'God is a vegetarian': The food, health and bio-spirituality of Hare Krishna, Buddhist and Seventh-Day Adventist devotees

Nath, Jemál
September 2010
Health Sociology Review;Sep2010, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p356
Academic Journal
Food is a significant part of the daily worship, health and social life of individuals across cultures and religions. This is especially the case for vegetarian religious minorities such as the Indian sub-continental borne Hare Krishna movement, the Christian Seventh-Day Adventist Church and various Buddhist groups. These devotees define spirituality as more than simply the state or quality of being committed to 'God', religion and immaterial spiritual concerns. This paper argues that there are visible, tangible and even biological frames of reference from which spirituality within the aforementioned religious groups should be considered. The concept of bio-spirituality introduced here, embodies and grounds matters pertinent to faith, health and worship in the everyday social actions and interactions of devotees both inside and outside the sphere of the temple or church. Bio-spirituality is a conceptual tool that accounts for the relationship between supernatural belief, and the natural physical environment. It was formulated to encapsulate the social, nutritional and spiritual dimensions of 18 self-identified religious vegetarians who were interviewed as part of larger qualitative study of alternative food habits and practices.


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