Many diverse cultures have evolved rituals centering on the partaking of food as a sacrament that is believed to possess spiritual qualities. This concept is found in the Christian as well as the Hebrew tradition. In Tantric philosophy all food is dedicated to nourishing spirituality. Eating is also a highly erotic experience. Take care to extract the very most from shared meals. Eat in moderation and choose food that is seasonal, learn from experience what is suitable or unsuitable. According to the Gheranda Samhita, at the beginning of Hatha Yoga practice one should refrain from eating excessively acid, bitter, salty or pungent foods. The same text gives good advice about quantity, advising that "half the stomach should be filled with food, one quarter with water or other liquid, and one quarter should be kept empty to aid the practice of breath control".
The Yoga teachings point out that the mental attitude of the person who prepares food permeates the food in a subtle way. A good Yogi can tell the temperament of the person who has cooked a meal by eating the food. Likewise, the mental attitude of the person eating the food affects the digestive process, so don't get irritable when either preparing or eating food. It's best to meditate, contemplate or sing while preparing food as these activities help to focus the mind and add to the sacramental quality of the meal. Try also to be aware of the properties of the food as you mix together the various ingredients. Above all, don't taste the food while you preparing it, for this robs it of its sacramental quality. No meal can truly be served as an offering if it has already been tasted. In the East if a meal has been sampled, it is considered eaten and no longer fit to be served. When cooking, the desires of the self should be be set aside.
Yoga teachings categorize food into three main types, according to their effects on body and mind. These three types are related to the triad of trinity of forces that pervades all things. The first category is known as sattvic, which directly nourishes creative energy and attitude. It includes milk, honey, butter, dairy products, nuts, grains, most fruits and all vegetables that grow above the ground. All these foods are related to the "sweet" primary taste in particular and are credited with the capacity to stimulate the creative and erotic sentiments. The higher nature of mind is also termed with sattvic, and has conscious awareness as its essential property. All sattvic foods stimulate the primordial elements of space and air in the bodily vehicle, and therefore promote growth and creativity. This category is commonly termed the "food of the Gods", the "milk and honey" of the Biblical tradition. Indian medical texts declare that the taste essence of food is transformed successively into blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and finally semen or ovum. The taste of food thus influences the taste of sexual secretions. The texts suggest that "the best semen (for healthy offspring) is that which is sweet, non-irritant, and of transparent white crystal - like appearance".
The second type of food - rajasic, induces the passionate sentiment. This category includes all foods that are heating and stimulating, such as the root vegetables, spices, salts, most fish, red meat and chicken. These foods are related to the salty and pungent primary tastes in particular, as well as to combinations of taste that include the sweet. Animal products are considered suitable for human consumption only when very fresh and carefully prepared; otherwise long term side effects are produced. Rajasic foods stimulate senses, have heating and burning effects, are difficult to digest and produce many waste products. The effect of such foods on the sexual secretions varies, depending on the ability of the individual to transform these morbid aspects. Generally, the semen becomes thick and slimy, with salty, fleshy or fetid qualities and odor. The secretions from the Yoni take on the same characteristics.
The third type of food - tamasic, is evocative of the furious and destructive sentiments. In this category are included all foods that derange or distort the senses, either through their excessively pungent, bitter or astringent tastes or through inner putrefactions. Particularly strong foods such as onions, garlic, and chili peppers, as well as foods that are cooked in heavy oil or deep-fried, create destructive feelings unless prepared with great knowledge and care. The heavier meats and eggs fall into the tamasic group also; generally, any food that creates excessive body odors or flatulence is of this category. Tamasic foods eventually bring about an increase in the elements of earth and water, which manifest in the body as mucus, fat and general physical heaviness. Sensitivity is greatly diminished and a very materialistic attitude to life predominates. Sexual secretions take on unpleasant characteristics and sexual intercourse ceases to be sensitive love making and reverts to a blind striving for purely physical satisfactions.