Those of you who really dread the idea of spending the week eating what tastes like day old cardboard- (even if it is gluten free and $7 a box) – just remember, weed is not chametz.
For those of us who observe Passover, regardless of how strict or lenient we may be, tomorrow night starts either an 8 day detox and glorious cleanse or a feast of gluttonous potato starch and constipating matzo.
It’s your choice…You are in control of how this week turns out.
Some of you are away on holiday at relatives or in hotels and have access to non stop all you can eat buffets.
And some of you are home and have stocked up on enough Streit’s cake mixes and aluminum tins to secure your spot in a bunker, should the world come to a sudden end.
So, I leave it up to you- You can choose to eat the over priced matzo meal laden mixes or you can use this week to jump start a healthy clean diet plan. (I choose the latter- duh).
Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t diet. I think the word diet unfairly brings up negative connotations.
I prefer to eat clean and enjoy a healthy lifestyle plan with a few cheat meals (OK, OK, cheat DAYS) in between.
My “diet” is basically eating the same SUPER FOODS in different variations everyday and I stay far far away from anything processed. (More on which foods later).
For today your focus is to jump start your week and even if you are not observing the holiday – take this opportunity to give yourself a spring cleaning – inside and out (and no, I am by no means encouraging a juice cleanse- I stay far away from that hyped up sugar in a bottle marketing madness)- this is just eating really really healthy.
How to begin? It’s easy! Start with removing all white and processed foods from your kitchen- (some of you aren’t eating bread this week anyway so you’re already half way there.) Throw away anything that has more than one ingredient on the label. Stick to simple whole foods like, apples, avocado, leafy greens, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, seeds etc- you get the idea.
Update: I used to encourage Passover observers to eat whole grains like whole wheat matzo- which, incidentally, is amazing with lox and avocado- but now I personally stay away from wheat as it destroys my belly. I eat loads of quinoa everyday and thats what I plan to continue eating this week. Stick to the one ingredient rule and you’ll be slim and energized!
So here goes- my 10 Commandments to get you through Passover:
- Drink ONLY Water, Seltzer (and of course, wine!!!) Use this week to abolish your body of toxins and flush out the artificial sweeteners. Just say no to Diet soda! (If you want more info on this rule see my article this month in Boca Club News: http://seabreezepublications.com/papers/1604/BocaClubNews/index.html#p=14
This water commandment alone will make you feel so much better.
- Eliminate all whites from your diet this week. Try it – what have you got to lose (besides a few pounds)? This means no regular matzo or anything with matzo meal as an ingredient. If you really MUST make yourself a sandwhich try whole wheat or bran matzo at least it adds fiber. (I bet you thought I was going to suggest lettuce wraps as bread replacement- duh? Do you think I’m that basic??- leave that crap to Rachel Ray.)
You can have one exception of matzo balls in the soup if you so desire – after all it is Passover and if you are like me- and look forward to those matzo balls all year then go ahead and indulge – it won’t matter at the end of the day. But just seder nights!!!! Not all week.
- Choose lean proteins such as chicken and fish. Salmon is considered one of the best protein sources as the fat is unsaturated and loaded with Omega 3’s and is amazing for your heart! (But try to avoid farmed –that has more problems than this blog can describe so stay tuned for further reading!) I do buy farmed fish from Whole Foods as they have a very serious policy – claiming they are “responsibly farmed” which is probably just a marketing tactic like all their other organic produce – but it makes me feel better when I buy it so- yea.
- Did anyone say dessert time? Are you worried about where to go in that tea room???
Grab the almonds and cashews! I know what you are thinking….nuts are SOOOOO fattening. Again, fatty heart healthy foods like nuts are one of my favorite go to snacks or dessert – as nuts are filling- but make sure they are RAW and UNSALTED. Have some almonds with an apple. I LOVE charoset at the seder table – it is literally the only item from the seder plate that I actually eat – and help myself to seconds and thirds (who am I kidding – I just keep the bowl).The crunch and sweet tartness of the fruit is a very good combo and the nuts help reduce some of the glycemic index of the fruits natural sugars. (Noteworthy to mention is an apple also aids in digestion).
Another dessert to try is avocado chocolate pudding- sounds gross as do all my concoctions –but trust me –your kids wont know! It’s literally just avocado, stevia, almond milk and unsweetened cacao (cacao is similar to cocoa but more expensive – I mean healthier) blended together then frozen for 20 minutes –seriously to die for- I eat it at least twice a week for dessert (and the best part is that the avocado doesn’t need to be exactly ripe when you make it)
- Try a lox and omelet for lunch tomorrow. Have it with a side salad and toss in some avocado. I actually split the avocado in half, remove the seed (yes its called a seed not a pit- who knew?) and put an egg in the middle then bake it- yes bake it- for 20 minutes! Don’t knock it till you try it.
(Who we kidding? Mine never looks that perfect – I stole that off Pinterest)
6. Egg whites!! Can’t get enough of them. Make and omelet with spinach or broccoli. You will feel like you are at the Canyon ranch or a spa in Palm beach. Garnish with some orange wedges.
7. Blueberries for breakfast? An excellent source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and manganese (important role in bone strength). Blueberries are one of my absolute favorite super foods. They have antioxidants and they can be eaten alone, with seeds, in a smoothie- frozen in a cocktail- you get the idea. If you can handle dairy then mix with greek yogurt (plain non fat only). Add cinnamon and stevia and you’re good to go!
8. Go for a long walk after lunch. Take that well deserved break from the Passover table (and your inlaws) and put on those running shoes. Just 20 minutes will do ya good. (And prepare you for tomorrow night’s seder!)
9. Sweet potato fries!!! Cut sweet potatoes into thick wedges and spray with a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. They will taste like the real thing. Also good choices are chunks of big carrots. They become caramelized when baked and their natural sugars indulge your sweet tooth.
10. WINE. No need for explanation- but trust me, this will get you through not only one but two seders .
Remember: Stay away from anything processed or made with more than one ingredient. Those over priced kosher passover fake pizza bagels made from matzo meal and potato starch are loaded with chemicals and will only trigger a sweet tooth. Seriously? You can wait the week to eat the real deal and order your pizza then.
A week off from regular eating habits can be a good thing. Rather than viewing the dietary restrictions as a negative, turn it around and think of it as a great way to jump start your healthy way of life!! (plus will save you some money – Those kosher for Passover products must be laced with gold – based on their prices). And again, a reminder that weed is not chametz!!!