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Ethnic and cultural diversity: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help


The food eaten by different groups of people can vary enormously; this can be for several reasons.

  • Despite the availability of food, individuals have their own personal likes and dislikes, and to a certain extent the greater availability of food the greater the likelihood is that there are more personal likes and dislikes. In times of hardship and hunger foods previously refused may seem quite acceptable. During wars and famine people cannot afford to be fussy about what they eat, they are just grateful for anything that prevents them from starving to death.
  • Food choices depend on the food that is available within the locality, or is able to be transported at a reasonable cost. The more affluent the person is the more likely they are able to eat foods from their home country despite living in a completely different foreign land. Local availability of these foods allows native populations to experience foods that they might normally only ever have if they travelled to that particular country. The popularity of Indian and Chinese restaurants in the United Kingdom is a good example of how food habits have spread.
  • Religious beliefs attached to foods that dictate what is acceptable and what is not allowed. These beliefs are very important and are a demonstration of the faith of the person. The observance of these dietary laws within the different faiths may vary from strict observance to a more relaxed approach to food choices.


All pork and pork products are forbidden by the Jewish faith. The strict dietary laws of the Jewish faith mean that all meat must be Kosher where a kosher butcher slaughters it in the prescribed manner. Milk and dairy products are not to be consumed until 3 hours after a meal that contains meat. In the very strictest of household there are 2 kitchens or 2 sets or cooking equipment so that those, which are used for meat products, cannot contaminate cooking equipment that is used for milk and dairy products. In addition only fish that has scales, fins and backbones are allowed. Cheese should be made without the use of rennet.

Food is very significant with special occasions for feasting along with the traditional fasting at Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement, where their fasting occurs (both food and liquids) for 25 hours. During Passover unleavened bread is eaten.


Islamic laws dictate that meals are Halal, the ritual slaughter involves letting the animal bleed to death whist prayers are said over it. Fish with fins and scales are allowed and pork is forbidden and only cheese made without rennet is allowed. The month of Ramadan is important, fasting occurs, which involves abstaining from food or liquids during daylight hours.

Alcohol is not allowed.


As the cow is sacred, beef is not allowed, meat generally is not common, which means that most of their protein comes from vegetables sources such as peas, beans and lentils.

There are 3 fasting days each year and very devout Hindus may fast on 1 or 2 days each week, certain foods may also be taken during prayers.

Alcohol is not allowed.


Beef is avoided, other meats may be eaten, and some Sikhs may be vegetarian.

The Buddhist diet is mainly vegetarian, there are some however who eat meat, fish and eggs. They usually take milk.

Alcohol is not allowed.

Processed, preserved and tinned foods are usually avoided. Ital foods are eaten, this means that they must be whole or in their natural state, but pork is excluded. Fish with fins and scales are allowed but vine fruits and wines are avoided.

Seventh Day Adventist
Pork is not eaten, although other meats may not be consumed, most will eat eggs, milk and milk products, only decaffeinated drinks are drunk.

Alcohol is<