India has several traditions and cultures under its womb comprising of people from different religions, caste and creed. Thus, we witness that amount of difference in everyone’s tastes and choices. Same way some are vegetarian and some are non vegetarian consumers especially the Hindu population who are, majorly, considered as vegetarians.
Traditionally speaking, the diet in Hinduism varies with its diverse traditions. The ancient and medieval Hindu texts do not clearly disallow its followers and believers from eating meat but they do strongly recommend ‘Ahimsa’ meaning non-violence against all life forms including animals.
Thus, you will find many Hindus prefer a vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian lifestyle, and food production that are in sync with nature, compassionate, and respectful of other life forms just as the humans.
As we go further, in Hindus, Vaishnavs who are the followers of Vishnu, have the highest percentage of vegetarians. There has always been controversy in the number of vegetarians in Hindus, basically because most Indians are ‘occasional’ non-vegetarians: eating meat, fish and poultry on couple of days of the week.
It is observed that most non-vegetarian Hindus do not eat non-veg on certain days of the week such as three days of the week mainly Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Whereas, most non-vegetarian communities in the northern and the eastern parts of India do not eat poultry. Oddly, men can consume but found to be a taboo for women.
Traditions and rituals are never followed alone until and unless someone is there to guide over. Hence, when common people come in contact with the Rishis and their advanced knowledge, they tend to misunderstand and misinterpret their food preferences to be the reason for the advancement. Often try to imitate these great people based on their food habits as it is. While following Ahimsa, one has to follow a strict vegetarian diet but a violent thought can fail the primary tenant of Ahimsa.
The insightful factor behind not eating meat on weekdays like on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays is also an interesting topic. It is believed that the human body needs only a little amount of meat to fulfill requirements of our body such as iron, vitamin B12 and other vital nutrients. It is also that eating meat in excessive quantity is not considered to be good for health.
It could cause diseases like piles, kidney stones, colon cancer, blood pressure, heart attack, etc. Therefore, Hinduism has setup some of the restrictions by assigning the days to particular diet.
If you are a Hindu, you only need to be a vegetarian if it is necessary for your occupation or purpose of your life. Otherwise, you can follow your taste.