BG Chap 17 - Three types of food people enjoy

As there are three different faiths according to the modes of material nature, there are also three types of food that people enjoy. Foods which increases life span, and increase will, strength, immunity to disease, happiness and appetite, and which are juicy, tasty, mild, substantial, and beneficial are attractive to those in sattva-guṇa. Food in goodness should be tasty or juicy. Raw sugar has taste but is coarse or dry. Sāttvika food should also be mild with oil. The foam of milk, though tasty and mild, is insubstantial. Sāttvika food should be substantial, with long lasting effect on the body. Jack fruit and other items are sweet, mild and substantial, but are not beneficial to the stomach. Sāttvika food should be beneficial to the heart, stomach and other organs. Thus it is understood that foods such as rice, wheat, other grains, milk and sugar are dear to people in goodness. As those foods are dear to them, the foods are understood to be sāttvika. However, even if the food has all these qualities but is impure, the sāttvika people do not like it. Thus purity should be added as a quality of sāttvika food.

Foods that are excessively bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry and burning, and which produce pain while eating, sorrow afterwards and finally disease, are dear to those in the mode of passion. Very bitter foods include nīma. Pungent food includes red pepper, turmeric root and other items. Dry foods include hing, kodrava and kaṅgu (a type of millet). Burning foods are those that cause internal heat, such as burned chick peas and rājikā. Such foods are attractive to those in the mode of passion but are disgusting to those in goodness. They give immediate suffering such as drying of tongue or throat. They give despair, and later disease – disorder of the blood.

Stale food – food which has remained for more than three hours after cooking, except prasādaṁ; food from which the natural taste is missing, or has been extracted, or such items as the skin and seed of the ripe mango; rotten food with bad smell, and which has been cooked the day before; leftovers, which are remnants of others who have already eaten, other than the remnants of the guru; and impure foods such as tobacco are dear to those in the mode of ignorance.

For one’s own welfare, one should partake sāttvika foods. The devotees, however, reject any food not offered to the Lord, even if it is sāttvika food. Food offered to the Lord is dear to the devotees beyond the guṇas.