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Spiritual Food by Paramhansa Yogananda

Health does not mean mere existence or clinging to the body. Keeping out of the hospital for a number of years is not health. To be able to resist disease, to bear strain and stimulate mental vitality, to feel the body as a luxury, as a bird feels while shooting through the air, and as a child does always, is health.”  - Paramhansa Yogananda

Advanced Course on Practical Metaphysics (1926) —
     Lesson 11: Outline Notes on “Spiritual Food”

The soul is independent of food. The body should also express this freedom of the soul. Food seems to be the greatest bondage of the soul to the body.

Food should not be eaten with the consciousness that it will produce physical health, but rather that it will spiritualize the body.

Affirm “Good food or any kind of food or no food are all alike to me, because my body emanates from my soul, which is unconditioned, and I am above food, hunger, and decay. I am immortal, I am satisfied, all my wants are fulfilled, hence I am above hunger, decay or death.”

Since the expression of the soul of the average man is dependent on his body, and his body on food, it is desirable to know not only the physical but also the spiritual and psychical effects of food.

Beef and pork should be strictly avoided. Those who want to eat meat should confine themselves to lamb and chicken. Those who can dispense with meat can use fish) and eggs. Animals, when killed, leave vibrations of fear, anger and suffering in their meat, which affect the mind of the consumer.

The three psychological qualities of food:

Sattwic- spiritual (for developing moral and spiritual qualities);

Rajasic- material (for developing active and worldly qualities);

Tamasic- demonic (for increasing or creating evil qualities).

Sattwic foods are fruits, unpolished cereals, peanut and almond pastes, honey, milk or coconut milk, nuts, celery, lettuce, etc. These produce calmness and nobility.

Rajasic foods are those that produce active, worldly, strong, emotional, dual qualities of the mind. Foods coming under this classification are onions, garlic, horse-radish, pumpkin, potatoes, pickles, spices, etc.

Tamasic foods have demonic, destructive qualities. Those foods which are full of odor, putrefied or artificially made (deprived of their natural qualities) are tamasic. Such are Roquefort cheese, cold storage foods, stale meats, liquors, etc. These foods produce pride, jealousy, greed and revengefulness.

It is highly advisable to fast one day a week. The Hindus claim that the 11th day of the New Moon and the 11th day of the Full Moon are the best days on which to fast, because of certain electrical, pranic influences that operate on these days to keep the body supplied with subtle vitality.

Some SPIRITUAL qualities of food are:

Nuts: Help deep thinking, good for brain-power and concentration.

Fruits: Develop heart and spiritual qualities.

Vegetables: Give power of management over the body-adjustment of physiological conditions.

Cereals: Produce strength of character.

Milk and Eggs: Give enthusiasm, fresh energy.

Spiritual Qualities of some of the different fruits are:

peaches, selflessness;
oranges, righteous anger (reforming zeal);
grapes, spiritual love;
banana, humbleness;
apple, self-control;
strawberry, dignity;
pineapple, courage;
cherries, joy.