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No Pigs Allowed! What You Should Know About Kosher Food
Kosher food is the type of food that is approved by the Jewish religion and culture. It is a particular way of dealing with the food to assure that the food is in accordance with Jewish beliefs. For example, Kosher food does not include pork, bugs or any prohibited ingredients. In order for food to be Kosher, a rabbi must observe the processing environment. However, a rabbi does not need to bless the food in order for it to be Kosher food - it only needs to have been processed by a standard set of rules.
The Importance of Kosher Food
Jews are not strict about Kosher food because of dietary reasons. On the contrary, Jews follow traditional Kosher food processing steps because of the Torah. The Torah, however, gives no reason for why food needs to be Kosher in order for Jews to enjoy it. However, the Torah does suggest that God mandates that food should follow a certain process in order for it to be okay for humans to eat it. There is no known health benefit to following a Kosher food diet, though the diet is low in pork and certain dairies.
In general, there are basic rules to a Kosher food diet. For example, there are certain animals, such as the pig, that cannot be consumed at all in any part. When there are animals that are allowed to be eaten, there are certain methods that the animal must be killed in order for the animal to be Kosher. Additionally, all of the blood from the animal must be drained from it before the animal can be eaten. Not all body parts of the dead animal can be eaten either. Keep in mind that with the Kosher diet, meat cannot be easy with dairy and fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can not be eaten at the same time as either meat or dairy. All items, such as a spoon or fork, cannot come into contact with meat and the foods that are not allowed, such as fruit. Also, Jews are not allowed to drink or eat grape products unless they are made by Jews.
Where to Find It
You can check to see if your food is Kosher by looking for one of four labels, known as hekshers. The hekshers will accompany any food that is made in a Kosher environment and each of the four symbols represent a different certification organization. Make sure that if you are looking for Kosher food, than the symbol that you look for corresponds to your religious beliefs. For example, Orthodox Jews feel that the symbol with a circle and a "K" is not fully Kosher, whereas other Jews think that food process is enough to make the food Kosher.
Kosher food is relatively easy to find. However, you may have to look hard to find Kosher food in some food categories, such as meat and produce. Kosher food is relatively healthy and the Kosher diet is one that incorporates a variety of food, but mandates that they be eaten separately. If you are looking for Kosher food, you can also find it at many ethnic stores, which generally will have a section dedicated to Kosher foods.