Adopting a kosher lifestyle is easy with the three basic principals of kosher: Thoughtfulness, Limitation and Community
Rule #1: Make sure all processed foods (meat, cheese, cereal, etc) have a kosher label
Food companies will sometimes hire kosher professionals to inspect their processing plants and products to make sure they comply with kosher rules. In return, these companies will have special symbols on their packaging called “hekshers”. Below are a few examples:
To know that you are buying kosher food, it’s important to look for these symbols. Not sure if an item is kosher? Just ask the manager of the grocery store!
Rule #2: Create a kosher kitchen
Kosher is not just about what we eat, but the environment we prepare our food in. This means that you have to properly “kosherize” your kitchen. Click here for easy instructions.
Rule #3: Make meat eating a special occasion
Meat is only to be eaten when we are craving it. This allows us to recognize that we are taking part in the death of a living creature.
Rule #4: Take time before and after you eat to be thoughtful about your food
The wisdom of kosher teaches that we must “bless” our food before we eat and be mindful of our food afterwards. Whether you take a moment for quiet reflection or say a prayer or meditation, taking time before and after meals turns eating into a bigger experience.
Rule #5: Only eat kosher meat
- Mammals that chew their cud (ruminate) and have split hooves, such as beef and lamb (Leviticus 11:3-8)
- Birds that do not other animals or are scavengers, including chicken and turkey (Deuteronomy 14:12-18)
- Fish that has scales and fins such as tilapia and salmon (Leviticus 11:9-12)
If the animal does not fit into one of these categories, then it should not be eaten. For a full list of kosher meats, click here.
Rule #6: Do not mix meat and milk
In kosher, meals are either “meat” (the flesh of mammals and bird), “dairy” or neither (also called parve). Part of kosher is not mixing meat and milk together. (Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26, Deuteronomy 14:21). There are two exceptions to this rule:
- You can mix kosher fish with dairy (such as salmon in butter sauce)
- You can eat cheese that comes from animal rennet
By limiting our meals to either being “meat” meals, “milk” meals or meals that have neither meat or milk (called parve), we are limiting our impact on the environment. Kosher is about understanding that when you eat, you are taking away resources for our consumption. By limiting what we take in, we are effecting not just our meals but the world around us.
Rule #7: Visit kosher restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, etc.
The only way that kosher will stay a viable option for consumers is if we “vote with our dollars”. Click here for a list of our favorite kosher places including restaurants, grocery stores and attractions.
Rule #8: Share kosher food with others
Taking on any kind of special diet can be isolating. When we separate ourselves from the “normal” eating habits of the people around us, it can feel a little lonely.
That’s why it’s important to share kosher food with others. Have a kosher food party! Meet others in your community who keep kosher and invite them to your home, or gather a group to visit a kosher restaurant. This community building will open new social connections for you and those who choose this great lifestyle.