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Let’s Keep the Healthy Stuff Healthy, shall we?

veggieWould you like to know what’s on my mind this week? Not much to tell you the truth. Lots of fun exciting things happening in the life of Duby – including collecting Cheesecake recipes and ideas for a children’s program I’m planning for Shavuos.

On the health side though – not too much happening. (sorry Smile)

But with all the cheesecake and dessert planning, it has occurred to me how awfully ironic and strange that someone who touts healthy this and healthy that, has found herself in charge of Yom Tov desserts. (ps – I requested to be in charge and my mother in law happily agreed) Of course, I give this a lot of thought. My 8 year old sister in law doesn’t know me as the carrot crunching naturalist, but more as the girl who bakes fresh Cinnamon Buns and Chocolate Rugalech, and brings them over for a pre-Shabbos treat. Quite a contradiction isn’t it?

A few weeks ago, my hubby was at someone’s house and was snacking on cucumber slices, dipped in salad dressing. He was snacking with the kids of the household and they were all super proud of their very healthy snack choice. Yes, they could have chosen the cookies or the twizzlers, but instead they chose the veggie and dip so they could grow up big and strong! (the kids, not the hubby Smile) well, whaddya know, after munching for a while – my husband decided to check the label of the dressing bottle (more for fun I suppose to find out what made it so yummy). I’m sure you can guess what he found on the bottle. The thing was loaded with chemicals and sugar up the whazoo.

The point of my story (and I do have one) is that I propose we keep the healthy things healthy so the dessert can be dessert. When we eat a cookie, we are aware that we are eating a “treat” (as in something that shouldn’t be eaten all the time – not in the sense of a reward). Even the new age Cookie Monster gives a disclaimer that cookies are great IF you eat them AFTER you’ve had your dinner / fruit / vegetables etc.

How are our kids (and ourselves) supposed to differentiate between what’s really healthy and what’s really not, when the supposed healthy foods aren’t much better than the dessert?

Let me break it down for you.

If the salad is filled with nutritious and fresh vegetables, but the dressing is loaded with ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, do we still call it a salad? (if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it….:)) I’m sure I’ll get a lot of criticism for this statement but here goes anyway:

What’s the difference between eating the sugar loaded vegetable dish and eating a chocolate chip cookie?

The difference is that when we’re eating the sugary salad – psychologically – we believe we’re eating something healthy.

A quick anecdote I’d like to throw in here for fun. (and because I just thought of it). Years ago, I once spent Yom Tov at someone’s house (no, I won’t tell you who). They’re food is heavenly. Like YUM. Duby at this point was trying to watch what she ate, and knew in her mind to just eat the healthier foods and stay away from the bad ones. (sounds easy right?)

I’m sitting at the Yom Tov table and I’m realizing that there was no healthy option!!!!! Every vegetable was turned into some sort of Kugel, farfel, muffin, or cake type of thing. And that wasn’t even the starch product for the meal! I sat there in disbelief. The healthy stuff was compromised and I ended up eating things that I really hadn’t wanted to.

We are trying to teach our children how to choose healthier foods and make healthier choices – but what are we doing when NEITHER is the healthier option?

Granted, I haven’t done the breakdown of the nutritional differences of said Chocolate Chip Cookie and Said Sugary Salad – but it’s my opinion that it is teaching a convoluted message.

So yes, I’ll confess in front of a jury that Duby the healthy weirdo bakes NON healthy desserts. If you’ve been following my blog you probably remember my experience of baking healthy. (You can click here if you want to read about that adventure) but I’ve realized it’s not for me. Maybe when I have kids, I’ll change my tune and embrace the coconut oil- raw honey-oatmeal cookies, but for now, I’m keeping my desserts as DESSERTS, and the healthy stuff HEALTHY.

An oxymoron? Perhaps. But at least I know that the nutritionalangel value of my veggies are not compromised and you can rely on the fact that my Cinnamon Buns aren’t compromised either Smile

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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Is Our Religion Getting in the Way of Our Health?

 

Matzah joke

Well my friends, it’s obvious that I’ve been neglecting my blog. I’ve been enjoying my other projects and you could say I use up all my writing energy elsewhere with not much left for my blog.

So I guess we’ll see what will be the fate of the 5 Pillars. Lord knows I don’t want to give up on the whole blogging thing, but at the same time, I often feel guilty when the posts aren’t frequent enough.

Let’s talk about something that has been weighing on my mind lately.

Really, this is more of a rant / vent about something I don’t have an answer for. This is something that has popped into my brain as I’m recuperating and getting back on schedule from our week long marathon called Pesach.

Is our religion getting in the way of our health?

Another way I would phrase this question is:

“Do our Holiday customs make us unhealthy?”

Ouch!

For those of my readers out there (and I know you’re out there!) who wouldn’t dare say a negative thing about our way of life, I’ll try to tread lightly, but I gotta tell you – this isn’t the first time I’ve thought of this concept. (please, spare me the hater comments)

Let me explain:

The holiday of Pesach comes along with many Laws and Customs. Many of which don’t exactly scream healthy. Let’s examine a few of them:

1) According to Hagaddah, we are instructed to drink 4 cups on wine in one evening. (and then do that again the next night)

2) We are instructed to eat Matzah:

a. 1 whole Matzah for the Matzah portion of the seder, (minimum you can eat ½)

b. ½ Matzah for Korech (the sandwich).

c. 1 whole Matzah for Afikoman

So according to the Haggadah – for those of us math whizzes – that’s 2.5 Matzahs that we HAVE to eat entirely. (oh and the first matzah needs to be eaten within a few minutes).

3) We have a full Yom Tov meal – usually 3 courses

4) Aside from the Seder, we are instructed to have a full meal for lunch after Shul, and then another full meal hours later for dinner. By full meal, I mean eat fish AND meat.

Shall I continue?

I am somewhat bothered by some of our traditions-turned-Halacha that have been solidified throughout our generations.

Allow me to continue.

Many of my friends, family and the wonderful world of the Imamother forum have similar complaints of digestion issues over Pesach. Many have constipation, others are running to the bathroom while others just feel fat, bloated with discomfort.

I gave this some thought and here’s what I have come up with.

It is WONDERFUL that our tradition is to do away with ALL processed foods on Pesach. It’s excellent that we don’t have chemicals and additives in our foods. Everything is homemade – from the juice we drink, to the seasonings – it really is excellent for our health.

However, (and this is a big however) – our diet over this holiday isn’t exactly one to be admired.

A) Meat, Matzah and Dairy products are not constipation friendly. They plug us up!

B) We have done away with many vegetables and fruits that help maintain healthy digestion. Foods like Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, kale, or berries which are very high in fiber etc …. are not allowed because they cannot be peeled. So other than a salad, we are left with very heavy and starchy vegetables (or kugels which aren’t very light on the stomach either)

Obviously I wouldn’t (publicly) suggest going back on years of traditions as I know these are important, but I cant help but feel some of our “Laws” (and I put laws in quotations because eating only a peel-able vegetable is NOT a law) are not very good for our health. I have a hard time understanding why our infallible Torah would instruct us in ways that can G-d forbid cause us to be ill.

Luckily, Pesach is just one week long and it only comes a year. And now that it’s over, we have just enough time to get back to our healthy habits before its time to combat all that Cheesecake on Shavuos! Constipation-Leunig

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Physical Health

 

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