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Tamasic foods

tamasic foodsWhat are Tamasic foods?

The term tamasic foods comes from the word Tamas which is the absence of activity is the basis of this category. Tamas gives rise to impurity, inactivity, imbalance, procrastination, laziness, unethical behavior, an unkind nature, and all types of addictions. This king of food drains us of energy and leads us to those results in our lives.

In reference to this, Tamasic foods are not only a type of food you should avoid, but it is also includes how you eat your food and how it is prepared. Even Sattvic foods can become Tamasic in certain conditions.

An example of this is that overeating is defiantly Tamasic, even if all you are eating is Sattvic foods. If you eat to much you loose any benefits from your diet and what you eat becomes Tamasic. Another example is chick peas which are Sattvic, but when eaten too often, they produce gas and thus become tamasic. So the frequency you eat of some foods is also an issue, not only the amount of food.


It is believed because of the nature of Tamasic food, leaving one without energy and feeling sluggish, that Tamasic food steals the life force from the individual. Although this is not s scientific explication, there are many things that science cannot explain. That being said in terms of Tamasic food from a scientific perspective, it tends to be food that is not easily digested, so the body moves its energy to the digestion of the food and away from the rest of the functions… from this perspective we can see that during the time the body does this, we have lost a portion of our life where we end up not feeling 100 percent. So I would consider that a loss of my life force since our lives are defined buy quality and time.

Methods of food preparation

Tamasic food is also food that is not fresh. Some examples of this are foods that have been strongly processed, canned or frozen. Talk to any chef in the world, they can spot these kinds of foods on the plate right away from the taste. Fresh does make the difference.

Overcooked fresh food can also becomes Tamasic. One example here is milk which is Sattvic, when cooking it should not be boiled too much. It should be removed from the heat as soon as it starts to boil. Too much boiling destroys the nutritional properties and vitamins within the milk rendering it useless and Tamasic.

Drugs and Alcohol

All illegal drugs such as Cannabis, opium, cocaine and others are considered Tamasic. Alcohol and tobacco are also considered Tamasic. For a yogi these substances should be avoided.

With that being said I must admit I enjoy a small glass of red wine a couple nights a week on the weekend before bed. Studies have shown that red wine can raise HDL cholesterol,the good one, and prevent LDL cholesterol, the bad one. Studies also show that areas where Red wine is used, such as the Mediterranean, have a much lower instance if heart disease… But moderation is the key, never more then 1 small glass in a day and for me never more then 3 times a week. Also because of the Tamasic nature I only have before bed.


I avoid ALL other types of alcohol, and stay completely away from any drugs and tobacco which have absolutely no positive or redeeming qualities at all.

Tamasic foods

We now understand that food that is not fresh, overcooked food, processed food and Drugs and Alcohol are all Tamasic. We know that overeating makes food Tamasic and that eating some foods too frequently can be Tamasic. One other thing is that foods made from refined flour or refined sugar are considered Tamasic foods.

Some places on the internet also say fermented food is Tamasic. However this is not always the case, if the food was fermented to preserve its nutritional content and in its nature is Sattvic then it can remain so… because this overlaps alot with religion, the intent of the food is also important to know if it is Tamasic. An example is that Milk is Sattvic, and Yogurt which is fermented Milk is also considered Sattvic.

Results of a Tamasic foods Diet

A Tamasic diet is believed to destroy the body’s ability to fight disease. It disrupts the proper functioning of the immune system and alters the chemistry of the brain. A variety of mental and physical diseases are believed to be caused by Tamasic foods ruling a persons diet. It also contributes to anxiety and stress in the body and mind.

If you are ever in doubt about what food you should eat just remember fresh is always the way to go. That will give you a good start. Also you can see our page on a Sattvic diet to give you more information.

I hope you enjoy the info on Tamasic foods and I look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts and what you would like to see on the site.

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About George Knight

George Knight has been involved in Fitness for almost 20 years. He started by teaching Martial arts in 1991. Since then he has worked as a Personal trainer, Martial Arts Instructor and Yoga Teacher. Now as owner of the Wandering Yogi he looks forward to sharing his passion for Yoga and travel with others.