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After seeing Food, Inc. this week, my friends and I had a collective “alhamdulillah we are Muslim” moment.

In this culture of “what we don't know can't hurt us” mentality, I found this movie to be enormously eye-opening, particularly for one who is not familiar with the food industry and the impact it has on the world economy.

Food, Inc. has brought to light many issues that the average American not only doesn't think about, but probably has no idea even occurs. Before this film, the food industry in my eyes, seemed like a simple one: make food on farms, process it in a factory and ship it to grocery stores. Simple, right? Wrong. The food industry in the United States is not only one of corruption, but it is meant to deceive and warp the mind of the consumer.

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli – the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

The film discussed many aspects of the food industry which I cannot go over – I feel like I need to watch it again to digest all the information – so I will highlight a few points that resonated with me:

The Dollar Menu

Our food industry is so warped that a burger from a fast food restaurant costs less than a head of broccoli. The film mentioned that 1 in 3 people born after 2000 will be diagnosed with diabetes, and 1 in 2 for minorities. It is cheaper for a family of four to eat at McDonald's for dinner than buying vegetables for a home cooked meal.

The health of the middle and lower class Americans is deteriorating because unhealthy food is cheaper, while good and wholesome produce will cost double the price. Nowadays, poverty plays an important role in obesity cases.

Mystery Meat (My “alhamdulillah I'm Muslim” moment came right about here)

One of the most disturbing scenes throughout the whole film was when cameras were allowed in a major chicken company's farm and a large beef processing plant. I warn you, if you are eating right now, stop eating. :-)

Chickens have been re-engineered so that they grow in a period of 49 days instead of the normal three months. This causes the birds to fatten up, but their bones and muscles do not develop properly so these animals cannot walk much without collapsing due to the extra weight. Moreover these chickens are stored in huge portable-like coops that allow no sunlight in, and the farmer mentioned that none of the chickens in his coop have ever seen the light of day. These chickens are then picked up by the company, stored in cages, taken on trucks to the slaughter house, processed and then arrive in your local grocery store.

Beef, on the other hand, goes through a completely different cycle. Remember all of those e-coli outbreaks? Well, this will explain how e-coli got into spinach.

The plants that contain large groups of cows (in the thousands) do not feed their cows grass, rather they feed them corn. Cows were not created to consume corn so there are numerous repercussions. Firstly, since these cows are not taken out to graze, the e-coli remains in their system which would normally be flushed out by the consumption and digestion of grass. Alhamdulillah, Allah created these animals with a perfect diet. Secondly, these cows are kept in fenced areas and are ankle deep in their own feces which spreads this e-coli even more. Again, grazing the cows plays an important role because the feces of the cows acts as a fertilizer for the land.

The e-coli-ridden feces then reaches the hide of these animals and in the process of being slaughtered, workers and other cows come in contact with e-coli, spreading it even more. Finally, since e-coli does not die in water, it is spread through the water to other farms and locations – and somehow ends up in spinach and peanut butter.

Big companies, instead of taking up the simple solution of allowing the cows to graze, came up with an “ingenious” method to rid them of e-coli: they rinse this meat with ammonia before processing it. Yes, ammonia.

Furthermore, it was stated that one hamburger patty contains on average meat from 1000 different cow parts. Something to think about the next time we pass by a fast food joint.

The Islamic Version

Alhamdulillah for Islam: our lifestyle guidelines come from Allah azza wa jal Himself and from His Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Throughout this film, I kept seeing how these issues could be easily solved through our deen.

Allah azza wa jal tells us:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ كُلُوا مِمَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا

“O mankind! eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth.” (2:168)

He says in another ayah:

كُلُوا مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَاعْمَلُوا صَالِحًا ۖ إِنِّي بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ

Eat from that which is good and do righteous deeds. For I, with all that you do, am All Knowing. (23:51)

Eating healthy and doing good deeds are mentioned side by side by Allah ta'ala, showing how they are connected and related. It is important for us as Muslims to eat healthy, pure and good food. Allah ta'ala describes this food as “tayyiban”, which literally means good and beautiful. “Tayyib” food is that which looks good, tastes good and it IS good (meaning healthy). All three conditions must be met to be considered a “Tayyib” food. Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah goes to the extent of saying that it is wrong for a person to eat something that they know is unhealthy for them.

Allah azza wa jal also states,

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” (7:32)

The word for excessive here is 'israaf' and israaf not only means to be excessive, but it means to waste and be extravagant.

Imam ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah mentions two extremes that can be defined as 'israaf' in eating:

1) Firstly, the person will not follow the verse which says to “eat and drink”; they will under eat and constantly be in a state of malnutrition and starvation. This diet brings about sickness and prevents health.

2) Secondly, the person will overeat and go beyond what the limit of what is normal. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us, “there is no worse vessel for the son of Aadam to fill than his stomach, but if he must fill it, the let him allow one-third for food, one-third for drink, and one-third for air.” (Saheeh, Ahmad) This extreme also brings about sickness and prevents health.

The Muslim must avoid these two ways of doing israaf, and remain balanced in their diet–without overeating or under eating.

What can YOU do

After dropping all of that information on us, the makers of Food, Inc. gave the viewers a short list of things that they can do to stop this madness, and I've added a few that we as Muslims can do insha'Allah:

1) Check the labels and see if you can pronounce what you are feeding yourself and your family. Nearly 70% of all foods are GMOs (genetically modified) and the companies that produced these mutant foods are still fighting now to not have labels on their products telling customers that this product is genetically modified. The only way you can avoid these foods is to eat natural.
2) Support local farmers and growers. The film highlighted how local farmers in many states are being put out of business by these huge conglomerate companies that I personally never heard of  (Monsanto, anyone?). Many states, if not all, have farmers markets where you can buy wholesome and fresh fruits, vegetables and other produce straight from the farmers.
3) Eat Zabihah from a reliable non-commercial farm. If you are already eating Zabihah, then ask your halal meat provider where their meat comes from, or better yet, get it directly from the farm. After seeing how the animals are treated and meat is really produced in this country, I feel that we as Muslims should not even consume it–not due to a fiqh reason, but for a simple health reason as well as the fact that the creation of Allah is treated in such a horrible manner. Please see this movie if you trying to wean yourself off of non-zabihah meats.
4) If you have children in public school, try to create awareness about these issues amongst the parents and work hard to get the school systems to introduce healthy foods into these facilities. As a person who has gone through public school from kindergarten to high school, I know the horrible foods that they are feeding the kids.
5) Do you have any more ideas? Put them in the comments, or check out the take action portion of the film's website.

I'm really not a movie person. The last time I went to a movie theater, tickets were about $5.25, so I was happy that Food, Inc. was my first movie at a theater in years. The movie is only 90 minutes and the benefits are immense. I only touched upon a couple of things that stood out to me from this film, there is much more information in the movie itself. I urge everyone to go see this film bi'ithnillah and learn what you're really eating.

Apologies for ruining anyone's appetite, :-) and Allah azza wa jal knows best.

Trailer:
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72 Responses

  1. MR

    This post would have been perfect for start of Ramadan, jk. haha

    Fish ftw!

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    • Ahmed

      Just be careful: unfortunately fish these days can contain a lot of mercury due to pollution. Just do a quick google or bing search for “fish mercury” (minus quotes). There are some good lists detailing which types of fish have the least/most mercury, and recommendations on amounts that can be eaten safely in a week/month.

      My grandfather (non-Muslim, but may Allah guide him!) was having a lot of trouble with his memory. He and my grandmother used to eat tuna often until I mentioned the findings regarding the levels of mercury in fish. Lo and behold, a trip to his physician revealed incredibly high levels of mercury in his body, leaving us to wonder how much of his memory troubles were due to this.

      SubahanAllah, it amazes me how we human beings have managed to turn what used to be good and healthy for us into something potentially toxic.

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  2. Umm Sulaym

    assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatUllah,

    this is great! alhamdu lillah.
    I have been wanting to see this movie!

    I think we should try to take as many people to see it as we can.
    From what I’ve observed, as Muslims we have a really long way to go in this area. I know the cost of the movie ticket is well worth the benefits!

    jazaki Allahu khaira.

    wa salaamu alaikum,
    sara

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    • Amatullah

      wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Sara,

      Please do see this film inshaAllah, wa iyyaki.

      hehe I didn’t realize movie tickets went from $5 to $10! It is worth it though, I would like to go watch it again inshaAllah because I missed a lot of information due to my initial shock. I was going to bring a pen and paper to the movie, but I forgot. If you do go see it, take some notes inshaAllah.

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  3. lucield

    This post begs the question? how is food and meat processed in Muslim countries?

    I’m sure many “Muslim” countries have their own “Food, Inc” story as well…

    anyone?

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    • Amatullah

      I wouldn’t be surpised…I would expect a lot of cleanliness issues but I think the west is worse when it comes to hormones in animals and their treatment. Allah knows best. anyone who would know, please shed some light for us.

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  4. Muslim Idealist

    Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

    This is an excellent article and I am really glad that you brought the issue out in public.

    Cows are also by law allowed to have a certain amount of blood, pus, manure, and other vile subtances in their feed before it is considered illegal, which is why you also see mad cow disease so prominent in America and other countries that allow this.

    One thing that everyone should keep in mind is that Halal and Zabihah does not mean natural. Almost all of the zabihah butcher shops and slaughter houses in the US buy their cows raised on commercial farms. Some butcher shops do although buy their chicken from local growers and slaughter them directly although not much.

    Some things you can definitely do:

    Buy Free Range Eggs -- Do not ever buy the regular white eggs, as you are only supporting the inhumane treatment of chickens including:

    * The breaking off of beaks at birth. Chickens have a instinctive pecking order, which when they are crammed in the hundreds into tiny cages leaves them pecking each other to death. Therefore farmers break off their beaks at birth.

    * Solitary confinement: They are constantly crammed into cages in the hundreds and not allowed to walk around or see the light of day.

    Buy Organic Milk -- Not only will you find a much better tasting product, butt you will also ensure you are supporting farmers who feed their cows naturally and humanely.


    Contact local farmers to form a local Co-op
    . I had some really interesting conversations with some farmers that I contacted, who were quite interested in opening to market of Muslims. One farmer was extremely excited about the freshness advantage of meat coming from cows which all the blood has been drained according to the halal and kosher method as she sells the meat of her cows herself. We can add value to these farmers from what I experienced. (I wrote more about what happened with this on my blog if you are interested).

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    • Amatullah

      wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

      great additions, jazaak Allahu khayran. I was very disturbed by how the chickens are treated, subhanAllah it was horrendous. It was mentioned in the trailer that it may be illegal soon to publish a picture of the coops and plants these animals live in. One of the farmers from the film was told by his company that he is not allowed to show the filmmakers the inside of the coops. The one farmer who did only did so because she was fed up with the treatment of the animals and the continuing demands of the company to change her coop with windows to one that allows no light in.
      When the company comes to pick up the chickens, they come in the middle of the night and shove the chickens in tiny changes…Sometimes kicking them and throwing them.

      I like the Organic Meat Co-op idea you posted on your blog, we have something similar where I live with one of the halal restaurants. Feel free to share that with us in more detail inshaAllah.

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    • UmmSqueakster

      One thing that everyone should keep in mind is that Halal and Zabihah does not mean natural. Almost all of the zabihah butcher shops and slaughter houses in the US buy their cows raised on commercial farms. Some butcher shops do although buy their chicken from local growers and slaughter them directly although not much

      Assalamu Alaikum,

      I am glad someone mentioned this, as I was scrolling down to post something similar. Alhamdulilah we’re muslims, but that doesn’t protect us from the horrors of today’s modern factory farm.

      For the brothers and sisters who are book inclined, pick up Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” and “Omnivore’s Dilemma” to see just how much “food stuff” we eat, rather than real, honest to God food.

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  5. AbdelRahman Murphy

    Eat Zabihah. If you are already eating Zabihah, then ask your halal meat provider where their meat comes from. After seeing how the animals are treated and meat is really produced in this country, I feel that we as Muslims should not even consume it–not due to a fiqh reason, but for a simple health reason as well as the fact that the creation of Allah is treated in such a horrible manner. Please see this movie if you trying to wean yourself off of non-zabihah meats.

    A prominent shaykh from the Houston community researched a zabiha meat plant in Dallas that supplies a lot of zabiha meat to the northeast, as well as the midwest. After talking to the workers and the health inspector on the plant, they actually discovered that the meat slaughtered under the zabiha label was just as bad, if not worse, than the non zabiha meat.

    I prefer organic over non zabiha over zabiha. It’s a sad statement, but unfortunately with my experience with Muslim vendors trying to make a quick buck (I’m from Chicago, Devon Avenue anyone?) and the stories I’ve heard from reliable sources, I’ll have to go with organic on this one.

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    • Yus from the Nati

      Completely agree with you. There are a couple brothers where I am from that physically go to a local organic farm to get their meat, eggs, and milk (straight from the udder). They actually have to sign a waiver to get the milk since it’s not pasteurized…

      PS Milk tastes a lil gamey like that (if wondering what gamey is, the best description I can give is that there is a hint of taste of what the fur of the animal smells like)

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    • Hassan

      Not only that, he found out (through the investigators and FDA inspectors) that muslim farmers take the cheapest and sickest cows (allowed under FDA but not under islam). Many cows are cancerous, and no body cares about Basmallah (in case if your fiqh opinion is that saying bismilah is must). FDA inspector asked a mexican working on the farm if he was muslim, he said I am muslim on Mondays and Wednesdays. There were further horrible stories, which I do not remember.

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    • SaqibSaab

      A prominent shaykh from the Houston community researched a zabiha meat plant in Dallas that supplies a lot of zabiha meat to the northeast, as well as the midwest. After talking to the workers and the health inspector on the plant, they actually discovered that the meat slaughtered under the zabiha label was just as bad, if not worse, than the non zabiha meat.

      I prefer organic over non zabiha over zabiha. It’s a sad statement, but unfortunately with my experience with Muslim vendors trying to make a quick buck (I’m from Chicago, Devon Avenue anyone?) and the stories I’ve heard from reliable sources, I’ll have to go with organic on this one.

      I was there in the same sitting AbdelRahman in mentioning. While I do agree with what he said and it’s not surprising, I feel to apply it as a blanket statement to all Zabiha vendors, as the comment is coming off as doing so (don’t know if that was the intent), would simply be unfair. If one does their research, they’ll find true Zabiha meat providers.

      So as the sister wrote in the article, eat Zabiha, as in legit non-jacked Zabiha. It may be hard to find, especially in light of the warnings mentioned by the Shaykh in the comment (which we should take into consideration), but it’s out there.

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      • AbdelRahman Murphy

        Yeah it’s definitely out there, but coming from Chicago as well, there are constant warnings against certain vendors. And while it all may be business tactics, at the same time, I’ve seen the conditions of the butcher shops and some of the slaughter houses personally, and I can say I only really trust one or two zabiha vendors I know personally in the area.

        Organic for the win.

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  6. Algebra

    Aslamu-alaikum:
    I have been promoting ORGANIC for the longest time and in our town the men slaughter the animals in small cities in slaughter houses that are from local farms. ZABIHA
    i think one could do that in wisonsin and small farm cities
    salam

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  7. Amatullah

    MashaAllah great comments :) I have to admit that I am very new to this organic business so please share any info inshaAllah!

    Also just to mention with regards to zabihah, I should have clarified more but I meant that we should get zabihah meat from local farms…Alhamdulillah on the east coast we have many great, healthy and clean non-commercial farms. I did have a few bad experiences with some local halal shops but the ones we go to now directly get their meat from one of these farms. It’s also nice to drive out there yourself, although that is the job of the men in my family :)

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  8. me

    i know of organic egg/milk, but meat, where do you find it and how does it fit in zabiha requirements?

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  9. ibnabeeomar

    anyone know where to get *organic* and zabihah? ive personally contemplated switching to organic due to the bad quality of zabihah meat myself

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    • umm abdirrahman

      assalaamu ‘alaikum,

      if organic, zabiha, organic zabeeha is not readily available try out the brand “SMART CHICKEN” they sell them in some regular grocery stores (not walmart) They are free range, 100% grain fed with no injected hormones or water.

      for those trying to adopt a lifestyle better for their health and finding the transition a bit expensive (double the food expense, or more) try it in stages so you get used to it. Pick a few items per month to go organic or natural and intend to increase the items as the months/years progress. And remember our Sustenance is from Allah ultimately, not from our bosses or ourselves. He, azza wa jall, just may increase our income as He sees we are trying to eat more halal and TAYYIB.

      Also, when it comes to eggs and meat, “natural” chicken/eggs/beef are like organic in that they are all grain fed with no hormones. What distinguishes is that the farmers have either 1) not paid to get the official organic license or 2) while the animals are grain fed, the seeds they are fed are not necessarily ORGANIC seeds but regular seeds. So it’s a good middle step to go “natural” on the path to “organic”

      Caution: when you see “natural” on a Tyson’s or cheap product, that is not the same ‘Natural. That is a fake natural that they just put on there to seem appealing, cuz who wants to admit to themselves they are eating un-natural fake stuff? So make sure it’s the authentic, saheeh natural. The authentic ones are identified by labeling that mentions grain fed/free range etc.

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  10. Tahira

    Masha’allah this is a great article and jazakullah kairun for exposing the industrial food industry. We actually drink raw milk (also raw butter and yogurt) in our household that we get from a trusted farm. It tastes much better and is so much healthy for you. It is illegal too in MI to commerically sell raw milk. But we have bought a “cow share” and we can drink the milk from our own cow. A few years ago our farmer trucker was raided and his milk was confiscated on his way to do his deliveries, the dairy industry is powerful and they don’t want the public to discover how wretched their milk is and how wonderful raw milk is from clean cows. I’d like to start getting their pasture feed meat (they are an amish family) but my husband is resist so we still get it from the local zabiha butcher. A previous poster mentioned Micheal Pollan, also read Nina Planck’s book Real Food and watch King Corn about the corn industy. I truly feel that the garbage that we are eating as a nation is killing us. For more info on raw milk and where to find a supplier check out http://www.realmilk.com

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    • Amatullah

      wa iyyaki, mashaAllah you have your own cow :) that’s pretty cool.

      So how long does raw milk last? Is it heavier than pasteurized milk? I can only compare it to the camel milk I had, which was only half of a cup, and that wasn’t heavy.

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      • Tahira

        I wish it was my own cow:) But I own the cow with other customers and we have continue to renew our share yearly. Its only 25$ so its not bad at all. I find that the milk does not last as long as the pasturized kind. But it doesn’t go bad so to speak like pasturized milk, it will just sour. And if I find that my milk is about to turn I’ll make yogurt out of it and it makes really good yogurt. My sister makes alot of kefir with her milk and that is another way to preserve the milk for a longer time. The milk always has a cream line so the top of the gallon is really creamy and heavy and I always shake it up to distribute the fat. So initially the milk is really heavy but as you drink it is becomes thinner and not as heavy. It is really good masha’allah. My family loves it alhumdulilah. There are also alot of health benefits to drinking milk that is unfortunately lost in pasturization, check that website and it will insha’allah give you more info on the health benefits.

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      • Algebra

        Aslamu-alaikum:
        where can i buy it in Florida Panhandle. do you know of any distributers of RAW MILK over here that i can contact. I have been really interested in getting raw milk. I noticed the difference in my health in drinking raw milk when i went to pakistan and my mother in law would milk her cow and it tasted so good and was really healthy for me.
        IT made a great difference in my health. I do miss that.
        salam

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      • Tahira

        Sorry but I’m not familiar with the cities/counties that make up the panhandle. But if you visit http://www.realmilk.com/where1.html#fl and scroll down to FL. Masha’allah there are alot of suppilers in FL and insha’allah you can find one close to home.

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      • Hidaya

        I grew up on raw milk of cow . BAck home, we used to drink that all the time, so when we moved here, we just couldn’t get used to drinking milk here (none of my family members drink milk…just use it in tea)…Its been years, so i don’t remember its taste..lol

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    • Algebra

      Aslamu-alaikum:
      Tahira
      thank you so much for the website. I found a nearby town one the site. why does every advertisement keep saying for Pet consumption only. Is there a catch there or something?
      salam

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      • Tahira

        Yeah my milk says the same thing with regards to pet consumption. Many states have made raw milk sells illegal so it is just a another protection for the farmer to avoid any trouble by stating it is intended only for pet consumption. Don’t worry about it insha’allah.

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  11. zfnd

    “Following sound faith (eemaan) and pure monotheism (tawheed), one of the greatest assets that a Muslim can have is good health.”

    http://www.healthymuslim.com/

    http://www.healthymuslim.com/

    http://www.healthymuslim.com/

    Amazing site, alhamdulilah. Food Inc., is quite an eye opener, however HealthyMuslim references authentic guidance from the Quran and Sunnah combined with cutting edge nutrition free from Corporate bias. The result is information that reinforces the wisdom of the Sunnah, and helps make better food choices.

    It’s a wonderful resource to begin understanding the value of nutrition in light of our Deen.

    Start with Article Serialization

    Jazakallakhyr Amatullah for the review and bringing up this crucial topic.

    lol, sorry for testimonial/promotion, the site is just really awesome :)

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    • Amatullah

      Alhamdulillah, I’ve been following that site since it was made. It is immensely beneficial like you mentioned and also professional mashaAllah. I referenced it in one of the above comments. I wish I knew more about the creators/writers though.

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    • Algebra

      Aslamu-alaikum:
      THANK YOU SO MUCH for the WEBSITE
      i really enjoyed reading it.
      much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      salam

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  12. umA

    Ma sha Allah for those interested in purchasing organic halal meat…
    TORONTO has organic as well as some free range zabiha (hand slaughtered,non stunned meat) at BLOSSOM ORGANIC http://www.blossompure.com/
    This amazing endeavour to acquire halal organic meat, as far as I know, was the result of an individual or two’s hard work sourcing a cow from an organic cattle farm, then having the cow trucked to the zabeeha slaughterhouse. In the early days, families would just buy shares in the cow and receive their share come slaughter time, but now with this fully fledged oganic grocery store (Blossom Pure) you can buy pre packaged cuts of meat. Organic beef was the cheapest with organic chicken being the most expensive.

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  13. umA

    I believe the uk has a lot more insight into the quality of commonplace halal meat, iMuslim?

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  14. Muslima

    How do I find out where this documentary is playing? I’m really interested in seeing it!

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  15. Stranger

    Mashallah very informative post.

    I can’t believe they rinse the meat off with AMMONIA!!! Yikes!! I agree with the author’s suggestion that anyone who wants to go zabiha should watch this movie, that’s unbelievable! May Allah protect us all.

    I was looking at the healthymuslim.com website and it seems to have a lot of useful information on there alhamdulillah. They don’t have as many nutritious recipes as I hoped though. Can anyone refer me to websites which have good wholesome recipes on it? Jazakumullah khayr.

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    • Algebra

      Aslamu-alaikum:
      Sis Stranger
      I love to cook!!!!!!when i went to the middle east i learnt to cook Hareesa and its very easy. Many of the middle eastern cooking is wholesome and nutritious as well as the traditional eastern dishes.
      If you want the receipe for Hareesa i can give it to you.
      Hareesa has whole grains, steel cut oats, yogurt, fareeka, slooooooooow cooked in Chicken with bones…………. the slower the better. Excellent for your health.
      salam

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      • Algebra

        sorry……. forgot to say add the spices as well. Usually they slow cook it from morning till sunset. At least they did that in Dubai but tastes soooo delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  16. Sadaf

    Bismillah

    What an amazing, eye-opening article! Jazakillahu khairan for posting this, Amatullah.

    And yes, while reading it (even though I haven’t watched this movie) I had the “Alhamdulillah, I am a Muslim, who follows the dietary regluations of Islam” moment too. May Allah make it easy for all of mankind to eat what is wholesome and nutritious. Ameen.

    I am still a bit confused about what the word “organic” means….it is used so often nowadays. Does it mean foodstuff or produce that has not been tampered with (genetically or after it has grown/come into existence)?

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  17. Admissionofdefeat

    Why delete my comment? If you don’t post it I will post it elsewhere so I can expose “the systematic censorship here on MM”…that could be a big story. Just respond to my points please.

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  18. Stranger

    Algebra: I’d love the recipe! But I don’t think we can switch email addresses through the comments though.

    Moderators: is there some other way for us to post email addresses privately?

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  19. h. ahmed

    As salaam alaikum

    this is one of the best posts on Muslim Matters ever.

    Jazakallah khair for writing and posting this article.

    We really need to promote tayyib zabihah meat. If anyone knows of any taryyib halal vendors in New York/Long Island please do post or share with me
    (email: haseeb at hahmed dot com)

    I have tried my best to switch over to organic milk (tastes soo much better than regular milk), and organic cage-free eggs, and i recommend others to do so also. I know its more expensive – but for those of us who can – it is immensely beneficial.

    Inshallah I will take my parents to see this movie and recommend others to do so also.

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  20. AsimG

    asalaamu alaykum,

    i enjoyed the article, but the organic solution put forth is a little out there.

    1. not all organic food is even organic (so research is required all around)

    2. organic food is expensive and I know I can’t go around shopping for that anytime soon.

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    • Muslim Idealist

      Waaleikum Asalaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

      1. not all organic food is even organic (so research is required all around)

      Good Point. Here is the WikiAnswer to the question: “What is the difference between organic and certified organic?”

      organic food is expensive and I know I can’t go around shopping for that anytime soon.

      I agree. Whole Foods sells Kosher Organic meat, but it is almost $10 – $15 a lb, — super expensive!!

      This is where the trouble comes in and the need for unique solutions from the Islamic (and jewish) communities.

      One potential solution is looking for “Grassfed” rather than “Organic” as one person mentioned above.

      Organic regulations are really hard to meet as if the cow gets sick even once and has to take medicine or antibiotics, the cow can no longer be deemed organic. Still, since it’s diet is 100% grass…the cow can still be deemed grassfed.

      Organic milk is worth the extra price though…the taste is definitely better.

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    • Amatullah

      Exactly what he said^

      The thing is that there is no final solution right now. We have to use what is available to us inshaAllah, and right now it’s organic and grassfed.

      It is definitely expensive, but like I mentioned above, go to farmer’s markets to get produce and invest in organic milk. Try and cut down on processed foods and inshaAllah the money we save from that we can use for healthier stuff :)

      Allahu ta’ala a’alam

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    • h. ahmed

      well u have prioritize – fast food is cheap – yet that doesn’t mean we go around always eating fast food.

      The more popular organic food gets, the prices will hopefully come down iA.

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  21. sabiwabi

    Unfortunately, the “Al-hamdulillah we are Muslim” mantra doesn’t always translate. I’ve seen many Muslims who don’t care one bit what goes into their mouth….as long as it’s A) not pork and B) fills their stomachs to their level of contentment. They basically have an “anything goes” attitiude towards food.

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    • Amatullah

      That is true and it’s definitely sad…One thing that worries me the most about eating properly is not organic vs non-organic or even health for that matter, it is our duaas not being answered.

      Abu Hurayrah relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is good and accepts nothing but what is good. Indeed, Allah commands the believers with what He commands the Messengers and says: ‘O Messengers! Eat of the things good and pure and work righteous deeds’ [Sûrah al-Mu’minun: 51] and says: ‘O you who believe! Eat of the things good and pure that We have provided for you.’ [Surah al-Baqarah: 172]” Then he mentioned a man who had traveled on a long journey, his hair disheveled and discolored with dust. “He will raise his hands to the sky saying ‘O Lord! O Lord!’ but his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothing is unlawful. How then can he be answered?” [Sahih Muslim]

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  22. Mercy

    Assalama ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

    The statements above reminded me of the importance of really really making sure that what you eat/wear has barakah/blessings all around. Subhana’Allah, imagine working around the clock, earning and attaining physically commodities, but because of these found possessions your spirituality is hindered..i.e your dua. Perfect time for the upcoming AlMaghrib class in Columbus @ Hayl. Truly an important class, masha’Allah.

    Precious Provisions:
    Fiqh of Food & Clothing
    Columbus, OH
    With Shaykh Yasir Qadhi
    July 17-19, 2009

    More info: http://www.almaghrib.org/seminar_ffc.php
    registration @ http://www.almaghrib.org/enroll.php

    Wa’alaykuma Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

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  23. Alhamdulillah

    asalamu alaykum,

    jazakallah khayr. regarding the hadith sister Amatullah mentioned above, in case anyone goes to eat at a restaurant where they flame and cook the food infront of you – like in the movies – know that flaming the food does not cook off the alcohol. There are USDA alcohol cook-off charts you can find online:

    http://www.islamtomorrow.com/alcohol_cooked.asp (shows some USDA statistics)

    http://islamqa.com/en/ref/1814 (Mayo Clinic reference)

    In other words, don’t consume the alcohol or otherwise risk your duas not being answered, A’oothubillah wa Allah musta’aan.

    Even if a Muslim tells you all the alcohol burns off, it’s a myth and they do not know the science, so do not listen. also, ask for non-alcoholic cooking which a place i went to confirmed they have, and a fiqh teacher taught me have them clean the cooking place w/ soap (pork, alcohol possibly). Obviously, they sure fix is don’t eat there. Allahu Allam.

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  24. GZ

    Salam,

    Great discussion! Glad to see more Muslims are becoming aware of this issue.

    For those interested, we do carry halal (zabiha), organic meats. In fact the beef is from Polyface farms, the farm highlighted in Food Inc. You can see pictures and video on our website. Beef (jerky, sausages, hot dogs as well) , lamb and chicken are in stock, let us know if you have any questions.

    http://www.greenzabiha.com/greenzabiha/gz-and-polyface-farms

    http://www.greenzabiha.com

    Thanks
    Green Zabiha

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    • Algebra

      Aslamu-alaikum:
      I wantd to know who slaughter’s the cows on the Polyface farm, since you said it was Zabiha.
      Just interested to know.
      Also are the chicken and lambs from the same farm and if which are they also Zabiha.
      I mean its in Nebraska so who goes there to slaughter them the zabiha way.
      Please do let me know. I would be very interested in purchasing them.
      salam

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      • GZ

        Salam,

        Thank you for your questions. Algebra, all our meat is halal (zabiha), beause that is all we eat ourselves. We are aware of the arguments on both sides, however that is what we chose in our lives many years ago (if you want to read our thoughts on this matter you can go to http://www.greenzabiha.com/zabiha).

        Couple clarifications, Polyface is in VA, the NE farm was the one we used for the prepared meats (jerky etc.). Chickens are from an Amish cooperative in PA, and lambs came from a farm in VA (you can see pictures of all them at http://www.greenzabiha.com/gallery, except for lamb farmer, we’re still working on getting them!).

        All are hand slaughtered by Muslims. In VA the beef and lamb are slaughtered at USDA facilities w/o any stunning, while chickens are harvested in PA. There is also a slaughterhouse in Omaha we used while in NE. Chickens and lambs we zabah ourselves, up till now we we have hired Muslims slaughtermen to harvest the beef, since we are not quite experienced with that, though we are learning.

        I hope this helps, if you have any questions please feel free to email or call us. Not sure when I might visit the forum again!

        Fee aman Allah
        Yasir

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      • Amatullah

        Jazaakum Allahu khayran – May Allah bless you for providing this for the community!

        I loved Polyface farm in the movie, I cannot remember the farmer’s name but I thought he was pretty cool :)

        Thanks for posting

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  25. candice

    Assalaamu alaikum, folks! I haven’t seen the movie yet. I’ve been wanting to, but getting out to the theater is kind of difficult with a toddler. Alhamdulilah.

    Do we have any assurance from our local halal butchers that the meat and poultry that we purchase from them is not subjected to the same inhumane treatment of the animal products of conventional agriculture? I’ve asked a few butchers this myself and I was met with the same thing over and over again. Basically, I need to stop coming around their place of business with my troublesome questions. I’ve seen that the butchers in my locale don’t even want to think about where the animals come from before they’re slaughtered. Any insights?

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  26. movie_fan

    - If the film reaches some more halal avenue then maybe i’d watch.
    – I’m not sure if we are justified to go to movie theater’s to watch such films.
    – Perhaps you saw it in a non-theater environment? insha’allah. Please let us know.
    – As well, I believe the movie contains music as well.

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    • Amatullah

      Like I said in the post, I do not watch movies.

      I saw it at an very small and independent theater, not one of the big type ones. Alhamdulillah there were no bad posters, and it was not a bad environment.

      The intention behind watching the film was not entertainment but rather education. Many of us have sought an education here, how many science videos or health videos have we seen in school? My friends and I did not watch this film so that we can listen to music or waste our time…We wanted to understand the food industry in this country and alhamdulillah as a result, we have become more conscious of what we feed ourselves and our families and it has brought us closer to Allah azza wa jal through appreciating His laws and regulations.

      Please understand that I would never encourage any Muslim to see a film, unless it was an educational one and had absolutely no lewdness or haraam behavior.

      I stand by my statement that this movie was highly beneficial.

      May Allah guide us to what pleases Him, Ameen.

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      • twice_nice

        It’s no one else’s business under what circumstances she saw it!

        How she saw it is between Allah and herself.

        Sister Amatullah, you need’nt defend yourself, you are good sister we don’t pass judgment, and we assume only the best of you. I wish you didnt even explain yourself. May Allah guide us all…amin.

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      • Hidaya

        I totally agree twice_nice. There was no need for u to explain anything to this person. Our deeds are between us and Allah swt and HE is the ultimate judge.

        Also, we need to learn to make excuses and give benefit of doubts to our bro/sis. To have husn ul Dhan for ur bro/sis in Islam is part of our Imaan. We seriously need to train ourselves for this and not start policing or interrogating on 1st opportunity. Subhanallah!

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  27. Olivia

    Not knowing what’s sprayed on our produce or how the animals that provide out meat are treated is only 50% of the problem, and unfortunately the one that is less in our control.

    The other half of the problem, and the factor in obesity and diabetes, is what you’re eating, whether its organic or not. And don’t even get me started on all this high-glycemic stuff they market just to kids.

    Here’s our family mantra: if you can’t tell how it got from its original state to your table in 3 steps or less, don’t eat it! I think it’s okay everyone once in a while to have a treat that may not passt he test, but I think keeping these things in your home is asking for trouble (this eliminates most cereals, chips, cookies, “snacks”). Also, we need to wean ourselves away from all this sugar. Even when people make something clean like oatmeal, how many of us put 2 tsps of sugar in it? Or now bc we’re fat or have diabetes we use fake sugar? Bleh!

    This is something we can control, and buy just focusing on meat, fruits, veggies, and basic dairy, we can also have more control of what we’re eating and where its coming from (the first problem that I mentioned.)

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    • SaqibSaab

      Or now bc we’re fat or have diabetes we use fake sugar? Bleh!

      By fake sugar, do you mean like Splenda which some people four packets into at for coffee at places like Dunkin Donuts as a sugar substitute?

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      • Olivia

        Yes, Saqib, and we all know one brother who conumes at least 16 packets of Splenda per day: 4 coffees X 4 Splenda packets=16 Splenda packets! I am a Stevia person when it comes to sweetener if something needs to be sweetened (like if I buy a protein shake its either that or sucralose) but otherwise I say learn to appreciate the natural taste of coffee!

        But you know husband and wife can’t agree on everything.

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