The halal diet consists of a number of rules that followers of Islam must obey. It is a religious diet, not one for weight loss, and is generally only practiced by Muslims, to a greater or lesser extent. However, it does have some principals that are useful for non-Muslims, and in some cases it is more respectful for non-Muslims to follow a halal diet. The foods prohibited by Islam include blood, or foods made from blood, pork and other pig products, alcohol and non-halal certified meat.
Vegetarians and Vegans
Vegetarianism is considered a valid choice among Muslims, as vegetables and grains in their natural state are considered halal. Vegetarians may have to beware of cheese products, however, because they are often made with rennet that may not be sourced from a halal animal, but vegetarian certified cheese should be halal. Vegans and vegetarians need only refrain from alcohol consumption. In fact, there are some Muslims who argue that the prohibition against eating carrion, or dead flesh, might be applied to all meat, and vegetarianism is in that case, the only choice for a Muslim. However, those who hold this opinion are in the minority.
Friends and Family of Muslims
In order for food to remain halal it must not come into any contact at all with non-halal food. This edict would be difficult to maintain in a kitchen or other environments when there are both types of food present, as the implements and storage areas would have to be kept separate or thoroughly cleaned whenever they were used for halal foods. So, in families where one or more people are trying to keep to the rules of Islam, it is respectful for everyone to follow the rules. It can be difficult when many food additives are suspected or known to be non-halal, but these are usually contained in unhealthy foods that should not be eaten to excess anyway. Families where some eat halal food and some don’t could stick to halal at home, and perhaps the non-Muslims could eat at a non-halal restaurant occasionally.
Non-Muslims may also wish to follow the halal diet at times out of respect for their Muslim friends or colleagues. When it is known that a Muslim is at the same workplace, it is polite to provide halal options at lunches or birthdays or other times when food will be present. If in doubt, simply ask.
There are many healthy options when following this diet, as it includes most types of seafood, as well as vegetables and whole grains. People who follow the halal diet should bear in mind that it is intended to promote health and well being and some Muslim scholars even consider overeating to be a sin. Anyone, Muslim or not, can take to heart this aspect of the halal diet.
The halal diet is based around religious beliefs and is not followed by many non-Muslim people. However, at times it is useful and respectful to follow this diet.