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By The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad
As many people are writing to me for personal answers as to what we should and should not eat, I think it would lessen my work and be wise if you kept this book where you may refer to it when needed.
Many of my followers write and tell me of the results they are receiving from eating one meal a day or one meal every other day. This will produce good results and lengthen our lives. But children should not be forced to fast or to eat once a day or once every other day.
Children and babies should eat at least twice a day. If you are now eating three meals a day and you would like to eat one meal every other day, you should not–all of a sudden–change from three meals a day, every day, to one meal every other day.
First drop to two meals a day, then one meal a day, and then one meal every other day. It is better to do it this way so that you will not make yourself sick. And if you eat every other day, do not begin your meal with heavy food.
I receive many questions in regard to meat, fish, and poultry. The main thing Allah, as well as the Holy Qur’an, reminds us of is that when it comes to meat and fish, Allah forbids us to eat the flesh of swine or of fish weighing 50 pounds or more.
Although some people will not eat fish at all, there are many fish that we can eat; some weighing as little as a pound or a pound and a half.
When eating fish, we should confine our fish-eating to those fish weighing between one and ten pounds. As I said previously do not eat the scavengers of the sea such as oysters, crabs, clams, snails, shrimp, eels, or catfish.
The catfish is a very filthy fish. He loves filth and is the pig of the water. Some people write in, complaining about the fish that swim on their sides, but these fish can be eaten.
Allah has taught me that chickens are not good for us to eat. They are quite filthy (inasmuch as they do not eat the cleanest of food), but we eat them.
We eat beef and lamb; but Allah also said that they are not very good for us. It is not a sin for us to eat them. It is not a sin for us to eat camels. But if we can find better food, we should not eat the above mentioned food. Many write and ask if they should eat meat at all. It is not a sin for you to eat meat, but it is a sin for you to eat the meat of the hog.
If we want to prolong our lives, it is best that we do not eat meat or do not eat it so often. Beef is very coarse and many of our people do not eat it because of that. Horsemeat can also be eaten. It is cleaner than the average meat. But we should not eat it unless we are extremely hungry and have nothing else to eat because it is a domestic animal and is gentle and close to the home.
It is not even a sin to eat rabbit. But since Allah said that the rabbit is so closely related to the house cat, we do not eat it. The rabbit, however, is cleaner than the house cat because he eats vegetables, roots and herbs and he does not eat insects or other animals.
Allah has said that no wild game should be eaten at all. Regardless of how you love deer meat, the deer is not good to eat. No game that run wild in the woods or birds that fly, with the exception of baby pigeons, called squabs, that have never flown away from the nest where they were born, should be eaten. Please do not eat coons, possums, turtles, turtle eggs, or frog legs. None of these are good for us.
(Reprinted from “How to Eat to Live,” Book One, 1967)