We are what we eat, as the old saying goes. We all know the choices we make affect our physical body, but what effect do they have on our mind and spirit? Many ancient practices, including Ayurveda are of the belief that what you eat ultimately determines the level of consiousness you can achieve.
Generally speaking, it explains this by ascribing 3 qualities or guanas to the universe:
- Sattva– the state of clarity, peace, and stillness.
- Raja– the mode of Energy and passion
- Tama– the state of stagnation, darkness, and ignorance.
Everything in the Universe has a mixture of these qualities. And when appied this to our diets, it means that we gain some of the attributes of the animals and plants we consume. This is why something might be Pitta pacifying, or vitiate Vata.
I think for me the most disturbing example of this was seeing the transformation a former vegan on youtube had undergone by becoming a “raw carnivore”. Not only did their appearance change drastically, but so did their personality as well.
As they consumed more and more meat, their lower nature became dominant. By the end of it they had become agressive and animalistic. And the saddest part? At one point they had some really interesting things to say.
That brings me to something I ran across while doing some research. The site is called the Spiritual research foundation. This drawing was made by a blind woman who can see subtle energy.
Whenever we consume flesh we take on some of the qualities of the animal in question. And the more suffering the animal has endured, the greater the distressing energies. Before you worry to much about it, one thing to keep in mind that cooking meat purifies it to a considerable degree. The Agni (fire) purifies and elevates.
Still, What really interested me was that eggs are still considered flesh, while dairy isn’t. In fact, eggs are considered impure by ayurveda. This is Because they come from a lower centre, and have a poor subtle aspect. Not only that, but you are killing something before it has a chance to live. You won’t find anyone cooking with eggs in India because of this.
When we milk a cow, none of this applies! Dairy is considered sacred and auspicous. It’s a product of love, and a manifestation of the divine mother.
Despite this, on a physical level diary doesn’t always agree with us.
This is why auyrveda loves Ghee so much-it’s the essence of milk, with all of the impurities removed. Something just about anyone can enjoy.
I didn’t understand why ghee was so highly reguarded, but once you realise that animals and humans store toxins in their fat stores- making lard and tallow highly tamasic. Not only that, but coconut’s form of saturated fat is highly unhealthy!
The Mahabharata says: “From ghee flows the sustenance of all the worlds”
I mentioned in a previous post that vegetarianism is largely based on a misunderstanding of the way language changes over time, yet there are a few groups of genuine vegetarians throughout history. You might have noticed that Ayurveda considers tubers and root vegetables inferior to things like fruit, pulses and milk, all of which come from a higher place.This idea is somewhat mirrored in the attitude of the nobility of medieval europe, who like the Jains of china held that anything that grew underground was unfit for consumption, be it immoral, unclean or peasant food.
In fact, in medieval cooking books you’d be hard pressed to find any vegetables. Whatever your beliefs, nobody can deny that they have a much higher density and grow in the dirt surrounded by microbes and bacteria. In fact, to the violence hating jains, this is extremely important, who refuse to eat anything that grows underground as part of their practice of ahimsa. To harvest a carrot, the entire plant has to die. But when we harvest fruit, flowers or seeds of a plant it continues to survive.
What are the effects of our actions on our spiritual well-being? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. At the end of the day, Our bodies still require physical nourishment.
Whatever you do, make sure you honour the energy that went into creating it. Waste not, want not. Be well.