Home » Excerpts » Food Of The Monks, Devotional Cuisine

Eat and drink well,
for the long-term well-being
of yourself and others,
including those you might
eat and drink from.

– Moustachoman

Shojin Ryori (精进料理) is the devotional cuisine of monks in Japan. The purpose of shojin ryori is to celebrate seasonal vegetables, to nourish, to utilise all the parts of the plants, to energise and enlighten, and to cook and eat with harmony and peace. No potent flavours, such as onions or garlic, [chives, leeks and asafoetida], are included in these meals, and no animal products are used.

These days it’s easy to forget that veganism and vegetarianism aren’t food trends that started in the ’60s – they have been a philosophy and way of life for many people in many cultures since the thirteenth century [in Japan].

While staying at a local temple with monks in the mountains in Koyasan, my sister and I ate and studied shojin ryori, which completely changed the way I cook and eat today. I learned to use more plant-based foods, to work with veggies, fruits, whole grains, fermented foods, and plant-based proteins. These are the kinds of food that, I’ve come to learn, work in harmony with my body and mind and that make me feel good… Shojin ryori… it is not [just] a diet – it is heritage, culture, tradition (mixed with some modernisation), and a way of life.    

Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art Of Nourishing Mind, Body And Spirit
Candice Kumai

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