All foods have an energetic quality: they are classified as sattvic, rajas, or tamas. Since our mind also has these 3 qualities, the food we eat encourages the development of the corresponding quality. Fresh and healthy vegetarian food is considered sattvic. This includes fruit, vegetables, milk, grain, dal, nuts, etc. Even vegetarian food is considered rajas if it is over-spiced, over-cooked, or has too much chili or oil.
Garlic and onion is considered by some to be rajas, so they choose not to eat it. We do not cook with garlic or onions in any of our ashrams, so that any person who comes will be able to eat the food. However, Kripaluji Maharaj has not forbidden the consumption of garlic and onions in one's personal food for those following the path of raganuga bhakti.
Although we do not force people to become vegetarian, but I would like to make it clear that in order to really follow the path of bhakti a person would eventually have to become vegetarian. If someone consumes meat, eggs, alcohol or drugs, then the tamas effect on the mind would counteract the purification achieved through doing bhakti. So the end result would be that even if they purify their mind somewhat doing bhakti, they don't progress very far because of the negative effect on the mind of consuming tamas things.
Swami Nikhilanand, JKP Radha Madhav Dham. © 2011. All rights reserved.