Jai Bedi Anjaneya,
Bhagavad Gita has illustrated all there is to know about this, so I’ll just quote them 🙂 The list of prohibited items are what I have learnt over the years. Learned readers please correct my mistakes.
Food is divided into 3 categories: Satvic, Rajasic and Tamsic
Introduction to the three types of Jivas
Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita delineates that the attributes of the three gunas are commensurate with the three types of jivas or embodied beings.
Those are the best who are sura or possess the light of consciousness are in sattva guna the mode of goodness.
Those who are intermediate are rajas who display both tendencies.
Those are the worst who are asura or without the light of consciousness and are in tama guna the mode of ignorance.
These forms continue even after achieving moksa or liberation from material existence as well as those who are forced to enter hellish existences.
Quite distinct from both of these is paramatma the omnipresent Supreme Soul existing collectively with the atma or individual immortal soul which exists in all jivas and whose state of consciousness is far superior to even the mind.
At least once in every human life this state of consciousness manifests and in rare circumstances is perceived within the akash hridaya along with its magnificient form (Bimba Sakshatkara).
This bimba roopa of Sri Hari should be meditated on with devotion and embraced.
Those who are of purified senses and spiritually evolved perceive that Lord Krishna is the ultimate reality and the Supreme Lord of all other lords are exclusively in sattva guna. These and only these can be considered devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna and His authorised avatars or incarnations such as Rama, Vamana, Buddha, Narasingha and His expansions such as Narayana, Vasudeva and Vishnu as revealed in Vedic scriptures. Those who perform bhakti or exclusive loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord and His incarnations pleases Him very much and delights all who are endowed also with the divine nature such as Brahma, Shiva and others. Being blest by the presiding deity of knowledge Sri Laksmi-devi who is the eternal consort and feminine shakti or potency of the supreme lord one stays firmly situated in sattva guma and engage in pure worship. They will achieve moksa in their lifetime.
Those who are in doubt about the Supremacy of Lord Krishna and are wary of surrendering to Him and do not understand thet He is the Supreme Lord, find themselves gullible to follow inferior doctrines and receptive to worshipping perishable gods without ever understanding the actual taratamya or gradations involved, are rooted in raja guna and engage in worship of demoniac entities accepting them as their supreme being. In their next life they must suffer interminably in the foulest of hells.
Those who are indifferent and consider Lord Krishna as equal to other gods of other faiths, without using their intelligence to determine that the doctrines of all other faiths are missing knowledge of the atma or immortal soul, knowledge of karma, knowledge of reincarnation, knowledge of liberation and is beyond compare are drowning in tama guna and worship ghosts and spirits, abstract conceptions along with illusory beliefs. In the next life they will take birth as animals.
Those who consider the omnipresent Supreme Lord who pervades all existence and resides within the akasha hrydaya of all living entities as less than other gods will go to andha tamas. They will be born as pischasas or goblins and raksasas or demons.
Those who engage in extreme austerities according to the Vedic scriptures out of pride and arrogance for the desire of obtaining material rewards such as power, wealth, fame, etc. petition the demigods for various rewards and Sri Laksmi for wealth as if they were independently awarding the boons desired. Such ones fail to realise that whatever they have received has had to be sanctioned by the Supreme Lord.
Those who refrain from performing worship according to the ordinances and injunctions of the Vedic scriptures and yet do not engage in any activities prohibited by the Vedic scriptures will have the opportunity to achieve moksa if by the mercy of a devotee they happen to propitiate the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His incarnations and expansions. By this they will free themselves from the illusory energy and eventually attain the Supreme Lord. Thus it is clear and not necessary to elaborate that one who is worshipping the Supreme Lord in accordance with the Vedic scriptures will definitely attain Lord Krishna without a doubt.
Those in sattva guna are observed humbly performing luminous activities in the mode of goodness. Those in raja guna can be seen ostentatiously engaging in fruitive activities for gain and profit and those in tama guna are noticed drearily enacting rituals merely out of habit.
The Supreme Lord Krishna is known by the threefold symbols OM Tat Sat. His personal sound manifestation vibrates as the transcendental sound of OM. As He is omnipresent in every letter and syllable of the Vedas, OM is always chanted at the commencement of every Vedic ceremony and ritual. Therefore with the pronouncement of the word OM by the Vaisnavas and the brahmanas in salutation and glorification of Him, all rituals, ceremonies and propitiation proceed. The Vedic ordinances and injunctions are eternally established by Lord Krishna and are known as Sat denoting unlimited consciousness. Activities that do not propitiate Lord Krishna and begin with OM are practiced by the a-suras meaning those without the light of consciousness. All their efforts however prodigious are merely mundane and are known as a-sat having limited consciousness. Anyone pronouncing the word OM without initiation, without faith and without knowing the meaning thereof is also situated as an asura. Since the results of all Vedic rituals and ceremonies are allotted wholly to the Supreme Lord and moksa is awarded exclusively by the grace of His sanction, He is known as Tat and because He pervades everywhere internally and externally and possesses all auspiciousness, he is also know as Tat.
Absence of the Vedic ordinances and injunctions and avoiding recognition of the Supreme Lord have been determined to be similar. That which is practiced without recognition to the Supreme Lord is that which is practiced without following the Vedic scriptures and that which is practiced without following the Vedic scriptures is practiced without recognition of the Supreme Lord. The Shabda Nirnaya states: Making Lord Krishna the primal focus by which all activities revolve around is the method and the goal. The Paingi scripture confirms: Authentic scriptures are those that are established for the sole purpose of glorifying knowledge of the Supreme Lord Krishna and establishing moksha.
Food is therefore also divided into 3 categories satvic, rajasic and tamsic
Bhagvad Gita 17:8-10
rasyah snigdhah sthira hridya
puti paryushitam ca yat
ucchishtam api camedhyam
Eating foods that are of sattva guna the mode of goodness are pleasurable. Joyfulness is the immediate result. Whatever continues to be pleasurable is joyous to hrdya the heart. Even if all foods are cooked they all do not get digested the same. Ghee and honey are absorbed into the body directly, fruits take an hour to digest and vegetables and grains up to six hours. Some foods although bitter are agreeable to health such as kerala or bitter melon and some foods although sour like yoghurt are agreeable to health if not taken at night. Both of these are of sattva or goodness. Such is the nature of the pious and the saintly and that nature is maintained by the intake of foods that are sattva. The Shabda Niranya states: Hridyam is that which is pleasing to the heart and makes one desire for more. Pleasure is what is pleasing for the moment. Sukham or happiness is that which continues to keep one joyous long after the activity has ended. That food which retains its agreeability even after consuming repeatedly is rasyam which is delicious and nutritious.
But when foods are excessively bitter, spicy, salty. sour, pungent, etc. and result in discomfort and misery culminating in sickness and disease they are of raja guna the mode of passion. The food which is eaten more than three hours after it is cooked is known as yatama. When the food is tasteless it is also called yatayama. Food that once was flavourful but later becomes later has no taste is known as gatarasyam. The Suddhasastra states that one devoted to serving the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations should thoroughly understand the nature and quality of food.
Sattvic food is the purest food, the most suitable one for any and everyone . It nourishes the body and maintains it in a peaceful state. And it calms and purifies the mind, enabling it to function at its maximum potential. A Sattvic food thus leads to true health; a peaceful mind in control of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them.
Sattvic food includes: Cereals, wheat, rice, certain fruits and vegetables, milk, butter, legumes, nuts, whole grains, spices, honey. Oils and so on.
Rajasic foods are very hot, bitter, sour, dry or salty. They are tasty only if one develops a taste for them otherwise, they are not palatable. They need to be fried and then treated with spices before they can be served. They destroy the mind-body equilibrium, feeding the body at the expense of the mind. Too much Rajasic food will over-stimulate the body and excite the passions, making the mind restless and uncontrollable. Eating in a hurry is also considered rajasic.
Rajasic food includes: potato*, carrot, cauliflower, raddish, brinjal, beetroot, drumstick, sorekai
Tamasic food benefits neither the mind nor the body. Prana (life force) or energy is withdrawn, powers of reasoning become clouded and a sense of inertia sets in. The body’s resistance to disease is destroyed and the mind gets filled with dark emotions, such as anger and greed. Overeating is also considered tamasic.
Tamasic food includes: potato, onions, garlic, fermented foods such as vinegar, stale overripe substances.
Some scholars allow consumption of potato, majority don’t.