At Beacon Hebrew Alliance’s green kiddushes, congregants sanctify Shabbat with organic grape juice and wine.
“Eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself.” -Isaiah 55
In Jewish tradition, cooking has always been about more than just preparing food. The various Jewish laws of kashrut -- keeping kosher -- that govern how food is prepared and consumed has shaped our people’s relationship to cooking for generations.Today, cooking “Jewishly” can mean more than cooking our ancestors’ recipes or following kashrut; cooking Jewishly can mean cooking ethically, cooking healthily, and bringing our community together.
Choosing to cook meals for our own families and communities instead of purchasing prepared food is a powerful way to build community, engage in tradition, and make healthier, more sustainable choices in what we eat.
“A teacher from Berkeley...tells about a time when her students washed and trimmed and cut up ingredients and made a big salad. ‘Now wait,’ she said, ‘before we start eating, let’s stop and think about the people who tilled the ground, planted the seeds, and harvested the vegetables.’ The kids stood up at their desks and gave the salad a standing ovation.” – Frances Moore Lappé, author of "Diet for a Small Planet."
Most fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle nowadays are large, unblemished, vibrantly colored...and full of chemicals. That’s because they are often grown with exorbitant amounts of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to ensure that they look as appetizing as possible, even though they have probably travelled thousands of miles to arrive at their destination. What’s less appetizing are the damaging effects these chemicals can have on your body, the health of the workers that grew them, and the environment surrounding them. When you buy certified organic produce, you are purchasing foods with fewer pesticides. Yes, buying organic often comes with a higher price tag, but you’re investing in a more sustainable and biodiverse food system. Start your search with Environmental Working Group’s list of dirty produce.
Have you checked your nutrition labels lately? Most of us know that too much sugar is dangerous. Yet corporations continue to add processed sugars to many of the products we see in the supermarket despite the risks of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and additional health problems that come with it. Sodas and cookies are obviously sugary, but sugar can be more difficult to avoid when corporations add it to products we wouldn't expect, like cereals, breads, yogurts and fruit cups. Corporations can be sneaky, too: they use 61 different names for sugar in processed foods. Sugar, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and maltose all mean the same thing—unhealthy and dangerously empty calories.
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