April 16, 2024
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April 16, 2024
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The Secret to Staying Healthy on Purim

Here is the scene: It is Purim day and you are in your car with your children delivering mishloach manot. You pull up to a house, your kids jump out and you look around at the bags of goods you’ve acquired so far. You see a homemade cinnamon roll from your friend who is an incredible baker. It smells delicious, it is packaged beautifully, and you reach for it. There is a timid voice in your head that pipes up and says “but you’re going to eat so much at the seudah, do you really need this? …sure, it might taste good, but think about how badly you want to lose that baby weight!” You pause. You wait for another voice to counter these points. It doesn’t come.

The cinnamon roll starts to look like a roll full of disappointment. You take a bite anyway, and 20 seconds later, you realize you’ve finished it. You immediately feel regret and you are suddenly very aware of your ‘love handles.’ You shove the beautiful packaging onto the seat next to you in remorse as your kids climb back into the car. You turn up the music to drown out your thoughts, and vow to only have fruit for dessert at the seudah later.

How can you stay healthy this Purim? By honoring your cravings instead of hating them. What!? Did a dietitian just say that? Let me walk you through this. If you allow yourself to actually eat the food you truly want, then you will be fully in control of your health and you will never regret another bite again.

Here’s how to do this:

Right when you see something that looks good to you, ask yourself three questions:

  1. “Am I hungry?” It is an obvious question, but important to always think about.
  2. “Will this food make me feel tired, uncomfortable or ill, or will it make me feel good and energized?”

3.“Will eating this food bring me joy?” Be honest with yourself here.

Now, if you decide that this food will make you feel good physically, and bring you joy, then you decide firmly to eat the food, with no regrets and with full confidence.

On Purim, we have a mitzvah is to experience joy. Not guilt, not shame and not regret.

At this point, it is important for me to remind you that honoring food cravings is part of honoring your health. As a dietitian who has seen hundreds of clients in practice, I know that most people know what foods and which eating habits are healthy. I am not here to teach you what you already know, but I will take this opportunity to remind you of the basics: eat well rounded meals on Purim (and always). Eat three meals a day that include protein, carbohydrates, lots of vegetables and some fat with each meal to be left satisfied. Once you do this (and I know you can!), and you honor your cravings simultaneously, you will quiet those negative voices that fill you with remorse. Every time you make a thoughtful and good decision for your body, you begin to trust your own food intuition. You will have true freedom with food on Purim and every day after! Start asking yourself these three questions every time you eat over the next two weeks so that when Purim rolls around, you can experience the true simcha of the day.

Let’s go back to our scene: You see the cinnamon roll and ask yourself “Am I hungry?” No, you are not, because you ate a hearty breakfast this morning, knowing how crazy the day would be. Next, you ask yourself, “Will this make me feel good?” Yes, you say, because the smell is making your mouth water and you have no trouble digesting sugar or gluten.

You ask “will this food bring me joy?” The answer is a firm yes.

You ask yourself “how much do I want?” You answer this by making sure it will be enough to experience joy, but not more than what will make you feel good physically. You realize you only want one bite.

The cinnamon roll now looks like a roll full of joy. You take a bite, you think about how wonderful it tastes and you feel the joy of Purim. You text your friend and tell her how much you enjoyed her baking. You save half for your husband or for your lunch tomorrow when you can enjoy it again. You are suddenly aware of how perfectly sweet, sticky and airy this food feels on your tongue. Your kids come back in the car, you smile, you turn up the music as you think how blessed you are to have a healthy body, regardless of its size, that can experience the joy of food. You vow to treat it with respect by always honoring its cravings and its health.

By Rivki Berman

Rivki Berman is a registered dietitian and owner of RB Nutrition LLC in Fair Lawn. Rivki practices a realistic, sustainable approach to nutrition and works with all adults looking to change their lifestyle for good. Her specialties are in PCOS, diabetes, eating disorders and emotional eating. She can be reached at [email protected].

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