why do some vegetarian not eat onions and garlic

Why Do Some Vegetarians Not Eat Onions And Garlic

You may occasionally come across a vegetarian that doesn’t consume onions and garlic and wonder why.

Some vegetarians have chosen their diets based upon their religious, spiritual, or cultural beliefs. Within these belief systems, many foods like onions and garlic are often tied to negative feelings, actions and are harmful to other living creatures.

Why Do Some Vegetarians Avoid Onions And Garlic

It can be confusing when you hear that a vegetarian doesn’t consume onions and garlic since both onions and garlic are vegetables.

There are many people that are following strict vegetarian diets due to religious or spiritual reasons.

Some consider these foods as being “hot” foods that entice those who eat these foods to partake in sinful physical acts while others do not want to disturb and harm any living creature.

What Religons Don’t Eat Onions And Garlic


In the Buddhist religion, life revolves around nature, and life is focused on balancing the two opposing energy systems yin and yang.

Buddhists believe that there must be a careful selection of the foods that enter the body as it correlates with the amount of energy within the body which impacts one’s power needed to climb the spiritual ladder.

The Buddhist tradition of vegetarianism has been rapidly growing around the world.


Jainism is a pacifist religion based upon respecting all living things and that everything living should live in peace and harmony since it is all interconnected.

The Jain diet is based on non-violence towards other living creatures, which includes the physical, mental and verbal actions towards all living things.


Hindus believe that the body is made up of four natural elements fire, air, water, and earth. A proper balance of all four leads to a life of good health.

The Hindu religion believes that all of God’s creatures are worthy of compassion and respect regardless of the creature being human or an animal.

You will find the majority of practicing Hindus in Nepal, India, and Sir Lanka.


Although, Ayurveda is not a religion it is the foundation of India’s medical science and quite possibly that foundation of modern medicine.

In Ayurveda, foods are grouped into three categories sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic with only foods from the sattvic category being consumed.

Why are onions and garlic forbidden for buddhists

Why Are Onions And Garlic Forbidden For Buddhists

Garlic and onions are among the five pungent foods that are considered taboo and off-limits.

Some Buddhists believe that eating these foods can have negative effects like increasing one’s sinful desires or killing of the ground creatures living among the vegetables like worms and grubs.

Some of these beliefs include.

  • When eaten raw they increase a persons anger and promote arguments
  • When eaten cooked they increase a persons sinful desires
  • When consumed in any way they will increase a persons libido
  • The breath of a person who has consumed these foods may drive away good spirits
  • These foods are thought to disturb the peacefulness of meditation

What Foods Are Considered The Five Pungent Foods

The five pungent foods are.

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Scallions
  • Leeks
  • Asafetida

What Is Asafetida

Asafetida is an Indian spice that comes from giant fennel plants.

Why Are Garlic And Onions Forbidden For Jainism

Jain vegetarians do not consume any root vegetables at all due to the concern of causing injuries to the insects and microorganisms that live among the vegetables.

These root vegetables that are forbidden include potatoes, carrots, beets, yams, rutabagas, turnips, leeks, onions, garlic, ginger, scallions, and radishes.

What Other Foods Do Jain Vegetarians Forbid

There are many foods that Jains eliminate from their diets due to the negative effects on living creatures and the planet.

  • Honey
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Elimination of green vegetables during certain times
  • Foods that have started to decay
  • Limitations on water consumption

Why Are Onions And Garlic Prohibited For Hindus

For some Hindus including the Brahmins onions, garlic and mushrooms are off-limits due to being considered impure as they are grown in impure locations.

It is also believed that these foods can cause behavioral changes in a person and are potential aphrodisiacs.

Why Do People Who Practice Ayurveda Avoid Onions And Garlic

Ayurveda categorizes food into three categories sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic, with only sattvic foods being consumed.

The other two categories rajasic and tamasic are believed to increase passion and ignorance.

Garlic and onions both belong to the rajasic and tamasic categories making them off-limits.

what religons don't eat onions and garlic

Do Onions And Garlic Make It Hard To Concentrate

Many people believe that consuming onions and garlic can make it very difficult to concentrate.

Those who strictly practice their religion want to avoid anything that could disturb their focus and concentration especially during acts like meditation, studying scriptures, and fasting.

Do Some Poeple Avoid Onions And Garlic Due To Climate

In some regions of India, they endure a four-month monsoon season making it extremely difficult to store onions and garlic without them rotting.

Are Onions And Garlic Vegan

Onions and garlic are both parts of the allium family of vegetables and are vegan friendly.

Final Thoughts

I find it very interesting that many people choose vegetarianism for similar reasons but, our beliefs and lifestyles can be so different.

I sincerely respect all of the religions mentioned in this article and hope that you all have learned a little more about each other in the process.

We are all different and as humans, we should embrace each other’s differences, it would be a boring world if we were all the same, had the same beliefs, and ate the same foods.

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