Guide to which faiths won’t eat which foods
So which religious groups are allowed to eat what? We checked with the Correctional Service of Canada, who find themselves catering to a wide variety of “dinner guests” from all walks of life.
– Buddhism: Variations depend on the specific school of Buddhism, and the country-of-origin to which followers are associated with. The Mahayana school (the most common in Canada) is less strict than the Thervada school, which follows a strict vegan diet.
– Christianity: Food consumption can be limited or altered on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays in Lent, although some choose to fast or abstain from certain foods each Friday of the year.
– Doukhobor: Followers adhere to lacto-ovo vegetarian diets.
– Hare Krishna: Requires food eaten by devotees to be Prasadam, or spiritualized. Foods must be found in a lacto-vegetarian diet, and cannot contain animals or slaughtered-animal by-products (like lard, gelatin, or rennet; or sour cream, yogurt or cheese). Food preparation requires the utmost of cleanliness, and food must be prepared according to Krishna methods prescribed in holy books. Devotees observe partial fasts twice a month, when they abstain from all grains, beans, lentils and peas, but consume all other vegetarian items.
– Hinduism: Hindu dietary practices differ from sect to sect — some Hindus are pure vegans, while others eat fish and some meats. Some Hindus “dedicate” a specific food to God, meaning they’re forbidden from eating it for the rest of their lives.
– Islam: For strict Muslims, food is separated into two categories — lawful (halal) and unlawful (haraam). Halal meat and poultry has to be slaughtered according to Islamic methods, while halal fish has to be drawn from unpolluted waters. Pork products are forbidden, as are carnivorous animals and birds, animals that have died of natural causes (or were killed by other animals), foods containing blood, and alcohol and non-prescription drugs. During the period of Ramadan, Muslims fast for an entire month between sunrise and sunset.
– Jehovah’s Witnesses: Members avoid eating meat with blood left in it, or foods to which blood has been added.
– Judaism: Dietary restrictions differ depending on the branch one belongs to, but Jewish regulations indicate meat (including poultry) can’t be cooked, served or eaten together with dairy products. Animals are considered kosher if they chew their cud and have divided hooves (cows, goats, sheep), but the consumption of meat from animals that have undivided hooves or don’t chew their cud (pigs) is forbidden. Kosher fowl can’t be birds of prey, while fish are required to have both scales and fins (no shellfish). Fish can, however, be served with dairy products if broiled or prepared with a non-meat shortening. All animals must be slaughtered and prepared in a manner prescribed by holy law to be considered kosher. Leavened foods (breads, cakes, cereals, pasta, etc.) and legumes cannot be eaten during Passover.
– Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints): Doctrines and Covenants require Latter Day Saints to eat meat sparingly, encouraging the use of herbs, fruits, vegetables and grains in its place.
– Rastafarians: Primarily lacto-vegetarians who also eat certain fish. Some groups avoid seafood and processed cheeses.
– Seventh Day Adventism: Members adhere to vegetarian diets, (preferably lacto-ovo), and if meat is eaten, it must be kosher. Coffee, tea, cola and chocolate are all prohibited.
– Sikhism: Practices vary — some Sikhs are vegetarians, others eat meat (though typically not beef). It is incumbent on baptized Sikhs, however, to do their own cooking.
– Sufism: Vegetarian diets are common, but not required.
– Wicca: Covens that believe in a divinity that protects animals observe vegetarian diets.
– Worldwide Church of God: Pork and shellfish are forbidden
– Zoroastrianism: Many Zoroastrians follow semi-vegetarian diets, but the practice is not mandated.