Buddhism is an ancient Indian religion, and those who adopt Buddhism are called Buddhists. It is based on spending life with good morality, meditation, physical and mental health. However, one of the main factors in Buddhism is the Buddhist diet, which people follow strictly and religiously.
The Buddhist diet follows religious rules and traditions. This diet is based on a lacto-vegetarian diet. Moreover, this diet has excellent nutritional values for mental, physical, and spiritual health. In addition, by following a Buddhist diet, you can boost your immunity.
This article will explain the Buddhist diet, like what they eat and how it works. In addition, how this simple diet can change your whole lifestyle.
The three basics of the Buddhist diet
Buddhist diet is based on three fundamental dietary aspects:
- Alcohol restriction
First, the Buddhist diet is followed by a lacto-vegetarian diet, including cheese, yogurt, and milk. Dairy products do not contain eggs, meat, and fish. But some Buddhists consume meat as it has high nutritional values and health benefits.
The lacto-vegetarian diet has many nutritional and health benefits for a better lifestyle. Following a Buddhist diet may have benefits. But, having no meat/seafood can be a significant cause of deficiency for several nutrients. Everything comes with its pros and cons.
Buddhist diets have two secrets according to which they consume their food for a healthy and nourished lifestyle.
- To consume quality food in the correct and limited quantity.
- To consume quality food at the right time.
Buddhists are against the killing of animals. Therefore, most Buddhists follow vegetarianism because, according to them, killing animals is a sin in their religion. Moreover, Buddhists avoid eating specific foods and do not use several products made from the animal’s skin, such as fur, clothes, leather, bags, etc.
The Buddhist diet includes primary sources of foods with great nutritional values and benefits for health, including fruits, nuts, milk, and fresh green vegetables. This diet does not include meat, but in today’s world, many Buddhists eat meat, cheese, and dietary products to fulfill the nutritional value of their body.
The Buddhist dietary practices have many positive and negative impacts, including nutrient deficiency with no meat, chicken, mutton, seafood, eggs, and cheese. These items include zinc, fatty acids like omega 3, and vitamin D.
Yet, it is possible to have a nutritionally balanced vegetarian diet by making a proper schedule and taking supplements if there is any deficiency in your nutrition.
2. Alcohol Restriction
Like many local foods, the Buddhist diet strictly prohibits alcohol or other restricted drinks containing unhealthy substances. Especially for the mind and soul, and breaking this restriction is considered a sin.
According to Buddhists, breaking religious rules will lead you to the wrong path of life and health. So, consuming the restricted food and drink will have a destructive impact on your mind, body, health, and soul. Therefore, like many other religions, the restrictions of the Buddhist diet should be followed and practiced without breaking the religious rules and regulations.
Many people worldwide are now following the Buddhist diet due to its scientific and nutritional health benefits. The Buddhist diet is now also known as the most beneficial diet to lose weight, and it is very effective.
Fasting means avoiding all types of food and drinks, leading you to break your religious boundaries. Intermittent fasting is a sacred act practiced by Buddhists, but it is popular nowadays for weight loss.
The fasting process of Buddhists consists of not eating food or drinking anything from noon till dawn as it is considered to increase your level of self-control. This is a great way to live a disciplined life that can help you live longer and keep you healthy.
Moreover, the Buddhist diet consists of different food intake theories, but some Buddhists also avoid eating onions, garlic, and shallots. According to them, eating these vegetables will lead you to anger and can cause an increase in your sexual desire and lust with loss of self-control and patience.
Pros and cons of fasting
Like other religions and rituals, fasting is also practiced in Buddhism, generally from noon to dawn.
- Buddhism can be a pro or a con that you have to fast every day for eighteen hours by keeping your schedule and choices accordingly.
- Physically it isn’t easy to eat a whole meal at one time before noon as it can affect your professional and social life.
- Fasting from noon to dawn is very effective if you want to lose weight.
A study has shown that 11 overweight adults who fast for 18 hours had better blood sugar and blood control levels with more genes. These are responsible for autophagy when our body automatically replaces damaged cells with healthy or regenerates newer ones.
These results are impressive, but more studies are required to reach a valid point about whether the Buddhist diet is a good calorie deficit diet to lose weight and other health benefits.
The Buddhist diet is essentially constructed on plants, and it may lack specific minerals and vitamins, particularly vitamin B12 and iron. Thus, fasting is a crucial element of Buddhism, which may not be for everyone.
What are the foods preferred by Buddhists?
Buddhists like food mainly based on dietary products, green and fresh vegetables, grains, fruits, milk, yogurt, potato, beans, apple, and banana. They also like to eat nuts, pistachios. They mainly use olive oil and flaxseed oil.
What are the foods Buddhists avoid?
On the other side, there are some foods that the Buddhists avoid due to their religious or ethical reasons. These include beef, mutton, pork, seafood, and poultry items like eggs and cheese. They also prohibit the use of onions and garlic as they may cause body odor. Alcohol is also forbidden in Buddhism. It may lead you to break the religious rules and traditions.
Benefits of the Buddhist diet
As mentioned above, the Buddhist diet is mainly composed of a plant-based diet, holding nutrients and health benefits. According to Buddhism, following the Buddhist diet will give you all the essential nutrients and proteins your body needs.
Nuts are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and proteins. The same goes for green vegetables, which provide us with minerals and nutrients.
The Buddhist diet has the fewer body, health, and mental diseases, including chronic diseases like heart attack, diabetes, cancer, mental disorder, and lack of sleep. It is also said to be effective for weight loss and to maintain a reasonable and hygienic lifestyle.
Downsides of the Buddhist diet
The Buddhist regime has some negative or downsides. For instance, the human body takes many nutrients, minerals, and proteins from other sources like seafood and meat, which are fundamental for having a healthy body as they are rich in iron and vitamin D.
But according to the Buddhist diet plan, they consider meat and seafood as an intoxicant and filthy to the body, and unhealthy for the soul, health, and mind. Moreover, intake of these foods may divert you from religious norms and values.
The Buddhist diet is a platform for people who want to live a healthy, ethical, and religious life with health benefits. On the other hand, following the lacto-vegetarian diet will positively impact your health and mental stability with a balanced lifestyle.
The lacto-vegetarian Buddhists avoid some dietary foods such as cheese, eggs, seafood, and meat. Instead, the lacto-vegetarian diet includes healthy nutritional foods like fruits, milk, nuts, and vegetables. According to Buddhism, eating meat and seafood is considered unhealthy and unethical as killing animals is a sin towards Buddhists.
Even if you follow the vegetarian diet or Lacto-vegetarian diet, the Buddhist diet does not include drinking alcohol or any other intoxicating drink that may harm your body, mind, physical and mental health. Especially drinking alcohol leads you to break the religious beliefs and rules and hurt more religious practices.
Fasting has excellent nutritional values and health benefits in the Buddhism religion which is supposed to clean your mind, body, and soul but fasting for 12 or 18 hours may not be easy for everyone.
The Buddhist diet is also helpful if you want to lose weight. The Buddhist diet consists of low fats and intermittent fasting, followed by a plant-based diet for a balanced and healthy lifestyle.