Tuesday, November 13, 2018 -
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Is there a real health rationale behind kashrut?

Kosher living. When it comes to how we eat, what does it mean? The plain answer is following Jewish dietary laws of kashrut, which govern what we eat and how food must be prepared. But for some, kosher living is not merely a set of rules, but a guideline to healthy living.

According to Jewish law, kashrut is classified as a hok, or a commandment for which no reason is provided. We fulfill the commandment because it is G-d’s word, not because we understand it. Nevertheless, despite this classification, there have been numerous attempts over the centuries to uncover a rationale behind kosher eating.

Beth Warren’s Living a Real Life with Real Food: How to Get Healthy, Lose Weight and Stay Energized — the Kosher Way (2014 Skyhorse Publishing) could be described as one such effort.

A registered dietician and certified dietician-nutritionist, Warren uses kashrut as a jumping off point for an investigation into healthy eating. It’s a bit of a leap, as kashrut is not necessarily a recipe for healthy or slim living.

But when Warren uses the term “kosher,” she’s not referring to our modern-day sensibilities of certified products; instead she is invoking a Biblical-era diet, when kashrut was first defined. In other words, Warren’s kosher diet — “fresh and whole, minimally processed, G-d given, and available since biblical times” — is essentially a Middle Eastern diet (although she does admit a penchant for classic Ashkenazic dishes), which fits her background. She is a New York-based Orthodox Jew of Syrian and East European descent.

The rest of this article is available in the March 20 IJN print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at carol@ijn.com or subscribe to our online e-Edition.

Shana Goldberg

IJN Assistant Publisher | shana@ijn.com

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