I’ve been striving to cut the processed and non halal products out of my life. The end is near, as I’ve finally managed to part with my favorite food of all time – Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. *sobs* From here on out, the only food stuffs in my cupboards are those with whole ingredients. No chemicals, no multitude of corn derivatives and nothing that may have alcohol or non zabiha animal bits lurking under innocent sounding names. If I have to google it to find out what it is, it doesn’t belong on my plate.
Since starting this quest, I’ve come across a few must have products for the muslim looking to live whole and halal:
- Ricola– cough drops are a must have for me. The inhaler only does so much to stop my constant coughing. Somedays a cough drop is the only thing that will work. Even the “natural” versions of more popular brands have the ubiquitous and completely non-descriptive ingredient “flavor.” What kind of flavor? How is this flavor derived? Well, I could attempt to write the companies to find out, and more often then not get no answer. Or, I can pick up a package of Ricola cough drops. Sure, they contain natural flavors too, but alhamdulilah, they tell you what they are – usually peppermint and spearmint oil.
- Tom’s Toothpaste – the only toothpaste I’ve ever found that has a halal certification.
- Sargento Cheeses– all their cheeses (except Romano, Provolone, Asiago, and Jarlsberg) are made with non-animal rennets. Check out the Vegetarian Cheese List for more cheeses made without animal rennet.
- Seriously Strong Cheddar– omgoodness, this cheese has a pungent and sharp taste that is to die for. And it gets bonus points for listing animal rennet right on the ingredients, so I didn’t have to go digging to see if it was ok to eat.
- Chocolates and flavorings made without alcohol
- CSA– community supported agriculture. inshaAllah we’re going to sign up for a basket this year. You pay a certain amount up front, and a local farm supplies you with fresh produce and farm products for 18+ weeks. This is the ultimate in halal and whole eating – you can visit the farm and see exactly how the food you eat is grown. No mystery processing in a factory, no guesswork, it’s all out there for you to see.
- Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese– ok, still probably technically a processed food, but one where all the ingredients are easily recognizable. Made with non animal enzymes. Not as tasty as kraft, but inshaAllah over time, I’ll get used to it :)
- Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and Omnivore’s Dilemna. Have I mentioned these books before? Once, twice, a million times? Still, I’ll mention them here again for the million and first time. Get them. Read them. Then come back and help me formulate an islamic approach to eating whole and halal. Can we advocate eating local as eating halal? How about organic? How would the Prophet (saws) view the modern industrial food complex? These are all questions that I’ve been mulling over for some time, and inshaAllah hope to formulate an answer on someday soon.
inshaAllah more to come as I find em.