Dear Internet,

If you are not familiar with any of the dietary requirements outlined in SooN COOKING, you may find what you need here.  SooN’s Dietary Restriction Decoder is simple:

  • Diet Name
  • The critical details
  • What’s on the “DO NOT SERVE” list
  • Diet Deep Dive
  • More Information

Now. This is my interpretation. It will give you the general idea of the dos and dont’s for each dietary requirement. If you find a critical mistake or error, please email me directly at elisha@soonliving.com so that I can correct it.

To tackling Meal Planning FUD!

Bon Appétit,

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New to SooN COOKING?

For a food blog, I know the approach is unconventional.  There are two very specific reasons why. Click here to find out more.

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The Celiac Diet

The Critical Details

This is a medical based diet which mainly excludes gluten and soy products.

What’s on the ” Do Not Serve” List

  • Barley, specifically the Hordein protein
  • Beer
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Malt
  • Oats, specifically the Avenin protein
  • Packaged foods not labelled gluten-free
  • Rye, specifically the Secalin protein
  • Starch (it’s basically SUPER gluten)
  • Triticale (a rye and wheat hybrid)
  • Wheat, specifically the Gliadin protein

Diet Deep Dive

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease which impacts about 1% of the population and causes damage to the small intestine.  People with Celiac Disease are unable to absorb gluten which is a substance found in grains like barley, rye and wheat. Consumption of gluten can cause a wide-variety of symptoms for those with Celiac Disease. The treatment for Celiac Disease is to follow a gluten-free diet.

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The Halal Diet

The Critical Details

This is a religious based diet which mainly excludes pork, alcohol and shellfish.

What’s on the “DO NOT SERVE” list

These items are designated Haram (which means unlawful and is the opposite of Halal) by Islamic law:

  • Pork
  • Anything that will alter your state of mind like alcohol or drugs.
  • Birds of prey
  • Carnivores
  • Blood
  • Carrion

Diet Deep Dive

Full disclosure: I have yet to have a Halal guest at my table. However, this is one of the fastest growing food channels in America. Research indicated that it would be a relatively low effort on my part to include this segment in SooN LIVING. I hope in doing so I’ve delighted someone.  Even if I only have one Halal user, that would be a HUGE return on the investment in my mind! Please, please, PLEASE provide feedback if I am inaccurate with my Halal instructions.

So in addition to avoiding anything Haram, all Halal foods must be prepared in accordance with these specific guidelines:

1. When a Halal animal is butchered, it must be slaughtered following Islamic law.  According to the Guardian, that means, “The animal has to be alive and healthy, a Muslim has to perform the slaughter in the appropriate ritual manner, and the animal’s throat must be cut by a sharp knife severing the carotid artery, jugular vein and windpipe in a single swipe. Blood must be drained out of the carcass.”

2. The end-to-end processing of Halal foods must be completely free of anything Haram.  This starts with the ingredients themselves, includes the cooking techniques, manufacturing equipment and storage containers.

3. To add more color to #2, Halal foods must not be contaminated by Haram foods.  For example, after sautéing a chicken breast you could not deglaze the pan with white wine and then use that in a sauce to pair with the chicken.  Alcohol is Haram, so hopefully it is clear why this would be forbidden.

Again, this information is based purely on internet research.  I do not follow a Halal diet, nor have I ever cooked for someone who does.  PLEASE provide feedback if I am inaccurate with my Halal guidance so I can correct it!

 

More Information

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The Kosher Diet

The Critical Details

Kosher means fit or proper.  This is a religious based diet that requires the EXCLUSION or SEPARATION of certain foods.

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What’s on the “DO NOT SERVE” list

Let me be clear − there are a lot of rules in Kosher law. I am offering a quick and simple guide to give you the basic idea of how to plan a Kosher meal.  I strongly recommend you share your meal roadmap with your Kosher guest to confirm your strategy aligns with their level of observance.

Now. The main rule to follow is NO MIXING MEAT WITH DAIRY. This rule is as important to Judaism as NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE is to Catholicism.  Since I am a Cashew, I feel it is KOSHER for me to say that NO MIXING MEAT WITH DAIRY is essentially the CARDINAL RULE of Kosher eating.

Got it? Great. So now you need to categorize your food selections into one of three categories:

1. MEAT: This is defined by the flesh or byproducts (like bone broth) from a Kosher animal or bird.

2. DAIRY: This is defined by the milk or products made from milk (like cheese) from a Kosher animal.

3. PAREVE (or PARVE): This is defined by food that is neither meat or dairy.  I find it helpful to think of foods in this category as “neutral”.  Examples are fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, legumes, water, coffee, and tea. Fish and eggs are also PAREVE (which I find extremely useful when cooking with dairy).

Stay with me! Next, you need to make sure the food you have selected is NOT on an exclusion list:

  • MEAT: Meat from animals that do not chew their cud AND have split hooves is forbidden.  Pigs and rabbits are NOT Kosher while cows, lambs, goats are examples of Kosher animals.
  • BIRD: Birds of prey such as an eagle are NOT Kosher.  The bird must also have an extra toe, crop or peelable gizzard to be Kosher. Examples of Kosher birds include chickens, ducks, and quails. Remember that birds also fall into the “meat” category.
  • DAIRY: Dairy follows the transitive property − meaning, milk or products made from milk that is derived from an animal that is NOT Kosher are also NOT Kosher.  Therefore, if you have dairy from a Kosher animal then it is also Kosher!
  • FISH: Fish that do not have fins, scales and gills such as shellfish are NOT Kosher.  Salmon, Tuna and Cod are examples of Kosher fish.

 

Ok, so POP QUIZ! A cheeseburger is:

a) NOT Kosher
b) Kosher

If you answered “a”, gold star! A cheeseburger is NOT Kosher because it combines MEAT and DAIRY in the same recipe.

If you answered “b”, my immediate thought is, “Oy Vey”. But I recognize that that isn’t helping you either.  I think you should write down the Cardinal rule: MEAT + DAIRY = NEVER.

Almost there! Understanding what makes something Kosher isn’t limited to WHAT it is.  It also includes HOW it is processed.  So in addition to avoiding anything NOT Kosher, all Kosher foods must be prepared in accordance with these specific guidelines:

The end-to-end processing of Kosher foods must be completely free of anything NOT Kosher.  This starts with the ingredients themselves, includes the cooking techniques, manufacturing equipment and storage containers.

The slaughtering process must follow this formula: Shechitah (kosher slaughter) = shochet (trained, certified AND Jewish slaughterer) + challef (very sharp and long knife). Following the slaughter, the meat is closely inspected by a bodek (trained, certified AND Jewish inspector).  If the Bedika (inspection) does not reveal any physiological abnormalities, then the meat moves onto the removal of any blood. This is done by either soaking, salting or broiling the meat. Once this has been completed it is packaged and labeled as Kosher!

Kosher foods must not be contaminated by non-Kosher foods which I’ve come to think of in the following ways:

It does not combine MEAT and DAIRY. (Obviously, Cardinal rule!)
If it is MEAT, it is first not on an exclusion list and is next butchered following a Kosher process. This includes keeping the Kosher MEAT separate from anything that is NOT Kosher.
If it is DAIRY, it is first not derived from an animal that is on an exclusion list and is next processed following Kosher law. This includes keeping the Kosher DAIRY separate from anything that is NOT Kosher.

If it is PAREVE, it is (you guessed it!) first not on an exclusion list and is next processed following a Kosher process.  This includes keeping the item separate from anything that is NOT Kosher.

Almost there! I know there is a lot to “digest” about Kosher law.  The easiest way to keep sane while trying to make sure your meal is staying Kosher is to do Q&A with yourself using these two questions:

Q: What type of food is it?

A: Categorize it ONCE as either MEAT, DAIRY, or PAREVE.

Q: When can a Kosher person eat it?

A: There is a lot of fine print to consider when answering this one.  Just remember not to:

  • Mix MEAT and DAIRY

  • Pick something from the EXCLUSION list

If you can follow these simple rules, you are on the path to KOSHER!!!

Diet Deep Dive

I’m not gonna lie − I lost a lot of steam in that “critical details” section. I wouldn’t be surprised if most other Humans of the Internet did also.  So, before we move on (and for fun), I am prepared to offer anyone who hasn’t stopped reading (yet) a $5 Amazon gift card.  To claim your prize, email or message me and make reference to this little test. This offer is valid for up to 50 people (unique users − no repeats). I’m excited to see who (or if anyone) emails me!

Ok. So there are really only two more things that I want to tell you about keeping Kosher:

1. It is important to note that when you pair a PAREVE item with either a meat or a dairy item, the PAREVE item takes on the paired item’s category. For instance, if you are serving steak and you pair it with roasted potatoes, you could not then take any leftover potatoes and then pair that with sour cream or cheese.  The potatoes became MEAT when you paired them with the steak.  To add DAIRY to the leftover potatoes would be a violation of the Cardinal rule (MEAT + DAIRY = NEVER).

I said this in the beginning but that was so long ago that you may have forgotten…A lot hangs on your guest’s level of observance so review your meal strategy with them to confirm it meets their needs.  Specifically ask them if you should use disposable products to cook and serve your food.  Why is this important? Take my Aunt Maxine (who is an Orthodox observer). She has separate kitchens for MEAT and DAIRY in her home. That’s ONE set of pots, pans, utensils and dishes PLUS a separate sink, oven, refrigerator and dishwasher TIMES TWO.  So if she came to my non-Kosher house for dinner where I frequently cook and eat meat+dairy AND shellfish AND pork on my ONE set of pots, pans, utensils and dishes.  Even if I have purchased a nice piece of Salmon (PAREVE), it would become NOT Kosher when I cook it in my kitchen and serve it on my plates.

The solution? Tinfoil, paper plates and plastic utensils!!!

More Information

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The Vegetarian Diet

The Critical Details

This diet is plant-based excludes animals and animal by-products.

What’s on the “DO NOT SERVE” list

It all depends on the level of Vegetarianism that your guest follows. Start by asking your guest, “What kind of Vegetarian diet do you follow?” You can use this guide to plan your meal based on their response:

  • VEGAN: Vegan is the purest vegetarian diet.  There is no meat, poultry or fish.  Anything derived from meat, poultry or fish, such as broth, is excluded. Animal by-products like dairy, eggs, or honey are also not consumed by vegans.
  • LACTO VEGETARIAN: Lacto = milk. This diet allows for dairy products but excludes meat, poultry and fish. Anything derived from meat, poultry or fish, such as broth, is excluded. Eggs are also not consumed by Lacto Vegetarians.
  • OVO VEGETARIAN: Ovo = egg. This diet allows for eggs but excludes meat, poultry and fish.  Anything derived from meat, poultry or fish, such as broth, is excluded. Dairy is also not consumed by Lacto Vegetarians.
  • LACTO-OVO VEGETARIAN: Dairy and eggs are in! But meat or anything derived from meat is excluded.
  • POLLOTARIAN: Pollo = chicken. This diet allows for chicken and eggs.  It excludes meat and fish or anything derived from meat and fish.
  • PESCATARIAN: Pesce = fish.   This diet excludes meat and poultry and anything derived from meat and poultry including eggs.

Diet Deep Dive

There are a number of reasons why people become vegetarians.  The most common reasons are:

1. Health: A vegetarian diet can help with weight-loss, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer prevention.

2. Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism are examples of religions that mandate or advocate for vegetarianism.

3. Animal Rights: Following a vegetarian diet means abstaining from the cruelty, pain and exploitation of animals who are raised, farmed and slaughtered as a result of animal production.

4. Environmental: According to The United Nations livestock (for meat and dairy) “generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation. ”

More Information

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