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Are weight loss diets kosher?

by Mrs. Dinka Kumer


Library » Mitzvot » Kosher » About | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Dieting can be potentially beneficial to one's life as a Jew, or the opposite, depending on the particular diet. To know whether a weight loss diet is “Kosher,” you must examine the motivating factor behind the diet, its means, and its end. It goes without saying that a Jew is permitted to eat only kosher food with qualified certification (unless both a doctor and rabbi advise otherwise). With eating kosher as a prerequisite, there is also a commandment to "carefully preserve one's soul" which means to maintain one's physical health and avoid doing things that endangers it. So, if a person diets to lose weight and thereby make his or her body healthier, then this is a kosher diet. If a diet is an aesthetic obsession, but he or she is not actually doing something dangerous to the body, then one needs to call to question the spiritually unhealthy factor motivating the diet. If the obsession leads to dangerous or damaging eating habits, then it is definitely forbidden.

Another part of 'kosher dieting' is overcoming the temptations that foods present us. While whole grain cereal is not as scrumptious as a glazed donut, when we choose to eat healthy we strengthen both our body as well as our subtle spiritual sensitivities. This goes above and beyond the rules of permitted and forbidden foods. By choosing healthy eating habits we weaken our palate's cravings and allow our soul to come to the fore. When we refuse, or postpone, giving ourselves some form of permitted temptation (even a kosher organic vegan pudding pop), then we quiet our body's demands and become more attuned to the voice of the soul within us. So say "no" to that second helping of dessert, and you'll be doing your body—and your soul—a lot of good.


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Miscellaneous » Health Issues » Medical Ethics

Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.