Why is most Indian food vegetarian?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Why is most Indian food vegetarian? We discuss the reason why most Indians are vegetarian, whether there are cultural, spiritual, or economical reasons. 

Why is most Indian food vegetarian?

The answer to the origin of vegetarianism in India can be found in the beginnings of Buddhism, a religion that has influenced its followers when it comes to developing a pacifist and “non-violent” behavior through Indian vegetarian dishes that, in turn, they are equally delicious. Yummy!

Those who eat meat destroy their compassion.” With this appointment, Buddha inaugurated the custom of vegetarianism among his followers as a way of working on their compassion, among many other virtues.

 In this way, Buddhism incited vegetarianism in India, transmitting its values ​​to other religions such as Hinduism or, in a somewhat more extreme way, to Jainism, a religion that only consumes the foods that nature offers, without removing them from the earth or cook them at night in order not to kill insects.

Religion is the main reason for the origin of vegetarianism in India. Divided into vegetarians (milk or eggs included in the diet) or vegans (absence of food from the animal), the vegetarian population of the Indian subcontinent (which already reaches 40% of the total, translated into more than 500 million vegetarians) finds various reasons of a psychological and physical nature in the exclusive intake of green products.

With regard to the psychological part, Buddhism highlights the tendency to the aggressiveness of those who eat meat, while vegetarians are more refined and balanced. The fear that animals feel and the tension of humans during slaughter is not the same as when handling a plant that, shortly after, will regenerate again.

An animal dies, and will not return. It is for these reasons that v

India, a country of vegetarians by religion and necessity

In India there are “vegetarians” and “non-vegetarians”, a categorization of eating habits that shows the reality of a country in which for the high castes in Hinduism not eating meat is an obligation, while for the most humble the “Green” diet is mostly a question of prices.

In New Delhi, the queues at the entrance of some of the most popular vegetarian restaurants are common, while in the “mixed” establishments the vegetarian menu stands out, pointing out the meat dishes with striking notices to avoid any cluelessness. wrong, which could corrupt your soul.

“The sacred scriptures indicate that your soul is what you eat. If you eat well, your soul will be well. If you eat the wrong food, consume alcohol and meat, your soul will be bad and it will lead you to commit stupid acts” – Acharya Brijess, Hindu priest.

According to the latest survey on eating habits in the Asian country, carried out during the period 2015-2016 by the Indian Ministry of Health, 30% of women and 22% of men in India declare themselves purely vegetarian.

However, when delving into the statistics, these numbers skyrocket towards the green side, ensuring that around 90% of the population consumes vegetables daily, while only 6% eat meat daily and only 36% women and 43% of men do it at least once a week.

In a country where, according to United Nations data from 2011, 23% of the population lives on less than $ 1.25 a day, food prices are also an important factor in determining the family diet.

Thus, while a kilogram of the most consumed meats, chicken and lamb, cost 240 rupees (3.3 dollars) and 460 rupees (6.3 dollars) respectively, a kilogram of rice and lentils cost 100 rupees (1.3 dollars) and 200 rupees ($ 2.7).

To supply this great demand for legumes and vegetables, New Delhi, with 18 million inhabitants, has the Azadpur market, located in the north of the Indian capital and one of the largest in Asia, with kilometers of mountains of onions, tomatoes, peppers … intended for bulk purchase.

More than 13,000 tons of vegetables and fruits arrive at Azadpur daily.  There, from early in the morning, porters relentlessly load sacks of vegetables onto trucks destined for markets and restaurants in the capital, while dozens of cows, sacred in India, enjoy the remains of their particular feast.


Vegetarianism in India is conceived as a balm of the mind and spirit and, therefore, in a greater internal balance of the consumer.

On a physical level, the easy digestion of green diets or the many properties of vegetables and fruit such as antioxidants or vitamins, confirm the many benefits of a vegetarian diet. 

In turn, vegetarianism was a much easier diet to weigh for the agricultural classes of Ancient India, which could not afford the consumption of meats such as chicken, all without taking into account that the cow is considered a sacred animal in India (despite the recent illegal trade in southern states) and pork is banned from the diet of the Muslim population, one of the most abundant in the subcontinent.

If you have any thoughts to share, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.




Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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