Homemakers got together to highlight the importance of Satvik food

“Food is a blessing, a great source of energy. It should be prepared with joy and eaten with grace so that it nourishes the mind and the body” – read a small innocuous poster inside The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre.

A group of home-makers had joyfully tried their hands at cooking satvik food and were happily serving several dishes to all the guests. Suseela brought the traditional welcome drink made with tamarind, panangarkandu, dried ginger and cardamom. Sridevi’s bottle gourd and barley soup was a hit.

If Jaya Sudha fed hungry stomachs with ‘varagu pongal’ Rakhi Bansal made super-soft raddish and coriander stuffed paranthas with besan and atta. Deepika’s banana stem raita went well with it as did Sujatha’s fruit salad sprinkled with powdered pepper corns, mustard and cumin seeds. Aruna’s panangarkandu avial and Kavita’s Burmese black rice sweetened with jaggery and laced with ghee made for a sweet finale.

It was a happy occasion for all these yoga learners from the centre who volunteered to cook, serve, eat and promote satvik food as a healthy lifestyle change. None of them used onion, garlic, red or green chilli, table salt and white sugar in their preparations. And it turned out to be an aromatic, flavourful, delicious affair.

Each of the ladies brought three friends to introduce to them the wholesome, pure vegetarian ahimsa food. “We will be inspired if all the guests enjoy the food we cooked today. And real success will come only when we are able to cook it daily for our families,” said Sridevi. Jaya Sudha with all others voted for the food that is easy to cook, healthy, tasty and low in calorie.

T.N.Natarajan’s initiative worked out well. As in-charge of the Madurai unit, it was his idea to inculcate the concept of satvik food in all the women who come to the centre to learn yoga. “It found immediate acceptance,” he says, “as all the members instantly agreed to participate in this first-ever exercise.”

So enthused he is that the Sivananda Centre has now decided to come out with a cook book that will contain recipes from the ladies who participate in this programme for preparing a satvik item every week. The idea is to encourage batches of eight women each to make something innovative using their creativity and who in turn will bring three new friends in an attempt to reach out to a wider group.

“Within a year we will be able to collect over 300 original recipes which increase life, purity and strength. It will be a nice gift to society,” he says.

Dr.Uma Kannan, Correspondent, Thiagarajar Arts College has agreed to compile the book. As chief guest, she was impressed by the turn out and enthusiasm of the women and appreciated the initiative. “Eating is a holistic process. You can’t go on abusing your body with all kinds of food but a balanced approach helps to remain fit and healthy. Satvik or yogic food is cooked as per nature of law and is easy to digest. It is important to watch out for the foods we take in,” she said.

All the participants and invitees agreed that though satvik diet requires a little planning initially, but it has multiple benefits in the long run. “It increases immunity, calms the mind, generates equilibrium and energises the entire being other than impacting peoples’ personality, attitude and mood,” listed out Mr.Natarajan. “Satvik food is preferred by yoga practitioners because it takes you away from toxins that we usually get from other foods like rajasik and tamasik. It is a matter of time and interest in your well-being to get used to satvik food,” he added.

Though satvik food may not be a fad in small places like Madurai, it has attained a fashionable connotation in many places. Satvik food is as much about an attitude towards food as much as the ingredients that go into it. In eating out these days, the trend is mostly to go for freshly cooked food with a focus on green vegetables, fresh fruits and salads. People are going organic. It is all about respecting what nature has given you.

All this points towards nothing but satvik way of eating, says Natarajan, as it keeps the body well conditioned and the mind active.

Food you love to eat most often destroys you. Every individual makes choices that best define who she or he is. After all, happiness lies in joyfully eating because ‘we are what we eat’.