Nutrition and religion


Study nutrition and religion: Prohibited foods, foods and herbs used for cult purposes, either old ages or nowadays. 


In this project we wanted to observe the food in the perspective of heritage and describe the changes in the perception of food from past untill present day. Croatian coast has a number of specialities. We are proud owners of traditional recipes like Istrian pasta (maneštra), beef stew of Dubrovnik or kroštule.

Everything important to people can be part of a heritage and food should not be an exception. One of specificities od the Adriatic coast are taverns (places made under the influence of a special way of living). Croatia is well-known for its fishermen's nights abounded by fish, olive oil and wine, as well as great atmosphere brought by performances of klape. Today food is an important part of human identity and culture, we pay more attention to healthier life and nutrition which was not the case in the past.

Mediterranean coast has always been a place where people were occupied by animal husbandry, but its nutrition was based on different kinds of fish and shelves. The most important grains were wheat, rye, barley, oat, rice, buckwheat and millet.

Olives were cultivated in Mediterranean climate zone where they still play an important role. Picking olives in autumn is part of tradition of Croatian people. Olive oil is basis of Mediterranean cuisine, while olive branch is a symbol of peace and eternity.

Dalmatia was planted with vines. In the past, wine was used in church and cuisine, and so is today.

Croatia has traditional recipies connected to particular cities: Dalmatian pašticada (stewed beef), Dubrovnik rožata, Dalmatian paradižot, kroštule, different kinds of pasta inspired by Italian traditional food, Istrian lasagne, Labin krafi (filled with cheese, eggs, nuts and raisins).

With help of our parents, we made and tasted some of these dishes in our school. Important role in our tradition and religion have desserts made for special occasions such as Christmas or Easter, when families are together around the table. The feast is preceded by fasting on Christmas Eve when people eat fish (usually cod) and dishes without meat. Similar tradition precedes Easter on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday when Christians do not eat meat, eggs, milk and desserts. Fasting is related to relationship with God, people and yourself. Afterwards Christmas and Easter celebration follows with abundance of food and family intimacy. Desserts are important part of celebration: Easter cake, gingerbread of Hvar (traditional dessert with honey made in Stari Grad) and cake of Split that immediately associates us to our grannies.

Mediterranean nutrition is signed to UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2013. It is a heritage Croatia shares with Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Morocco and Portugal.

In contemporary world food becomes a custom, a part of tradition, heritage, culture and religion. Mediterranean nutrition deserved to be included in heritage of humankind. It has a great attention of a number of doctors and nutricionists because of its great impact on health of people.



The importance of religion in human nutrition

Food is an important part of religious symbols, rituals and customs as they are used to communicate with God as evidence of faith and discipline through fasting. In all religions, there are small and long periods of fasting over time. Religious dietary restrictions include foods that are allowed or not to be eaten, when to eat, how to prepare, and finally, when and for how long to fast. The following discusses how religions influence people's eating habits. ( By the nutritionist, Maria Papagiannaki)

Nutrition and religion