Jain Diet For Weight Loss and Jain Food Restrictions
The followers of Jain culture and philosophy follow a most rigorous form of spiritually motivated diet: The Jain Diet. The Jain diet comprises of sattvic food meaning it is based on the qualities of goodness, lightness and happiness. From a weight loss perspective, Jain diet is the best diet for weight loss.
The Jain cuisine is completely vegetarian and also excludes onions, potatoes, brinjals (eggplants) and garlic as they are considered “tamasic” and believed to have qualities of darkness, lethargy and a putrid smell. The jain diet is based on the belief that out of the five types of living beings, a householder is forbidden to kill, or destroy, intentionally, all except the lowest (the one sensed, such as vegetables, herbs, cereals, etc., which are endowed with only the sense of touch).
Historical Belief of Jains following Ahimsa:
When the Jain community was revived and reorganized by Mahavira in the 6th or 5th century BCE, ahimsa was already an established and strictly observed rule by the followers of the Jain religion. Parshvanatha, a tirthankara, who lived in the 8th century BCE and was considered a historical figure by modern western historians, founded a community to which Mahavira’s parents belonged.
Parshva’s followers vowed to observe ahimsa. This obligation was part of their “Fourfold Restraint” (caujjama dhamma) and Mahavira adopted it into his code of conduct.
Jain Food Restrictions:
- Strict Jain diet prohibits use of root vegetables such as potatoes, onions, roots and tubers, because such root vegetables are considered ananthkay meaning one body, but containing countless lives.
- The Jain diet strictly forbids non vegetarian, being staunch believers in ahimsa. Ahimsa is an indispensable condition for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, an ultimate goal of all Jain activities.
- The Jain diet strongly favors lacto-vegetarianism as even the smallest particles of the bodies of dead animals or eggs are unacceptable.
- Honey collection is considered violence against the bees and therefore avoided.
- In Monsoon Jains avoid Green Leafy Vegetables, Cabbage, and Cauliflower.
- Alcoholic Beverages (beer, wine and other alcohols) are also disallowed in the Jain diet to avoid killing of a large number of microorganisms associated with the fermenting process.
- Jains basically avoid combination of Pulses and Curd together.
- The Jain diet also forbids Mushrooms, fungus and yeasts because they are parasites and may shelter other forms of life.
- Eating food before sunset (the practice of choviar) is a prime consideration for Jain diet as once the sun sets, bugs awaken and can end up falling in the food.
- Consumption of food that has been stored overnight is disallowed in the Jain diet, as it possesses a higher concentration of micro-organisms (for example, bacteria, yeast etc.) as compared to food prepared and consumed the same day. For the same reason they do not eat yoghurt or dhokla and idli batter unless they have been freshly set on the same day.
The Jain diet may have many restrictions and prohibition but this doesn’t mean that it lacks in variety or is a poor cuisine. With all its restrictions the Jain diet still has managed to be healthy and sustainable. The following replacements for the Jain restrictions help fulfill their nutritional requirement.
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Jain Diet for Weight Loss:
- Proteins with pulses: a replacement for meat and eggs.Various kinds of pulses like rajmah (red kidney beans), lentils and grams can be added in combination with dals to fulfill the protein requirements in a Jain diet.
- Strong with Soybean: a good option for milk & milk products, to get the required proteins and calcium. Many products of soybean can be incorporated in the diet- soy milk instead of cow’s milk and tofu instead of paneer.
- Wholesome with Cereals: a good way to get your dietary fiber, carbohydrates and loads of vitamins and minerals.
- Seeds the super foods: seeds like chia seeds, flaxseed etc that are extremely healthy. Jains can compensate for the vitamins and minerals they lose out from meat and fish by having seeds. Flax seeds for example are the only known vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- For good Quality protein where having curd and pulse is not allowed you can heat the Curd and then have it with Pulse.
Jain diet too can be healthy if it is planned out in the right way and can definitely help you to lose weight. There are many Indian vegetarian foods that are good replacements for the restricted foods, making the Jain diet a way to be healthy both physically and spiritually.