Many religions impose dietary restrictions for their adherents. These rules can range from a prohibition of certain kinds of foods to strict requirements regarding preparation and are imposed for a variety of reasons, including ethical beliefs, the cleanliness of the food in question or the ritual remembrance of sacred events and holy people.
Muslims' food is required to be halal, or permissible. Followers of Islam are forbidden to consume alcohol, pork, blood and carnivorous animals, including birds of prey. The religion also imposes rules for butchering animals. The animal being butchered must be prayed over while it is alive and it must not be thirsty. The knife that kills it must be sharp but cannot be sharpened in front of the animal to prevent causing undue stress, and the animal should be killed by cutting its throat quickly and smoothly.
The Jewish Bible lists rules for keeping kosher. Kosher food includes meat from any animal that has a split hoof and chews cud, including cattle, sheep, deer and goats. it Fish and seafood must have fins and scales and swim in the sea, which rules out most shellfish. During Passover, there are even more restrictions, based on leavening and grains that "puff up."
To be considered kosher, the allowable animal must be slaughtered with a single deep stroke across its throat using a sharpened blade.The slaughterer is required to be trained in Jewish law. The slaughtered animal must be clean, free of defects and its lungs must be smooth.
Dairy and meat dishes and foods cannot be combined.
Other Religious Restrictions
Most Christian groups do not have regular dietary restrictions, although some groups eat fish on Friday and give up certain food for Lent. In addition, Mormons are urged not to consume alcohol, tea or coffee. Buddhism and Hinduism do not always require a specific diet; however, devout Buddhists and Hindus are usually vegetarians and many Hindu people will not eat beef. Jainism, a faith concentrated mostly in India, adheres to strict vegetarianism and also forbids its followers from eating honey, eggs or figs.
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