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What is the Perfect Diet by Paramhansa Yogananda
Questions and Answers: What Is Perfect Diet?

Q & A 4010 topic 5 Inner Culture, October 1940

Question: Which is best: a mixed diet of meat and vegetables, or a diet of vegetables alone?–B.C.

Answer: Longevity depends not only upon proper eating, but also upon controlling the breath, not overworking the heart, proper elimination, control of sex-force, and proper recharging of the body from the Divine Source.

All foods have one of three qualities–

some foods have spiritual qualities,

some have activating qualities, and

some have evil qualities.

Since the expression of the soul of a person is dependent upon the condition of his body, and his body is dependent upon food, it is desirable to know not only the physical but also the spiritual and psychical effects of food.

Cruelty in Nature

In nature we find that big fish eat smaller fish, the lizard swallows the little worm, and the strong lion and tiger prey upon smaller animals. We also find that vegetables eat the earth chemicals, and birds, beasts, and human beings eat vegetable and animal food. Human beings eat animals, vegetables, and earth chemicals through food and medicine, and the grand old earth is always hungry and cannibalistic, since out of its womb all the chemicals composing living organisms came, and into its all-devouring stomach all vegetables, animals, and men must return.

This shows that the greedy earth, the vegetables, animals, and human beings are both vegetarians and carnivorous. As in nature we find more carnivorous animals than vegetarian animals, so we find that more people subsist on meat than on vegetables alone.

It is found, by comparison of national characteristics of different nations, that our food is largely responsible for our mentalities. Too much meat produces a fighting quality; vegetables produce peace-loving qualities.

Meat is a concentrated food and is strengthening but is highly constipating and acts as a retainer of body poisons; thus it may be a harbinger of disease. Vegetables have to be prepared with more patience and are not as concentrated as meat; hence the improper eating of vegetables destroys their good effect. Vegetables and fruits, having a natural laxative action, are conducive to health and to the elimination of diseases.

Every form of beef and pork should be strictly avoided. Those who feel that they must eat meat should confine themselves to lamb, chicken, and fish. It is better to eat eggs and nuts in place of meat, or use good meat substitutes.

No absolute rule can be given which will be good for all times and all peoples, but it has been scientifically proven that overeating of meat tends to produce more diseases than overeating of vegetables.