Jains are strict vegetarians. Jain diet which is regarded as a means of survival, involve minimum amount of harm to plants.
Non-vegetarian diet involves the killing of animals. Violence breeds violence and killing animals produces insensitivity towards all beings.
What is a Vegetarian?
A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, fish, poultry or any slaughterhouse by-product such as gelatine. Vegetarians live on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit, milk and milk products. Those vegetarians who are not eating anything containing dairy products or eggs are called vegans.
Eating meat agitates our mind, contaminates our existence, distorts our spiritual vision, and increases our lust, greed and anger. A simple, natural diet will help keep our mind peaceful and pure. Vegetarianism is a must for developing higher consciousness. There are three types of food we eat and it influence the mind of human beings.
Sattvic Food: These foods nourish the body and maintain the body in a peaceful state, calming the mind, enabling it to function at maximum potential. These foods include cereals, whole meal bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, pure fruit juices, milk, butter, cheese, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, honey and herb teas.
Rajasic Food: Foods that are very hot, bitter, sour, dry or salty are Rajasic. Spicy foods are stimulating, and therefore are destructive to mind-body equilibrium in that they feed the body at the expense of the mind. Too much rajasic food will over stimulate the body and excite the passions, making the mind restless and uncontrollable. Rajasic foods include hot substances such as sharp spices or strong herbs. Stimulants like coffee and tea, fish, eggs, salt, and chocolate. Eating in a hurry is also considered Rajasic.
Tamasic Food: An overabundance of Tamasic foods is very destructive to the mind-body. The body’s resistance to disease is destroyed and the mind is filled with dark emotions, such as anger and greed. Tamasic items include meat, alcohol, tobacco, fermented foods such as vinegar and stale or overripe substances. Overeating is also regarded as Tamasic.
The four months of monsoon or Chaturmash in jainism are considered to be months of “abstinence” and fasting. During these months proliferation Curries made from dried ingredients like pulses, flours, dehydrated vegetables, etc. are made. Many followers of jainism abstain from onions, garlic, potatoes and other root vegetables in these months. The stricter ones do not even eat most green leafy vegetables, except coriander and mint.
Specifically a jain dish would mean one which does not contain onions, potatoes, garlic.In the monsoon season a jain dish would also not include carrots, radishes and other tuberous roots like them, no leafy greens, and no fresh vegetables in the very strict cases.