Fueled by both health and environmental reasons, more people are making the switch to a vegan diet, with around 6% of Americans leading a vegan lifestyle. Going vegan isn’t the easiest thing in the world: you have to constantly be aware of what’s in your food. That being said, combining a vegan diet with kashrut is no easy task. So how do vegans remain faithful to the dietary laws of the Jewish faith?
What is Veganism Anyway?
With this popular diet gaining so much traction, Vegan food does not contain any animal products or byproducts, including meat, dairy, fish, eggs, gelatin and honey. Vegan products are occupying more and more shelf space in retail stores, and vegan restaurants are popping up all over the country. Some vegans incorporate their diet into their lifestyle by refraining from wearing animal products, and using cosmetics that are not made with animal derivatives.
Can It Be Kosher?
Just how much vegan food is kosher? Many people who keep kosher have noticed that vegan foods tend to be kosher due to not including meat or milk products. But when you really dig into the details, there’s actually a lot more to consider.
Simply put, all vegan food is kosher—but it depends on how closely you follow kashrut. Vegan food may fail to be kosher due to preparation by non-Jews, with non-kosher equipment, and without kosher supervision. Since kosher laws prohibit the mixing of milk and meat, a vegan meal has nothing to worry about with this. You don’t have to worry about which animal the meat or milk is coming from in a vegan meal—because there is no meat or milk. You also don’t have to worry about mixing the wrong foods together or waiting in between meals.
How Strictly Do You Keep Kosher?
If you’re trying to fully follow kashrut, there are other requirements that need to be met. So, just like there are vegans who follow a vegan diet with different levels of strictness, there are also different levels of strictness with which you can follow the kosher laws. Some people who keep kosher assume that any dish in a vegan restaurant is kosher safe, while other people need certifications beforehand.
For food to be completely kosher, it must be prepared with cookware, utensils, and even countertops that are kosher. If kitchen equipment has been used to prepare non-kosher food in the past, this equipment must be thoroughly cleaned before it can be used to prepare kosher food.
Going vegan isn’t the easiest as is, and keeping up with kashrut in addition to going vegan makes it a bit more tricky. Although keeping up with both a vegan and a kosher diet may seem troublesome altogether, it’s as simple as knowing where your food is from and how it was prepared. Whether you’re going vegan as a dietary choice or an eco-friendly choice, there’s no shortage of benefits for your health.