The body is essentially an accumulation of food – breakfast, lunch and dinner. What type of food you eat definitely has an impact on what kind of body you build. In Indian culture, there is a tremendous amount of knowledge about what you should eat based upon the type of life you choose. If you want to become a wrestler, you eat one kind of food. If you want to use your brains, there is another kind of food. If you want to evolve spiritually, you eat another kind of food. It depends on what you are making the body fit for.
Different people have different requirements of fitness. For a laborer, fitness is to be able to work twelve hours a day. If you are an athlete, you are thinking of a hundred meters in eight seconds. If you are a spiritual seeker, you are looking at your body in terms of being a conducive instrument for higher possibilities. Depending upon the orientation of your life, you accordingly choose a certain kind of food. This wisdom and knowing is deeply embedded in Indian culture.
If you are in education, one of the greatest challenges is to stay focused on something. The textbook is written for an average intelligence. It is a common prescription; it is not written for the brilliant student. It is written in a way that everyone gets it, but see how much effort it takes for a whole lot of people to read the textbook! You have to read it ten times to get it. But if you lie down in your bed and read a love story, you remember every word. How come? You do not lack memory; it is just that the chemistry is not working between the textbook and you. What you need is a higher level of involvement.
Another great enemy for a student is sleep, because this textbook is such a tranquilizer! Sleep just means that you are succumbing to the inertia of your physicality. You can eat a certain kind of food so that there less inertia in the body.
In the Indian culture, we classify foods as tamas, rajas and sattva. Tamas means inertia, rajas means activity but no balance, and sattva means an absolutely balanced kind of energy.
When you are in education, you need a very balanced kind of energy because you have to focus on something which does not naturally interest you, something with which your chemistry is not gelling. If your chemistry is gelling, you are always focused on that but there is no chemistry here but you have to focus on that. For this you need a balanced and a steady mind. For this, you need to eat intelligently.
Eating intelligently means understanding what kind of fuel this body is designed for and accordingly supplying that kind of fuel so that it functions at its best.
In terms of the quality of food that is entering you, vegetarian food is definitely far better for the system than non-vegetarian. We are not looking at it from a moral standpoint. We are just looking at what is suitable for the system – we try to eat foods which would make you comfortable in the body. If you want to do any activity properly, it is extremely important that your body is at ease. You should eat the kind of food with which your body would be most at ease and would not struggle to get nourishment out of.