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Healthy Eating Guide to Surviving Pesach (Passover) 2015

Today’s blog post is a little different to usual as I’ve been hearing “dread” for the past couple of weeks from a few of my clients…

“How will I possibly get through the whole of Pesach without putting on weight?”

If you’re a little worried about spending 8 days eating matza over pesach, worry no more – I’ve got you covered for a healthy Pesach with my top tips to staying well in my guide below.
This time of year sees a lot of people going overboard.

Spending weeks in the kitchen.

Cooking mountains of food.

Stocking up the fridge.

And hoarding food that could feed an army for months…in case they run out over 8 days.

Here are my top tips to surviving Pesach…and staying healthy:

#1: Don’t worry – you have more than enough food, you are not going to go hungry – and if you spend a little bit of time planning and preparing, you can stay healthy and avoid weight gain at the same time.
How? (I hear you asking with doubt in your voice).
Firstly – your emotions play a massive role in your body’s functioning. The less you worry, the better your digestive tract will work to process the extra food you’ll be consuming.

#2: Try to eat only 1 piece of matza a day – It’s very easy to mindlessly snack on matza when it’s placed in front of you at the table.
But did you know that 1 piece of matza is equivalent to 23g of carbs…which roughly equates to 2 slices of bread?
Apart from all the extra matza at the Seder, try to limit your intake to 1 piece a day…that includes cooking with matza meal and making matza granola or other pesach“treats”. Try having eggs for breakfast instead of matza with chocolate spread.

#3: Alternate 1 glass of water with 1 glass of wine – the custom of drinking 4 cups of wine at the Seder can be quite taxing on your liver – and a good way to reduce the dehydrating effects of the alcohol is to add 4 glasses of water between each cup of wine.

#4: Try Intermittent Fasting (IF) – After Seder, it’s a good time to try intermittent fasting – similar to the 5:2 diet – the concept of IF is to spend a portion of the day not eating. You are allowed only water and black coffee/tea (if you want it).
There are many many different ways to intermittently fast, but my suggestion for Pesach is to finish eating after your Seder…and then not eat anything until lunch the next day (that means no cake for breakfast!). IF gives your body a chance to digest the food you have eaten the night before, while also giving your digestive tract a break – and studies are showing it’s a proven key to longevity.

#5: Drink 1/2 lemon juice squeezed in water in the morning, every day for the whole 8 days. Matza can be tough on your digestive tract, and lemon juice in water has long been used to kickstart digestion and help your liver work through all the wine you may have been drinking.

#6: Use pesach as a “cleanse”. It’s a great time to increase your intake of green leafy vegetables and good quality proteins such as meat, chicken, fish and eggs. Eat daily salads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a dressing, or some lemon juice, salt and pepper.
And lastly…

#7: Have “treat” meals – life is meant to be enjoyed! Pesach does not have to be a difficult time – some matza, wine and matza balls won’t hurt your goals – look at them like “cheat or treat meals” – as long as you don’t try to survive the 8 days on matza granola, matza meal pancakes, potatoes and chocolate – you will be fine!

So as a final reminder, prepare and plan so that Pesach doesn’t become 8 days of eating cardboard – think about eating lots of veggies and good quality proteins and fats, try out intermittent fasting, and ensure adequate water intake with exercise to avoid growing a matza baby (constipation).

Have a wonderful Pesach,

Dina x

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