Jain Food Restrictions

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Why Jains dont eat Potatoes, Onions, Garlic or any underground vegetables ? Why do Jains refrain from eating after daylight ?  Why do they drink boiled water ?

These are some of the questions that you always have in mind but dont know whom to ask and sometimes the answers are not convincing enough. I will try to resolve all those queries for you.

If you have more questions, ask them in the comments below.

Jain vegetarianism is the diet of the Jains, the followers of Jainism. It is the most strict form of religiously-motivated diet regulation in the Indian subcontinent.

Jain objections to the eating of meat and fish are based on the principle of nonviolence (ahinsa, literally “non-injuring”). Every act by which a person directly or indirectly supports killing or injury is seen as violence (hinsa), which creates harmful karma. The aim of ahimsa is to prevent the accumulation of such karma.

The extent to which this intention is put into effect varies greatly among Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Jains consider nonviolence to be the most essential religious duty for everyone (ahinsā paramo dharmaḥ, a statement often inscribed on Jain temples). It is an indispensable condition for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, which is the ultimate goal of all Jain activities. Jains share this goal with Hindus and Buddhists, but their approach is particularly rigorous and comprehensive.

Their scrupulous and thorough way of applying nonviolence to everyday activities, and especially to food, shapes their entire lives and is the most significant hallmark of Jain identity.

A side effect of this strict discipline is the exercise of asceticism, which is strongly encouraged in Jainism for lay people as well as for monks and nuns.


  • For Jains, lacto-vegetarianism (generally known simply as vegetarianism in India) is mandatory.  Food which contains even small particles of the bodies of dead animals or eggs is absolutely unacceptable. Some Jain scholars and activists support veganism, as the production of dairy products involves significant violence (himsa) against cows.
  • Jains go out of their way so as not to hurt even small insects and other tiny animals, because they believe that harm caused by carelessness is as reprehensible as harm caused by deliberate action. Hence they take great pains to make sure that no minuscule animals are injured by the preparation of their meals and in the process of eating and drinking.
  • Traditionally Jains have been prohibited from drinking unfiltered water. In the past, when wells or baolis were used for the water source, the cloth used for filtering used to be reversed and some filtered water was poured over it to return the organisms to the original body of water. This practice termed as ‘jivani’ or ‘bilchhavani’, is no longer possible because of the use of pipes for water supply.
  • Jains today may also filter faucet water in the traditional fashion, and a few Jains continue to follow the filtering process even with commercial mineral or bottled drinking water.
  • Jains make considerable efforts not to injure plants in everyday life as far as possible. but they only accept such violence inasmuch as it is indispensable for human survival, and there are special instructions for preventing unnecessary violence against plants.[10] Jains don’t eat root vegetables such as potatoes, onions, roots and tubers, because tiny life forms are injured when the plant is pulled up and because the bulb is seen as a living being, as it is able to sprout. Also, consumption of most root vegetables involves uprooting & killing the entire plant. Whereas consumption of most terrestrial vegetables doesn’t kill the plant (it lives on after plucking the vegetables or it was seasonally supposed to wither away anyway).
  • Honey is forbidden, as its collection would amount to violence against the bees.
  • Food items that have started to decay are prohibited.
  • Traditionally cooking or eating at night was discouraged because insects are attracted to the lamps or fire at night. Strict Jains take the vow (called anastamita or anthau) of not eating after sunset.
  • Strict Jains do not consume food which has been stored overnight, as it possesses a higher concentration of micro-organisms (for example, bacteria yeast etc) as compared to food prepared and consumed the same day. Hence, they do not consume yogurt or dhokla & idli batter unless they’ve been freshly set on the same day.
  • Jains do not consume fermented foods (beer, wine and other alcohols) to avoid killing of a large number of microorganisms associated with the fermenting process.
  • During some specific fasting periods in the Jain religious ‘Panchang’ calendar, Jains refrain from consuming any green coloured vegetables (which have chlorophyll pigment) such as okra, leafy vegetables, etc.

Influence on vegetarian cuisines in India

The vegetarian cuisines of some of the regions has been strongly influenced by Jainism.

These include

  • Gujarati Jain cuisine
  • Marwari Jain cuisine of Rajasthan
  • Bundelkhandi Jain cuisine of central India
  • Agrawal Jain cuisine of Delhi/UP

In India, vegetarian food is regarded to be appropriate for everyone for all occasions. This makes vegetarian restaurants quite popular. Many of the vegetarian restaurants and Mishtanna (sweet)shops (for example the legendary Ghantewala sweets in Delhi  or Jamna Mithya in Sagar ) in India are run by Jains. Some restaurants in India serve strict Jain version of vegetarian dishes that leave out carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic. A few airlines also serve Jain vegetarian dishes upon prior request. The Japanese Shojin Ryori is similar to Jain cuisine in leaving out onions and garlic. The term satvika often implies Indian cuisine without onions and garlic, the strict Jain cuisine also excludes other root vegetables like potatoes.

Some Rajasthani dishes such as gatte ki sabzi (or gatte ki kadhi ) and papd ki sabzi were invented for Jain festivals during which the orthodox may avoid eating green vegetables.

282 thoughts on “Jain Food Restrictions

    1. Hello,

      Are any kind of beans seen as a living being, as they are able to sprout and become plants with fertilization… Are beans (gujarati – Kathor) that can sprout consumed by Jains ? Please let us know.

    2. Describe the process to create softness of bread & pav.
      Can I get the complete details in Gujarati about ‘ Kandmul & Abkshya ‘ as per Jain Is am ?
      My What’s aap No. Is 9409295359.

    BUT WILL SURELY COMMENT ON THIS SITE. NICE SITE….. needs nore colours…….
    ans suggestion : –

    waiting to taste the best on mount everest hahahahahah

    1. Yes paneer is absolutely edible to jain diet. You can make it at home. Well for Cheese there r some controversies being jain or not, but i consider it to be jain. Cheese is actually kept for many days to ferment n so debated whether acceptable to jain diet or not.

      1. Cheese is produced by using a coagulant enzyme called chymosin ( present in rennet)found in inner lining of small intestines of calves. The rennet can be of plant or microbial origin also. Depending on what origin the rennet is, the cheese can be vegetarian or non -vegetarian. As far as Jains are concerned, strict followers avoid cheese because it is stored in brine for days, which is unacceptable for them to consume.

      2. What about Curd(dahi)?
        Means we are not eating potato because there are so many insects inside it which human eye can’t recognise. But the same thing is apply to curd, and still we and Sadhus too are eating curd. Why?

    2. Cheese is made by Talking RENNET from Young baby of COW by slaughter of Cow and its Baby…..so Cheese is NON VEG item…..also Maggi is Non Veg …prohibit MAGGI ….Cadbury…Cheese. Chocolates

      1. Hi Darshan,
        Not all Cheese are made from Rennet – We should check the ingredients as they specify that whether it is suitable for Vegetarians or not. For eg. Indian Products like Amul and Britaania are not made from Rennet and they can be consumed by us. International Cheese like Parmesan etc are non-veg. You can also get Jain Maggi Masala in the market. Regular Maggi Masala is not non-veg but in contains Onion hence cannot be consumed by us.

      2. Wow, I just stumbled on this site because I wanted to know what Jain was – I’d never heard it before. I had no idea what rennet was so thank you so much for sharing! I am a vegetarian and had no idea what I was eating! Will make some changes for sure, thank you!!!

  2. Jai jinendra,
    I just wanna know why dry ginger and dry turmaric is allowed to use in jainisam?


    1. Ginger and turmeric can be dried naturally under the sun and turn ‘Achit’ or free form asankhyata jeev, whereas other roots like onion, garlic etc. cannot be dried naturally without being rotten.

      1. Hey Ishan,
        But isn’t obtaining the ginger or turmeric from the plant causing the plant to be uprooted and causing harm to the plant?
        Also if Onion and Garlic contain micro-organism since they are underground, should’nt the ginger also contain asankhyat jeev?
        If the ginger were dried naturally it would still involve uporroting the plant and leaving it under the sun for it die “naturally” and then allowing the ginger to be dried and then used as a dried product.

    2. Ginger, turmeric are dried naturally as they rot after a period of time , where as this is not generally the case in other root vegetables.
      Second thing this is used for medicinal purpose and not for taste,where as other root vegetables are mainly used for taste.
      Thirdly dried+fried potatoes can be eaten more but not dried ginger,
      U hardly use a pinch of ginger and turmeric in daily life. There is a saying “kiski maa ne sava ser sunt khaye”

  3. ginger and turmeric after dried becomes achit and also use for ayurvedic purpose,you can’t eat in quantity,rather dried potato can eat in quantity.

  4. plz let us know the packed food which we eat in our daily life.. are they free from animal fat like bun burger dairy chocolates gelllies biscuits etc.,

    1. hello anitha,
      about the items that u have listed above, it depends on where do you live and buy that from. In india i think these things are eggless but abroad you need to read the ingredients before buying it.

  5. Really nice and helpful site.. With so many varieties it encourages our jain people to eat our own “jain traditional food”.
    But there is a suggestion that spellings should be checked. At many places i found the wrong spellings resulting into double/ wrong meaning.
    but i really appreciated your hard work for spreading jainism.

    1. AG, cheese can be made easily at home, I recently heard a session at our local deraser where they taught how to make cheese, bread and butter at home. I will put up the recipe soon.


  6. I am not eating butter…i ve taken a ‘pachkhan’ for that…
    Cheese is included or not.?

    1. Hi Ishan, Ideally it is not included. To be honest recently we had a session at our local derasar where they showed us how to make butter and cheese at home. I will be putting up the recipes for the same soon as well.

  7. Thank u so much…
    Really a wonderful site….
    Specially in this modern times,it is very much required…
    Jai Jinendr….

  8. nice site i always knew we should not eat shoots and roots but never knew the exact reason why not to eat today i can give reply to the people who always asked me why you dont eat etc thanks a lot.

    1. Hi Purvi,

      Ground Nut even though is rooted does not generate as many micro organisms as other roots and the outer layer is thick enough to protect the nuts from any organisms. We usually eat the Nuts removing the outer layer hence it is okay to have Ground Nuts. This is not the case with Potatoes, Onions, Garlic or any other roots where the outer layer is too thin to expose micro organisms

      I hope this solves your query.

    2. Hello…

      Ground nut contains oil naturally..
      And when there is a oil no micro organisms were present in the ground nut. For eg.
      For wheat storage traditionally people toss up oil on wheat so that the insects were not interact with wheat. The same principle apply here. Thhats why gnut is eatable in jainism..

  9. nice informatory site…am doing a presentation on jain culture especially diet…so plz suggest me the best recipe i can make…and prove to non veges dat even veg and jain food tastes awesome…

    1. Hey Forum,
      Thanks for all your appreciation. Good luck for your presentation I would sugest tai pai paneer chily recipe, sprout bhel,kelawada etc will taste good. Do let me know how it goes.

  10. I believe all should be aware that in America (USA) nearly all cows are raised in horrible conditions in “factory farms” and also fed drugs and hormones. Thus to consume dairy products is to torture the cows and consume unhealthy substances as well. Everyone should know the terrible things that happen in American farms!

  11. Hello, i never knew the reason for not eating potato,onion ,garlic and roots. i could never answer my friends y v don’t eat all this n v used to always fight on dis topic. now i can answer her. thank you for this information.n i make Jain cakes. if i can help u.let me know.

  12. Hi..it is nice..can you please explain us the reason egg is not veg and also something on leafy vegetables ..

    1. As per Jainism, Milk and Milk Products are okay to be consumed.. I have not heard of any such restrictions within Jainism by our elders who follow the religion very dedicatedly. However it is always a personal choice to be a vegan and not consume milk and milk products.

      1. Don’t you think any religion and practice will lose meaning if it doesn’t change with time? The underlying principle of Jainism is ahimsa, and the goal should be to see how to lowest possible cruelty footprint. Consuming milk is as good as eating meat these days – do you know that Indian is number 1 beef exporter today and dairy industry is the biggest supplier to beef industry? What about mental himsa caused due to confinement, separation of mother and calf, and so on?

        Most of the modern day developments causes himsa in various forms – enjoying modern amenities causes billions-trillions of microorganisms and more evolved living beings suffer and die. But at least when we talk about diet, milk is 100 times more cruel than potato, onion etc. I really wish more and more Jains come out of the blind traditional mindset and see the truth, in the true spirit of ahimsa.

      2. I agree with Krishna Shastry’s reply on this.
        Like all other religion, Jainism has lot of hipocracy and not compatible with current age.

        You can eat fruits/vegetable which grow on plants, but not rooted things as the plant won’t die or will die with the weather anyway – does that mean Jains are allowed to eat parts of things (of course veggies) which are going to die anyway?
        Jains are allowed to eat dried ginger and turmeric. Why? Even those gingers/turmeric were also pulled out of the earth at some time and would have injured/killed many organisms at that time… Funny, isn’t it! I am surprised that even educated Jains don’t think about it.

      3. In jainism
        In old tradition Milk and milk products were made in home thats why they are consumable…

        For curd there is a way to prepare a curd…
        In jainism…
        Curd were not mix in milk directly…
        Use almonds to first sauk in curd then wash it slightly and then put it in milk…
        And only fresh curd which is of same day were allowed in jainism to eat…

        For the rotten veg and pluking vegetables there is lot of diff.

        Rotten root and veg like potato and onion… is nothing but a bunch of small micro organisms…. its a hundred times more impured than milk.

        And in fruits and vegetables… there is no micro organisms are there… though its a part of living plant…
        Green veg were not eatable in parushan and specified tithis…

        Very strict sadhus were not eaten even green veg and foods…

        So milk shudh ho sakta hai basharte usse kaise aap tak laaya gaya hai is par depend karta hai….

    1. Hi Krishaa, Never heard of this before. I can confirm that Cheese definately does not contain Eggs. However Some of the Cheeses like Parmesan (rarely used in India) contains Rennet which is not jain. I suggest you should check the ingredients correctly before using any cheeses. The best way is to make it at home 🙂

  13. Really a vry nyce site to learn many things…i tried paneer chilly n it came out very tasty..tnx. A lot dear

  14. Hi I m shruti Shah. I just read your article and comments on that too.. It’s great…for them who actually don’t know the basic values and reasons of Jainism and Jain food it’s encyclopedia…keep it up.. Great job..thanks..

  15. Does it all really matter ?eat 100organisms or 1lakh….these are small organisms u can’t think of such small microorganisms in ur daily life?Instead people should change there views n focous of good deeds n helping poor n do something for the society .

    1. Hi Pranay, I appreciate your views – Though if you understand closer – The issue is not about how small the micro organisms are or how many do we kill – but to reduce harm to any living organisms as much as we can. The Good Deeds and Helping Poor is anyways a Priority for Any religion as it is out Jainism.

      1. What is Jainism and how a person being called as jain .. is it one has to belong to jain family means by birth the person should be Jain or following Jainism things is ok ? For Eg if a girl who belongs to jain family following Jainism and now if she marries non jain guy and still follow Jainism, She will be jain or just because she is married to non jain guy she is non jain? And what is consider as sin or felony , eating/ making non jain food or going to non jain temple.

      2. Dear rajeev

        u dont need to be jain to follow jainism it can be followed by anyone even if he or she is nt jain. god is fr all n its nt binded anyone to worship any god they want. Mahavir bhagvan ll nt say ur nt jain dont worship me or
        follow me nor ganpati bhagvan ll say tht dont cm to my temple. Its per ur beleif whom u want to worship

  16. In Digamber Jainism, the reason for not eating root vegetables is because of the anant (infinite) one-sensed jivas living in just a tiny part of the vegetable. There are other unconsumable foods that are not root vegetables e.g. Mushroom, aubergine, figs. Hope you can add this to your site.

    1. Respected Friend,
      Today I Saw One Advertise In Newspaper For Searching Job. But I Came Through An Ad Giving Raw Materials At Home To Prepare Finished Product To Earn Upto Rs.20,000 Per Month. It Was Definitely Mushroom Growing Home Business. I Was Confused I Must Join It Or Not But After Reading U R Comment I Think I Must Not Join It… As Mushroom Is Unconsumable…
      Jai Jinendra…

    1. Hi Aneeka,

      Ginger is generally not allowed however Dried form of Ginger (Soonth) is often used due to its health and medication values. You can use Dry Ginger as an alternative to Ginger.


      Jain Foodie

  17. nice jain is good reglion amaong all reglion .There are many other reason fir onion n garlic n ahaloo .

  18. hi,

    my question is ,anyway for eating we have to kill someone(ekendriya jeev)

    so rather than killing thousands of ekendriya jeev (e.g rice) why should not we kill only one jeev (e.g. chicken)?

    1. Hi Sunny, The concept of Jainism is to reduce killing / harm as much as possible. This also means refrain for harming / killing or consuming any living organisms with 2 or more senses. Living micro-organisms have 1 or 2 senses, while Chicken or any other animals have 5 senses similar to Humans. This does not mean we can keep killing microorganisms or 1 or 2 senses… This is why we do not consume Leaf vegetables and Fruits / Vegetables with many seeds on certain days and monsoon season.

      1. Thanks, that means killing 1 animal with 5 senses is more sinful than killing 1000 animal with 1 senses, right??

      2. Stop relating food with ‘Dharma’. Our this attitude has lead to Dadri (India) lynching. I do understand the scientific as well as logical reasoning behind some of the beliefs that the Jain University propounds but for Gods’ sake stop connecting it with the ideology of ‘Dharma Chakkra’.
        It is mentioned in the ‘Jain Shastra’ that every ‘Jiva (living) and Ajiva (non-living)’ have to perform their set dharma, for example the dharma of fire is to burn. Similarly, the dharma of human must be nothing but humanity. What I fail to understand is ‘where does food come into the picture’?
        As mentioned by few great Jain monks, the entire problem arise when we become religious and divert from the path of spirituality. If at all Lord Mahavira or any of the Thirthankaras would want us to do, they would want us to listen to their preaching rather than following them blindly. We must understand this first and then introspect.
        Last but not least, the dried ginger theory is as similar as having meat and blaming the butcher or the cook for the sin.

      3. Dear akash karnavat,

        Nothing in Jainism will ever lead to lynching because Jainism is about ahimsa.

        What makes you think that Jainism is only about food? Perhaps because it is the only jain thing you observe you feel that only food is being given importance.

        Jainism is much more, it is about becoming a good person and reducing harm to others in all ways.

        Where does food come into the picture? All worldly activities of man are for ultimately for Pet Puja only…

      4. Mr. Karnavat…
        Jainism is based purely on ahinsa…
        When gandhar ask mahavir swami …
        That how people should live in this pancham kaaal… if there is killing of small mo in the living hood…
        Then mahavir swami tod him every shravak must do their work vivekpurn and yatanpurvak …
        It means if you walk … look down towards land so that jiv those visible from eyes were not harmed.
        And as we know scientifically also…
        Potato and onion is nothing but a bunch of living organisms … it is not eatable…

        And as you said about dried ginger…

        If you not dry it nature will automaticallly dry it and make him sauth….

        U need not to him dry….
        Understand thats why only dried ginger were acceptable in jainism…

        Though strict followers and sadhus avoid it too….

      5. Mr. Karnavat…
        Jainism is based purely on ahinsa…
        When gandhar ask mahavir swami …
        That how people should live in this pancham kaaal… if there is killing of small mo in the living hood…
        Then mahavir swami tod him every shravak must do their work vivekpurn and yatanpurvak …
        It means if you walk … look down towards land so that jiv those visible from eyes were not harmed.
        And as we know scientifically also…
        Potato and onion is nothing but a bunch of living organisms … it is not eatable…

        And as you said about dried ginger…

        If you not dry it nature will automaticallly dry it and make him sauth….

        U need not to him dry….
        Understand thats why only dried ginger were acceptable in jainism…

        Though strict followers and sadhus avoid it too….

    2. Ahimsa means not to give pain to any living thing as far as possible. Organisms without a central nervous system cannot feel pain. Micro organisms, plants and trees etc cannot feel pain at any time. But all animals, whether chicken, lamb, cattle or whatever, all feel pain when they are killed. Cows do not feel pain when they are milked. The calf also is not harmed just because they do not drink their mother’s milk, as long as they are given good grass and other cattle food.

  19. Hi,
    Quite informative, but it would be more effective and convincing for the young generation if it is backed by scientific knowledge. Almost all the concepts in jainism has a logical and practical base too.
    For Ex. Chouviaahar ,Not eating or drinking anything after sunset.
    Scientifically, If you do so, it gives enough time to your body to digest the food properly. If you eat at nite n sleep, your metabolism rate slows down resulting into the body weight gain. so Chauviaahar is healthy.
    Practical aspect, the ladies in the house used to / still spend a lot of time in kitchen. So if the family dinner is done early, even she can wrap up her kitchen chores early and gets time off for herself or family. She can also utilise this time for Pooja, Samayik, Pratikraman etc.
    Also the used kitchen utensils can be cleaned the same day, so no chance of developing organisms in the left over food.
    And such few more reasons for eating early.

  20. I have one question.

    jain dharm says non-violence due to this they will not eat meat ,fish, eggs.

    But eating rice, wheat or it’s product also violence because we are cutting that plant.

    So why in jain dharm allowed this food?

    1. Hi Chandrakant, Jain Dharma specifies reducing killing or harming living organisms as much as possible. Eating Meat, Fish, Eggs directly relates to living beings which have 5 senses which is as good as killing human beings. Plants or flowers are 1 sense beings however they are essential for human survival and hence is allowed. The whole point is to reduce harm and killing as much as possible.

    2. Thank you very much for your answer ………….

      Please clear me some debut ,
      1)what is the problem to wear the cloth for munni(maharaj)?
      2)If cloth is not allowed in Jain then why shewtabhar wearing cloth to god ,For some festival?

      1. There are various views within Jainism. Digambar Munnis do not wear clothes and Shwetambar Munnis believe in wearing a simple unstitched white cloth. Gods are never covered with clothes – they are glorified with flowers, colourful glasses or diamonds which is called “aangi”.

      2. Hello,

        1)At the time of eating, Munni or Maharaj taken food in hand . We taken food from plate or dish and then given to Munni. Why they are not taken directly from plate?or why we are not given plate to Munni?(Suppose plate or dish is new)

        2)If baby cry ,crow or Cat sound comes then Munni will not taken food, Why like this?

    3. There are various types of living things.
      Plant is ekendriya….that of one senses and fish or animals are panchindriya….that of five senses….:.e they are fully developed.

  21. Hello,

    1)At the time of eating, Munni or Maharaj taken food in hand . We taken food from plate or dish and then given to Munni. Why they are not taken directly from plate?or why we are not given plate to Munni?(Suppose plate or dish is new)

    2)If baby cry ,crow or Cat sound comes then Munni will not taken food, Why like this?

  22. Hello everyone, I want to know about some Jain recepies which contains low carbs (carbohydrates). Low carb diet is now very essential to control diabetes. It is also very useful to live without medicine with diabetes. If any one can suggest me I’m very thankful to him. Please mail me on paresh.universal@gmail.com

    1. I am not a Jain but a vegan on low carb. It seems to me that the best diet for you is to increase the amount of green vegetables, nuts and beans and to decrease the amount of rice and wheat flour.

  23. Can anybody suggest useful recipes for diabetes which is helpful to controlling sugar levels. (Low carb diet according to Jain method)

    1. I request all my indian brothers & sisters staying in Indian or outside India (NRI’s) Pl. avoid eating things which have AJINO MOTO, CITRIC ACID, VINEGAR,etc. they R very injurious for our health pl. contact your family doctor or nearest health centre, and from deepness of the heart I request to avoid ALCOHOL , TOBACCO , NON-VEG. FOODS.

      Pranam to all our Jain’s & Jai Jinendra to others if U have Diabietes , Cholestrol, Blood pressure, or U want to loose weight the only way without spending a single paisa, that is do “AYAMBIL ” for constent (continous ) days, an that’s challenge U will get definate change in your body I myself had a experinced in my life, the best guide for how to do “AYAMBIL”, pl. leave message on this site.

      1. Hi, can you get me the details of how to perform Ayambil?
        I am overweight and would like to reduce my weight as soon as possible. If possible can you please send me the details on email id provided? Appreciate your help.

      2. Best thing to do Ayambil is to exercise your body regularly. You will always benefit from physical exercises since it helps in flushing out all the toxins from the body and keeps us fettle, free from all life threatening diseases especially kidney disease or renal failure. Drink atleast 10 to 12 glasses of water regularly including roughage in your diet. The fruits and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins, fibers and minerals which are themselves undigested but help in digesting food, thereby keeping digestive system healthy. Live life to the fullest.

  24. consider how many small animals are killed in harvesting grain….look into it.

    The house you built has destroyed habitats.

    when you drive your car you kill thousands of organisms daily….

    many of you drink alcohol….especially younger generation.

    there are people who need to survive and will eat anything to do so, would you starve to death?

    animals eat animals which eat plants which need nutrients building blocks of life.

    a lot of these rules were created by royalty selfishly in past to keep their shelves stocked and common people with less.

    sickly people are easy to control.

    people who fear ill recourse from their ‘god’ are easy to control.

    all things we consume plant animal even household products destroy the environment.

    your iphone in and of itself killed billions of organisms in its production, fumes waste machinery transport fuel use, think people…

    its about control, and it is not the 1800s, buy until you realize then you will not truly be free

    if u arnt truly free you will never gain enlightenment…

    wake up and make you own future.

    1. Hi,

      You have asked good questions. It shows that you are a thinking person which is the first requirement of Jainism. Jainism is a rational religion. Just as you would suffer if someone choked you, all living organisms suffer when you kill them. Therefore one must minimize the harm to others. Don’t eat for pleasure, eat only to live. Don’t waste food.

      The harm is not only in cooking to eat but also evoke driving cars, building house etc. Therefore Jainism says to minimize all consumption. If there is no need, don’t travel unnecessarily, if you need only 2 objects in your house, don’t keep 10.

      There is no God in Jainism. You will get the results of your actions by nature itself.

      1. Human being have been both kind of teeth by nature depending on either one is a vegetarian or non vegetarian. Non Vegetarians have got long and pointed canines to tear flesh and incisors to cut the flesh but this is not in the case of vegetarians. Being a non vegetarian I am at the liberty to eat anything I like excluding pork. I am not from Jain community!!!!!! That’s it.

    2. your name is realist but why are you hiding your real name? no body will reply you here as they dont want to hurt you as they are JAIN but I am not Jain but respect Jainism. I cant see such harshness with Jainism. Please be very polite with everybody. If you are from other community it does not mean that everybody should follow what you are saying. This is India and we are open minded to welcome & respect all established religions of the earth.

  25. There are many reasons as to why eating after sunset is prohibited in Jainism….reason told in the article is not the primary reason.
    Moreover , Jainism was the state religion of India in ancient times( also noted by wikipidea), and all the Hindu religions are intact originated from Jainism as noted by supreme court.
    There are many more reasons behind the strict food diet which are not extensively explained here.

  26. Although, I am a Jain but have a lot of questions to ask. I sincerely think that this site will be able to clear all my doubts.
    1) Why do we don’t eat chicken?

    Saying it because even by eating tomato or carrot, we are killing them. Then why can’t we eat another organism.

    2)Why do we drink milk?

    I think this is the most controversial topic. We are very well aware of the conditions of a cow in the dairy farms. It has also been observed that normal life expectancy of cow in a dairy farm decreases from 25 to 7 year. Moreover, Artificially inseminating them makes them weak. Now-a-days we are having genetically modified cow which gives them immense pain.So drinking packet milk is not at all advised if you respect Jainism.

    Now for people who are drinking by producing milk in their homes, I can only say that milk is only for the calf to drink. The mother cow produces the adequate amount of milk which is best for their calf. There are many scientifically proven fact that milk is not at all required by human body. If we really want to drink milk, we can have soy milk.

    Some may contend that if we stop drinking milk then there is no use of cows and as such they will be discarded by human being. It’s a true fact, but it’s better to live a better and healthy life than a brutal and tortured life.

    Rectify me if I am wrong

    1. 1) The reason we do not promote eating non-veg is because it involves very huge amount of organisms + the animals are being killed with the intention of killing. We as jains are preached to not even think of killing anyone because thinking also does harm.

      2) As per the preachings, I have understood that if the whole milk that is produced by cow is drunk by calf, she will die. I myself confirmed this with few dairy farms.
      So, in earlier days the excess milk was removed and the sufficient amount needed for calf was left. The excess removed milk was then utilized for drinking purpose.

      I hope I am able to answer your queries.. If not, please reply.

    2. The cow is a domesticated animal and shares a symbiotic relationship with human beings.

      A cow which is left alone will not give as much milk as a cow which is taken care of by human being (by natural methods, not hormones etc.)
      That is the reason why calf cannot drink all the milk, it will die if it does because cow is producing extra.
      Also, you are not to take the calf’s milk. First calf has to drink and if there is anything extra only then we must take.

      All this is not possible in modern dairy farming where cows are being abused. Hence we must avoid dairy products nowadays as environment is not same as ancient times.

  27. I think v might be living in an illusion because most of the cheese are made from animal rennet so it cant be veg and also maggi is not a veg food.It is not shocking anymore to know that amul has its slaughter houses in goa.

  28. I request all my indian brothers & sisters staying in Indian or outside India (NRI’s) Pl. avoid eating things which have AJINO MOTO, CITRIC ACID, VINEGAR,etc. they R very injurious for our health pl. contact your family doctor or nearest health centre, and from deepness of the heart I request to avoid ALCOHOL , TOBACCO , NON-VEG. FOODS.

  29. This is not correct. The reason one can eat ginger is because it is a rhizome and not a bulb or tuber. When one eats a potato or onion one kills the plant but when one breaks off a piece of ginger rhizome the rest continues to grow. In fact, if a single rhizome of ginger is planted it can eventually spread out for acres. In essence, all of this is the same plant because it started from the same rhizome. Yet, pulling off a portion of it will not injure the plant because it continues to grow. In nature, as the ginger plant grows, it is natural for old portions of the rhizome to dry up and die off-hence, it is part of a natural cycle.

  30. I really like contents of website, and I wish it should be updated on regular basis.

    I want to know salads or green vegitables salads without useage of milk products. Also insists for food without use of Meda and milk products so we can be more near to our Jainism soul.

  31. Hi,
    I have been studying about Jainism and their strict diet but have been unable to find a site which is clear on the products they don’t include in their diet, so I thought I’d ask here!
    Okay, so I know about the basics, like they are vegetarian and don’t eat root vegetables.
    Do they not eat foods like vinegar, alcohol, and kombucha because they have micro organisms in them?
    And what about foods like corn and pineapple, because isn’t the crop destroyed after production?
    And last of all what about seaweed?
    Thanks!, oh and if their is any other kind of foods they wouldn’t eat please let me know. 🙂

  32. Hello, I have a question.
    One of the Jain guru mentioned that the milk of a long tail cow is more nutritious ( to be specific the cow whose tail touches the ground). Is this true? Please suggest.

  33. Can you please suggest some few recipes for ayambil? Can you please suggest how to make a chirayata?

  34. Wow! Thank you for this article. In my search to find out why I can not digest garlic, onions, and root vegetables make me nauseous, I encountered this article and researching more about Jainism, realized I eat like them! Vegan food, as diary made me sick in the past (now I realize the harm dome to the cows on big farms as well as the fact that as adults we should not breast feed any more, especially with breast secretions of another species!) lots of fruit, some nuts and seeds and on occasions a bit of green (as plants gave fruit to be attracted by us and other animal species to propagate them, therefore not hurting the plant but eat they reproductive parts in order to help them with they survival )
    I am so glad to see there is more people thinking the same way. The only thing I do “sin” a bit is eating late at night

  35. Hi I have to do a school project on the cuisine of any religeon. I have chosen to do Jainism. The information provided above is really helpful but I need more…do you think you could email info about what food is eaten at celebrations or festive days, what food is traditonal, any fasts which are part of the religeon etc. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks

    1. In Jainism there is no ‘eating’ for celebrations. All festivals are ‘fasting’ only. Our way of celebration is fasting.

  36. hey, great info ! now i got the perfect reply to my friends’s unstoppable questions against jainism ! great work..! Jai Jinendra !

  37. Hi, very useful and informative website. I find dried garlic in most of the packed foods, is it acceptable to eat dried garlic as it is similar to dried ginger?

  38. I have a question. At derasar when jain performs pooja they offer fruits and sweets to the God. but why they can not eat after pooja is done?

    1. The ‘chadava’ is meant for the Shravaks’ who work in the temple, as a means of additional support to them. Unlike many other religious faith, Jains do not consume food, themselves, that has gone within the temple structure. ‘Prasad’ is distributed outside the temple structure but usually within the premises.

  39. Can u suggest any book on wt jain can eat and wt is flaahar wt is dhan etc
    and also is there any regret book

  40. 1.Why Jain Saints do not drink water of TW/HP ?
    2.Why Jain Saints prefer open defecation? This practise may deteriorate environment.

  41. my son in law staying in USA eats cooked food kept in fridge for 4 days he says it doesnt get spoiled how far is it true?

  42. Sir, I have a question if so much restriction is considered then use of milk from cow or animal should also be restricted, use of silk cloths, use of leather items all should be considered isn’t it?

    1. Silk and leather is not allowed in Jainism.

      Regarding cows and milk see my reply above.
      In modern times where in dairy cows are being abused, we must avoid milk.

  43. Jains should follow veganism,because jains use milk,in producind milk lots of cows are killed,which shows violence behind drinking milk,,i ask you why you drink such milk???

  44. I thought Jains believe that any life to live has to eat a living being in the form of food. We are taught that there is life with 1 or 2 or 3 or4 or 5 senses. .Senses are the source or the conduit for pleasure or pain; and therefore the more senses we have the more pain we can experience. Plants have one or 2 senses, snakes 4 , I believe and most humans and animals have 5 senses. All living beings are conscious and can feel pleasure or pain.s I always thought this was the mathematics of vegetarianism also.

  45. What is black seeds also know as Nigeria seeds or kalonji seeds. is it suitable for jain who don’t eat root vegetables. some say that it is also know as onion seeds but i am not sure.
    Please can you find out and let me know.
    See if you can find from out guruji.
    Thanks a lot.

      1. Jai Jinendra,
        I just find out that it is onion seeds which grows over the ground. but you can use to grow the onions. As Jain can we eat black seeds also know as Nigeria seeds or kalonji seeds or onion seeds as health purpose as they are not grown under ground. Please ask guruji and let me know.
        Thank you.

  46. I heard this from one of my friend so just wanted to make sure if this is true..
    My friend said when mahavir swami was a king in a young age he ate non veg and after few years it came to his conscience and after that he became vegetarian.

  47. Is turmeric forbidden as well, because of the disturbance caused to the earth and the soil’s inhabitants? Also ginger?

  48. I just want to know why do Jains avoid buying ghee, butter, ground masala or any kind of ready made products from the market? They prepare them all at home. Is there any specific restriction or that depends from family to family? Please let me know.

  49. Please let me know, is there any restrictions of taking fruits i.e.apple,grapes, bananas and all other juice fruits after sun sets, if yes,what is the reasons behind or scientific caused with it.

  50. Hi,
    Regarding Jain cuisine, which vary i different parts of India, I would like to know whether they refrain themselves from using ‘TURMERIC’ as it is a root product, ‘GINGER, as many use in their recipes, ‘PEANUTS’ as it grows under the earth, peanut oil,peanut butter and so forth???
    As I design Recipes, and Menus of various cuisines ii would like to gain a clarity on this matter.

    1. Yes you can eat nuts but only in winter months. Don’t know the exact reason why it is not eaten in summer and rainy months but will try and find out.

  51. If ginger can dry out naturally under the sun, then what if the same happens to onions & you make a powder out of the same? Then can the onion / garlic powder be eaten?

  52. You have mentioned about Milk production & consumption. Maneks Gandhi says that Milk is liquid Meat. Jain homeopath doctor Dr. Nandita Shah of Sharan says that Milk is liquid meat. Chitrabhanu from USA a jainism Scholar also says that Jains must not consume Milk.
    The milk produced by cow is by following method.
    When the cow becomes mother, the blood passed through adar( in marathi) /mammary gland converted in Milk.
    As Dr. Nandita shah further say that the Meat & Milk chemical composition is same. So the lacto vegetarians & non vegetarians eating meat have same diseases like heart attack & Diabetes.
    Jinendra Varni one of the best-known Jain scholars of the 20th century, is known for his pioneering five-volume Jainendra Siddhanta Kosha and Saman Suttam compilation,[1] the first text accepted by all Jain orders in 1800 years.
    Saman Suttam is the religious text created in 1974 by a committee consisting of representatives of each of the major sects of Jainism to reconcile the teachings of the sects.
    Jinendra Varni wrote another book Shantipath Pradarshan.
    He had clearly mentioned that Milk consumption is not accepted in Jainism.
    In Hindi he had written : Dudh to agrahya hi hai.

    Any comments are welcome.

  53. What to eat or not eat on the day of fasting on sunday?
    Some people say we can eat anything after sunset or some say you can have it on next day. So much confusion. Please guide???

  54. Your religion is harmless and non-violent to human life so I don’t hate it or have anything against it per se. But I don’t understand something, you do know everyday of your life your body kills micro-organisms? Even if you don’t get sick your immune system fights off bacteria, viruses or fungus on a daily basis, how and why is there then any point in following these teachings? If you won’t even eat or drink foods from fermentation because of the micro-organisms, what’s the point when your own body destroys micro-organisms anyway? Also if you were to take antibiotics that not only destroys the invading micro-organisms but the ones in your gut as well, so does that mean if one of you were severely ill you wouldn’t take any antibiotics?

  55. As a strict follower of Jainism, can mashroom include in our diat?lot of controversy sparked in past.mashroom is farm growing organic product. Some said no. Write your views.

  56. Jai Jinendra To All

    I Know How To Make 50 to 60 Types of Gravies Specially Jain Gravies….

  57. Very Informative. Kindly throw light on all the vegetables and fruits that jain should not consume

  58. A coconut will grow into a coconut tree. Do Jains therefore abstain from eating coconuts?
    What about sugar cane?

  59. Would you please send me detailed food that we can eat on ayambil
    Like which flour which spices we can use
    Thank you

  60. Very informative and intellectual website. I like how ppl from various religions are debating for better good via direction of Jainism. I highly appreciate the work done by team running this discussion and websites.

    Although being Jain and living far from munis and mahrasahebs I regret of not able get answer or provide answers for so many questions that are raised by myself or friends , families.

    From those questions I have in particular. Why do we boil water and let it cool down and then drink that also I believe that water is allowed for only 1 prahar ( not sure 100%)?
    Boiling water itself is act of killing micro-organism, then why not just drink directly non boil water?

  61. What is your opinion about milk? Isn’t it allowed in Jain food? Milk is produced from the blood flowing into olvioles of cows breast and is exclusively meant for the cows calf.

    About grains (cereals and millets), aren’t they a prey for stored grain pests?
    About underground modified roots and stems of carrots and radish, they are a part of the growing part of the crop! Are they meant for anyother organism? What about tomato and brinjals, aren’t they for fruit borers?

    Poultry eggs are without life in it? Is it allowed in Jain food? Doesn’t Jain food allow groundnuts which grow underground? Why onion and garlic discarded? Every fruit is juicy, how they are allowed? Dr. Jagdishchandra Bose has proved that any injury to the plants/trees are felt by them. Then how fruits are allowed in Jain food? Aren’t brinjals and tomatos are plucked from the mother plant while they are alive. Does Jain food refrains from them? What is the difference between a non fertile egg and milk? Then why milk is allowed and not the poultry farm non fertile eggs?

    Are ayurvedic medines not allowed which are made from the bark , kernels, roots and cortex of living vegetation?

    Doesn’t Jain food allow peas and beans which harbour the pod borers?

    Just a matter of anxiety Sir.

  62. Hi I am a strick follower of Jainism.. I don’t eat SPINACH too but my in laws they say it’s harmless to eat SPINACH..can you plz bring clarity how to explain them..

  63. What is the difference between pure jain and jain food? Is it the same or there is a difference. I’m asking because read it in a restaurant.

  64. Jain, word is so powerful that it brings natural respect to all jain community. They follow their teaching in practicle life. While many spiritual organisation just preach and hardly practice,

  65. very nice n helpful receipes.

    Can I know how to make rawa Idli without Yogurt? Any substitute for yogurt while making rawa Idlis as it is dwidal?

  66. sametshikhar ki jatra karne se / varsitap kar ne se moksh marg me help kitni hoti hai?

    palitana jatra 7 bar kar ne se bhi moksh prapti ho sakti hai?

    humble request for reply….

  67. we run a food business and we are confused whether yeast is jain or not can you please help me out in this

  68. The phrase ahinsā paramo dharmaḥ was actually coined in Mahabharata first and its Sanskrit phrase. The complete non-violence cannot be followed by human beings. Be it a Monk or normal human beings. Everyday millions of cells die inour body and regenerate. Micro-organisms enter inside our body without our knowledge. This can never be avoided by any human being.

  69. Its the gud page/website .. but I want the scientific reason behind not eatting potato , onion , garlic N etc

  70. This is a great piece as many ask why of do consume such vegetables! Specific question… Can we eat fruits at perushan. Some say can’t eat fruit but we eat tomatoes

    1. @Daxa – Jai jinendra.
      It is recommended to avoid fruits as much as possible during Paryushan. Tomato is considered a Fruit and hence it is best to avoid – Being a vegetable it is definately not consumed either – so better avoid it. We do.

  71. Why Follow this Not eating vegetables only these 8 days ? why not in september or october? whats the Importance of these 8 days of strict ritual in Jainism?

  72. i have deiced to fast from thursday to saturday for three days pls help me what to eat before fasting so it help me bcoz when i dont drink tea my head starts paining pls help me i m fasting three days for first time doing tela

  73. I. Fermentation the yeast live healthy and full lives, multiplying on the sugars in the mash or wort.
    They die off when the food supply(sugar) is exhausted or when the alcohol level reaches about 15%. Many yeasts live in the air in breweries and wineries. They are present in the air and do not have to be “introduced” into the vat or barrel.

    My problem with most religions is their rules and potocol based without regard to the scientific findings of the last 100 years. Yeast have a natural life cycle whjch is not impaired by fermentation. If anything, fermentation creates life.

  74. Jains they are pure veg but I want to know that from plants we get oxygen animals they don’t give oxygen it’s clear that they are destroying the real nature of the world.
    We have been taught that if we eat meat our body get starch & fat etc. let know what is right & what is wrong.

  75. Hi, desperately need this answer. I’m cooking for my friend who practice Jain diet. Do you have any suggestion on what can I substitute potato with?

  76. Why do we need to do chauvihar and what is the significance of doing chauvihar..? What is the correct way of doing chauvihar..?

  77. As a non-jain this seems excessive however I am delighted to learn that these dietary rules are based on sound philosophy and reason rather than typical blind religious dogma!

  78. I m thinking to convert as Jain i would like to live as vegetarian but I m really worry about leaving underground food it’s really very tough I can’t leave them in my view every things veritable so wt can I do ???????

  79. Thanks for the knowledge sharing… very important information for jains as well as non-jains..

    Now a days I am using Vegan and completely Jain cosmetics Company Name is Vidhyanjali Ahinsa Sondarya Pvt Ltd. It is situated in Bhopal M.P. you can search it on facebook or google too.

  80. I want to know more about sprouts and Jain who is not eating potatoes and onions should eat sprouts?

  81. Hey ,
    I can’t find anything about JAIN and gluten. Is there any restrictions? Maybe about the process of making?
    Like bread. Couscous and other things?
    Thank you!

    1. Many Maharaj Sahibs warn us against consuming bread because they involve fermentation through yeast. Also, how do we determine whether bread is fresh or not, in case it is yeast-free?

      1. Deepa,

        Breads can never be yeast free unless you make them at home fresh on the same day. You can check the site for recipe for the same. This is why many strict jains do not consume breads.

  82. Hi, I love this site. I am a Tamilian Brahmin who follows Jainism as much as I can. But I am a working lady and I do not know if some of the things that I do such as setting Dahi the previous night or soaking moong the night before to cook in the morning is allowed. Please can someone let me know how to set Dahi in the day. Can it be refrigerated because I believe Jainism requires us to set Dahi each day before sunset. Also, my other question is is it okay for working people such as myself to get up at 5am, cook and carry lunch instead of cooking at night and refrigerating; I understand night food is not acceptable. But 5am is before sunrise. Also, if it is mandatory to start cooking after sunrise, then is it also mandatory to wait 48 minutes after sunrise to start cooking? And when can we boil water?

    Please help me with answers

  83. Thanks for this post. & yes, I agree with you of the fact that when a root is uprooted the whole plant perishes but when you pluck a crop or fruit or vegetable it’s only a part of the plant that is detached & the rest of the plant lives on…

  84. If Jain practitioners truly want to not harm, they should be vegan and avoid anything made from cow milk, as this is one if the *cruelest& industries on the planet. Seriously look it up, you’ll be heart broken over what happens.

  85. Why dry ginger and haldi is allowed when dey potatoes and garlic is not allowed
    Please revert

  86. Travofood provide you fresh, healthy & delicious food in train. Travofood is an online food platform, on which you can place your favorite food in train like- veg food in train, nonveg food in train, jain food in train, spicy food in train & chinese food in train with the very reasonable price in India.

  87. Hi,

    I am from a food service Industry and would appreciate your feedback in understanding some feedback we have been getting. Is ghee accepted in general? I have been to many restaurants which use ghee in their Jain food. But whats your opinion about it?

    1. Yes ghee is allowed in Jain but it should be pure ghee made from cow, buffalo or goat milk not vegetable or any other synthetic ghee

  88. “Traditionally cooking or eating at night was discouraged because insects are attracted to the lamps or fire at night. Strict Jains take the vow (called anastamita or anthau) of not eating after sunset.” – This is not true. Food eaten after sunset no matter how satavic it is it’s effect is always Tamasic on body and brain. It is considered as bad as eating meat.

  89. Can Jains eat vegetables ( back to regular diet) Samvatsari Pratikraman Day( last day of Payushan)?

  90. 1) Why groundnuts can be eaten and not onions, garlic etc? can you provide evidence that fewer microbes die during uprooting of groundnuts then compared to onions and garlic plant?
    2) Can you eat fermented vegetables after boiling just like we boil water to drink after killing microbes?
    3) All Jain Tirthankaras were non-vegetarians, so can a non-monk Jain be non-vegetarian?
    4) Eating grains also let to the uprooting of plants, which is killing more microbes – eating grains or eating garlic?
    5) Can you provide evidence that wild calves die after drinking milk from their wild cow’s mother as you claimed?

  91. Hello,
    Are any kind of beans seen as a living being, as they are able to sprout and become plants with fertilization… Are beans (Gujarati – Kathor) that can sprout consumed by Jains ? Please let us know. Loading…

  92. To each their own. That said, my OWN PERSONAL BELIEF is that anyone who believes so deeply in something as nebulous as reincarnation that they resort to a diet like this, is 100% insane.
    All you’re doing is depriving yourself of pleasure in the hopes that whatever you’re praying to notices how pious you are and how colorless and bland your life is so that you, yes YOU will be one of the chosen ones to do/get to/find/achieve whatever it is that you beg your magical sky-daddy for.

  93. Why jain people eat dried Ginger( sunth Powder) but not able to eat fresh?
    If Ginger or turmeric powder is good to eat then why should not able to eat other underground vegetables powder which is now available like onion and garlic powder., potato powder and many more others.

  94. Great article. Here is my question regarding the micro-organisms. Us humans have them all over our body. Bathing, brushing our teeth, losing hair, scratching our skin, excreting waste, sneezing, etc. would be killing them. Also, some of these organisms/parasites are potentially killing the plants. Jains want to save them both but by not removing those parasites then the plant dies. By not allowing the parasite to feed, that parasite dies. I cherish the non-violent principle and have the most admiration for those who are very strict with this. I, too, walk over ants, don’t kill mosquitoes, politely relocate spiders in my bedroom that could bite and kill me, and I’ve been like this since I was a child. I never want to hurt anything. But isn’t there a circle of life? I realize that all living things are supposed to be equal here but what if…IF…that potatoes micro-organism was reincarnated with extra bad karma and it is gaining good karma by living on a potato knowing the potential (but unintentional) risk of being killed upon harvesting the plant which is providing nourishment to the humans who have better karma. Again, I understand humans are not supposed to be better than that little organism and their life is just as important but then if that is the case then why karma at all? Isn’t the purpose that if you bring bad karma onto yourself then you are destined to be reincarnated into a not so wonderful scenario such as a bug? If there is a ultimate hierarchy to reach, and you have the purest and kindest intentions then accidents do happen and we kill living things without even knowing it or it being impossible to avoid such as sneezing. Also, I read that refraining from food and water as a way to free yourself is acceptable but then millions of micro-organisms that depend on our bodies for food and shelter would also be killed by no choice of their own. I totally agree with no meat especially with how the animals are treated. But then how does products factor in such as soaps, gelatin, glue, clothing, any chemicals really, and anything that has been tested on animals or use animal products such as wool or leather. Those things should be unacceptable as well. I am just trying to gain a better understanding. No disrespect at all. As a matter of fact, and not just because I walk over ants, but this is the first religion that I can honestly say that lines up with me both spiritually and scientifically so I am genuinely interested on learning more about these contradictions which could quite possibly just be my ignorance. Thank you! (I didn’t proof read so apologies for any typos) .

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