Hindu diet guidelines

I would like to take food to my Hindu eyebrow threader. I have, in the past, taken her fruit and baked goods made without beef or pork products. However, I’d like to know a little more about dietary requirements of practising Hindus so I don’t make her uncomfortable. I’m not having much luck with Google on the subject.

What should I avoid? Is there anything I should know, like her specific denomination or sect, in order to get an answer?

Thank you in advance.

I think there’s no definitive answer to this other than “what she says”. To be on the safe side, I would avoid all meat, fish, and eggs.

My grandmother (who was a very devout Hindu) wouldn’t touch (literally and metaphorically) any of those, and even garlic wasn’t used in her cooking at all.

The problem really is that every sub-sect of Hinduism defines what is acceptable to eat in different ways, and many of those do include meat. This page might help. If you want to be really sure, though, I would ask beforehand.

If you’d gone back a few generations in a very devout Hindu family, you couldn’t have given them food at all, since it came from a hand of a non-believer and was therefore impure. They would possibly have accepted it, but not eaten it. :wink:

Generally speaking, if she’s a meat eater, all you need to avoid is beef and beef products - chances are she will eat everything else. Some hindus eat beef too though, so as Dervorin suggests, the best thing to do is ask her.

Pardon the interruption, but did you say “Hindu eyebrow threader”? Individually, I am very familiar with each of those words. As a group they do not parse in my brain.

Hindu eyebrow threader; one who threads eyebrows and is also a Hindu by religious affiliation, as opposed to one who threads eyebrows that are Hindu. :wink:

As for what threading is, we turn to good old Wikipedia.

To add more detail, “eyebrow threading” is a means of plucking excess hair around the eyebrow using two strands of thread twisted together. It’s faster and less painful than plucking with tweezers.

As to the issue of Hindu dietary restrictions. As others have said you have to ask. Unlike the Abrahamic religions, Hinduism is not based on a central dogmatic text, and, indeed, all indications are that the authors of the oldest texts had no food restrictions.

So, food restrictions among Hindus have arisen culturally over tens of centuries. And it doesn’t really help to ask what a person’s “sect” is because only a small proportion of Hindus explicitly ascribe to any particular “sect.” Most of them just consider themselves “Hindus.”

The biggest differences are between meat-eating Hindus and vegetarian Hindus. Usually this goes by a family/ethnic group division (e.g., Bengalis are meat-eaters; Gujratis and south Indians are vegetarians), but there are some variations by individual. For example, it’s not uncommon in a meat-eating Bengali family for there to be a few women who have chosen to be vegetarian.

There is a further problem, however, in that there is not a fixed definition for “vegetarian.” General “Hindu vegetarian” means no flesh of any kind (land, sea, or air), no eggs, but dairy is not restricted. “Pure vegetarian” means all the above, but, in addition, no garlic or onions. “Jain vegetarian” means no root vegetables as well.

Among meat-eaters, the trend is for educated, middle-class men, in particular, to have no food restrictions whatsoever, not even beef.

So, basically, ya gotta ask.

Thank you, everyone. I will be sneaky and ask her niece who works with her.

It means: Usha, the goddess who keeps Baltimore’s Brows Tidy. That’s the direct Hindi translation. Really.

Aaahhh, it all make sense now! We certainly wouldn’t want a Bunch of Bushy Browed Baltimore Babes, now would we? That would be, like, the 135th day of Christmas.

Interesting. Remind me to ask more about this next Saturday.

Sounds like you might be safe with a bottle of water.