What's the Deal with Kosher
By Jordana Haspel
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
"Is that kosher?"
phrase that has more than one meaning. People often use the word "kosher" to
mean "right" or "proper." But the word actually comes from a complex set of
dietary rules observed by religious Jews around the world. This doesn't mean
kosher food is just for Jewish people, however. In fact, more and more non-Jews
are buying kosher food.
Why? For one, some kosher foods,
like chicken, taste better than their non-kosher counterparts (though organic
or free-farmed chicken is even tastier). But many people also perceive kosher
food as healthier and cleaner. Some believe eating kosher can help ward off
diseases, prevent allergies, and even lower cholesterol! There is little
evidence that it actually does these things, but there are advantages to
keeping kosher for some people, regardless of their religion.
But first, some kosher basics:
- You can't eat all kinds of
meat. To be kosher, a land animal has to have split hooves and chew its cud.
That takes pigs and rabbits out of the picture, but allows cows, bison, goats,
and even giraffes!
- Fish have to have both fins
and scales. So any kind of shellfish is out, as are sharks and swordfish.
- Birds of prey are also not
- All fruits and vegetables are
- You can't mix milk and meat.
Cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizzas are nonos. Observant Jews keep two
sets of plates and silverwareone for each kind of food. Fish, for some
reason, aren't considered either dairy or meat, very likely because bagels,
cream cheese, and lox are such a great combination. Fruits and veggies are also
- Just because a food is
allowed under kosher laws doesn't automatically make it kosher. First it has to
be certified by a rabbi, who inspects the facility and preparation process to
make sure all the rules are being followed. For instance, manufacturers might
be using the same equipment they used to prepare a non-kosher food. Certified
kosher foods are marked on their packaging, usually either with a "U" with a
circle around it, or with a "K." The label will also indicate if the food is
meat, dairy, or pareve (can be eaten with both).
What does all this mean for
people who aren't observant Jews? A few things:
- Better labeling benefits those with allergies.
For people with some allergies a kosher label can help
stop them from accidentally eating something they're allergic to. Many
non-dairy creamers, for example, are marked as a dairy food because they do
contain ingredients derived from milkif you're lactose intolerant,
looking out for a "D" next to the kosher label can help you avoid exposure.
Plus, no kosher food has any contact with shellfish, which some people are very
labeling helps vegetarians and vegans, too. Like
hidden sources of dairy, there are also hidden animal products in some foods.
Looking for kosher products can help you avoid them sometimes.
food inspires more trust. Because of the extra
oversight kosher products go through, many people feel more confident about the
safety and cleanliness of kosher food. Sick animals aren't kosher (until
they're better); neither are insects or rats, so there's a lower chance of them
ending up in your hot dog.
Still curious about Jewish food?
Here's a traditional Jewish recipemy grandmother used to cook it for us.
I updated it slightly by using brown rice instead of white. And while cabbage
is hardly the most glamorous of vegetables, it is up there with broccoli and
cauliflower in terms of health benefits, and is a good source of vitamin C,
fiber, and potassium. This dish is not only delicious, but it makes for great
My Grandma's Stuffed Cabbage Nutritional Information: (per serving)
1 head green
1 lb. ground beef, extra-lean (5% fat or less, if possible)
onion, pureed or minced
1/2 cup sugar or 4 Tbsp.
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
Boil the eight
largest cabbage leaves for 5 minutes (or freeze the cabbage overnight and then
thaw before starting). Mix beef, onion, eggs, and sugar. Place two spoonfuls of
the meat mixture in the middle of the largest cabbage leaf and wrap the leaf
around the meat. Place seam-down in a large skillet. Repeat until all the meat
is used. Add chicken stock to skillet. Spread tomatoes on top. Bring to a boil,
then cover and simmer for 2 hours. Makes 8 servings.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2
|Carbs 26 g
||Fat Total 5 g
||Saturated Fat 2 g