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Kosher Diet For Weight Loss

Kosher Diet and Weight Control

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Kosher Diet

Planning a healthy kosher weight loss diet should not present any great difficulty. As long as you reduce calories appropriately, eat plenty of fruits/vegetables, reduce your intake of saturated fat, and take enough exercise, you will lose weight in a healthy way. However, any kosher weight loss plan must conform to the special dietary rules of Judaism. Here is a very short guide to the main issues.

Meaning of Kosher

Kosher, a Yiddish word derived from the Hebrew word "kasher" (keser/kaser) meaning "fit" or "proper". In a dietary context, kosher describes foods that meet the requirements of Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut). Non-kosher food is called "treifah" or "treif".

Jewish Diet Law

The basic dietary laws of kashrut are found in the Torah's Book of Leviticus, amplified in the oral law (the Mishnah and the Talmud) and codified by rabbinical authorities. Kosher diet interpretations by rabbis continues in Jewish communities around the world.

The Basic Kosher Diet Rules

At the very least, any kosher weight loss diet must be in conformity with the following:

  • Meat and dairy foods are to kept completely separate. So meats and dairy foods, may not be eaten at the same meal. Also the dishes and utensils used in the preparation of these foods must be kept separate.
  • Derivatives of meat or dairy must also be kept separate. For example, most cheese contains rennet, a meat-based coagulant. This mixture of meat and dairy is non-kosher. For the same reason, dairy products like ice cream and yogurt which contain gelatin (derived from animal bones) are not kosher.
  • "Pareve" foods (containing neither meat nor dairy products) like vegetables, fruit and soy products may be consumed with either milk or meat products. However, fruits or foods from a tree may not be eaten until the tree is over three years old.
  • Kosher animal food must not come from animals, birds or fish prohibited in Leviticus 11 or Deuteronomy 14. For example, pork and rabbit are not kosher, neither is any fish without scales and fins, such as shellfish. Beef, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey and duck are kosher.
  • All animals must be slaughtered by a certified kosher butcher (shochet), according to a kasrut ritual known as "shehitah". Rabbinical authorities have stated that any unnecessary suffering by the animal can render otherwise kosher meat traife, although the Jewish slaughtering method remains controversial.
  • Meats and poultry must be salted with special kosher salt ("kashering salt") containing more absorbent crystals, to remove as much blood as possible.

Kosher Certified Weight Loss Diet Foods

If you are an orthodox Jew or keep a kosher table, your weight loss diet should contain only foods identified as kosher by the presence of a "hechsher" or "hechsherim" (plural). A hechsher is a symbol that indicates that the food has been certified as kosher by a rabbinical authority usually a rabbinic organization.

Kosher Weight Loss Program

If you are interested in a weight loss program which includes prepared meals, check out the Brooklyn-based Start Fresh weight reduction program, based in Brooklyn. Its calorie-controlled kosher diet is low-fat, low sodium and includes a range of healthy carbs. You can buy your own food or use the company's frozen entrees, and snacks.

Start Fresh also emphasises lifestyle modification and offers kosher weight loss support to both individuals and groups on subjects like food shopping, family eating, and exercise.

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