Maud A. Piggott, born in England was the first European woman to visit Ramana Maharishi. During one of her visits, she asked questions relating to diet regulation. Conversation between Mrs. Piggot and Maharishi below.
P.: What diet is prescribed for a sadhak (one who is engaged in spiritual practices)?
M.: Satvic food in limited quantities.
P.: What is satvic food?
M.: Bread, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc.
P.: Some people take fish in North India. May it be done?
No answer was made by the Maharshi.
P.: We Europeans are accustomed to a particular diet; change of diet affects health and weakens the mind. Is it not necessary to keep up physical health?
M.: Quite necessary. The weaker the body the stronger the mind grows.
P.: In the absence of our usual diet our health suffers and the mind loses strength.
M.: What do you mean by strength of mind?
P.: The power to eliminate worldly attachment.
M.: The quality of food influences the mind. The mind feeds on the food consumed.
P.: Really! How can the Europeans adjust themselves to satvic food only?
M.: (Pointing to Mr. Evans-Wentz) You have been taking our food. Do you feel uncomfortable on that account?
Mr. Evans-Wentz: No. Because I am accustomed to it.
P.: What about those not so accustomed?
M.: Habit is only an adjustment to the environment. It is the mind that matters. The fact is that the mind has been trained to think certain foods tasty and good. The food material is to be had both in vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets equally well. But the mind desires such food as it is accustomed to and considers tasty.
P.: Are there restrictions for the realized man in a similar manner?
M.: No. He is steady and not influenced by the food he takes.
P.: Is it not killing life to prepare meat diet?
M.: Ahimsa stands foremost in the code of discipline for the yogis.
P.: Even plants have life.
M.: So too the slabs you sit on!
P.: May we gradually get ourselves accustomed to vegetarian food?
M.: Yes. That is the way.