Nutrition vs the Karma of the food you eat. Is food cooked with love better for you ?

Sitting in the airplane on my way to New York, trying to decide what to eat, my mind wanders. I am not a vegetarian, though I would like to be. Not because it is healthy or because being vegetarian is environment friendly, but because I believe that the food I eat effects us far beyond its nutritional value. The food I eat carries the karma of the violence of the slaughter house. It carries the karma of the pain of the animal slaughtered. And I am not separate from the karma of that animal, and all the karmas of each process/person involved in getting the food to my table. Add to that Karma of my own self, the attitude and thoughts I have as I eat that food. Phew ! that is a is a lot to think about as I am chewing my food !
Perhaps the extreme yogic philosophy of eating only the fruit that has fallen off the tree, encompasses other loftier ideas of humility and harmony with nature. But why is food cooked with mother’s love always tastier and better for you ? Is there something we still have to discover about food that goes beyond the analysis of its nutritional spectrum and the daily doses of supplements we consume so massively ?
Does a prayer before eating actually make food better for us ? – I think so.

27 thoughts on “Nutrition vs the Karma of the food you eat. Is food cooked with love better for you ?

  1. This topic is subjective and very individualized.
    I think Hindu thought of Sattvic, Rajasik and Tamasik can be applied to the Karma of food topic that you have thought.
    Ok, humans who eat non-veg food carry Karmas of slaughter house…well who is to take that note but the conscience of the person eating the food? But if I go a little deeper, one must see that they are eating life…of other souls too. Say A goat, A Hen…that goat, that hen may have natural life but somebody kills the being to be served on a table for humans to eat. Do people realize when they relish non-veg food what part of body they are eating?
    This is my personal opinion, and I wish to say Our stomach is not graveyard. Imagine what that hen, goat may be eating…not good food, actually they eat what ever is given and humans eat them!
    Preparation of food is another topic I too was thinking but never thought you will bring it in your blog. There is so much in vibrations that has feelings, character and imagination. A mother who prepares food for his child will have that vibration and that will surely be rich, positive and life giving. When you mention prayer, I think we have unseen peace vibrations that calm us down after prayer and the food that we eat adds to that.
    So yes, Mother’s who prepare food or Wife’s or anyone with tender love, it is really good, life giving and positive.

  2. i believe in that and same thinking prompted me to become vegetarian over night. there is no doubt that food prepared by moms are more tasty and nutrious just because it is made out of love. thats why we keep looking for that taste every where.

  3. Strange, but only yesterday when I was pulling out that Chicken from the deep freezer where it was stored for over a month, in my Himalayan home(I’m a vegetarian but the Delhi habits make me carry this for guests}…My thoughts stuck on this carcass that I was going to roast.I asked myself” I wonder how the soul of this chicken evolved?.It’s onward journey?Has it rebirthed?In what body?”.So many questions whirring in my mind.I’m still holding onto it’s old body that it left a month ago.”What will be put on my dinner table would be a chicken in it’s past life.But then if it has been rebirthed I cannot call it a chicken today?CAN I>

  4. Some are entangled in senses, some in emotions (they become emotional eating non-veg as if life is not omnipresent), some in reason/concepts, still some others in goody, goody compassion and all that, only going beyond all of these one can see the real nature of this dream called the world and find final release. The world will die after a few thousand years anyway because of one reason or the other (like the coming of socalled natural catastrophes like ice age etc) whether we eat veg or non-veg. So best is that we should be true to ourselves rather than to any dogmas of this person or that or this religion or that. While from the surface we all may seem to be human beings, from within, thanks to cycles within cycles some of us may yet be plants, some animals and some cave man, some nomadic man and some settled man…So look within and be true to your own nature. Nor you will remain static all your life.
    We all separated from One Consciousness or Dhyana. Now all our work in fact is an effort to redraw the same consciousness or dhyana in others towards us so that we can complete it in us as One again. Dhyana or Consciousness is really that part of the original Superforce of the big bang which became the lot of all of us as individual entities and when one draws other’s dhyana towards oneself one in fact gets as much energy from the other whose dhyana one has been able to draw. This is the basis of mother’s food being more nutritional or love in general being nourishing because in love one draws other’s total dhyana towards oneself. This is the basis of seeking recognition, of seeking fame. Eventually one goes so deeper into oneself – goes at the level of dhyana or consciosuness in oneself itself forgetting that he/she is a body/mind – that he sees all others as consciosuness as well with the result that one in fact sees no other apart from oneself and remains in no need of seeking dhyana. Fulfilled one can then sit in silence far removed from the world and far removed from any desire to seek name, fame, love and so on.

  5. YES, 100 percent agreed and you touched the most significant of life …
    Prayer before eating makes food better
    Love is the most important ingredient of food and life

  6. Sir,
    The first food what the new born baby most probably has is their mother’s Milk, proven undoubtedly the best. Then the child is fed on the Mammal’s Milk say Cow Buffalo Goat etc… and of course the Processed Milk Powder too.
    Now the shift fom the mother’s breast to the Cows milk or the Powder is for a reason that that the milk produced by the mother is not enough for the child to have a proper growth.
    When you have to grow you start looking around and start eating what is available, your family , your friends, and most important the land where you are in that point of time.
    I believe that the Karma gets decided by the land where you are in for a reason and that the food definitely comes second.
    I seriously wonder whether China/Japan can survive without sea food and adopt vegetarianism.
    Prayer definitely makes every act or karma better for us. I totally agree.
    Vinod Agarwal – Amused with Nature’s Ecology. Food for every living organism.

  7. Vegetarianism is not for everybody, but it definitely is a catalyst for those on a spiritual path. What you have said is all very true. Indians have been extremely lucky to have had the social structure that supported such spiritually-congruous habits. Nowhere else in the world will you find it. That is why, still in rural parts of India, orthodox Hindus refuse to eat out or anyplace where non-veg is served. It’s this same theory that energy is at play everywhere..the cook, the cooking and the food.
    In the western world, everyone is trying to find a freakin cure for cancer. You’ll see all kinds of research and celebrity endorsements..but they fail to research the primary cause..the food that is input into the body. It seems quite coherent that an animal kept in torturous conditions in a slaughter house, fed chemicals and then butchered will store some negative energy in its flesh.
    This is however different from how the ancient Native Americans and other hunter-gatherers survived though. Some people in Japan etc. have at least taken steps to ensure that the livestock are allowed to be free and happy before chop chop day.

  8. shekhar, lovely blog.
    i became a vegetarian 2 years ago, and i tell you i have changed. i am happier, calmer…you are what you eat.
    i really like the way you have talked about karma linked to food. and please don’t think it was too much to think about: as i feel that people like yourselves intuite, they don’t need to think!
    the world would be a much happier place for man and animal alike if we all thought like you did on the plane.
    what had helped me turn to vegetarian was a quote by the mahatma: taste lies not in yr taste buds but in your mind.
    as for food cooked with love, totally ditto what you say….it is about the energy which goes behind it, like all things in life. something so subtle, yet so powerful.
    love, shivani

  9. I am vegeterian, infact a Jain by birth. Jainism strongly believes on the Karma of the food and it also takes the time at which you are eating into consideration. As per Jainism one should eat only after sunrise and before sunset.

  10. My mum used to say its the love that seperates good cooking from the not so good cooking. Because I used to rush through my cooking as if my shorts were on fire! I think it is all in the mind of the person who eats the food – we have been lucky to have mums who have been supr duper wonderous cooks- and hence been conditioned to eating superlative good food all our lives. Hence that becomes, the benchmark of good cooking. Ofcourse in addition they did everything with so much love and nurtured us despite all ills that we took for granted all of mums good cooking till one day we got married and went to our husbands home, where you heard the husband say- my mum cooks this the best. And you bristle and say in your mind to avoid any arguments- no ways dude, my mum is the worlds best cook- beat that! And this universal argument rages on every day … Most definitely it is the love and care and the tender nurturing that we have recd from our mums that symbolizes yummy food too:)- And for sure it is the time and the pain they took in cooking everything fresh with wholesome ingredients always ( not shortcuts like me) – that made the food so brilliant in its taste- and now you have successfully brought tears to my eyes thinking of my mum whom I miss lots (I lost her last year)

  11. Dear Shekhar,
    That’s a very important post. Like you, I have wanted to be a vegetarian, but have never been able to fully convince myself that it will really help me. Iam pretty certain now that vegetarian diet is more healthy and less fattening; it also explains less incidence of Cancer in India (though medical science has never fully admitted that high incidence of Cancer in the west is attributed to meat)
    But, apart from that, Iam not fully convinced that eating meat makes you less enlightening or intelligent. I mean for thousands of years, man has been primarily eating meat and many scientists , philosophers, artists etc were indeed meat eaters.
    I hope that as a humanity we become clear on this issue soon and it doesn’t remain a wishy washy issue.

  12. Interesting topic and interesting viewpoints discussed. I hadn’t given much thought to this whole food thing in the past. I would pretty much eat what tasted good and then tried to balance it with some nutritious stuff to pay ode to the guilt-complex (and also the waist-line!). However in the recent past I have developed an interest in that field partly because I started discerning subtle patterns in body reaction based on food and partly because I was looking for reasons for some debilitating diseases around me (my best friend getting cancer at the age of 29).
    Yes, I do believe you are what you eat. Energy is not only about KCals. Each individual is a unique piece and food is all about being in harmony with an individual (that is what Ayurveda preaches as well). For instance in my case, I have noticed an interesting thing, usually when I am trying to watch my weight I switch to Indian vegetarian food and I always feel better and more in control. All the cravings and urges disappear and you seem to be eating for what you were intended to eat in the first place – to satisfy your hunger and not to satisfy your senses.
    Another thing that comes to my mind is from the very interesting point Brahmastra and Harb raised. The food habits(and temperaments!) have been dictated by the geography of the area (Indians for instance are so lazy and non-aggressive because we’ve always had plenty of resources, as opposed to Central Asia where they had to be aggressive to survive).
    In the cold countries, people have no option but to eat meat. I think that is wired into them at multiple levels. In natural circumstances to hunt, kill and eat meat, you need a specific kind of temperament and skillset. I for instance would never have been a meat-eater if I had to hunt my own meat. First because I would not be able to kill and the second even if I tried to kill my aim sucks :). I am sure I would be eating grass with the cows!
    So when someone who does not have the wiring to eat meat, starts eating it does it cause some kind of imbalance in the system? Yes, I think it should. Thus, the point that you should look for the person within you and decide your food habits depending upon that seems to be a very valid one.
    Ofcourse all that is academic. I have just finished and extremely satisfying lunch of Sushi :). I think if one could implement 10% of all the ideas one generates, life would need no discussion at all.
    Cheers to all and enjoy your meals!

  13. Dear Ritu,
    That was an interesting comment. Though I agree with you that perhaps everybody has to decide on his/her own diet depending upon their geography/culture etc, Iam not sure if this theory of aggresive cultures eating more meat holds true anymore. I mean, nobody in the west/Central Asia nowadays have to hunt animals to eat meat and stay alive..they can easily get vegeterian food if they want..or do you mean that our bodies are still more in harmony with bodily responses of our great great grandfathers ?

  14. I often hear people say they want to be vegetarian in terms of this would be in alignment with their conscience but it’s just not possible for them to do so…I can’t relate with it cause I was born into a family of vegetarians and from what I’m aware of my whole generation line would have been vegetarian on both sides of my family for a good way back at least. So all my uncles and aunts and cousins etc are vegetarian too. Cause mostly even those who marry into the family who werent before adopt it…so very different ball game for me to be vegetarian…
    But I’d figure you just have to do it! But of course it wont be easy…I think I can compare it to when I tried being raw by 70% which was basically adopting a vegan lifestyle more or less for 3wks and I said 70% raw cause I only ate dhals sometimes for dinner or warmed up my veges (so not 100% raw) slightly etc. If anyone is interested in details of how that was they can check for it on my main blog. I’m on a kinda raw thing effective today until the Christmas holidays again…For sure it must be tough but in the case of going from meat eater to vegetarian surely the conscience part will be a big driver and motivator as oppose to my journey…
    One of the things that was inspiring me to go when I first went raw was the taste of an apple in my mouth that was still chilled and had the moisture on it so you could taste the mix of the apple juices and the water on the apple’s surface…and biting into that…and at the time it felt like that was just all you needed for sustenance. So I think that is so in tune with your comment:
    “Perhaps the extreme yogic philosophy of eating only the fruit that has fallen off the tree, encompasses other loftier ideas of humility and harmony with nature.”
    I find it so cool and cute how Jains feel bout animals and stuff it’s to me how all Hindus should be too…but less of them practise it. Interesting that Jainism says that bout the eating hours cause now most health buffs will recommend to you to not eat past sunset too! So they must have had it right since ancient times! 🙂

  15. Hi Dev,
    Yes, I do think evolution takes a little longer than a couple of hundred years and our bodies are a lot of what our ancestors were. A good example is the racial differences. People have different skin colors, facial features depending upon the geography of the place. In colder climates people have lighter complexions and smaller eyes. In tropical area the skin is dark to protect against the sun. Despite migrations and movements happening over the last 500 years, the racial lines have still not blurred. It takes much longer.
    Easy availability of all commodities to all is something very recent. In some respects only a couple of decades (e.g. in India). But yes, over the next 1000 years, the new free availability of all food items across the globe will brings out behavioural patterns that are lesser and lesser connected to the geographical area. That is my belief.

  16. Hi Babita,
    You make a very valid comment about the ancient practices and the substance behind them. I know a lot of hog-wash (rituals, religion etc.) is tied to it making one view it skeptically. But I am now of the belief that most of these practices have been ritualised so that an average human being (through the fear of God) get some discipline in their lives.
    It is also interesting to compare cultures and see how much is common amongst ancient cultures in terms of these practices and beliefs. My Chinese co-worker was telling me the other day that the left-eye fluttering is a bad omen in their culture. Isn’t that the same with ours? I was thinking that things happening on the left side could be connected to the heart and thus heart-related problems could manifest on the left side of the body giving it the inauspicious connotation. It is interesting how disconnected cultures arrive at the same conclusion. That makes one wonder if truly, there is a single truth.
    Hope I don’t sound too obtuse. And yes, best of luck with your raw diet. Hopefully one day I shall do it too!

  17. Hi Ritu,
    The comment I’m going to make bout your last post probably will answer your wondering bout there being one truth…cause yep I figure there must be…Im not trying to spam my own stuff on to here or simply posting to get a free link to my stuff…Im going to tell you this cause it just occurred to me that you might have fun visiting my universal collective prayer blog cause im trying to explore the same question you raised there…
    And I’m currently having such fun with the christmas tunes…was just telling my mum…”you see you dont get it”…to my last youtube posting of a christmas tune on it…cause i was telling my mom that she is not open enough to things non-indian! And I was telling her how my British friends had enjoyed Lagaan say and I find them opened minded…and I was referring to one of my friends in particular who is half english half irish and grew up in london and he likes lagaan. He thought it was good fun! In fact one of the guys singing the tune if you check it reminds me of that friend!:) It’s the performance of We Three Kings of Orient Are…such fun I thought! And the cool thing is Hugh Jackson from Wolverine fame is in it! I was reading he lost out to Bond by and inch…he should have so gotten it!
    But back to the point I came to post back to you to say…you know why me saying this answers your question even more…cause Im a Trinidadian of East Indian ancestry…and that left eye twitching thing I grew up knowing it…and now that you say it I know it came from my Indian and/or Hindu roots but if someone had just asked me I would not have been sure if it was a Trini thing a Caribbean thing or like if it was from another root like Afro but had crossed over to be mainstream Trini…cause Im sure that left eye twitching thing must be in other cultures not just Indian and as you just said we now know its Chinese too…
    As for my mum she will watch non-indian films and stuff too but Phir Bil Dil Hai Hindustani! Armmm…Trinidadian that is! 🙂
    Thanks bout the raw thing although my mum has been deterring me with that since yesterday by forgetting and cooking something that I must eat! And you have to remember that cooked with love thing Shekhar wrote bout too! 🙂 I know Deepak spoke bout that in his Chopra centre cookbook and that is something I always remember…cuase he was saying the value of a chicken soup cooked with love by a good meaning aunt say…but i guess that’s more for people who are in cultures that cant see how it can be bad you see…but of course u have to wonder what bout the poor chicken! For instance my same British friend became vege from 14 and his aunts and they in ireland never get it so according to deepak perhaps he should sometimes just eat…dunno but that boy stopped cause of the how animals were kept issues…although i always ask him and people like that so what you are saying u are sad they cant roam free and then be slaughtered but if they are free and then you kill them it’s ok…no answer so far…
    But yep bout my raw I’ve been deterred by this or that and now I realise Im in company sponsored training and stuff for the rest of the week…but also dont want to keep putting off…Today I did eat lunch of only fruits though…I think so for next 3 days I will have dinner raw at least…again not purposedly trying to push traffic to my blog but just if you genuinely want to check in on my rawness…you can on my main blog which is linked to my name…telling you cause sometimes I put up pics of my dinner plates of steaming veges and there are so yummy looking if i do say so myself so it might inspire you! :)Some are in my archived posts on the last time I did it.
    Nice chatting!

  18. I was at a dinosaur museum a while back, and there were some accounts of how, because of certain events, some of them were forced to become vegetarian..and the scientists called it a stage of “evolution”.
    I had an epiphany a long time ago that the higher you want to ascend, the diet should be as lower down the food chain, inversely proportional..edible stuff of course. The more complex food you input, the more energy it consumes to break it down and the more it affects the restfulness of the mind.
    And I also completely disagree with Ritu that Indians are “lazy”. In fact Indians are some of the most grounded, efficient and resourceful people. Of course, this is balanced by the corruption and financial situation.
    A sattvic diet brings out harmonious, efficient and balanced energies. To quote Harb’s wonderful quote by Sri Ramana Maharshi, the fastest spinning toy seems to be the most still.
    In this increasingly unbalanced and materialistic world, it has become a norm to aquaint restless activity with a good lifestyle..and if you are not jumping up and down with happiness, you may be prescribed some anti-depressants.
    And I’ll take this opportunity to mention that as i delve more into my true self, the more fascinating India has become. It is truly the most advanced land in the world which has been blessed with such unparalleled spiritual gifts..covered in camouflage. It is a tremendously high energy spot. Blessed are even the beggars who live in that land.

  19. Hey Chaitali thanks for the link Ill check it out soon…and dont call me Babita Dubay! I always get scared when people call me by my full name…like if I’ve done something wrong! 🙂 So you can call me Babita although I have my full name up when I post. Also you know I checked out your blog…at least I think it was yours that’s your blog right? Interesting to meet people from all parts of the globe! 🙂

  20. Oh, Shekar, you made my day! I totally agree with you! I’ve paid close attention to this for at least 15 years and observed this in many ways. I’ve cooked for a large family and found that those meals that were cooked when I was in a good mood and where I consciously put my positive energies into the food always turned out the best. I could be cooking the same meal on a day where I’d be depressed, using the same ingredients and methods and dinner would be ordinary…
    I’ve gone through great lengths, carefully choosing ingredients, avoiding mass-produced food wherever possible. I believe that food has less quality when it is produced on a large scale – not only because often harsh chemicals and genetic engineering have been involved but also because large businesses tend to be driven by profit and greed. Their produce often comes from soils that have been ‘nutritionally raped’, where everything has been taking out and nothing valuable put back in over many years. Also, the very uneducated approach of monoculture has done a lot of damage. Diversity is natural. Each different crop has its own microbiology and growing the same thing over and over again throws out the balance of the soil. I usually get my fruits and vegetables from markets where I’ve chosen suppliers based on the vibes i feel when communicating with them. I ask them questions about their methods and observe if they’re passionate and sincere about what they’re doing or if they grow things only to earn a living…
    I do eat meat, btw, but again, I follow the same process of carefully investigating the source.
    There’s one man who’s done an amazing job, essentially proving this theory that we influence the outcome and quality of everything with our thoughts. His name is Masaru Emoto. Have a look at this article, which beautifully summarises his amazing work:
    Shekhar, thanks again for sharing your precious thoughts – your site is full of treasures…
    Hugs, Rosa

  21. Dear Shekhar,
    Reading this article totally reminds me of…. my grandmom! My mom is not that great a cook actually… But I can never forget my grandma’s cooking and each time I eat fish or khichdi I still remember how I would eat food sitting cosily on her lap. It is amazing that I still cant find any mango pickle in the world that can beat hers. Hope that I continue her legacy…

  22. Thank God you touched upon this topic. Someone has said “You are what you eat”. Nature has not designed human bodies to digest meat, look at our teeth, our intestines, our enzymes. They purely designed to digest vegetarian food. Humans are going against nature and hence have given birth to a lot of unnatural diseases. Consciousness level is falling down and becoming more and more gross. And it all starts with food. I recommend a book called “Conscious Eating” by Dr. Gabriel Cousens (MD) which touches all aspects of eating right.

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