it is alive enough. A dead body starts decaying soon after three hours of its death. This is applicable to all types of food also. Once prepared, food should be consumed within three hours. After that, it turns into Tamasik food. The staler, the more Tamasik the food becomes, affecting the consumers’ thought processes.
The best thing is to eat it soon after preparation. If it is not yet time for food, it should be prepared later. This is applicable to all types of food – vegan, vegetarian, and meat.
Categories of Food According to Nutritionists
According to nutritionists, food falls into seven categories:
- Fruits, roots, and plant barks
- Seeds such as rice, wheat, barley, and lentils
- Poultry, such as eggs
Types of Food According to Food Sources
According to sources of procurement of foods, it is three types:
- Vegan – only plant-based, excluding dairy foods such as milk and milk-based
- Vegetarian – Vegan foods plus dairy food; this includes milk and clarified butter (ghee)
- Meat – This includes all types of food: meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, etc
The last two sections do not have anything to do with Hinduism. I just included them to make the post clearer. The types of food according to Hinduism are just three: Satvik, Rajasik, and Tamasik as I explained above. If you have any questions, counterpoints, or anything you wish to be added to this post, please comment.
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