A Jain diet, also known as Jain vegetarian or Jain cuisine, is a plant-based diet followed by Jains, adherents of Jainism, an ancient Indian religion. Jainism emphasizes non-violence (ahimsa) towards all living beings, and a Jain diet is based on the principle of minimizing harm to living organisms. It involves abstaining from meat, fish, eggs, and other animal-derived products.
The origins of the Jain diet can be traced back to the teachings of Lord Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jainism. He emphasized compassion, non-violence, and respect for all forms of life. Jainism encourages followers to practice self-discipline and non-attachment to worldly possessions, which includes refraining from causing harm through their dietary choices.
In a Jain diet, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds play a central role. However, there are certain restrictions on the types of produce cooked with. Jains avoid consuming root vegetables such as potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, and radishes, as these plants are believed to contain a higher number of microorganisms and are considered to have a higher likelihood of causing harm. Instead, Jains focus on consuming leafy greens, fruits, beans, lentils, and grains.
The reasons for not consuming certain vegetables and fruits lie in the principle of ahimsa. Root vegetables are avoided because uprooting them involves the destruction of the entire plant, potentially harming insects and other microorganisms residing in the soil. Onions and garlic are believed to have a strong flavor and are considered stimulants that can increase desire and attachment, thus impeding the path of spiritual progress.
Jains emphasize the purification of food before consumption to minimize harm to living organisms. This involves carefully selecting fresh produce, washing it thoroughly, and practicing mindful cooking techniques.
A Jain diet is anchored in the principles of non-violence and compassion. It promotes a plant-based lifestyle, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, while abstaining from root vegetables, onions, and garlic. By adhering to these dietary guidelines, Jains aim to minimize harm and live in harmony with all living beings.
At Chakra we offer a Jain menu which features dishes excluding onion, garlic, eggplant, cauliflower and root vegetables in the preparation. Some of our customers also refrain from eating broccoli which we can also exclude from our dishes.
One might wonder with all of these excluded ingredients what might be left to create great tasting recipes, but in fact there are many. Among the Jain friendly ingredients we use are pumpkin, squash of many varieties, green beans, snap peas, green peas, cabbage, lettuce, quinoa, rice, mung bean, chickpeas and many other types of beans, papaya, mango, apple, corn, dates, tomatoes and peppercorn.
Jain friendly dining also means drinking water that is as pure as possible. At Chakra we triple-filter the drinking water we offer, making it Jain friendly as well.