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The Recipe for Preventing (& Reversing) Holiday Weight Gain

Preventing Holiday Weight Gain! You can do it!

3 mistakes and 3 solutions

Last week I wrote about staying healthy during Rosh Hashanah. Those tips apply to all holiday, high, low, Jewish or not. The tips I gave you last week will certainly help, but we all know that it can be hard to control our circumstances, especially when eating out or traveling. I was away for Rosh Hashanah and not cooking my own food. I did the best I could, but I could have done better. Of course it was a good learning experience for the future.

The truth is, I didn’t gain weight over yuntov (that’s yiddush for holidays). However, I didn’t feel good about how I ate. I talked to the chef ahead of time to discuss providing vegan options for me, but I didn’t really know what I was going to get for each meal. Turns out there was something for me to eat at each meal, but many times it was just a few vegetables.

Menu planner

Here are the common mistakes I made and you may be making too:

1. Because I didn’t know what or how much I would have to eat at the next meal, and I often had few choices, I ate too much of what I could eat. I was in a feast or famine mode. I had snacks in my room so I really didn’t need to have that attitude. This is a reminder that much of hunger and the desire to eat is mental, not physical. Focus on the abundance of what you can eat, not what you can’t eat. I was definitely focused on not having enough and consequently wanted more.

2. Dinners were served at their appropriate times, but those times were  late at night. Because I hadn’t eaten much for about 7 hours at that point, I was hungry so I did need to eat and eating late makes me feel like crap – and isn’t good for anyone’s weight. If I’d been home, I could have eaten a proper dinner much earlier and simply had kiddush (blessing over wine) and motzi ablessing over bread) after shul (synagogue).

3. My other suggestions for late dinners is to eat soup and salad. I could have done that once or twice. However, because everyone else around me was eating a 6 course meal (and I had to wait for the 5th course to just get my plate of vegetables), I wanted to eat more than I needed or would probably want to if I were at home. Again, it’s all mental!

The following tips will help you maintain your weight and health in between festive moments. 

1. HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. You don’t have to exercise every day and you don’t have to exercise very long to see great results. Recent studies have shown that HIIT is much more efficient than exercising at a steady pace for a long period of time. One popular version is called the Tabata Method. In four minutes you can do 8 cycles of 1 exercise. Go as hard as you can (running, lifting weights, etc.) for 20 seconds and then recover for 10 seconds. I have some examples on my Pinterest page. You can pick four  different exercises and do a full workout in 16 minutes.  You only have to do this a few days per week. Certainly exercise as much as you can using this method. However, every cycle you complete will make a large impact on your fitness levels.

2. Intermittent Fasting is all the rage these days and for a reason. Again, there are various methods, but the easiest one is to fast for a period of time each day. Another option is to eat normally 5 days per week and then keep your calories to about 600 on two fasting days per week. The easiest method of intermittent fasting is what I try to do (and it works!). Keep your eating to only 6-10 hours per day. Most people would find it difficult to keep their eating to only 12 hours per day. I remember being in a cleanse workshop where everyone was unnerved at the suggestion of stopping all food intake each day at approximately 7pm – or whenever it would give us a full 12 hour rest from additional food.  Time off from digesting new food allows your body to burn more of its fat stores. In addition, if you know you can eat without unreasonable restrictions when you do eat, it’s easier to stick to this regimen than trying to “diet” all the time.

Here are some examples for how you might progress to this. (You can also go cold turkey in between this year’s three day yuntovs! You’ll love the results!)

Step 1: Eat 7am to 7pm. Don’t eat 7pm to 7am. (12 hour fast. 12 hours eating.)

Step 2: Eat 8am to 6pm. Don’t eat 6pm to 8am. (14 hour fast. 10 hours eating.)

Step 3: Eat 8:30am to 5:30pm. Don’t eat from 5:30pm to 8:30am. (15 hour fast. 9 hours eating.)

Step 4: Eat 9am to 5pm. Don’t eat from 5pm to 9am (16 hour fast. 8 hours eating.)

If you want to go down to the minimum of 6 hours eating per day, more power to you. I can’t do that! But I can do the 9-5 method. However, I do have to tell you that after getting out of that routine for so many days during my recent travels, it has been hard to get back into. I’ve had to ease back into it, which surprised me.

3. Decide what the right recipe is for you and write it down: 3 workouts per week, plus 10 hours per day eating, minus animal products = a great plan to get you on the way to your health and fitness goals!

 

 

 

Special 9 Days Dinner Menu and Recipes!

Special Nine (9) Days Vegetarian, Vegan, Non-Dairy Dinner Menu and Recipes!

For my peeps who abstain from eating meat for the 9 days before Tisha B’Av (Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of the ancient Temples), here’s an easy menu! You may want to save this for this coming Sunday evening. This would also make a beautiful Friday night meal for year-round vegetarians or vegans.

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9 Days Menu

Total cook time: 60 minutes

(make ice pops morning or day before)

Serves 6

Chicken Parmesan (no real chicken or parmesan, no fake processed “meat”!)

Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries

Revolutionary Healthy Asian Slaw

Pear Crumble (Sneak peak recipe from new free, mini e-book gift for subscribers. Subscribe now if you haven’t already!).

Healthy Ice Pops!

THE RECIPES

Chicken Parmesan (no real chicken or Parmesan, no fake processed “meat”!)

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Ingredients

2 blocks extra firm organic sprouted tofu [This will be the firmest option. If you can't find sprouted, press the tofu for 30 minutes before cutting it.]

Olive oil spray

1/2 cup whole grain panko bread crumbs (gluten free if needed)

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 Tb nutritional yeast

2 cups pasta sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Cut tofu into 1/4-1/2 inch thick “steaks” (see note above about pressing it). Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets (1 block of tofu per sheet) and spray with olive oil or other non-stick spray. Mix breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt and nutritional yeast together in a small bowl. Place the tofu 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets. Spray top with olive oil. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 teaspoon of the breadcrumb mix on the top of each “steak”. Place cookie sheets in oven until tops are browned, approximately 15-20 minutes.

[Prep sweet potatoes now].

After the tops are browned, take the trays out of the oven and flip the tofu steaks over. Sprinkle another 1/2 tsp of the breadcrumb mix on each piece of tofu. Place back in the oven another 15-20 minutes or until browned. You want the pieces to get a little hard. That’s when they take on the chicken consistency.

Remove from oven and top each piece with 1 Tb (or more!) pasta sauce.

Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes (Increase # depending on the servings you need. Make up to 1/2-1 sweet potato per person.)

cinnamon sugar shaker

non-stick or olive oil spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spray with olive oil or other non-stick spray. To cut the sweet potatoes into fries you can use a ridged knife or you can simply use a regular knife if you don’t have any kind of a fry cutter. Peel the sweet potatoes. For each one, cut in half horizontally. Then, cut each half in half again and cut out four fries by cutting into the quarter vertically. You’ll get 16 fries per sweet potato.

Place potatoes on the cookie sheet. Spray with olive oil or other non-stick spray and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. That’s it! Place in the oven for 30 minutes. You can turn them over half way through if you desire. If you have two ovens or can put in multiple racks, you can roast more than two at a time.

You can make the slaw now, or you can make it the morning before so that the flavors have time to meld together more.

Revolutionary Healthy Asian Slaw 

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The most popular version of Asian slaw became a topic of conversation in a recent yoga class. Several people were raving about one specific recipe and handed me a copy. Some (not-Jewish) attendees served it at dinner parties and some (Jewish) attendees served it at Shabbat lunch. I admit that I love this dish when it is served to me at other people’s homes. However, seeing the actual ingredients, such as 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of oil, practically gave me a heart attack and diabetes on the spot! I promised to return with a healthier version. This is my creation.

Yields 8-10 servings

Ingredients

1 bag matchstick carrots (10 oz)

1 red pepper

1 bag Mann’s Rainbow salad with broccoli florets (12 oz)

1 bag Dole Asian slaw with kale and snow peas* (12 oz)

*If your store isn’t carrying this fancy thing that day, as mine wasn’t the day I went to take a picture of the recipe, just buy the regular coleslaw mix and add 1 cup kale leaves, torn into tiny pieces.

For the dressing:

2 Tablespoons maple syrup (up to ¼ cup, depending on how sweet or acidic you like your slaw)

¼ cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup low fat Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger dressing

2 handfuls each, slivered almonds and sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted)

Directions

Slice red pepper into matchsticks and mix with the rest of the salad ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the salad and mix well. Add the slivered almonds and sunflower seeds and gently mix the salad again.

Pear Crumble (Sneak peak recipe from new free, mini e-book gift for subscribers. Subscribe now if you haven’t already!).

[or sub 4 peaches and 2 cups blueberries]

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Ingredients

4 pears

½ cup cup old-fashioned oats

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8 x 8 ceramic baking dish with non-stick spray. Peel and dice pears, and place into baking dish. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 40-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

Serves 4-6 [Great afternoon snack for kids the next day if you want to throw in a few more pears or you don’t finish it all]

Popsicles!

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Allow me to introduce you to this fabulous Ice Pop cookbook. “Cook” book? For ice pops? Yup! Cookie Dough, Creamsicle, Butter Pecan… Great ideas like using a touch of spinach for green color. No spinach taste and no food coloring. Genius! Why buy popsicles with corn syrup, guar gum, food coloring and preservatives? Instead, you could go through the entire summer making all of these ice pops with your kids. Guaranteed activity every day! Then when they ask for a popsicle for breakfast, you might even say yes without guilt!

So, where do you get this substitute? Right here, Right now. This is just one of the great offerings from Leanne Vogel, over at Healthy Pursuit.

If you’re looking for a holistic approach to your love affair with summertime frozen treats, you need these 45 recipes (in the new, Purely Pops

Cookbook, created by Leanne from Healthful Pursuit).

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If you don’t know Leanne, she is a holistic nutritionist with a solid track record of creating empowering recipes that show just how simple it is to fall in love with life, food allergies, weight loss goals and all.

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Purely Pops Cookbook is a collection of 45 no-bake recipes for irresistible vegan and gluten-free & ice pops. It’s your guide to making ice pops with natural sweeteners, real flavors and whole food goodness. No dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, gluten, grains, bananas, sesame or soy.

Beat the heat with a freezer full of homemade frozen treats that will encourage you + yours to enjoy a happy, healthy summer.

(I know you’re going to love it!)

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p.s. I’ve made a lot of great friends and contacts in the food blogger world. Some of these bloggers are nutritionists and some are moms like me who have done their research. Instead of buying their products for myself and keeping it a secret from you, I’m going to start sharing some of them with you. When I give you a link to the product, it may be an affiliate link. That means that I make a little money if you purchase the product I’ve endorsed. I’m confident that we have established a relationship based on trust and that you would never doubt my intentions or think I’m saying or doing something to make money. I want you to know that your welfare is always what comes first. Your welfare is my motivation. If you ever have any questions about this new development, please talk to me any time. natasha@healthyfamilyhealthyyou.com.

The Mexican Menu + New Recipes

T minus 1 day until Shavuot started, my Mexican feast totally planned and shopped for…then I realized that I’d invited someone to lunch who happens to be from Mexico. By then I couldn’t make a whole new menu. Besides, I love Mexican food and I wanted to eat it! My guest was quite gracious in insisting that I did just fine but he did inform me that in Mexico tacos are actually made with soft tortillas. The closest thing they have to what we consider a taco is a tostada. The good news is that I was just trying to make a delicious menu and not a completely authentic one!

Here is the complete menu, for your copying pleasure, along with the recipes, resources and shortcuts that I used. The point is healthy and delicious, not to kill yourself in the kitchen.

Soup

  • Gazpacho (Super fresh and tasted homemade, but purchased from Goldberg’s Bagels in Potomac)

Salads

  • Roasted Corn, Pineapple and Black Bean Salad (Click for link to cooking.com recipe)
  • Jicama Mango salad. I got the idea from a Kimberly Snyder recipe from The Beauty Detox Foods that called for papaya, basil and dill. See my recipe at the bottom of this post.

Main Dish

  • Taco “meat” made with walnuts. I used the recipe from Kimberly Snyder’sThe Beauty Detox Foods” book. I don’t have permission to reprint her exact recipe. However, if you grind raw walnuts in the food processor (to the consistency of ground meat) and add taco seasoning (make your own or buy a pre-made spice mix without additives or too much salt), you’ll get a pretty similar result. My guests loved it and they are not people who normally skip red meat! It’s actually kind of creepy how similar it tastes and feels to ground beef (minus the gross parts anyway).
  • Taco fixings: Garden of Eatin’ organic blue corn taco shells with Wholly Guacamole taco bean dip and guacamole, Wholly Salsa regular mild salsa and roasted tomato medium salsa. Tofutti and regular sour cream (If I’d had more time I could have made a healthier alternative to the processed store-bought non-dairy sour cream. Alas, I did not.) Shredded lettuce (purchased already shredded!).

Dessert

  • Freshly cut watermelon (When desperate, feel free to buy overpriced already cut watermelon. Better yet, ask a guest to bring it already cut up).
  • Non-dairy cheesecake. I used an organic graham cracker crust. Because it only made enough filling to fill it half way, I took the top of the crust and used it to dust the top of the cheesecake and served it with fresh blueberries, raspberries and non-dairy whip. Here is the filling recipe by Paul Jarvis that I found on Kris Carr’s website: Blend 2 cups raw cashews (soaked, rinsed and drained), juice of 1.5 lemons, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour into crust and freeze for at least 1 hour. Was that easy or what?

Jicama Mango Salad Recipe

(Image courtesy of www.bulldogbistro.com)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 medium jicama

1 avocado

1 mango

3 small kirby cucumbers

1 organic lime, juice and zest

Directions

Peel and dice jicama, avocado, mango and cucumber. Add zest and juice of 1 lime and mix.

Easy, right? Let me know how it turns out!

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