Many people eat a Kosher diet because of spiritual reasons and religious beliefs, and many people follow this age-old diet because of its health benefits. Regardless of your reason to do so, or consider to do so, let’s take a look at what Kosher food is.

“Kosher” is an English term applied to describe food that has been prepared in accordance to the dietary guidelines of Jewish law. Regardless of popular belief, Kosher food is not blessed by a rabbi; it is certified as Kosher due to the ingredients and how it is prepared.

So what are these ingredients and preparation methods?

There are certain animals that may not be eaten at all. These include pork, rabbit, etc. Basically, any animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud is acceptable, which includes sheep, cattle, goat, and deer. The meat is slaughtered in a particular ritual which involves simultaneous unconsciousness and death, so that the animal does not feel pain. This ritual is called ‘shechitah.’ Before cooking the animal, blood is removed by coating it in coarse (kosher)n salt which pulls out the blood, and skin and veins are removed, unless you purchase it a kosher meat market where the blood has already been drained. These butchers also remove a certain kind of fat which surrounds the vital organs. The sciatica nerve and any adjoining blood vessels cannot be eaten, and this is a very time-consuming process. This is why sometimes when you see kosher meat in a market, it is sometimes just hind quarters. The animal must not have died of natural causes, or killed by other animals. There must be no disease or flaws in the organs of the animal at the time of slaughtering.

Regarding poultry and fowl, the birds that are permitted are chicken, geese, duck and turkey.

Reptiles, rodents, amphibians and insects are forbidden by Jewish law.
Meat cannot be eaten with dairy. A person following a Kosher diet should wait several hours after eating meat to consume dairy. Utensils that are used in preparing and eating meat are not to be used when working with dairy. In addition, utensils that have come in contact with foods that are non-Kosher cannot be used with Kosher food. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either dairy or meat, however.

Fruits and vegetables are permitted, but they must be washed well and devoid of any and all insects. EXCEPT grapes! There are special rules about grapes.
Eggs that contain blood are not to be eaten. You can eliminate these eggs by breaking them into a separate dish before using. This also prevents your possibly putting a non-kosher egg in a kosher cooking pot.

Grains that are kosher are wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats. However, here’s some good news…. Quinoa is kosher!! Special rules apply to grains during Passover.

Utensil such as cooking vessels, spoons, spatulas, etc.) that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Likewise, if utensils have come into contact with non-kosher foods cannot be used with kosher foods, and vice versa.

So, if you are wanting a very healthy diet, a kosher diet can fit the bill! If you have yeast issues, stock up on Matzah bread which is readily available at Passover, or purchase Ezekial sprout bread. There are so many wonderfully healthy foods that can be prepared from a kosher diet…. Just look at the menu in a busy Kosher deli.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa C. Baker, CNC, RNHP, is a certified Nutritional Counselor, and also holds a certificate in Complementary and Integrative Health. She is a member of the American Nutritional Association, the International Association of Natural Health Practitioners, International Institute for Complementary Therapists, and is a Registered Natural Health Practitioner by the IANHP.

Mrs. Baker is a musician and recording artist, a mother of one, and resides in Muskogee, Oklahoma with her husband and their kitties.