Mahatma Gandhi redefined nutrition as a way to improve the world. What he chose to eat was intimately tied to his beliefs. His key values of nonviolence, religious tolerance, and rural sustainability developed in coordination with his dietary experiments. His rejection of sugar, chocolate, and salt expressed his opposition 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 of the debates in twenty-first century food studies, and signaled the necessity of building healthier and more just food systems.
Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet will appeal to readers interested in food, diet, Gandhi’s life, and what that life can teach us about how to live and what to eat. The book will interest scholars and students of history, politics, sociology, medicine, and food and nutrition studies.
Timeline of Gandhi’s Life with Food
Introduction: The Scale
3. Goat Meat and Peanut Milk
4. Raw, Whole, Real
5. Natural Medicine
Conclusion: Mangoes and Mahatmas
Epilogue: The Gandhi Diet
Recipes from Gandhi’s Diet