Jainism puts a lot of emphasis on Food. The kind of food one eats helps in leading the kind of life one wants. With vegetarianism at the core of religion, the food is divided into four categories:
- Khadya – Bread etc. The core food which fills the stomach and provides maximum source of energy
- Swad (Taste) – Cardamom etc. The food items which add to the taste of other food items are part of this category. They are not essential for feeding but add flavors to make the meals more appealing.
- Leh – Halwa etc. The semi-liquid consistency of these food taste great. Apart from this, these foods are also used as medicine. For cough and cold, sooji halwa is still used as homemade cure.
- Pey (Drinks) – Milk, Water etc. The drinks are a plenty and form the fourth cornerstone of food group.
The offerings and donation to lesser blessed is also one of the important aspect of food and life in Jainism. Maharani Manowati, as per Jain Folklore, used to donate rajmoti (royal pearls) before meals.
There is a couplet about Food which praises food and the effect it has on body:
Chaar Mile, Chausath Khile
Mile Bees Kar Jod
Sajjan se Sajjan Mile
Harshit Saat KarodFour eyes meet, Forty eight Teeth Meet;
Twenty fingers meet;
and Seven Crore Rom in the body gladdens on the sight and taste of Food