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Hinduism and spiritual/scripture dietary regulation

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by wgmeets, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. wgmeets

    wgmeets New Member

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    I have been trying to find a credible source online (yeah I know haha) for days now about what are the do's and dont's on what is allow for food or consumption in Hinduism.

    Can anyone point me to the right direction on specific scriptures/writings that do say it prohibits the meats and seafood?
     
  2. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    'prohibits' is a word that doesn't apply in Hinduism, for the most part. We simply don't have such strong laws like in some other religions.

    About 50% of practising Hindus are vegetarian, and if you go to Hindu teachers and Brahmin priests, that figure goes to about 95%, with a few notable regional exceptions.
    There are scriptures that say nothing about it, and scriptures that give it (vegetarianism) as a very strong recommendation. I know of none that say go ahead, be a carnivore, but there probably are some.

    As a religion of self exploration, it may well be up to you. For the record, I've been a lacto vegetarian for 40 years, and would encourage you to experiment with it, for say a two week period, and see how you feel.
     
  3. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    Friends,

    Personal understanding:
    Sanatan dharma is an universal open ended system.
    Innumerable meditators has shared their experiences with whom so ever would like to benefit and those act as pointers.
    It has been pointed that food can be divided into three categories namely tamasic, rajasic and swattic. The action of food in the body also affects the mind and to still the mind a calm body is helpful and so one should choose food as per his/her choice.
    Now, what types of food constitutes each category; one can "google".

    Love & rgds
     
  4. wgmeets

    wgmeets New Member

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    Vinyaka that is the very reason why I have the questions that I do hehe, it's the no strong law idea that I am trying to get around I guess. I am coming from a Christian background, forgive my narrow questions if they are coming off as such. It's to the point that I become sort of lost in my quest, but that I would have to sit and pray to.

    Thank you for the words zenzero. Now having said the three categories of food... lets take fish for example. What type of category would that be in? Tamastic it being a meat? I would say it's more of a swattic if anything because of how it makes us feel once eaten. Also I would think it would unify one with the other part of nature which whom we feel most separated or indifferent to.
     
  5. zenzero

    zenzero Its only a Label

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    Friend wgmeets,

    Personally have not done much research on the subject nor practically involved; so unable to be of any further help. Kindly consult experts through GOOGLE etc to find responses to your queries.
    Personally depend on Consciousness itself to guide the body what to eat. Am sure the rest will follow on its own accord.

    Love & rgds
     
  6. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Don't worry about asking me from a Christian background. it happens all the time, and it is a huge jump across from east to west that many simply cannot handle. You will learn that one fairly quickly. It confuses people, not just with vegetarianism, but also with heaven/hell versus reincarnation and much much more. One of the problems you'll encounter in this exploration you're embarking on is Hinduism's vastness. Its larger than the three Abrahamic religions combined. The Vedas contain over 100 000 verses, not words, and there are many more scriptures beyond the Vedas.

    From my particular sampradaya within a sect within Hinduism, you should definitely be a vegetarian. The rajas, tamas, sattvic can all be found in vegetarianism. One of the very basic princuilpes of SD is ahimsa, which means non-violence.

    But personally I learned this from experimentation, not scripture. I vowed for one month at first, and I just felt so much better physically, emotionally and spiritually that after that I never went back. So that's what I'd really recommend. then you'll know ... for you. if it doesn't work for you, that's fine. Nobody's holding some gun to your head telling you to become a vegetarian.

    Here is a link to an ancient (2200 years) scripture I do use.

    http://ramvenkat-1983.blogspot.com/2010/07/thirukkural-about-vegetarianism.html
     
    #6 Vinayaka, Jan 14, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  7. Ardhanariswar

    Ardhanariswar I'm back!

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    I actually recently made a post about vegetarianism within Hinduism, and my feelings about it.

    I've done a lot of research and introspection regarding this. Here's what I've come up with.

    The whole tamasic, rajasic, sattvic dietary ideas are geared towards people who want to live the life of an ascetic. Devoid of passion and good health. The majority of Hindus do not follow this dietary system at all because its almost impossible and can cause health problems.

    The concept of ahmisa is very relative. Most people who cite this as a good reason for their vegetarianism completely focus only on the non-violence against animals. Which obviously only represents only a portion of all the life that exists on this earth. To be honest only the strict and ardent followers of Jainism can genuinely claim to follow Ahimsa. All life is sacred according to Hinduism, including insect life, rodent life, and plant life. Just because animals are cute and fuzzy does not mean they are worth more than gross cockroaches.

    Because you're new to Hinduism, I should let you know that scriptures do not define Hinduism the way the Bible defines Christianity. The Vedas were written down to record the beliefs of certain people some time ago. Some scriptures actually dictate how to eat meat properly. Some scripture advocates Ahimsa. Most Hindus don't read the Vedas, nor do their beliefs follow in accordance with all the principles in the Vedas. Hinduism is an incredibly diverse religion and depends on region, people, and even the era.

    Vegetarianism only became widely practiced with the advent of Buddhism and Jainism, which became competition for Hindu Brahmins to keep their followers from converting. So gradually the Brahmins accepted Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu, and adopted Vegetarianism to avoid losing too many followers to these religions. Before all that, animal sacrifices in the form of Yagnas were common in the Vedic era.

    Many communities in Indian still eat meat, and have been eating meat probably since our caveman ancestors. For example, my family has been eating meat and sometimes beef. My point is, that its all really relative. And diet alone does not define one's spirituality.

    Anyway good luck. I hope this answer helps you in your journey!
     
  8. nameless

    nameless The Creator

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    im sure you are not a vegetarian, peace of mind and health are concerns even to non-ascetics, for at least some people vegetarianism suits better for their health as well as for mind, ask vegetarian non-ascetics if need confirmation.

    would like know more on this, that is how does vegetarianism is more dangerous to health than non-vegetarianism.
     
    #8 nameless, Feb 20, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
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  9. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Everyone's system is different. I cannot tolerate regular milk, only lactose free milk; I need to avoid wheat products in abundance because I have a borderline glucose intolerance. Some people cannot consume the carbohydrates most vegetarianism is based on because of blood sugar issues, the worst being diabetes. All carbohydrates turn into glucose, simple sugar, which is the very thing a diabetic does not need.

    Some people cannot absorb nutrients from non-animal sources. Most people cannot absorb the iron in spinach and most vegetables (called non-heme iron). It is bound to a compound we cannot break down. We can only absorb iron from animal sources (called heme iron).

    The Inuit have evolved the ability to live healthy only on animal fat and flesh. When they switch to a diet contain carbohydrates, their incidence of obesity and diabetes skyrockets.

    So you see, there are a variety of reasons why vegetarianism does not work for everyone.

    My new favorite quote is "900 million Hindus, 900 million opinions and beliefs". I wear a tulsi kanthi around my neck. I've been told in no uncertain terms that as a non-vegetarian I must not wear it. My belief is that it reminds me I belong to Narayana, and perhaps one day with His grace and help I will become vegetarian, if that's what should be. I won't eat beef, however, as cows are the friends and pets of Lord Krishna.
     
    #9 Jainarayan, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  10. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    dear wgmeets ,

    as you can see from the replies so far not all hindus belive that vegetarianism is a strict requirement (amongst the laity) , and in most traditions it is left to the practitioner to make his own decision , untill the point of initiation then in many traditions devoteees undertake a strict vow of abstainance from meat fish and eggs .


    the three divisions of food stuffs sattvic , foods in the mode of goodness , rajasic , foods in the mode of passion , tamasic , foods in the mode of ignorance (darkness) .
    has been taught through the yoga system for thousands of years ( pre dating the advent of buddhism and jainism ) and allthough over many thousands of years the different traditions under the umbrella of hinduism have come to interpret these teachings differently , however the yoga system makes it quite clear that the serious adherent should choose the satvic diet because it is most condusive to realization ,

    bearing in mind the seperations between sattva (goodness), rajas (passion) and tamas (darkness) which are known as gunas (modes) , hindus reading scriptures such as the bhagavad gita will understand from verses such as ...

    V , 14 .....Ch , 6
    Oh sinless one the mode of goodness being purer than the others is illuminating , and frees one from sinfull reactions .those situated in the mode of goodness become acustomed to happiness and knowledge ,

    V , 14 ....Ch , 17
    from the mode of goodness true knowledge develops , from the mode of passion greed develops , and from the mode of ignorance foolishness , madness and illusion develop .

    it is well worth reading the whole chapter as it fully describes the modes ,
    but it is allso worth bearing in mind two other verses ...

    V , 9 .... Ch , 27
    what ever you do , what ever you eat , what ever you offer or give away , and what ever austeritys you perform , do that as an offering to me .

    a devout hindu will offer all to the lord before he himself partakes of it , and it is made apparent what is offerable in the preceding verse ...

    V , 9 .....Ch , 26
    if one offers me with love and devotion , a leaf , a flower , fruit or water I will accept it .

    here krsna is outlining things which are offerable these can be clearly seen as things in the mode of goodness ,
    to a vaisnava (devotee of visnu) quite simply it is understood that if it is not offerable to krsna then it is not to be taken by the devotee as the devotee only accepts what has previously been offered to the lord ,

    and allthough there are many texts which enforce those above , I have given you quotes from the gita as it is read by a large proportion of hindus on a daily basis , and of course it is easily accessable ,

    there is allso the principle of ahimsa which should be born in mind ,
    in the gita everything krsna explains is to clarify to the confused soul that which is dharma (duty), and that which is adharma (against dharma), what is correct and what is incorrect .

    krsna allso says ....

    V , 12 ....Ch , 13-14
    one who is not envious but is kind to all living entities ,who does not think himself a proprietor, and is free from false ego , who is equal in happiness and distress , who is tolerant , allways satisfied , self controlled and engaged in devotional service , with determination , his mind and inteligence fixed on me .... such a devotee is very dear to me .

    of course to a vaisnava as it is allso to many other hindu traditions , ahimsa , non harming , automaticaly means kindness to all living entities , which includes all animals , fish and eggs (as they are of the reproductive system of a living being )
    krsna is allso saying that we should be simply satisfied , and that we should not think ourselves to be proprietors ,not to be owners , or above any other living being , that allso we should be free from false ego ahamkara that thinks our self seperate from the lord or any other being , as equaly all beings posess jivatma a soul non different from the lord ,
    and just as you or I have a soul that is a minute portion of the lord , so to does any animal , therefore we respect the animals position as the animal allso is working its way through a sucession of births on its path towards enlightenment , libberation or moksha .
    and finaly in this verse krsna says that such a person who has controled his desires who lives in accordance with krsnas instruction , who is a friend to all living entities , ........ "is very dear to me "

    sri bhagavan ki jai :bow:
     
  11. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    The problem is that Hinduism's not a single religion with specific doctrines. It's a crazy quilt of disparate traditions, mythologies and practices.

    Very generally: the current Indian custom is to avoid red meat. If more devout avoid chicken or even fish. For the more devout eggs are out. For the religiously minded, plant foods that kill the plant -- root vegetables, cabbage, celery, &c are out as well, and people will start balancing tamasic, rajasic and sattvic foods.
     
  12. Ardhanariswar

    Ardhanariswar I'm back!

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    Luckily ovo-lacto vegetarianism isn't as unhealthy as vegetarianism or veganism. The use of animal products, from eggs, milk, and saturated fats, can promote good health for those who eat it. Unfortunately those who don't are missing out and must seek these vital nutrients elsewhere. Some of these are calcium, B12, iron, omega-3, zinc, etc.

    The vegetarian diet also relies heavily on carbohydrates than upon the other macro-nutrients. Indian vegetarian food in particular is particularly lacking in vegetables. The diet is centered either around wheat or rice. And no, aloo doesn't count as a vegetable in this case.

    In order to meet protein requirements, certain groups must be mixed and matched in order to form complete proteins for the human body to absorb the nutrients. So dhal must be eaten with either wheat or rice to form a complete protein for the human body. But the amount of protein such combination provides, pales in comparison to the large amounts of carbohydrates contained within.

    In addition, the vegetarian diet promotes consumption of fruits, which contains high amounts of sugar. Such diets high in carbs and sugar can result in insulin resistance, diabetes, dental problems, and more. India, a country with a large number of vegetarians, has the highest population of diabetes in the world. Also for those who don't consume animal fats, the use of seed and vegetable oils (many of which are high in mono and poly unsaturated fats) can cause heart disease. Saturated animal fats don't have this risk.

    Also eating dhal, beans, and grains sometimes require proper soaking and/or fermentation to be broken down before humans can eat it. Even when properly done, the intestines are forced to break them down further, causing gas, and unpleasant bloating.

    I'm not saying that omnivores are immune either to these illnesses either. Because omnivores eat everything, they still can succumb to the same problems. My point is vegetarians put themselves at risk for a lot. It's possible to be healthy on a vegetarian diet, but one must go out of their way to take supplements and be cautious.

    Unlike vegetarians, omniovores have the option to eat animal products. Which is not limited to meat, which provides complete protein for humans. Organ meats, bone broths, and marrow contain excellent vitamins and minerals. The healthy saturated fats are necessary for these vital nutrients to be properly absorbed into the body.
     
  13. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    You make vegitarianism sound complicated and hazardous, Ardhanariswar.:eek:
     
  14. Wannabe Yogi

    Wannabe Yogi Well-Known Member

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    Vegetrianism is seen as extremely healthy by the medical community. This has been backed up by years of research.

    CHICAGO – The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position paper on vegetarian diets that concludes such diets, if well-planned, are healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents and can help prevent and treat chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.
    ADA’s position, published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, represents the Association’s official stance on vegetarian diets:
    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.

    ADA Press Release 7/1/09 - Appropriate Planned Vegetarian Diets Are Healthful, May Help in Disease Prevention and Treatment, Says American Dietetic Association

    It is also important to remember that meat eating is the #1 cause of climate change and a major contributer to world hunger.
     
    #14 Wannabe Yogi, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  15. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I used to get quite the quiet chuckle when the meat eaters would start advising me about diet. It should have been the other way around. Of course there are some people who take to vegetarianism who don't take the effort to educate themselves, but mostly they are in the minority.

    Your average American gets like 400% of his daily protein requirement.
     
  16. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    I'll concede that vegetarian protein sources do not have to be combined at each meal. Because it takes the body so long to actually process food (2 hours for the stomach to empty, 24-36 hours for the liver to do its job), as long as those sources are combined at any time during the day (rice at b'fast, beans at lunch, quinoa at dinner) the required amino acids are obtained.

    I'll further concede that Americans do eat far too much protein... and carbohydrate... and fat... aw heck, Americans just eat too much. As a weight lifter with a lean body mass of about 150 lbs, to obtain the recommended .8 - 1 g of protein per lb of lean body weight for a weight lifter, I really only need no more than 150 g of protein. That's a boneless chicken breast, turkey burger, whey protein shake, 3 eggs, Boca vegetarian chicken patty = 138 g of protein.

    The average American male at 180 lbs and 30% body fat has a lean body mass of 126 lbs. He does not need 126 g of protein per day. That's 504 calories right there. He's probably getting close to 100 g of protein. Here's a typical SAD (Standard American Diet):

    Fried egg(s) w/bacon on a bagel; Burger King Whopper w/cheese and fries; pork chop(s), potatoes. Having used fitday.com to come up with the macros for that SAD, I get 99.8 g of protein, 1,744 calories, 84.4 g of fat, and 143.5 g of carbohydrate for that average American male. And this is a pretty chintzy day's diet.

    However, I do maintain that some people cannot tolerate carbohydrates, especially diabetics. Even the American Diabetes Association American Diabetes Association - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia has quietly admitted that their former recommendations for a diet of 50-65% carbohydrate is detrimental to diabetics, and recommends a lower carb higher protein diet. The American Dietetic Association American Dietetic Association - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia clings to old standards. I cited Wiki, but a Google search on both names brings up many links, including each association's main site.

    Again, 900 million Hindus; 900 million opinions and beliefs.
     
  17. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Not just opinions and beliefs, but what actually works for them. To think we're all the same is like saying God created us like some mass production manufacturing plant.

    So it really begs the question: Why do some people think there way is the only way? Like they're the prototype human and all others are modeled after them. :)
     
    #17 Vinayaka, Feb 22, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  18. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Of course, that too. One size doesn't fit all. I don't care what the Snuggies tv ads say. :D
     
  19. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    The first scientific study of protein requirements was carried out by a Dr Rose for the defense department during WW II, as I recall, to determine the dietary needs of soldiers in the field. He found that an average man could function on 10 grams/day. He doubled it as a margin of safety to 20 Gm.
    Our protein needs are way overestimated, and most Americans get toxic amounts.

    Similar situation with an underestimation of the dietary calcium yield of a vegetarian diet.
     
  20. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Think about it... how common are protein deficiencies in the developed world? Even a slice of bread has 6g of protein. I won't deny that protein needs are overstated.

    Out of curiosity, I just calculated my protein intake for today (including what I'll have this evening). I am on Weight Watchers, which doesn't track macros, rather, it tracks Daily Point Values (completely re-engineered program). I had to use fitday.com to enter and total up my protein... 94 g. That's about 62% of what conventional "bro-science" and gym lore states I should have.

    Apparently since I began WW on Jan. 2, I have been eating about the same amounts of protein, 90 - 100 g... my strength and endurance has actually increased on that lower protein intake, and my weight has gone down.
     
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