Why Are Some Diets Called Kosher?

Kosher diet

Kosher can be used used to refer to any food that is compliant with the strict rules of dietary practice in Judaism. The rules are known as kashrut.

It is not the case that all Jewish adhere to the strictures of kashrut when it comes to eating kosher meals. If they adhere to the rules, it’s an opportunity to express respect to God and feel more connected to their faith and community.

This article will outline the requirements to eat kosher along with its roots, as well as the requirements that food products must meet in order to be considered Kosher.

What Is Kosher?

In Hebrew, “kosher” means fit. Kosher food is anything that is suitable to be consumed by Jewish people.

Laws of Kosher specify the foods that a person is allowed to consume and not and the way they must prepare and handle certain food items. The laws also define what combinations of foods are not allowed to be consumed by people.

The Torah, the very first book of the Jewish bible, establishes the foundations of kosher food rules. The kosher-eating Jews believe that adhering to a kosher food plan is God’s plan.

Kosher Diet Rules

The kosher rules determine what a Jewish person is permitted to consume, how they are required to prepare certain food items and the food items they are permitted to combine with other food items.

The law divides food into three groups:

  • Meat, also known as fleishig: Everything made from meat and poultry
  • Dairy or milching: milk, cheese butter, milk, and yogurt
  • Pareve: Term used to describe any food that is not meat or dairy, like eggs, fish and plant-based products.

One of the fundamental rules of kosher is that you shouldn’t eat meat and dairy products together. In kosher kitchens that strictly adhere to the rules there are separate dishes for meat and dairy products. These aren’t washed in identical water to prevent cross-contamination.

The rule of not combining food and meat also applies within the body. When you eat meat it’s normal to wait until the next meal to eat dairy products, and vice versa.

Pareve food items are considered neutral, which means one can mix them with dairy or meat. Fish is the only exception, and it is considered pareve, however, people are not allowed to take them alongside meat.

While there are no guidelines for pareve foods, it is important to take care when handling these foods.

For example, the case where a pareve-based food is made or processed with the same equipment which is used to prepare dairy or meat,  it will be classified as dairy or meat.

To be recognized as kosher, the person must slaughter meat in the exact manner called shechita. A person who is certified, also known as a shochet, must perform the slaughter. It is only permissible to eat the forequarters of the animals that are allowed. They should also soak the meat prior to eating in order to eliminate all traces of blood.

Wine plays a significant role in numerous Jewish celebrations of religious significance. In order to be considered Kosher, the beverage must be prepared in accordance with certain rules.

The equipment used to grow and harvest the grapes must be Kosher. Additionally, anyone who is involved in making kosher wines must be a practicing Jew.

Origins Of Kosher

Jewish believers believe God is the one who sets the rules for kosher food. Moses handed down these rules to God’s followers, and also created the basic rules in the Torah. If you eat kosher foods, some Jewish people believe, makes you feel closer to God.

The first biblical laws were rather limited and related mostly to animal products and meat. Through the centuries, the subsequent generations added new laws.

What Are The Things People Should Avoid?

One must keep dairy and meat apart. There are some things that aren’t permitted under the Kosher law. This includes:

  • Seafoods not having scales or fins, like lobster, shrimp crab, oysters, and shrimp.
  • Meta from rabbits, pigs camels, squirrels, horses, kangaroos.
  • Bird of prey, or scavenger bird species, like owls, eagles, hawks, and gulls.
  • The hindquarters of permitted ruminant animals. These cuts of meat include sirloin, flank, short loin, shank, and round
  • Most insects are not considered kosher, so fruits and vegetables should be inspected and washed thoroughly before being eaten

Anyone who wants to follow strictly kosher should be aware of cross-contamination issues between dairy and meat as well as fish and meat and also kosher food items and non-kosher ones. Food items that are not allowed to be mixed should have separate facilities and preparation areas.

What Foods You Should Eat

Even though kosher laws ban certain food items, there are plenty of foods to choose from.

Pareve Food Items

Pareve food items have the smallest restrictions, provided that the producer makes them in accordance with Kosher regulations. Examples of pareve-based foods include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • grains
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • fish
  • eggs from animals that are kosher


The only mammals that are kosher are those that are herbivores, chewing their cud, called ruminants. They also are characterized by cloven hooves. This includes:

  • cow
  • goat
  • sheep
  • deer
  • addax
  • antelope
  • bison
  • gazelle
  • Giraffe
  • Ibex
  • Poultry

The Torah includes twenty-four species of fowl which are not permitted under the law of kosher. Other birds are all considered to be kosher. The United States, the only birds that are considered to be kosher are:

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • duck
  • goose
  • Fish

Kosher fish should have scales and fins, and seafood that fails to comply with these standards isn’t kosher. The most popular kosher fish are:

  • cod
  • Bass
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • salmon
  • trout
  • carp
  • flounder

In contrast to poultry and meat there are no specific rules for the preparation of fish.


While there is some disagreement about which insects are acceptable, most kashrut organizations agree that certain species of locust are permissible.

The majority of Jews do not consume locusts. However, in certain Jewish communities the locust is a common food.


Passover or Pesach is an eight-day celebration that is held in the beginning of Spring. It is a celebration of the liberation from Israelites of Ancient Egypt.

For those who want to adhere to a kosher diet There are specific guidelines to be followed during Passover.

One should avoid eating leavened grains or “chametz”, from midday of the day prior to Passover through the end of the holiday.

“Leaven” or “leaven” a bread means to increase its rise. While kosher regulations allow the majority of grains to be consumed to be eaten during Passover but they are not allowed to contain yeast, or be in contact with water for more than 18 minutes.

Matzo is a kind of flatbread that is not leavened is not considered Chametz and can be enjoyed during


Other food items that are deemed as chametz, and which kosher regulations prohibit during Passover includes:

  • bread
  • Cake
  • Cookies
  • cereal
  • pasta
  • the majority of alcohol-based drinks


Food purchases that are kosher can create numerous challenges as products go through various processes of production. Each stage must adhere to the laws of kosher by avoiding cross-contamination from non-permitted food items.

The certification ensures that the food has fulfilled all the requirements needed to be considered Kosher. Food that is certified usually has an official label issued by one of the numerous certifying agencies. If the food item is approved to be suitable for Passover, it will be displayed on an additional label.

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