(5) Indian-Americans. Eating patterns vary, depending upon the religion,
and the province and climate from which the Indian-American came. If from northern
India, wheat is the primary grain used and meat dishes are popular. If from southern
India, rice is the primary grain used, the food is highly spiced, and the person will
usually be a vegetarian because of Hindu beliefs. Sweets are very sweet and eaten
often. Most Indian-American's eat only two meals daily. Only the right hand is used for
eating. Women eat only after men and children have eaten, even if they are ill.
Traditional fads and fallacies result in a high rate of stillbirths, low birth weight infants,
and a high maternal death rates.
(6) Native-Americans. Because about 200 different tribes of Native
Americans exist in the United States, each with its own language, folkways, religion,
mores, and patterns of interpersonal relationships, caution needs to be taken in
generalizing about Native American culture and food preferences. Various tribal groups
differ in their traditional values and beliefs. Each tribe assigns symbolic meanings to
foods or other substances. At least one-third of the Native American population is
poverty-stricken. Associated with this income level are poor living conditions and
Cultural and religious practices are often intertwined. Many people refrain from
eating certain foods, or eat specific foods in certain combinations, because of their
religious beliefs. There are some major religious customs related to diet that, as a
nurse, you must be aware of.
a. Hindu. Most Hindus are lacto-ovo vegetarians. They do not use stimulants
such as alcohol or coffee.
b. Moslem (Islam). Meat and poultry must be slaughtered according to strict
rules. Moslems do not eat pork or pork products. They do not drink alcoholic
beverages. They do drink tea. Moslems fast for one month each year, avoiding food
from dawn until after dark.
c. Jewish (Orthodox). Orthodox Jews do not eat pork, shellfish, or scavenger
fish. They do eat beef, veal, lamb, mutton, goat, venison, chicken, turkey, goose, and
pheasant. Meat must be slaughtered by a ritual method. Meat and milk may not be
served at the same meal. Meat and dairy foods must be prepared in separate
containers and with separate utensils. Certain days of fasting are observed, but a rabbi
may excuse an elderly or ill patient.
d. Mormon. Mormons do not drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or caffeine containing
carbonated beverages. They do not use extremely hot or cold foods (no ice in