Janet Evans Yoga
Shropshire, Telford area
BWY Teacher's DiplomaBWY Teacher's Diploma

Janet's personal experience of trying a sattvic diet for a week

I thought I had a fairly healthy diet with just the occasional lapse into indulgence, so the advise of changing the diet slowly need not be heeded. But upon commencing a sattvic diet I realised how much work I had still to do!

I had originally intended to try the sattvic diet over the February half term break, when I would have plenty of time, few mental distractions and the body would also have less work. But, as usual, life had different plans as I arranged to stay in Cornwall for the second half of the week. Okay, I thought, I'll shift the week forward by a few days.

So my diet started on Thursday morning with a mug of boiled water and some home made muesli. I finished my yoga session, arrived home and thought about lunch. I was still suffering from a bad cold and the thought of a green salad with nothing to spice it up made my heart plummet. No, I thought, I can't do this while I have my cold – I need the ragistic energy to help push away the tamasic energy of my cold and lift me for work this evening. I'll start the diet when I am fully recovered!

As I didn't feel completely well until Monday or Tuesday and I was going away Wednesday there was another reason to delay!

By the next Monday morning I had decided that I could not / would not go completely sattvic at the moment. Onions, garlic and mushrooms all have anti-viral properties that help the body fight off and resist the common cold, tomatoes and peppers are full of vitamin C and I didn't want to fall to another illness. No, in the winter time I need some ragistic foods to “buck me up”.

And so started my detoxifying, no tamasic (except mushrooms), cut out some ragistic food (coffee, tea, chocolate, fish, eggs, sugar) diet.

Surprisingly, I also found I needed to keep some processed food in my diet. I have soya milk on my muesli. I used Marigold low salt bouillon (a veg stock) in soup, bulgar wheat & quinoa, extra virgin olive oil, butter and cheese and organic tinned chickpeas (if planned I could have soaked dried chickpeas). I also had some organic wholegrain rice crackers and a bag of lightly salted corn chips. And I really let the diet go with a bottle of Kubus carrot, banana and apple drink (contains loads of sugar I'm afraid).

Although I normally drink weak white tea (not black tea with milk, but a more delicate drink than green tea with more antioxidants) this still has caffine and so I had to cut it out completely. I normally drink a lot of tea and had changed to normal black tea with milk whilst away, I think this may have been the cause of my constant headache for the first few days of my changed diet.

Drinks seemed to be my hardest change – I don't like fruit teas, cannot drink anything with orange in due to an allergy and am not keen on the taste of water - can sip some bottled water when really thirsty. I drank hot water with quarter of a lemon, ginger slices and a little honey first thing in the morning (gives a ragistic kick to digestive system and mind without caffine) – but the acid can attack the teeth so I didn't have it more than once a day. I found a Pukka detox infusion, and a ginger tea that were nice – again lots of ragistic spices and processed. Had a carton of organic pineapple juice and a bottle of Kubus – I was longing for something smooth and “milky” (I have already reduced drastically the amount of dairy in my diet so a glass of milk was out). I mixed the pineapple juice and the Kubus 50/50 with hot water as I find them quite a strong, sweet taste and wanted the warmth. I could have tried making a smoothy but I don't like eating fruit or yogurt and therefore had none in the house (I know, shocking).

So, my week went by, at first I craved wheat of any kind, as I had probably made the diet harder by cutting this out too (including wholewheat), and it may also have contributed to the detox headache in the first few days. But as the week progressed things got easier – except the drinks.

On Thursday it was my son's birthday, he prefers chocolate brownies to sponge cake and I made this and some muesli flapjack for myself so I wasn't tempted. I found myself thinking “brownie mix isn't as nice as sponge cake mix” as I licked the beaters. “Oh, no”. I stopped myself licking the bowl out too and did manage not to eat any of the brownies!

By the end of the week eating was easy, the flapjack giving me a sweet hit when I needed it but I was having just 3 or 4 mugs of drink a day because I didn't fancy what I was allowed, and a dehydration headache hit me on the final day.

Summing up, at the moment (Monday morning) I feel no better for changing my diet. Still have a headache and have reverted to white tea with a drop of soya milk – had two already. I will try to keep other aspects of the diet going as much as possible and even if I lapse I shall start again e.g no meat, fish, eggs, wheat, sugar, coffee, chocolate (will allow some at Easter!), alcohol, readymeals, processed food with additives, only small quantities of dairy. I know I shall bring Ryvita, oakcakes, Whole Earth organic peanut butter and other additive and sugar free processed foods back into my diet for the convenience of not making my own.

I am hoping that the longer term effect will be a more positive outcome on my life, and as the weather gets warmer and my body becomes adjusted to this diet, maybe shall try a week of sattvic diet in the summer!

Update : 2 weeks on I am sticking to the diet during the week and eating other foods at weekends, which is when we mainly eat as a family, and also allowing treats like a croissant with chocolate spread for breakfast on Mother's Day. Do not feel at all deprived of anything and my stomach seems a little flatter! I am feeling calm and peaceful, but this may be due to the lovely sunshine.

Non Tamasic Food Ideas