Unusual religious dietary restriction?

A few years ago, a patient (from India but living in the US) was admitted to the hospital where I worked. He refused to eat the hospital food, saying that his religion prohibited food prepared by anyone who might be thinking about sex. He would, however, eat packaged food.

It seemed like a joke, but one of the doctors, who was also from India, said that there is such a religion, and she wasn’t really the practical joke type. Does anyone know if it is true? I have consulted Dr Google without success.

So people who work in a factory that packages food don’t think of sex?

Many of my patients (all convicted felons residing in prison) posit equally odd “religious” dietary restrictions, ranging from not being able to eat food that has been: handled by atheists; containing freshwater shellfish; classified as kosher; causing ‘noxious gasses’; etc. etc.

They get to discuss their religious dietary need with the prison clergy to see if they qualify for kosher, halal, vegetarian, or vegan meals. More often, said clergy will determine that their requirements do not fit any recognized mainstream religious or ethical tradition. Which means they end up being told they are getting a regular food tray, and they may ‘self select’.

I will on occasion end up checking the canteen list of my patients when they complain of being given foods they cannot tolerate, such as soy, gluten (we do respect cases of celiac disease, and make sure these people do NOT get gluten), beef, beans, etc. And I often discover they are regularly ordering a LOT of food on canteen that is laden with the substances they claim to not be able to tolerate on their meal tray.

One of the things that I learned from Orange is the New Black is that there a whole lot more observant Jews in prison in the U.S. than you would expect. Apparently, this is the case all over the country. Who knew that so many gang members keep Kosher?

RunningCoach - I thought exactly the same thing. I guess packaged food seems so artificial that it doesn’t even appear to have been cooked or even touched by human hands.

I have found several references to Brahmins needing to have food that is prepared in a pure manner, and that they are not allowed to eat garlic or onions because garlic and onions promote sex, and they are only allowed to have sex for childbirth. Not much detail on exactly what a “pure” manner is.

“I’m a level 5 vegan; I won’t eat anything that casts a shadow.” – Jesse Grass, The Simpsons.

I’ve heard that many prisoners claim to be Jewish simply because the kosher meals are much better than the regular meals.

Regular meals are often made within the prison system. They’re not bad but obviously there’s no incentive to make them appealing. The kosher meals are generally bought from commercial food service companies that have to sell their product to customers.

If I understood correctly:

some are claiming a “religious” restriction of not being allowed to eat food that has been classified as kosher. That is a genuinely unusual dietary restriction!

Yes. Yes, it is.

IIRC, that one individual said his religious beliefs kept him from eating “jew food”.

I take it this was not the one with the bagel-dog…appendage.

ALERT…running gag reference to notable Qadgop post from distant past…ALERT


I believe Sikhs are prohibited from eating halal or kosher meat.

This isn’t ‘religion’ per se, but Malagasy people (in the Indian Ocean nature of Madagascar) typically have food taboos which are specific to the particular sub-ethnicity or in some case specific to particular clans, lineages, extended families etc… These can be very specific, e.g. a person might be forbidden from eating sheep but OK with goats, or be forbidden from eating chickens or eels or another species.

That does not sound right to me.

It’s actually true (at least with regard to meat), although I doubt Qadgop’s patient was a practicing Sikh.

That used to be common advice for airline meals – the kosher ones were said to be better (or fresher) than the regular ones. – Back when airlines actually served meals to their passengers.

Not exactly a religious group, but there are PEAT-types who refuse to eat kosher meat, because they object to the cruelty of kosher butchering vs. modern automated high-tech methods.

Weird, i did not realise neo naziism was a religion?

It was to that particular individual.

A lot of my patients claim some very non-standard beliefs to be a religion for them. I don’t get into philosophical or even educational discussions about what does and does not constitute a legitimate religious belief. I’ve more productive things to do with my time.

So basically he can’t eat food prepared by men?