Healthy & Kosher

 

The Sushi Diet

 

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It’s no secret that actor Jonah Hill has lost a lot of weight over the past year.

Jonah Hill’s work in “Moneyball” earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, recently spoke with ABC News.  Apparently, the secret to his remarkable weight loss was a diet of mostly sushi.  ”It was just mostly diet,” Hill said. “I wish there was some crazy thing that I did, like a pill or a genie or something, but it wasn’t, unfortunately, I went to see a nutritionist, and he told me what to eat to change my habits and stuff.”


 

Chia Seeds – It’s Not Just For Growing Pets

 

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Wondering why Chia seeds are all the rage?

Chia is part of the mint family and is native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.  Chia seeds are smooth, tiny and oval flecked with gray, white, black and brown colors.  Last year I bought it at a local supermarket and it has been sitting in my cabinet all year while I waited to figure out what to do with it.


 

Hummus: Israel’s Hidden Treasure?

 

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Before I moved to Israel five years ago, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what was considered to be the “national food” of Israel.  Even though I grew up in the United States, far from the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, I remember my mother telling me that falafel was sold on almost every street corner in Israel. She described it as being similar to the hot dog vendors I would see on every corner in New York City, or the soft pretzel vendors you would see on the streets of Philadelphia.

What my mother didn’t tell me was that Israeli falafel was NOTHING without its “partner in crime”, hummus. Even in the fanciest of restaurants or the most unusual events here in Israel, hummus somehow becomes part of the menu.   From hummus served with meat, at the Basarim restaurant in Tiberias; to hummus with mushrooms at Marvad Kasamim (The Magic Carpet) in Jerusalem; to the local hummusiyah (hummus vendor/restaurant), the flavor of hummus is ubiquitous in Israel.


 

Secrets to a Healthy Purim

 

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With the chance to dress up in costume and stock up on treats, Purim is a favorite holiday for kids of all ages.  But since its also high season for candy and sugary snacks, it can also be frustrating for parents who want their kids (and themselves) to choose healthy foods and limit sweets as part of a balanced nutritious diet.

On the one hand, you want to indulge and enjoy the holiday, after all Purim is one of the few one day holidays where you can visit out of town friends and relatives and hop from party to party.  On the other hand, you don’t want to undermine all the work you do the rest of year and confuse kids with mixed messages.


 

Food Allergies You Need to Know

 

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Allergy Free.  Nut and Seed Free.  Gluten Free.  The signs are everywhere these days.

Allergies appear to be on the rise and awareness has grown.  Everyone knows someone who has an allergy.  It wasn’t like this when I was growing up, or at least it didn’t seem that way.  The only person I knew who had an allergy was my dad.  He was allergic to sesame, but since we didn’t go out to eat very often, I never really noticed.   Looking back, I realize why we never had hummus or sesame bagels.  Since I enjoy cooking Asian and middle eastern foods, I have to stop and think every time he comes over to make sure I don’t accidentally add sesame oil or sesame seeds to a dish I am preparing.  I go out of my way to make special recipes like Walnut Hummus so he can enjoy the taste of hummus, without the inconvenience of upper respiratory failure that can totally ruin your night.  When we all go out to eat for Chinese, Japanese or Israeli food we make sure to let the waiter know, no sesame.  Fortunately, my family is allergy-free, but I feel for my friends who struggle and their children who struggle with food allergies.


 

Drinking To Your Health – L’Chaim

 

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With the Purim holiday fast approaching many people are starting to plan their Purim cocktails.  Purim is the day that tradition tells us we are supposed to drink so that we can’t tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman, good and evil.  Tradition did not have to go to work and get the kids out for school the next morning.  For the rest of us, who may take things a little easier on Purim but still would like a drink or two, there are some great scientific studies to justify drinking in moderation.

Here are a few peer-reviewed excuses to keep in your pocket, right next to your hip flask.


 

Healthy Mishloach Manot Ideas

 

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Purim is one of my favorite Jewish holidays.  I love baking hamantashen with my kids.  I have so many special memories baking with my mom and grandmother as a child.  After college, I had a tradition to bake hamantaschen with my friend Arlene, who now lives in Israel. One day I hope to resume that tradition, but for now my baking team consists of three children, ages seven, five and three.

Each year my kids are very excited to show off the new Purim costumes their grandmother bought them.  They wear the Purim costumes to shul, to school and usually to some other Purim carnival or festival.  They also begin to strategize how and where they will hoard their candy.  They tear open every package with excitement and pick out their favorite items to stash away.  All my kids have their own hidden treasure of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Dentists everywhere must love this holiday!


 

Should You Give Up Sugar?

 

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Alec Baldwin, star of NBC hit comedy “30 Rock”, attributes his recent weight loss to giving up sugar.  In a recent interview, he told Access Hollywood, “I gave up sugar. I lost 30 pounds in four months. It’s amazing.”  From Hollywood to the American Heart Association, sugar is under attack.

The American Heart Association says no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar for most women and no more than 150 calories a day for most men. That’s about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 for men.


 

Take Down the Carbs This Purim

 

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Purim is a very special day and is certainly more than fireworks and candy bars. The mitzvah of Mishloach manos is a unique mitzvah that has gotten a bit out of hand. Where is the source that requires Mishloach manos to have as much refined sugar and carbs as possible!!

As parents, we want every Yom Tov to be special for our families. Since Purim centers on so much eating in one day, it might take a bit of serious determination and foresight to make it as healthy and meaningful as possible. The same goes for Seuadas Purim–Join our campaign against Purim carbohydrate-overload and make this important day a time of fun, and a healthy and good example for the entire family!


 

Cacao Nibs

 

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ABC News reported in 2005 that the average American consumes 11.5 pounds of chocolate each year. That would likely be chocolate bars and various types of chocolate candy, which are mostly sugar and fat.  Chocolate consumption represents one percent of the American diet, yet most Americans have never tasted “real” chocolate – natural cocoa or the cacao bean in its raw form.

You could sprinkle crushed cocoa beans or cocoa nibs onto whipped cream, ice cream, puddings, or other desserts for a natural chocolate flavor from these original “chocolate chips”. The crushed raw cocoa beans or nibs look a lot like coarse-ground coffee beans and taste like unsweetened dark chocolate, so they can be bitter.


 

A Healthy Chocolate Fondue?

 

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It is cold outside and sometimes you just want to stay in.  That doesn’t mean you want to eat boring food.  It also doesn’t mean you have to open up a bag of potato chips or candy.  Whether you want a romantic night for two or having a family game night, chocolate fondue can be a ton of fun.  It is not too hard to put together and can be healthier than you think.

There are so many wonderful health benefits to good quality chocolate.  Make sure to find chocolate that is at least 70% cacao, then chop it with a knife to get it ready for the fondue.    Heat up about ½ cup of whole milk and then add about 3-4 ounces of chopped chocolate.  If it is too thick add a bit more milk.  If you want to spice things up a bit you can infuse the milk with cinnamon, Irish cream, hazelnut liqueur or mint.  The original is made with heavy cream, but I found the whole milk did the trick and is a special treat that is not as bad as other desserts, plus with fondue you get the added value of fruit.  I would also suggest trying it with whole milk or coconut milk for a nondairy option both would be a bit better for you.  For a much lighter option try Ellie Krieger’s recipes for a Healthy Chocolate Fondue.


 

Chocolate and Your Health

 

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I don’t remember the first time I learned that chocolate was healthy, but I’m glad I did.  Growing up, I didn’t really know that much about chocolate other than Hershey and (for special occasions) Godiva.  As I got older, I wanted to stay away from empty calories.   Eventually, I learned that those calories weren’t quite as empty as I thought.   I began to look at chocolate in a different way.

Chocolate comes from the cacao tree, Theobroma (food of the gods) cacao, which produces large elliptical pods.   Inside the pods are what are sometimes called cocoa beans, but are actually seeds.  These seeds actually contain a nice amount of fiber.  They also have protein and contain a high percentage of antioxidants, which help to reduce the damage from free radicals.


 

A Healthy Shabbat Dinner Menu

 

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Whether your soft spot is kugel, potato salad or Challah– or something in between every Friday presents the temptation to overindulge and pack on the pounds. Don’t let Shabbat dinner sabotage your healthy eating plan with these simple tips and
yummy recipes!

Israeli Inspired Chopped Salad


 

Healthy Super Bowl Party Recipes

 

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A healthy Super Bowl party?  Sound’s crazy, no?  What’s a Super Bowl party without chips, wings, chili and foot-long deli sandwiches, right?  Well, this year you can have your party and eat it, too – guilt free!

Let’s start with the chips.  Tortilla chips start out pretty healthy.  After all, they are made from whole grain corn.  However, they are fried and add a lot of calories, so I recommend making your own Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips for ultimate flavor or buy baked tortilla chips available at your local market.  Serve with a vegetable filled tomato salsa or a low fat sour cream/non dairy sour cream based dip, like Tzatzikior Garlic Chive Dip.  Throw a few baby carrots and celery sticks around and you might accidentally get some vitamins, too.


 

6 Ways To Prevent the Common Cold

 

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There are many ways to prevent a cold.  Are they foolproof? No, of course not, eventually we all get sick, but if eating can actually help improve the odds, I’m all for it.  Research has shown that certain foods can help prevent colds and provide relief from cold symptoms.   Fight your cold naturally with these 6 tips.

Five A Day.  I know I’m a broken record, but it is true. Fruits and vegetables are good for boosting your immune system.  Make sure to get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.