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Food Practices of World Religions

Dietary Practices
Kashrut: Jewish dietary law of keeping kosher.
  1. Meat and Poultry. Permitted: Meat of animals with a split hoof who chew their cud (cattle, sheep, goats, deer); birds that are not birds of prey (chicken, turkey, goose, pheasant, duck). Not permitted: Pig and pork products, rabbit, birds of prey. All animals require a ritual slaughtering. All meat and poultry foods must be free of blood, which is done by soaking and salting the food or by broiling it. Meat must also be free of blood vessels and the sciatic nerve.
  2. Fish. Permitted: Fish with fins and scales. Not permitted: Shellfish (scallops, oysters, clams), crustaceans (crab, shrimp, lobster), fishlike mammals (dolphin, whale), frog, shark, eel, catfish. Do not cook fish with meat or poultry.
  3. Meals are dairy or meat, not both. It is also necessary to have two sets of cooking equipment, dishes, and silverware for dairy and meat.
  4. All fruits, vegetables, grains, and eggs can be served with dairy or meat meals.
  5. A processed food is kosher only if the package has a rabbinical authority's name or insignia.
Roman Catholicism
  1. Abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent (the 40 days before Easter).
  2. Fast (one meal is allowed) and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent) and Good Friday (the Friday before Easter).
Eastern Orthodox Christianity
  1. Numerous feast days and fast days. On fast days, no fish, meat, or other animal products (including dairy products) are allowed. Shellfish are allowed.
  1. Food on religious holidays is largely determined by family's cultural background and preferences.
  2. Fasting is uncommon.
  1. Prohibit tea, coffee, and alcohol. Some Mormons abstain from anything containing caffeine.
  2. Eat only small amounts of meat and base diet on grains.
  3. Some Mormons fast once a month.
Seventh-Day Adventist Church
  1. Many members are lacto-ovo-vegetarians (eat dairy products and eggs, but no meat or poultry).
  2. Avoid pork and shellfish.
  3. Prohibit coffee, tea, and alcohol.
  4. Drink water before and after meals, not during.
  5. Avoid highly seasoned foods and eating between meals.
  1. All foods are permitted (halal) except for swine (pigs), four-legged animals that catch prey with their mouth, birds of prey that grab their prey with their claws, animals (except fish and seafood) that have not been slaughtered according to ritual, and alcoholic beverages. Use of coffee and tea is discouraged.
  2. Muslims celebrate many feast and fast days. On fast days, they do not eat or drink from sunup to sundown.
  1. Encourages eating in moderation.
  2. Meat is allowed, but the cow is sacred and is not eaten. Also avoided are pork and certain fish. Many Hindus are vegetarian.
  3. Many Hindus avoid garlic, onions, mushrooms, and red foods such as tomatoes.
  4. Water is taken with meals.
  5. Some Hindus abstain from alcohol.
  6. Hindus have a number of feast and fast days.
  1. Dietary laws vary depending on the country and the sect. Many Buddhists do not believe in taking life, so they are lacto-ovo-vegetarians (eat dairy products and eggs, but no meat or poultry).
  2. Buddhists celebrate feast and fast days.


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