One of the issues I run into whenever I suggest that folks buy more organic foods (especially produce, which is often the most tainted by pesticides and chemical fertilizers) is cost. While prices are coming down quickly in some areas, such as near my home in western Washington state, the cost for organic products is still sky high in others. As organic living becomes less “crunchy” and more “mainstream”, demand grows and retailers will get on the bandwagon. I was reminded this week, however, that one type of food supply has been rather green for not just a few decades but centuries.
That type? Kosher.
Did you know that you don't have to be Jewish to “keep kosher”? No matter what your religion, the stringent standards applied to kosher foods may well meet your needs for living a more wholesome, natural life and getting more healthy foods into your family. According to a news blurb in Health magazine (June 2006), grocers across the country are taking a closer look at foods that used to cater just to Jewish customers concerned about keeping kosher. The reason? The animal ingredients in kosher products normally have to be free of antibiotics, hormones and animal by-products in order to meet the kosher standard. (Sound a little bit organic to you? Me too!)
Mintel International Group did a study last year asking people about kosher products, and fifty-five percent of kosher buyers believed that the food was better for them — religious beliefs aside. That fifty-five percent is double the number of similar responses from just a few years ago when the same study was conducted in 2003! Obviously the word is out about kosher standards and offerings, and in some areas, kosher products may be more affordable than organics.
Want to learn more about buying and using kosher foods? Try About.com's kosher food section. They've got history, recipes, buying guides and more over there. Your foray into keeping kosher may even lead to some interesting cultural and religious discussions; homeschoolers, this could lead to lots of research and “school” time!
Originally posted on HSB on August 11, 2006