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Everything You Need To Know About The Buddhist Diet

Buddhist cuisine is an Asian cuisine that is followed by monks and believers of Buddhism. Buddhist diet is mainly vegetarian and monks follow it all year-round and believers follow it during celebrations. The dishes that are a part of the Buddhist diet are strictly vegetarian and a person who follows it needs to stick to vegetarian foods and abstain from eating meat and drinking alcohol.

If you are planning to follow the Buddhist diet and wondering what the dietary restrictions are, we've got it all covered for you in this article. Take a look.

What Is The Buddhist Diet?

The Buddhist diet is a strictly vegetarian diet that includes plant-based foods and excludes foods such as meat, fish, poultry, onion, garlic and leeks. The basic principle of the Buddhist diet is leading a healthy lifestyle by incorporating healthy foods, eating at the right time and in the right quantity.

Like many religions, Buddhism has dietary food restrictions and traditions and it's based on three dietary aspects: vegetarianism, fasting and abstention from alcohol.

  • Vegetarianism

A healthy vegetarian diet consists of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and legumes. These foods are high in disease-fighting antioxidants that help improve your health and prevent the onset of diseases [1] [2].

One of the teachings of Buddhism prohibits killing animals and consuming the meat. But, there are different sections of Buddhists who consume whatever foods are served to them, including meat as long as the animals are not specifically killed to feed them. Nevertheless, the Buddhist diet strictly involves eating vegetarian foods [3].

  • Fasting

When we say fasting, we are talking about intermittent fasting (IF), a form of time-restricted eating. It focuses on when you should be eating your foods. Buddhists believe in intermittent fasting as a way to practice self-control by abstaining from consuming foods and drinks from noon until dawn the next day [4].

  • Abstention from alcohol

Another important principle of the Buddhist diet is it does not encourage the consumption of alcohol.

Many Buddhists avoid alcohol because of its effect on the mind as it is a very addictive substance [5].

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Foods To Eat On A Buddhist Diet

  • Fruits such as apples, bananas, berries, apples, citrus fruits, etc.
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc.
  • Legumes such as black beans, lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas.
  • Whole grains such as rice, oats and quinoa.
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils such as olive oil, avocado oil and flaxseed oil.

Foods To Avoid On A Buddhist Diet

  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Pungent vegetables and spices
  • Alcohol
  • Sweets and desserts are consumed in moderation

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Pros And Cons Of The Buddhist Diet

Since the Buddhist diet involves the consumption of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables,healthy oils and legumes, studies have shown that plant-based diets can reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases [6] [7] [8].

A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal Of Clinical Nutrition showed that Buddhists who followed a vegetarian diet for a longer time had less body fat compared to those who followed the diet for a shorter time [9].

In addition, the Buddhist diet prohibits the consumption of alcohol, which is good because studies have shown that alcohol consumption increases the risk of chronic diseases [10].

On the other hand, the drawbacks of the Buddhist diet is that it restricts the consumption of meat, eggs and dairy, which can cause a deficiency in certain nutrients.

Fasting is an important aspect of the Buddhist diet and studies have shown that fasting can aid in weight loss [11] [12]. However, fasting for long hours from noon till dawn can be difficult and can also interfere with your social and professional life.

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Sample Meal Plan For The Buddhist Diet

The Buddhist diet focuses on eating the right quantity of foods whenever you want. Here is a sample meal plan however, you can change the foods based on your preferences.

  • For breakfast, a bowl of porridge, ½ cup of blueberries and a handful of nuts.
  • For lunch, Stir-fried vegetables with seasonings and a fruit salad at.
  • For dinner, a bowl of salad with vegetables of your choice.

Buddhist Food Recipes

Buddha Bowl


  • 1 ¼ cups brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups edamame
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced broccoli florets
  • 1 to 2 tbsp soy sauce, to taste
  • 2 ripe avocados, thinly sliced

For garnishing:

  • 1 small sliced cucumber
  • Lime wedges
  • Sesame seeds
  • Toasted sesame oil for drizzling


  • Boil the rice, edamame and broccoli. Drain the water and add soy sauce and mix it well.
  • Divide the rice/veggie mixture into four bowls.
  • Place the cucumber slices along the edge of the bowls. Place the lime wedges and avocados. Drizzle sesame oil and sprinkle sesame seeds over it.

Common FAQs

Q. What are Buddhists allowed and not allowed to eat?

A. Buddhists strictly adhere to a vegetarian diet and do not consume eggs, dairy and alcohol.

Q. Are Buddhists vegan?

A. Yes, most Buddhists are vegan.

Q. Can you eat eggs on a Buddhist diet?

A. No, you can't eat eggs when you are following a Buddhist diet.

Q. Can you eat meat on a Buddhist diet?

A. No, the Buddhist diet does not include the intake of meat.

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