Although a vegetarian diet
is preferred in Ayurveda, it is not mandatory. There are certain instances when eating meat, or drinking
meat broth can be beneficial, especially in times of illness. The tradition of vegetarianism comes
from India’s religious background.
The Manu-smriti, a Vedic guide for human behavior says, “having
considered the origin of flesh foods and the cruelty of fettering and slaying
corporeal beings, let man entirely abstain from eating flesh.” It goes on to say that eating meat
“involves killing, and consequently leads to karmic bondage (bandha).” The Mahabharata, another ancient Indian
text, explains that a healthy vegetarian diet is sattvic, increasing purity of
consciousness and longevity. Other
references in Vedic literature refer to fruits, vegetables, grain, nuts and
dairy products as fit for human consumption. And the Bhagavad Gita says that lovingly offering food to
others also helps us to shed our karma.