I decided to start keeping kosher in my mid-20s. Having not grown up in a kosher home and having attended college in Idaho, my knowledge of how to go about it was admittedly limited. The transition seemed daunting, to say the least.

Initially, I had many preconceived ideas aboutI had many preconceived ideas about kosher that I needed to overcome kosher that I needed to overcome; for example, did I have the budget to eat kosher food, was it going to be standard (meaning, dull) staple fare, could I find the ingredients necessary in making dinners and desserts?

But with a little education—and a lot of help, support and advice from friends and others in my life—I decided to take the kosher plunge. And I haven’t looked back, even though challenges sometimes arise. Still, like any new endeavor, I did my homework, and have now been enjoying trying new foods and learning new recipes that are consistent with the goal of leading a more observant Jewish life.

Here are five misconceptions I had to get over in order to do so:

1. Kosher Means Food Is Blessed by a Rabbi

I don’t know exactly where this misconception originated, but it has since attained the status of myth. It could be that the system of kosher supervision was misconstrued. Yes, many rabbis work in the world of kosher (kashruth) certification, which requires them to supervise the production of food to ensure that the product does not come into contact with non-kosher ingredients, but there is no actual blessing required in the process. Furthermore, if a rabbi did bless non-kosher food, that alone would not suddenly make it kosher. Kosher simply means that something is “fit,” “appropriate” or “acceptable” for a Jew to eat from a list of foods that adhere to Jewish dietary laws.

2. Kosher Shopping Is Confusing

In North America, shopping for kosher food really isn’t so hard. In large cities or places with significant Jewish populations, there are kosher grocery stores that offer everything from soup to nuts, including kosher bakeries and butcher shops as well. In small towns, many kosher products can be found in major chain supermarkets. They are labeled with a variety of certification symbols (their hechsher) on their boxes or packages. (Many of them exist; for descriptions on the symbols and questions about a product’s kosher status, you should contact your rabbi). If you’re fortunate, some markets section off a few shelves dedicated to kosher staples like dried soup mix, potato pancake mix, bread crumbs, matzah meal, canned pickles and olives, even Shabbat candles. As soon as you start paying attention to the hechshers, you’ll notice them on many everyday products, some of which are already in your fridge and pantry (condiments, sugar, coffee, flour, pasta and rice). In fact, it’s kind of fun looking for the symbols; you might even discover products imported directly from Israel.

3. Kosher Food Is More Expensive

This one is partially true, especially when shopping for special Passover foods (though sales on these items are often advertised). Kosher meat and dairy products are certainly pricierYou should not let financial concerns stand in your way than their non-kosher counterparts. However, overall, I have not found my food costs to be considerably more expensive since making the switch. All fruits and vegetables are kosher. You can buy generic eggs, rice, beans, hummus, and many pastas, as well as nuts, coffee, tea and beverages. A kosher diet does not require many specialty items. There are even affordable kosher wines these days that are readily available in stores, with a much wider variety that existed in the past. If you’re considering beginning a kosher lifestyle, you should not let financial concerns stand in your way. Aside from certain categories of food (namely, meat, chicken and certain dairy products), kosher products won’t cost you much more money.

4. A Kosher Lifestyle Lacks Gourmet Options

Foodie friends, you can breathe a sigh of relief! The kosher-food world has developed greatly since your bubby made gefilte fish by hand. Major cities have kosher shops with decadent baskets full of goodies, and online candy, cake and holiday-food vendors offer gourmet gifts of every kind (that you can also take ideas from and make at home). According to Shamash’s Kosher Database, more than 3,430 kosher restaurants can be found in 70-plus countries. These range from casual burger joints and falafel stands to swanky steakhouses and Indian food. Gourmet pizza, succulent sushi . . . the list goes on. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with kosher restaurants, you should check them out. Many make your classic Jewish favorites with a modern twist. Kosher food sold in grocery stores has also come a long way. For those who search for quality ingredients, the shelves are now stocked with many organic and non-GMO kosher options—gluten- and lactose-free ones, too. You don’t have to sacrifice taste or quality to keep kosher. If you don’t live in a large Jewish community, a plethora of kosher cookbooks and websites (many with “how to” videos that show you all the steps to making a dish or meal) are out there that teach how to make delicious kosher food from all over the world.

5. It’s Too Hard to Remember the Rules

Jewish dietary law forbids eating meat and dairy together, and kosher kitchens possess separate dishes (and often, sinks) for the preparation of each. When I first became interested in keeping kosher,It’s harder to mess up than you might think I was overwhelmed by the idea that none of my meat dishes could even think about touching my dairy dishes, and if they did, all was lost! It turns out that once you have set up the proper kosher framework in your kitchen, it can be harder to mess up than you might think. If something dairy does accidently get used for something meat or vise versa, I ask my rabbi what to do. Sometimes, I’m surprised at how easily a mistake can be rectified. In my experience, the mental hurdle was the largest one; once I was committed to keeping kosher, I was able to do so in a gradual step-by-step process. For those considering the kosher road, I highly recommend Going Kosher in 30 Days by Rabbi Zalman Goldstein. It breaks down the kosher journey into easy-to-follow steps and was a huge help to me. You can also check out Eating Jewishly, which has everything you need to know about kosher, in addition to the numerous recipes on the site.

You can do this! And once you start, a whole new world of culinary knowledge and treats await!