Diet and Disposition

Our diet affects our state of mind either favorably or unfavorably, and whatever affects our state of mind affects our disposition. It is necessary to eat the proper food in order to make a proper brain as well as a proper body. All food has some effect on the mind.

The human machine is not unlike an automobile or a steam engine. The efficiency of mechanical engines is largely dependent on the fuel supplied to them; similarly, the condition of the human machine is largely dependent on the food that a person eats. Food has much to do with developing such things as character, ability, and social habits.

Spiritual and Psychological Effects of Food

It is desirable to know not only the physical but also the spiritual and psychological effects of food. The three psychological qualities of food:

SATTWIC: develops moral and spiritual qualities

RAJASIC: develops active and worldly qualities

TAMASIC: increases darkening or deadening qualities

Sattwic foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, honey, fresh dairy products, coconut milk, peanut and almond pastes, and nuts. These foods produce calmness and nobility.

Rajasic foods are those that produce active, worldly, strong, and emotional qualities of the mind. These foods include onions, garlic, eggs, horseradish, pumpkin, potatoes, pickles, and spices, as well as fish, fowl, and lamb.

Tamasic foods have darkening, destructive qualities. Foods that are full of odor, putrefied, or artificially made (deprived of their natural qualities) are tamasic. Examples are Roquefort cheese, cold storage foods, and liquors, as well as beef, veal, and pork. These foods produce pride, jealousy, greed, and vengefulness.

Some spiritual qualities of foods are:

NUTS: Help deep thinking, good for brain power and concentration.

FRUITS: Develop heart and spiritual qualities

VEGETABLES: Give power of management over the body.

Building the Body Temple

Every day the tissues must be supplied with proper body-building materials. In plastering a house, if you mix less lime in the sand, at first you may not notice anything wrong with the looks of the plaster, but in a short time the plaster will begin to fall off.

Similarly, our bodies decay when not “plastered” with the right kind of blood containing the right kind and quantity of body-building elements. The body begins to lose vigor, the tissues become flabby, the skin begins to wrinkle, and the cells begin to lose their building power.

So, in arranging your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, be sure you are giving the body the proper food substances.

Excerpted from How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality by Paramhansa Yogananda

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