What Foods Are Hindus Not Allowed to Eat?

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Hindus are forbidden to eat most animal-based foods, such as eggs, fish, poultry or beef. Very strict Hindus also keep alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants out of their diets as well.

Animal-based foods are not sanctioned by the religious texts and are not considered fit for human consumption, so a good portion of Hindus are vegetarian. Cows are held as sacred creatures, so the consumption of beef is wholly forbidden and the act of killing a cow at all is seen as a sin. Food is a deep-set part of the Hindu religion, and what is consumed is eaten to honor both the body and the gods. Dietary restrictions are dependant on the area as well, as in certain parts of India Hindus are permitted to eat fish as “fruits of the sea” while in other areas they are not.

More strict practitioners also avoid mushrooms, garlic, onions, alcohol and coffee or tea if it contains caffeine. The avoidance of garlic and onions is said to be because the odor is offensive to Lord Krishna, while mushrooms are seen as being grown in unclean ground. If alcohol is ingested, the practitioner must bathe before attempting to enter the temple as religion and diet are intertwined.