Healthy & Kosher

 

Why We Eat Whole Wheat Matzo for Passover

 

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On all other nights I eat whole wheat bread, but on Pesach I eat whole wheat matzo.  Here’s my story…

My family switched to whole wheat bread a long time ago. I don’t really remember white bread in our house. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a nice baguette or focaccia when I am at a café or restaurant, but for everyday sandwiches I always choose whole wheat. Why should Passover be any different?


 

Gluten Free Isn’t a Walk in the Desert Anymore

 

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Matzo shmeared with deliciously fluffy cream cheese and some sweet preserves or jam is what Passover food means to me. That, and, of course, matzo pizza delicately baked and devoured within minutes. I haven’t been observing Passover long enough to really loathe the classic Passover treats, so I tend to find a sort of misplaced joy in these once-a-year concoctions. All of that changed, however, last year after I spent the entire week of Passover sick with stomach cramps and aches. No matter how much or how little matzo or matzo by-products I ate, I felt rotten. For the first time in several years, I really learned to suffer through Passover.

After a test, some advice, attempting to give up other foods (like dairy and coffee), and a huge decision, I decided that a gluten-free diet was the best way to feel better. In the simplest terms possible, that means the five grains that Jews so cherish — barley, oats, rye, spelt, and wheat — became off limits to me. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, spelt, barley, rye, and, according to some, oats. (I haven’t had problems with oats, so I purchase gluten-free oats, which are sold by Bob’s Red Mill.) Many of those who hold to a gluten-free diet have Celiac Disease, but there also are individuals who have found relief from IBS and other gastrointestinal woes. Although I took the gluten-free plunge before finding out if I officially have Celiac Disease, I haven’t looked back and over the past year have been feeling better and better. And no matter what anyone tells you — it is not as bad as it sounds. Believe me, you can live without challah, not to mention barley in your cholent (rice makes a great substitute, as does quinoa).


 

The Benefits of Fiber in Quinoa

 

 

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All signs point to Spring: the sun is shining brightly, trees are awash in their leafy splendor and, most notably, boxes of Matzo begin to line most supermarket shelves. As a child, I always looked forward to Passover. It meant Seder dinner with Nana’s stove-top apple kugel and nut cake, Afikomen prizes, chocolate lollipops and vacation from school.  Even the dreaded Matzo was a treat; when shmeared with whipped cream cheese, it became an instant delight. Passover represented a rare departure from the everyday way of eating; snacks that were a rare treat were the norm for Passover week. I never understood why the adults grumbled and groaned about the preparation and food doldrums. As a married mother of two and full time Dietitian, I can finally appreciate how truly beautiful and difficult this holiday can be – especially when trying to maintain a healthy diet.

While it is possible to maintain a varied and healthy intake during Passover, it is more difficult to include high fiber foods. The use of whole grains is forbidden and the majority of our Passover intake includes foods made from matzo and matzo meal.


 

Health Benefits of Yogurt – Win Chobani...

 

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Yogurt is one of my family’s favorite “go to” foods. I blend it with frozen fruit for a quick breakfast smoothie, pack it with a granola bar and fresh fruit for lunch and I use it in the summer as a base for a popsicle or to make tart frozen yogurt.  Rich in calcium, protein and other healthful nutrients, yogurt really packs a punch.

Yogurt can also be a fantastic source of probiotics, look for live and active cultures written on the label.  Probiotics are “good” bacteria that your body actually needs. Based on the strain, probiotics have been shown to increase immunity and improve digestion. Greek yogurt is typically strained of excess liquid, creating a thicker texture that is very popular right now.


 

How to Lose Weight on (and After) Purim

 

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Erma Bombeck once said, “I’ve been on a diet for the last two decades.  I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds.  By all accounts, I should be hanging from a charm bracelet!”  With Purim just around the corner, here are a few tips and tricks to have fun, without all the fat.

As you instinctively reach for a hamentasch on Purim morning, do you find yourself thinking: It’s okay to stray from my eating plan because: “I’m celebrating” or “I really want it, everyone else is eating it” or “it’s only a little piece, I’ll make up for it later.”  The reality is that the food in front of you tempts you to try it and eating generates immediate rewards (and other “gains” as well), while the rewards from watching what you eat might take weeks, months or even years!


 

Secrets to Popping the Perfect Popcorn – WIN...

 

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My relationship with popcorn started innocently enough.  When I was younger, I began seeing Orville Redenbacher.  As I grew older, I discovered Paul Newman. He was hard to let go of, but over the past couple of years I found new varietals popping up in the grocery store and farmer’s market.  With names like Autumn Blaze, Sunset Fire, Blue Heron and Black Hills, popcorn has gone gourmet.

Popcorn varieties are broadly categorized by either the shape or color of the kernels, or the shape of the popped corn.  While the kernels may come in a variety of colors, the popped corn is always off-yellow or white.  According to the Star-K, raw kernels do not require kosher certification.


 

Vitamin D – Demystified

 

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Growing up in Florida, I was always jealous of the snow day.  With the exception of the occasional life-threatening hurricane, huddled in a windowless room with a flashlight and a battery-operated radio (which is about as fun as it sounds) we always had to go to school! (more…)


 

Snow Day Cooking with the Kids!

 

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The children are cheering and calling their friends to share the great news. It’s a snow day! No school!

It’s wonderful fun at first, but we all know that the parent who is staying home with them will have to deal with snow-day cabin fever. After the kids have built their snowman, made snow angels, and thrown a few snowballs, they’ll be stomping into your kitchen whining that there’s “nothing to do.” (No, this is not the time to remind them about that book report. When you have a day off, do you want to be reminded about the presentation you have yet to prepare, or the pile of laundry waiting for you?)


 

Chicken Soup for the Sniffling Soul

 

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It’s that time of year again, the weather is getting colder, the kids are in school hanging out with other pint-sized germ magnets and everyone is sniffling, sneezing and wheezing.   Some people pop pills or do cough syrup shots to get through the day.  Others use vitamin C to boost their immune system “naturally”.  Although we all sometimes need an over the counter cure for the common cold, check your kitchen cabinet before your medicine cabinet.  Chicken soup, sometimes referred to as “Jewish Penicillin”, may be all you need. (more…)


 

Kosher Banana-Pecan Bread and Muffins Recipe

 

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Contributed by: BONNIE TAUB-DIX, MA, RD, CDN

As a mom of 3 growing boys, ages 22, 19 and 14, I’m always looking for great snack recipes. I came up with this healthy treat that’s high in fiber, low in fat, and loaded with flavor.


 

Golden Polenta & Egg with Mustard Sauce

 

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Contributed by: EatingWell.com

Here’s a streamlined version of Eggs Benedict: purchased polenta, boiled eggs and an easy, no-cook homage to hollandaise. It’s a quick dinner any night of the week or a great weekend brunch.


 

Cranberry & Ruby Grapefruit Compote

 

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Contributed by: EatingWell.com

Light enough to follow even a substantial meal, this pretty compote has a refreshing balance of sweet and tart flavors. Serve with vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert or with plain yogurt for breakfast or brunch.


 

Cranberry, Cherry and Walnut Marmalade

 

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Contributed by: EatingWell.com

Fresh cranberries get crunch from walnuts and an infusion of sweetness from dried cherries in this take on a classic marmalade. Leftovers are great on a turkey sandwich.


 

Blueberry-Maple Muffins

 

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Contributed by: EatingWell.com

Whole-wheat flour and flax seeds give these maple syrup-sweetened blueberry muffins a delicious, nutty flavor. Compared to a traditional version of the recipe, they have four times the dietary fiber and substitute healthful monounsaturated fat (canola oil) for saturated fat (butter).


 

Quick & Kosher Winter Squash: Fast Facts

 

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Winter Squash

Quick & Kosher Squash Facts & Fantasies: