There's No Reason to Fear Ramadan Food

whole foods ramadanAs an avid Whole Foods shopper, I'm finding this crazy story a little hard to swallow. Yet, there it is: Whole Foods will be very careful not to promote Ramadan with its halal products that are appropriate for the month of Ramadan.

It seems some people got upset when Whole Foods threw up a blog post about preparing for Ramadan, when Muslims re-focus on God, purify their bodies and souls by fasting during the day, and strengthen ties with family and friends when they come together at night. Halal foods are not unlike kosher foods, and the article explained that and introduced a new line of frozen meals available at the chain. Naturally, xenophobes went crazy because even talking about food processed in a healthier way that happens to follow Islamic dietary standards is so incredibly offensive. Except that halal foods are actually in line with the Whole Foods philosophy, and most of you would probably prefer your meat be prepared within these guidelines as well. 

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Eating according to Islamic law is actually more about omitting foods and humanely slaughtering those animals that are permitted within the diet. The following foods are not permitted: pork, birds of prey, carnivorous animals, blood or blood byproducts, animals that were dead before slaughtering, animals not slaughtered properly and in the name of Allah. Not unlike having a rabbi oversee kosher food preparation, these, and other restrictions such as alcohol, wind up producing healthier foods than factories.

As someone who bought my gluten-free matzoh during Passover, and plenty of vegetables for our Christmas dinner at Whole Foods, I'm way confused, and more than a little disgusted by this email directive. After all, it seems implausible that people who shop at Whole Foods and are pro-environmentally friendly foods would also be anti-Muslim. The two don't seem to go together.

Which means a few loud (and crazy, evil, nasty) people yelled loudly enough at Whole Foods to make them cower in fear about even putting up a sign saying, "Hey, buy your food for Ramadan here!" Honestly, how much business would the average Whole Foods lose by promoting the holiday? That one wacky woman who hates everyone not like her, but loves organic produce?

Halal foods are nothing to be afraid of, and in fact, something we could all consider adding to our diet, not just those who are in the middle of Ramadan. I hope Whole Foods uses this as an opportunity to expand awareness about a healthy alternative, rather than giving in to the bigots who find food prep so offensive.

Will this make you stop shopping at Whole Foods?


Image via leah.jones/Flickr

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