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halal meatballs

This is a guest post by Whitney Gaspar.

I am not Muslim. I am not any religion, really. I was baptized as a Catholic to please my grandma and raised as an atheist by my mother. I am spiritual and I believe in God. But that is not why I eat halal. I eat halal because it is logical. It simply makes sense.

One of my dearest friends is a Bohra Muslim. One Monday while we were having chai at her kitchen table, she told me that her family was eating halal. I knew she didn’t eat pork or drink alcohol, but now halal? What did that mean?

I decided to do some research, and what I found changed my eating drastically. First, I eliminated pork from my diet altogether. I learned that pigs are scavengers by nature. This means that they will eat almost anything, including rotten food and carcasses. And their bodies are incapable of effectively removing these toxins. If I am what I eat, I definitely don’t want to be a pig.

Animals raised for halal meat are treated humanely. They must have room to roam freely, be given clean water to drink, and never be fed other animals or animal byproducts.

The fact that resonates with me the most however, is the method of slaughter (zabiha). The act is performed with respect and compassion for the animal and the blood is drained immediately. This is important because the blood carries toxins, germs, and bacteria. The longer it remains in the animal after slaughter, the higher the potential for the meat to cause illness.

Inspired by what I learned, I started my own halal catering company in the south suburbs of Chicago. We specialize in Italian and Mexican cuisine. Our food is fresh and flavorful. I’m proud of the food I serve. Not only is it delicious (seriously… you should try it!), it is 100% halal. It’s feel-good fare, inside and out.

Whitney Gaspar is the owner of GG’s Catering in Chicago.

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