Higher Taste: Simple Cooking, Divine Flavours
Source: New Indian Express
Dated: September 26, 2015+
Source: New Indian Express
Dated: September 26, 2015+
Category: Higher Taste News
Dated: September 19, 2013+
Category: Higher Taste News
Dated: October 18, 2014+
Category: Higher Taste News
Dated: April 28, 2013+
Category: Higher Taste News
Dated: March 31, 2011+
Deccan Chronicle Friday
Dated: July 16, 2010+
Category: Sattvic Food
Dated: January 28, 2015+
Category: Sattvic Food
Dated: January 3, 2015+
Source: New Indian Express, Dated: September 26, 2015
In the hustle bustle of modern living, one always looks out for a sanctuary of peace. The Higher Taste, a restaurant by ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Foundation, provides you just that, a perfect retreat with a wholesome multi-cuisine experience.
You can walk in here after a soothing visit to the temple and then be soothed further by good food.
The restaurant is a perfect blend of tradition and modernity in all its aspects, be it the cuisine, plating or the ambience. The contemporary design, state-of-the-art infrastructure, warm lighting, the comforting devotional songs in the background make this an ideal place to dine with the family.
The fine diner provides two options to its customer; either to self-serve at the buffet (except that jaljeera, the welcome drink, soup and rotis are served on the table) or the ala carte style where people can spend quality time together, dining on the high backed upholstered couches and chairs and ordering at will.
The buffet serves different dishes on different days and has a special menu on weekends with varieties of North-Indian, South-Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines. The menu each day includes soup, six salads, four starters and 16 main course dishes and 12-15 Indian, baked and continental desserts. The style and presentation of the food is also commendable.
The cream of broccoli soup, the crispy paneer 65, baked beans as toppings for mini buns, the creamy shahi paneer, delectable pasta Florentine and the Indian sweets will tempt one to gorge on and on. The ala carte at the upper floor also has an assortment of different yet unique food items on its menu. With more than 60 items including starters, soups, curries and lentils, rice and accompaniments, the spread not only satisfy your taste buds but your soul. The food is served on wooden planks on the table.
These planks have been beautifully carved with fine finishing and space for the cutlery so that they could be neatly placed and people can easily choose them while dining. What is unique about The Higher Taste is that it is innovative and always has something new to offer.
It is totally customer driven and gives a variety of choices to the food lovers, every time they walk in.The Higher Taste, an initiative of devotees of ISKCON Bengaluru has also introduced Sattvic Bento meal boxes which are customised meal boxes for breakfast, lunch, hi-tea and dinner. These include salad, starters, a vegetable dish, dal, basmati rice pulao, Indian bread, papad/pickle and dessert.
The Higher Taste also celebrates several food festivals throughout the year like Dilli Ka Swaad, Tastes of India, Karavali Food Fest etc.The Hare Krishna Festival from October 2 to October 4 will have special items like Gauranga potato and other specialities of the ISKCON temples across the globe.
It brings together the taste of all the special items under one roof so that the devotees can have the feel of having visited all the ISKCON temples across the globe.
Last but not least, the Navratri Food Festival which is celebrated from October 13 to October 22 will have Navratri specialities.
The food served is tested in the in-house food lab and the customer feedback is also taken. The foods served at the restaurant are based on the Sattvic principle and are cooked without onions and garlic.
The Sattvic foods can be easily adapted to any cuisine across the world.
Category: Higher Taste News, Dated: September 19, 2013
The Bhagavad-Gita states, ‘Sattvic food’ not only enriches the body, but also the soul, promoting ‘happiness and satisfaction’. Taking this into account, The Higher Taste restaurant located inside the ISKCON Temple in Rajajinagar offers not only good food but also some excellent thought for your mind and soul.
The Higher Taste is one of the vegetarian restaurants in Bangalore, bringing a unique cuisine to the table that is as delectable as it is refreshing. The sattvic cuisine is the first of its kind in the city, using ancient cooking methods that take vegetarian fine dining to new realms of culinary excellence. The Higher Taste takes vegetarianism to a new level. Located on the premises of the ISKCON Temple, Bangalore is no strangers to the quality of food that comes from the kitchens of the temple. The restaurant inside the ISKCON is the only outlet in Bangalore. The Higher Taste is a purely sattvic restaurant – no onions, no garlic and no caffeine. The spices are freshly ground on the premises and the food prepared is served within a four-hour window. The menu has been uniquely designed. It has a mix of north as well as south Indian dishes with interesting twists to each one.
The restaurant can seat around hundred and twenty customers at a time. The restaurant targets especially families and warm-heartedly welcome them for memorable get-togethers or parties. One can choose from wide variety of dishes mentioned in ala- carte menu or have a scrumptious buffet lunch or dinner in a highly appealing ambience.
The Chinese and Continental dishes are carefully blended with Pan-Indian menu calling forth the attention of the people of all age groups. Assorted starters, delightful main course, yummy desserts and much more like never before in any other restaurants. Every day, the buffet dishes changes and will does not get repeated before a time period of three months. The restaurant has an in-house lab that experiments and develops the creative and peculiar dishes that can be tasted only at The Higher Taste.
Paneer Pudhina Simla Mirch is a curry made using paneer and pudhina, and is a must on the list. Similarly, if you want to taste vazhapoo (banana flower) vada, kaikari paneer idiyappam, nendrapazham dosa, tiranga paneer tikka and many other dishes of varied combinations that you haven’t even imagined in your wildest dreams, do visit the place and enjoy the savory. The desserts at this place are just mind boggling. Apart from many interesting desserts, first choice has to be the Paan Ice-cream. Yes! You read right Paan ice-cream and the Elaneer Payasam. A milk and coconut water payasam with bits of soft tender coconut in it as well. Delicious to the last bite! The Paan ice-cream actually is a whole paan that is ground and then blended with the ice-cream mix and set and what you get is a super tasting dessert. A dessert also doubles up as a palate cleanser, mouth freshener and a digestive.
Celebrities are regular visitors here and their testimonials project the elite value of The Higher Taste and their affordable prices. Hema Malini, an all-time gorgeous actresses says, “The Higher Taste has highly tasty food and is well served.”
Category: Higher Taste News, Dated: October 18, 2014
With 10,000 visitors daily, ISKCON Bangalore has seven kitchens to serve different needs from offerings to temple deities to midday meals. A behind-the-scenes glimpse into what goes into this undertaking.
Walking through one of the seven kitchens at the ISKCON temple premises in Rajajinagar, there’s a sense of awe at the scale of operations. Giant cauldrons of milk being churned mechanically, kadais, the size of drums, with boondi being fried in hot oil, hundreds of trays of ghee-laden Mysore Pak, laddoos, gulab jamuns, ras malai, namkeens and more being packed by a line of workers — for a moment, it’s easy to forget that we are on temple premises, this could easily be a mithai factory.
It’s about 4.30 pm so all is quiet in one of the neighbouring kitchens, which incidentally, is where the Akshaya Patra or midday meal scheme was first initiated in 2000. But a visit early next morning presents equally hectic scenes with workers in uniforms wearing face masks and hair nets, using shovel-sized ladles to transfer steaming hot mounds of vegetable rice into vessels that are then ferried in steel carts to be packed into massive dabbas that will be distributed in 487 schools covered under the midday meal programme.
Rivalling the output of these two kitchens is a third one that prepares the daily prasadam of khichdi that’s distributed among the 10,000 visitors that come to the temple every day (on a festival day like Janmasthami this number goes up to a lakh).
In all of this, there are two underlying principles that unify these commercial-scale operations. One, all of the food is Sattvic (which means no onion, garlic or meat and egg-based products) and two, everything is first offered to the Lord first — smaller idols of the temple deities adorn the entrances of all these kitchens and as soon as a batch of food is ready, samples are laid out for the Lord to bless. This, basically also means that cooks cannot taste the food while preparing them, hence, they need to follow very precise recipes.
Away from the chaos of the kitchens, seated in the hush of a conference room, ashram initiate Bharatarshabha Dasa, head of their communications team, talks about the philosophy behind their many community kitchens. “At any temple, the primary focus is prasadam because no worship is complete without it. Even what is offered in the restaurant (Higher Taste, their fine dine space which opened in 2005 ) is also prasadam,”
Bharatarshabha says going on to recite lines from the Bhagavad Gita that forms the essence of this idea: Yatkaroshiyadasnasiyajjuhoshidadasi yat. “It essentially means, ‘whatever I do, whatever I eat, should be an offering to the Lord’ and that is the fundamental principle.”
He’s one of the 25 ashram devotees who is dedicated to the various sevas of the temple deities — eight in all: Radha-Krishna, Krishna-Balaram, Nitai-Gauranga, Prahlada Narasimha and Sri Srinivasa Govinda — one of which is preparing seven offerings that have to be presented to the Lord through the day. So, Bharatarshabha’s day begins at 3.15 am following which an offering of sweet rice is made to the deity around 3.45 am. Thereafter, they offer milk, dry fruits, sweets, fruits, etc, at regular intervals, with the largest offering being the Raja Bhog with a minimum of 12 items (this can go up to 108 items during festivals) at 12 pm — with separate plates for each of the eight deities. Unlike the other kitchens, which have a mix of volunteers and paid staffers — about 250 in all — supervised by an ashram devotee, the deity kitchen can only be accessed by ashram initiates like Bharatarshabha. And at any given point there are about 10-15 devotees who are in charge of cooking for the deities.
Even the food that is cooked for initiates like Bharatarshabha, who work full-time at ISKCON, comes from a separate kitchen. In all, there are about 120 ashram initiates — a 100-odd brahmacharis who live within the premises and the rest like Bharatarshabha, who is a Grihasta (even his wife is a full-time devotee at ISKCON), are given an allowance to rent a small place nearby. “The food that’s cooked for the deities is usually distributed among the initiates and volunteers who come from outside. Apart from that, two simple meals consisting of rice, dal, sabzi, roti and buttermilk or curd is cooked for us,” Bharatarshabha says, adding that their food is very light, and made without spices. The whole idea being that Sattvic (pure) food is nourishing and elevates one’s thinking unlike Rajasic (stimulating) and Tamasic (base) foods. “It goes beyond vegetarianism; we are Krishnatarians. Meat, onion, garlic and intoxicants, even caffeine, is in the mode of passion which increases your desires, pushes you to think on the mundane platform.”
Interestingly, the Higher Taste kitchen has a separate team of about 40 employees that are overseen by ashram devotees who are passionate about food. An in-house food lab, set up in 2005, a sort of mini kitchen, is used by the chefs to try out some of the more innovative items on the menu such as paan ice cream, gooseberry soup, Kabulistani biryani (made with potato and cauliflower), Vedic coffee (like a kashaya). “For instance, one of the devotees who had gone to Brindavan found some old recipes there and we tried it out here during the week of Janmasthami. So, we test on a smaller scale at the lab and then introduce it
on the menu,” Bharatarshabha explains.
A bird’s eye view of ISKCON today can easily make one forget its humble beginnings in 1997 when they had only about 3,000 visitors.
With the growing number of devotees visiting every year, their plans include setting up an annadana hall where visitors will be served prasadam. But the core idea of serving food that’s rich in Prana or life-force remains their divine purpose.
Category: Higher Taste News, Dated: April 28, 2013
ISKCON’s Bangalore temple offers 1,200 sattvic recipes to raise diners’ consciousness to a higher plane.
Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, has moved with the times. He no longer thrives on just butter or yogurt stored in an earthen pot dangling from the ceiling. That would be outright boring, with a global gastronomic explosion afoot. The Lord’s feast now includes Italian pasta and bruschetta, Chinese stir fried noodles, Russian salad, American burgers and French coffee walnut mousse.
That is just a sample of the offerings at the Bangalore temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, also known as ISKCON or simply the Hare Krishna Movement. After being blessed by Krishna, the food finds its way to the lavish buffet at The Higher Taste, the temple’s fine dining restaurant, where bhajans play in the background to remind guests of the food’s higher purpose. Here, eating and divinity are closely related. As the restaurant’s name suggests, the lip-smacking food is aimed at helping diners reach a higher level of consciousness.
Various centres of the movement run 100 such restaurants around the world, all of which promote what ISKCON calls sattvic vegetarianism. Sattva is Sanskrit for ‘pure’. ISKCON’s cuisine includes no garlic, onion, high-protein pulses and caffeinated drinks.
“Sattvic food eliminates chemical reactions that generate negative energy,” explains Chamari Devi Dasi, Division Head of The Higher Taste. “To generate the best consciousness, to nourish the mind and soul, eating sattvic food is important,” she says, a little wrinkle in her forehead marked by a tilak made with mud from Krishna’s childhood home of Vrindavan. Onion and garlic, she says, generate tamas, the state of ignorance.
The Higher Taste employs 280 people, and can cook up to 1,200 dishes. The kitchens at the Bangalore temple – one of the largest ISKCON temples in the world – use 400 kilos of nuts, 250 litres of milk, 150 litres of oil, 500 coconuts, and more than 150 kg each of sugar, rice, potatoes and flour daily. All these ingredients go into 20 types of laddoos, dhoklas, rice dishes and 2,000 samosas.
On holidays, some 20,000 people visit the Bangalore temple, and many stay back to partake of its sattvic fare. If ISKCON were a commercial organisation, its food business would be one of the largest in the city rivalling top restaurant chains – through sales from temple counters, its restaurants, stores and catering, it generates revenues of Rs 16 crore a year.
For several years, ISKCON’s Govinda’s Restaurant, at Juhu in Mumbai, has been engaged in a tussle with the Maharashtra state income tax authorities, who say it should be taxed as a commercial operation. The Bangalore restaurant, however, is under no such pressure. ISKCON says it is not a commercial outfit. It is a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 1966 in New York City by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada to preach Bhakti Yoga, or “the science of devotional service to Lord Krishna”. Today, it has 400 centres worldwide. Its restaurants are typically run by a trust. Profits from the sale of food mostly go into preaching or charity. ISKCON is the world’s largest vegetarian food relief organisation.
The Rs 4 crore annual profit that ISKCON Bangalore makes is used to print religious texts, youth programmes and sometimes for free meal programmes.
Cooking 1,200 dishes daily is a complex operation, and professional chefs and managers, overseen by devotees who are passionate about food, make things smooth for those who pay to get their minds and souls nourished. The revenue-generating kitchens alone have 60 chefs. The food must be offered to the Lord before eating, which means chefs cannot taste it while cooking. This is why they must perfect ISKCON’s version of molecular gastronomy – a scientific cooking method that requires strict adherence to temperature and proportions of ingredients.
Work is divided into three units. Plant One is a huge production unit that caters to the temple counters that sell sweets, savouries, juice, and packaged products such as snack mixtures. Plant One also caters for companies and events. Plant Two makes cakes and cookies. The third division is the restaurants.
Besides The Higher Taste, there is Annakuta, a cafeteria that sells fastmoving items such as dosas and sandwiches. “We have separate managers for each division, but ISKCON has a centralised system to predict sales, receive orders and pass them on to different plants,” says Chamari Devi Dasi. To handle the complexity, Plant One’s kitchen is subdivided into ten – there are separate kitchens for rice dishes, snacks, North Indian sweets, South Indian sweets, Bengali sweets, laddoos, mixtures, samosas, fried fare, and a speciality kitchen that makes spring rolls, bread rolls, burgers and cutlets.
Devotee Kaivalya Pathi Dasa is a chef with a passion for experimentation. ISKCON, he says, is a master at innovation. An in-house food lab started in 2005, is a repository of around 3,000 recipes that its fine dining restaurant draws on daily.
Cooks and devotees constantly try out new combinations in the lab to keep sattvic cuisine alive and kicking. One of the experiments was on biryani: how can you create an authentic biryani taste without using meat, onion or garlic? The result was the Kabulistani Biryani, which substitutes meat – traditionally goat or lamb – with cauliflower and potato.
Continued research and development will be necessary for ISKCON to retain its fan following. But competition is brewing. Just a few weeks ago, two former employees of ISKCON teamed up to open Sattvam, a sattvic restaurant less than five kilometres from the temple. ISKCON has to grapple with problems that other food entrepreneurs face, such as attrition.
How does ISKCON maintain quality given the staff churn? Pat comes Chamari Devi Dasi’s reply: “Krishna is in charge. He’s managing it.”
Category: Higher Taste News, Dated: March 31, 2011
How about tucking into an eggless caramel cake? Or savouring Bukhare ki dal made without onions and garlic? The Higher Taste, a fine-dining restaurant at the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple, Bangalore, offers nearly 100 such dishes that attract a steady stream of hard-to-please food connoisseurs, pilgrims and tourists across nationalities.
This kind of cooking is described as one that adheres to ‘Sattvic’ principles. “The concept of Sattvic food dwells on Lord Krishna’s message in the Bhagwad Gita. It is a combination of natural ingredients like grains, vegetables and milk, which nourish the soul and body. It goes beyond vegetarianism. As the masalas are basic and freshly ground, there’s a feel-good factor and one doesn’t feel heavy at the end of the meal,” explains Chitranga Chaitanya Das, head of the temple’s Prasadam department.
With the tagline, God’s Own Cuisine, the restaurant, which turned one last month, is set to open a branch in south Bangalore following popular demand from foodies. Though still in its infancy, Higher Taste has contributed 20 per cent to the overall sales of the temple’s food counters.
A unique feature of this fine-dining restaurant is its location inside a temple complex, which is both uncommon and unconventional.
After the ISKCON temple was established in Bangalore in 1997, a bakery and cafeteria sprung up on the premises that sold south Indian staples like lemon rice, puliyogare and dosas to devotees. With time, exotic namkeens and mithai were added to the offerings.
Meanwhile, the temple’s core team felt the need for an exclusive platform to showcase the gastronomic expertise that is one of the hallmarks of the ISKCON movement. “Swami Prabhupada, our founder, felt that eating prasadam is part of the spiritual process and the teachings of Lord Krishna in the Bhagwad Gita highlight the significance of offering food to the God, which is why Prabhupada referred to it as Kitchen Religion,” says Das.
This was the indicative guideline for the three-member R&D team that was constituted to design a menu that would serve as comfort food, with subtle aromas bursting in the mouth. The team innovated and experimented with food ideas. Instead of hiring kitchen talent from overseas, the core team looked at designing international dishes with a desi twist. The idea was to distill the essence of Sattvic food while falling back on world cuisine. The platter was filled with Mexican, Greek and Mediterranean delicacies adapted to Vaishnava style of cooking and suited to Sattvic taste buds. For instance, flaxseeds were substituted for eggs while baking fluffy muffins.
Likewise, bruschettas and thin-crust pizzas evolved as signature dishes. The buffet spread includes pastas, Chinese noodles and other varieties of world cuisine. Desi temptations from the south and north India constitute the a la carte offerings. The Hyderabadi biryani is garnished with cabbage carrying a hint of asafoetida. According to Das, the flavour mimics onion. Original recipes have been tweaked to add a surprising lip-smacking factor, such as the bharwan Jodhpuri or arisi paruppu saatham or even the paan ice-cream.
Their task was made easier by the fact that similar experiments were already on at ISKCON’s fine-dining restaurant Govindas in the US. “Though the vision is similar, for the first time the menu is categorised as Sattvic food and is being promoted in ISKCON. For a wider appeal, the flagship brand was visualised as The Higher Taste,” says Das.
The 100-seater restaurant at the Bangalore temple is open for lunch and dinner. Holy chants in the background and the gentle murmur of a water body add to the restaurant’s overall ambience.
The F & B team comes up with eclectic dining options ranging from a Rajasthani food festival to Christmas goodies. Food lovers can also look forward to a sit-down meal during such special occasions.
Deccan Chronicle Friday, Dated: July 16, 2010
What do Anil Kumble, Vishwanathan Anand and Amitabh Bachchan have in common? They are all vegetarian and proud of it. Whether it is for health reasons, to save the planet or do their bit for animals, a number of Bengalureans too seem to be going their way. Veg food is now preferred for highend quality dining and is not just limited to cafes and darshinis.
South Indies and Higher Taste are proof of the fact that there is a customer who enjoys fine dining veg, maybe for the unique ness of the concept.
Chef Aditya Fatepuria of Higher Taste at Iskcon believes there is a trend of people turning to vegetarianism off late. "At the restaurant, we go deeper into the concept by providing Sattvic food," he explains. "It is veg minus the use of ingredients like garlic, onion and eggs which create tamas (heat, desire) in your body. Sattvic equals wholesome."
Food is made and served within four hours. Aditya says the popular dishes are Nellika sharu (Gooseberry soup), for starters there is Kakori seekh kabab, inji vadai (ginger flakes vadai) and zafrani kofta. For main course there is Elaneer Caraisu (tender coconut curry). The base of the curry is ground cashews which are mixed with tender coconut water and tender coconut pieces and boiled. This goes well with rice or dosa. Rajabhojanam is another signature dish which is very popular. This `food of the kings' is a curry made with delicious nuts -cashew, pista, almond and raisins. Paniyarams or rice dumplings are another favourite with guests, according to chef.
"We have them in different forms. Plain, sukku (ginger flavoured), and idiyappams. "Kaikari idiyappam is a specialty which uses specially ground masalas. "The masalas that we have developedare the basic for the food. The entire experience is very aromatic." For desserts, the Nendrapadam dosai (sweet banana pancakes) and a paan ice cream which "is a mouth freshner cum digestive cum dessert is a must-have!" adds Aditya.
Category: Sattvic Food, Dated: January 28, 2015
Eating on a banana leaf is one of the most eco-friendly, discardable food serving arrangements. It decomposes quickly and unlike a metal or porcelain plate, it requires very little washing with water. Plastic plates pollute the environment and are hazardous to animal and aquatic life.
This ‘banana leaf experience’ has been redefined by the traditional ‘sadya‘, or banquet, in Kerala. Sadya is a traditional vegetarian meal served on a banana leaf during weddings, festivals and other special occasions. All the dishes are served on the leaf and eaten with the bare hand. The banana leaf feels so clean and fresh, moreover, it is hygienic. It makes all the food on it more colourful and relishable! Ghee and oil do not stick to the banana leaf and so enjoying their flavours is easier. In fact, many a time the banana leaf is also used for cooking, especially steamed items.
Eating on a banana leaf is healthy. The antioxidants (polyphenols) in banana leaf are reported to help fight cancer. Another research says the leaf contains polyphenol oxidase that helps fight Parkinson’s disease. Banana leaves are also used in some ayurvedic medicinal preparations. By eating hot food on a banana leaf, one can get a lot of that good stuff though the leaf is hard to digest for the human when eaten as-is.
A simple sprinkling of water is enough to clean a banana leaf. That is to get rid of impurities that may be sticking to the leaf. When you are eating at places with questionable hygiene it is always preferable to eat in a banana leaf than an inadequately cleaned plate. When hot rice is put on a banana leaf it swelters. The rice absorbs the chlorophyll in the leaf and a flavour is produced. When hot food is served on the leaf, the polyphenols (EGCC) in it are activated and get absorbed into the food and finally into our system. This was yet another reason that food was always cooked fresh and eaten piping hot on a banana leaf. By the time the final course of the curd/buttermilk came, any remaining benefit of the leaf was wiped clean by the hand and eaten!
It is waterproof. South Indian foods involve a lot of liquids and many other biomaterials that don’t fit in easily. The leaves can be quite big and are great to present the diverse foodstuffs in a South Indian menu. Most plates are not suitable in this respect. Since the leaf can hold a large quantity of food, it requires less number of trips for serving and thus it is easy when you are serving parties of 1000s of people (not unusual in many Indian weddings). It adds a nice aroma to the food and improves the taste of some foods like rasam.
Banana leaf meal etiquette also dictates that, after partaking the meal, the guest must fold the banana leaf inwards as a sign of gratefulness to the host, even when the host is the owner of an eatery. However, when meals are served at funerals, the leaf is folded outwards as a sign of condolence to the family of the departed. Due to this, folding the leaf outwards is considered rude in any other circumstance. Remember, always fold it towards you!
Category: Sattvic Food, Dated: January 3, 2015
According to the Charaka Samhita, one of the classic textbooks of Ayurveda – persons having the sattvic principle are gifted with memory, devotion, are grateful, learned, free from anxiety, having a well-directed and serious intellect and are engaged in virtuous acts.”
Ancient yogis believed food to be the creator of life force that sustains our bodies and keeps us in good health. Therefore, it is very critical for us to make the right food choice for healthy living. Food is categorized into 3 types based on the effects they have on our body – sattva, rajas and tamas.
They believed that tamasic food can bring out lethargy whereas rajasic food can make one restless. On the other hand, sattvic food can make you feel enthusiastic and energetic. It is the one that is pure and wholesome and promotes strength, intelligence and courage. Sri Jnana dasa, a temple devotee at ISKCON Bangalore says, ‘It not only meets your physical requirements of protein, carbohydrates and fats but also sustains you mentally and physically.’
Significance of a sattvic diet
According to the Bhagavad-gita, the significance of a sattvic diet is that it is light in nature, easily digestible, slightly cooling and not disturbing to the mind. It is rich in prana (purity), so promotes positive thoughts, happiness and satisfaction. This kind of diet can leave us peaceful, alert and refreshed. It is different from other kinds of food as it is savoury, smooth and pleasant to the stomach unlike the rajasic diet that is unduly pungent, sour and salty, and tamasic diet that is stale and tasteless.
Traditional sattvic food
The Bhagavad-gita says that, sattvic food is quite simple and grown organically on rich productive soil. Food preparations are good-looking in appearance and are harvested at the correct time of the year. Sattvic diet encourages foods that are grown and ripened by nature. It shuns any type of food that involves killing / hurting animals. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts are sattvic and are believed to clean the mind and body leading to optimum physical and mental health. Cooked food that is consumed before three-four hours of cooking is considered sattvic.
Health benefits of a sattvic diet are enormous. As per Ayurveda, this is the best diet for strength, calm mind, perfect health and longevity. It also eliminates tiredness and improves peace and tranquillity. This kind of food is easily digested and can strengthen the stomach, intestine, liver and the pancreas. If you are prone to diseases such as high BP and diabetes then adopting a sattvic diet can be the best option for you. Besides, sattvic food can improve the health of your skin and quality of your hair.
The Bhagavad-gita describes the sattvic diet as – promoting lifespan, virtue, strength, well-being and satisfaction. Sattvic foods are savoury, firm and pleasing to the stomach. In contrast, the Bhagavad-gita describes the rajasic diet as – excessively pungent, sour, salty and astringent leading to pain, depression and sickness. The foods in the mode of tamasic are described as: stale, tasteless, smelly, left-over and foul.
Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) who advocated eating only prasadam (food that is sanctified by first offering it to Lord Krishna) said in one of his lectures – When one has a tiger’s body, his taste for food will be very abominable, fresh blood, etc. And if one has a hog’s body, then he shall feel pleasure by eating stool. And when one has a brahmana’s body, he will be pleased with nice sattvic foodstuff and that is wheat, rice, fruits, vegetables, milk products, etc., which are in the mode of goodness.
Tips to keep in mind
The Shastras suggest that sattvic food needs to be chewed properly and eaten in small servings. Never overindulge sattvic foods as they become tamasic and lead to diseases in the body. You should also not overcook or over-spice sattvic foods as they then convert to rajasic foods and lead to restlessness.