Popular Diets
The Buddhist Diet

The Buddhist Diet is an East Asian cuisine enjoyed by some believers of Buddhism...

Chinese Buddhist Cuisine

Chinese Buddhist cuisine in popular diets

Lots of delicious, non violent food choices.

It is mostly vegetarian, conforming to the general Buddhist precept of ahimsa (non-violence). Buddhism and the East Indian religion of Jainism recognize that even eating vegetables could contribute to the indirect killing of living beings because animal life is destroyed by tilling the soil or employing pesticides. Some Buddhist currents do not reject eating meat. Even if a believer takes a vow to be a vegetarian he or she is freed from fulfilling the vow when doing so is clearly impossible.

Unlike most Western vegetarians, the East Asian Buddhist Diet tries to avoid killing plant life. This means that root vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots or onion) should not be eaten because gathering them would involve the death of vegetables. Strictly speaking only fruits or vegetables such as beans should be consumed. Some Buddhists, particularly in China and Vietnam, will not eat strong-smelling plants including garlic, shallots, and mountain leeks known as Five Acrid And Strong Smelling Vegetables or “Five Spices” because these plants tend to excite the senses. Many believers extend this rule to exclude other members of the onion family and coriander.

Numerous Buddhists who are not strict vegetarians follow additional food consumption rules. For example, many Chinese Buddhists will not eat beef or meat coming from large animals and exotic species. Many Buddhists avoid eating animal innards and organs. It is common for Buddhists to avoid alcohol drugs because of their effects on the mind and "mindfulness". According to the Five Precepts, one should not consume "addictive materials". Strict Buddhists consider tobacco to be addictive.

Buddhist vegetarian chefs are often known for their skill in imitating meat by using prepared wheat gluten, also known as "seitan," soy (such as tofu or tempeh), agar, and other plant products. Soy and wheat gluten are easily shaped and molded into meat and seafood look-alikes and are processed into meat and seafood taste-alikes.

Seitan meat dish in popular diets

Try seitan, you may like it. I don't.

Many monasteries are home to Buddhist vegetarian chefs and serve monks and visitors, perhaps long-term guests. The Buddhist tradition of presenting vegetarian food with “meat” or “seafood” taste is among the oldest in the world and many people are quite pleased with such products.

Access our International Wine Site

Access our Italian Travel Articles Page

Return to Popular Diets – Weight Loss, Nutrition, and Fitness Page