Some cultures and religions have restrictions concerning what foods are acceptable in their diet. For example, only Kosher foods are permitted by Judaism, and Halal foods by Islam.
Culture and religion have a huge influence on food choice especially in meat consumption patterns. First we should understand the definition or meaning of culture and religion.
Culture is defined as a large group of people with a distinct way of life who have their own unique behaviors, habits, belief system, values and motives. They usually share their knowledge amongst their group. (1)
Religion on the other hand can be defined as a set of beliefs, morals and values which are useful in one’s progress in spiritual path and to attain the highest consciousness in spirituality(8).
Culture sounds more primitive nowadays because of the religious domination however; cultures are distinct but not like how they were once. The humans were first semi nomadic and then they formed small groups in order to survive .That’s the beginning of culture and whereas religions were formed later when cultures grew big people with certain beliefs to attain spiritual fulfillment formed certain sects and thus religions were formed. Though both have a great deal of influence in food choice in the 21st century, religious influence has outwitted cultural influence in this modern world.
Though all religions and cultures have some distinct food habits they all are so because of one common reason that’s to maintain the so called cultural and religious identity in this diverse world. Even though they want to be distinct their food choices are influenced by some common factors like sociodemographic characteristics, healthy lifestyle, dietary environment, food beliefs, food preferences, food availability etc (3) .It is not possible encompass everything about religion and cultural influence on food choice in this report because the role of food in religious beliefs and cultural practices is very complex. In religion, food is a important part of their spiritual rituals. Every religion has developed its own form of rituals by which on can relate to the Supreme Being or the so called supernatural force (4). And food is an important part of this rituals which is every important or mandatory for the member of the sect to follow it.
The order of factors influencing the food choice (intake) in both culture and religions are as below:
Food beliefs Health/Lifestyle Dietary environment
Food preferencesFood availability
Influences on Diet, Health Behaviours and
Their Outcome in Select Ethnocultural
and Religious Groups
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