What is the distinction between subtle and gross foods? And is there an order among them in terms of their strength?
Ancient Indian scriptures talk about two kinds of food, namely the gross and subtle foods. Among the gross food, come the water and all the plant foods that we eat and drink. Among the subtle foods, come the Sunlight, Air, and Space/Ether.
We have also seen that the strength which we call potency (the capacity to effect a change in the body and mind) is higher as food becomes subtler and subtler.
Ether/Space is the most powerful. Then comes Air and then Light. Water comes after that and then, Earth.
Subtler the element, higher the potency.
We should remember this in all acute conditions as well as every day routine. Earth based food is not the only food. And we should build the vocabulary of taking in subtle foods with the children as well so they understand that sunlight and air and ether are also foods that nourish us.