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Gandhi's Search for the Perfect Diet

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Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating with the World in Mind

2020 University of Washington Press

by

2020 James Beard Nominee - Reference, History, and Scholarship

Mahatma Gandhi redefined nutrition as fundamental to building a more just world. What he chose to eat was intimately tied to his beliefs, and his key values of nonviolence, religious tolerance, and rural sustainability developed in tandem with his dietary experiments. His repudiation of sugar, chocolate, and salt expressed his active resistance to economies based on slavery, indentured labor, and imperialism.

Gandhi's Search for the Perfect Diet sheds new light on important periods in Gandhi's life as they relate to his developing food ethic: his student years in London, his politicization as a young lawyer in South Africa, the 1930 Salt March challenging British colonialism, and his fasting as a means of self-purification and social protest during India's struggle for independence. What became the pillars of Gandhi's diet--vegetarianism, limiting salt and sweets, avoiding processed food, and fasting--anticipated many twenty-first-century food debates and the need to build healthier and more equitable global food systems.

Tagged: food writing, food history, south asian

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