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Fundamentals of Nursing
Religion and Dietary Preferences Overview

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Religion and Dietary Preferences Overview

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Religion and Dietary Preferences Overview

Religions at the Dinner-table
For many, a dietary preference comes from their religion. There are a variety of religions that require that believers do not eat meat or to fast on certain days. It is important to understand these dietary preferences so better care can be provided to your patients.

Buddhism can be classified as a religion, or a way of life. Buddhists strive to live moral lives by being mindful and aware of their thoughts and actions while developing wisdom and understanding.

Natural Foods of Earth
Earth Food

There is no set dietary law in Buddhism; however, many Buddhists choose to follow a vegetarian diet and live by ‘do not harm,’ which is the first Precept.


Hinduism is derived from a variety of religious traditions and philosophies that developed in India. The religion has no known founder or origin date, but is believed to be the oldest religion in the world.

Cow is Sacred
Holy Cow

The majority of Hindu groups are vegetarian. Some do eat meat, but abstain from beef and pork. Cows are considered sacred and a symbol of unselfish giving.

Islam (Muslim)
Star and Crescent

Islam is a religion and a way of life for all of its followers. Muslims follow the Quran, which they consider to be the verbatim words of God.

Halal Foods
Halo Foods

Halal foods are "allowed" foods. Believers abstain from forbidden foods (haram) that are mentioned in the Quran, which consist of pork and meat products that are not ritually slaughtered.

No Alcohol
No Alcoholic-martini's

Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, and in some cases, even sitting at a table with alcohol present is forbidden. This is important when administering medications, which may be formulated with alcohol.

Star of David

Jewish patients may follow a kosher diet. The word "kosher," which describes food that meets the standards of kashrut, is also often used to describe ritual objects that are made in accordance with Jewish law and are fit for ritual use. Food that is not kosher is referred to as "treif."

Kosher Meals
Kosher-K Pickles

Kosher, or "allowed" meats, are those that are ritually slaughtered. Some meats are "not allowed" (i.e. animals that only chew the cud or only have cloven hooves, such as pigs and camels). Any combination of meat and dairy is prohibited.

No Pork or Shellfish
No Pigs or Shellfish

Land animals that do not have cloven hooves and do not chew their cud are seen as unclean and avoided, such as pork and shellfish.

Mormonism (Latter Day Saints)
Angel Moroni

Mormons follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

The Word of Wisdom
Word of Wisdom Book

According to the Word of Wisdom, one should abstain for consuming the following: alcoholic drinks, tobacco, tea and coffee.


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