Margette’s Indian Summer
Margette’s table setting of blue and white Limoge china, centerpiece foliage with peacock feathers on top of mandala design table cloth
Cebu’s most evolved host and my favorite yoga teacher Margette Sarmiento recently came back from a month-long training at an ashram in Kerala, Southern India. She invited her closest friends and this jotter to an Ayurvedic dinner at her Maria Luisa home. The indian summer soiree was to celebrate her return and, at the same time, as “despedida” for Jiji Gulllas and my publisher Eva who are going on a European hiatus.
In Ayurveda, food is categorized into “gunas” namely, Sattvic, Rajasic, Tamasic, or a combination of these three.
Highly conducive to good health, Sattvic food is always freshly cooked, simple, and juicy. It is light, unctuous, nourishing, naturally sweet, and tasty. It increases the energy of the mind and produces cheerfulness, serenity and mental clarity. Milk, butter, ghee (clarified butter), fresh ripe fruits, almonds, dates, moong (green gram) sprouts, barley, wheat, cereals, tomatoes, plantains, and so forth are Sattvic.
Rajasic are those foods that are fresh but heavy. The Rajasic diet is cooked fresh and is nutritious. It may contain a little more oil and spices compared to Sattvic food and positively benefits those who believe in action and aggression such as business persons, politicians, and athletes. Meat, fish, eggs, and chicken, hot spices like chillies, pepper, and all vegetables including onion and garlic are Rajasic. So too are beverages like tea and coffee.
Tamasic food includes everything not fresh, overcooked, stale and processed. All spicy, salty, sweet and fatty, fried foods form part of the Tamasic diet. This food bring about stagnation leading to degeneration of people’s health. Beef, fish, eggs, garlic, onions, canned and preserved foods like jams, pickles and fermented foods, are tamasic foodstuffs. Pastries, ice cream, pudding, pizzas, burgers, and beverages like soft drinks, tea, coffee, wine, and anything alcoholic.
Margette had been on a Sattvic food diet during the full month of spiritual and physical training in India and I immediately noticed this when she entered the dining room greeting everyone “Aum Namah Shivaya” the foremost mantra meaning adoration to Shiva and “Om Tat Sat,” which means supreme and absolute truth.
MARGETTE & THIS BLOGGER
She has slimmed down to a size 2, and is radiant with Ojas the Sanskrit word for vigor. According to Ayurvedic principles, Ojas is the essential energy of the body, which can be equated with the "fluid of life". The more Sattvic your diet the more Ojas you generate.
Hummus, baba ghanoush, and pita bread, I went for this Sattvic food at her dinner. There was a merry mix of Sattvic,Rajasic , and Tamasic dishes, such as chicken curry and grilled lamb since there were guests who were into sports and strenuous exercises. Still, I stayed away from meat since I have lost all craving for them.
When it was time for dessert however, I couldn’t resist the Tamasic offerings and went straight for the dark chocolates and pink champagne.