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Archive for the tag “diet”

Halaal food sparks fury

“Halaal food sparks fury” read the headline in today’s City Press.

I read the first couple of paragraphs, and, bearing in mind today’s date, dismissed it as an April Fool’s joke in rather bad taste. It seemed to diss Christians, trying to make it look as though they were a bunch of idiots.

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) Commission has been flooded with letters from Christian consumers complaining that most food and beverages in their supermarkets are certified halaal, with some saying they don’t want to eat or drink anything “sacrificed to idols”.

Complaints received by the CRL against supermarkets and Muslim halaal-certification authorities show some Christians are furious about the prevalence of halaal-certified food in grocery stores and restaurants, claiming it violates their right to freedom of choice.

Is that for real? They’re joking, of course.

You can see an online version of the original article here.

But then it seemed that, if it was an April Fool’s joke, rather a lot of people seemed to have fallen for it and were taking it seriously.

I still haven’t made up my mind whether it is for real or not, but I thought I’d say something about it.

I am a Christian, and for more than 60 years I’ve been eating food that has been marked as OK for the dietary rules of other religions. As a schoolboy I liked Mozmarks Tasty Matzos, which was marked “Kosher for Passover”. I never heard anyone say or imply that it was bad for Christians to eat that.

And I loved Gold Dish Mutton Breyani, which was marked as Halaal.

No one ever said that Christians should not eat that either.

There was also Go0d Dish mutton curry with peas — those soon disappeared from the market, but they were replaced by mutton curry with kidney beans and mutton curry with vegetables. All were marked Halaal and I ate and e4njoyed them all. They are now almost unobtainable, and when you do manage to find them they have a “new and improved” recipe, which, like the WordPress editor, isn’t nearly as good as the old one.

When I lived and worked in the UK 50 years ago I used to eat a lot of breyani (or biriyani), as they spelt it there. It came from Pakistani restaurants and I’m pretty sure Pakistani cuisine is mostly halaal, because most Pakistanis are Muslim. I liked it a lot better than most English cooking, which consisted of things like “rice” (which turned out to be rice pudding, with custard) and macaroni & cheese with chips (British cooking has improved since the 1960s, perhaps as a result of all those TV chefs).

Illustration attached to City Press “Halaal” article.

One clue that suggests that the City Press article is an April Fools joke extracting the Michael is the bit about Halaal food being “sacrificed to idols”. Everybody knows, or ought to, that Muslims don’t do idols. So the City Press article is poking fun at Christians by making them out to be a bunch of ignoramuses. That is why I think that, if it is an April Fool’s joke, it is in pretty poor taste.

I will say, however, that I’m all for food being labelled to show that it meets the dietary requirements of religious and other groups. I’m happy to see food certified as “organic”, recalling that melamine and other inorganic substances were introduced into Chinese pet food a few years ago.

I’m happy to see some food labelled as “Kosher for Passover”, and am only sorry that I cant find food labelled “Nistisimou for Lent”.

I once attended an Aids symposium, where lunch was provided, and as it happened to be a fast day I was picking out tomatoes from the salads and leaving the cheese behind. Some helpful soul pointed out the “Halaal” table, and when I said that wouldn’t make it, they pointed to the kosher table. I said that wouldn’t make it either, but if it had prawns they would do.  They then offered me a cheese sandwich. No. But a nistisimou table would have been nice. The people who organised the symposium thoughtfully made special provision for the dietary needs of Muslims and Jews, but not for Orthodox Christians.






Cheesy dreams

British Cheese Board – News:

The age old myth that cheese gives you nightmares has finally been laid to rest this week following the release of a new study carried out by the British Cheese Board.

The in-depth Cheese & Dreams study, a first of its kind, reveals that eating cheese before bed will not only aid a good night’s sleep but different cheeses will in fact cause different types of dreams.

Of the 200 volunteers who participated in the week-long study, 72% slept well every night, 67% remembered their dreams and none recorded experiencing nightmares after eating a 20g piece of cheese half an hour before going to sleep.

A lot of people still believe the old wives tale that cheese gives you nightmares but this study endorses the scientific facts.

Hat-tip to Matushka Donna.

It makes interesting reading, but I’m still not sure about it. Twenty grammes doesn’t sound like a lot of cheese to me. I find that if I eat pizza too soon before going to bed, it wakes me up, and it is better to give it a chance to digest first. I wonder if they should re-run the experiment with cooked cheese.

Meat-free Monday?

I’ve seen two stories on the same day about people calling for a meat-free day each week.

Day of the lentil burghers: Ghent goes veggie – The Guardian:

Ghent embarks on a radical experiment today seeking to make every Thursday a day free of meat and of the fish and shellfish for which the city is renowned. On the eve of what is being touted as an unprecedented exercise the biggest queue in the Flemish university town of 200 000 yesterday was for signatures – to collect a bag of wholefood goodies and sign up for ‘Donderdag – Veggie Dag’ turning the burghers of Ghent into pioneers in the fight against obesity global warming cruelty to animals and against the myth that meat-free eating amounts to a diet of soggy lettuce a slice of tomato and a foul-tasting bean burger.

And then this from Britain: Support Meat Free Monday – Eat less meat for a better planet:

It’s a food campaign to encourage the nation to help slow climate change by reducing their meat consumption by having at least one meat free day a week.

Having a MEAT FREE day every week is a simple way to start making a real difference in the world. The more people who join in, the more difference we can make.

What I find curious about this is the days on which it is suggested that this fast should take place — Monday and Thursday.

Traditionally, Christians have fasted from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays, and though many no longer observe this fast, some do, and since Belgium was, in the past, a country with a majority Roman Catholic population, why not encourage people to begin that practice again?

Perhaps it is to avoid embarrassment to atheists, who might not want to abstain from meat on Wednesdays or Fridays and thus give the impression that they are Christians. In Albania, when it was officially an atheist country, teachers would interrogate children at school to find what they had or hadn’t been eating at home, especially during the Christian fast of Lent and the Muslim fast of Ramadan. They would also ask children if they had been eating lots of eggs during the Easter season. If there was evidence fo feasting or fasting, a visit from the police was sure to follow.

But if fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays would cause embarrassment to atheists, why not encourage people to fast on a day of their choice? Or is the aim to get Christians who are already abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays to add another day?

I’ve been to a number of conferences and gatherings where Halaal and Kosher food are provided, but it is rare for find Orthodox Christian fasting food on such occasions. Perhaps if Wednesday or Friday were adopted as the meat-free day it might make such things a little easier.

Oatmeal’s health claims reaffirmed

Back to Tiger oats!

Oatmeal’s health claims strongly reaffirmed, science shows � Biosingularity: “A new scientific review of the most current research shows the link between eating oatmeal and cholesterol reduction to be stronger than when the FDA initially approved the health claim’s appearance on food labels in 1997.

Dr. James W. Anderson, professor of medicine and clinical nutrition at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, co-authors “The Oatmeal-Cholesterol Connection: 10 Years Later” in the January/February 2008 issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine”

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