Eating habits determine people’s way of life. It is difficult to perceive to what extent regular life is affected by changing the eating style. Waking up one morning and finding oneself keeping kosher dietary laws is a challenge. Although researchers note that “Kosher, Christian, and halal food laws share common principles,” the difference in eating habits is tremendous (Tieman & Hassan, 2015, p. 1). Since the character is tested by changes, it is interesting to evaluate the current situation, estimate the previous lifestyle, evaluate the changes to make, and investigate the influence of new dietary laws on the regular life.
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Changes in the habitual way of life bring novel experiences and atmosphere. They inevitably require acquiring new skills and knowledge, which is always favorable for any person. It is interesting to learn about kosher food and the concept behind it. Traditionally, the idea of kosher food is associated with faith and religion. Rosenblum (2016) stresses that “the Hebrew Bible never uses the word “kosher” (literally meaning “fit” or “proper”) to refer to food” (p. 8). These contradictions on the subject, which is entirely new to me, are misleading.
However, according to Lasson (2017), nowadays it is easier to become kosher than ever before. Nevertheless, the old habits of eating pork and seafood cannot be forgotten without an effort, alongside the general possibility to choose whatever I want. Still, I definitely will not miss eating beef as I restrain from eating red meat. Changes in essential habits never come effortlessly. Few people can accept the new situation without comparing it to an old one.
Keeping kosher dietary laws changes life positively or negatively. The most pain-stricken change to make at this point is starting to buy kosher food. It is difficult for two reasons. First of all, kosher products are more expensive, which is not easy to get accustomed to. Secondly, I need real knowledge, passed from generation to generation, to be able to buy kosher food. Otherwise, I will have to read labels, which is not always a good idea. According to Horowitz (2017), “The kosher trademark has become the measure of the product’s conformity with Jewish law, not its content” (p. 3). Therefore, buying quality kosher food products is the trickiest thing.
When changing the dietary laws, one has to face a necessity to get used to a new reality, some aspects of which are easy to deal with, but others are not. The most comfortable change to make is to arrange the food in a refrigerator in a new way.
According to kosher laws, all meat and dairy utensils must be kept separately (Horowitz, 2017). It is not difficult to observe this rule because it is logical. While keeping milk and meat separately in a refrigerator is simple, it is not easy to restrain from eating cheeseburgers and pizza. It is the most challenging thing to get accustomed to in my diet and everyday life. It is so disturbing because gathering with some friends over a pizza or some sushi is a common social activity for me. The loss of the feeling of freedom of choice is also crucial, but I know that acquiring a new eating habit is a matter of time.
Nutrition is essential and to a large extent a fundamental constituent of human existence. That is why keeping a new dietary law can be a challenging experience. Nevertheless, having gone through the first difficult period of getting used to kosher food and establishing a habit, one can find this experience enjoyable.
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Horowitz, R. (2017). Kosher USA: How coke became kosher and other tales of modern food. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Lasson, K. (2017). Sacred cows, holy wars: Verities and vagaries in deciding what’s kosher and what’s not. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
Rosenblum, J. D. (2016). The Jewish dietary laws in the ancient world. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Tieman, M., & Hassan, F. H. (2015). Convergence of food systems: Kosher, Christian and Halal. British Food Journal, 117(9), 2313-2327.