Sattvic foods are those that support and help cultivate a clear, calm, peaceful state of mind. Sattva is one of the three gunas, or qualities of nature, forming a triad with rajas and tamas. Rajasic foods stimulate creativity, action, passion, and potentially impatience and aggression. Tamasic foods tend to be heavy or dull. These foods, when taken in excess, can lead to slowing down, numbness, or inertia. It is easy to understand that supporting a clear, calm, lucid, peaceful state is desirable. Yet, you may wonder which foods are sattvic and what are some sattvic diet recipes.
Sattvic Foods: An Overview
In general, foods that are fresh, wholesome, organic, and plant-based are sattvic. Most fresh fruits and vegetables are included in a sattvic diet, with some exceptions. Avocados, though beneficial in many ways, are considered rajasic (1). Radishes, garlic, and peppers are also rajasic (1). However, there are good reasons to include modest amounts of rajasic foods in one’s diet. For instance, certain individuals benefit from a level of warmth and stimulation.
Furthermore, a small amount of tamasic foods are fine to include in an overall sattvic diet. Some tamasic foods are onions, leeks, mushrooms, frozen fruit juices, and most meats (1).
You can read more about what goes into a sattvic diet; however, in general, sattvic eating is light, fresh, organic, and seasonal, and not overly spicy, heavy, greasy, or frozen or preserved.
Sattvic Diet Recipe Ideas
If you are looking for sattvic diet recipes, the options are endless. Pick up any Ayurvedic cookbook and you will find a plethora of sattvic diet recipes. But the best way to start is to take fresh, organic, seasonal vegetables and have them with grains and legumes (like kitchari) or saute them in a stirfry. You can also roast them or make them into soups and stews. Another great way to eat sattvic is to eat fresh, organic seasonal fruit. Consider stewed apples, pears or berries with lots of spices for breakfast and raw fruits for a late afternoon snack. You can also enjoy herbal teas and a cup of turmeric milk (with plant-based milk or fresh, organic cow’s milk). Also, since Ghruta (Ayurvedic Ghee) is the most sattvic fat, use generously for cooking and for flavor on top of meals.
Sattvic Food Ideas for Your Dosha
Eating a sattvic diet doesn’t mean you need to ignore your dosha. You can choose sattvic foods that are balancing for your dosha. For instance, sattvic foods that are balancing for Vata dosha include nuts and oils such as ghruta, pumpkin, yams, fresh yogurt, wheat parsnips, and rice.
Some sattvic diet ideas for Pitta dosha are sunflower seeds, zucchini, rice raspberries, pomegranate, cherries, and peaches.
Last but not least, here are some ideas of sattvic foods for Kapha dosha: mung dal, kale, green cabbage, apples, barley, collards, grapefruit, and lettuce.
These are just a few ideas for inspiration. Building a sattvic diet can be a fun, enjoyable, and creative process. For more ideas, you may want to check out our posts on kitchari, this post on yoga breakfast ideas, our post on foods for Pitta dosha, foods for Vata dosha, and foods for Kapha dosha.
Just remember, focus on fresh, organic, seasonal, and tasty! Don’t overdo the hot spices, pickles, and processed foods, and there is a lot you can choose from and create when it comes to sattvic diet recipes!
(1) Morningstar, A. (1995). Ayurvedic Cooking For Westerners. Lotus Press.
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.