Strategic Feasting Before Fasting

During the 25-hour fast of Yom Kippur, many people suffer from dehydration, low sugar levels, and lack of caffeine. It is much easier to persevere and achieve success if you prepare well in advance.

Wean Yourself From Caffeine:

Photo: Nevit Dilmen

Photo: Nevit Dilmen.

The one thing regular coffee drinkers miss the most during Yom Kippur is coffee. They miss caffeine even more than water.

Coffee consumers should taper off their caffeine consumption during the week before Yom Kippur.

Avoid Dehydrating Foods:

The day before the fast, avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. Abstain from salty foods such as pickles, smoked fish, cheese, cold cuts, and processed food with lots of added sodium chloride.

Fill Up on Water:

Make sure to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. You may also pre-hydrate with electrolyte drinks.

Electrolytes are minerals that transport an electric charge to your cells. It is imperative to keep a good balance between the electrolytes and fluids in your body for healthy body chemistry.

The most important components for human hydration are water mixed with sugar and salt. This electrolyte mix helps keep our cells hydrated at the appropriate level. Good commercial choices are Powerade Zero and Propel Workout Water, which hydrate with no additional calories. You can make your own electrolyte drink at home:

Orange-Lemon Electrolyte Drink

Adapted from Everyday Roots

Photo: Ramzy Muliawan

Photo: Ramzy Muliawan.

  1.  2 cups filtered water
  2. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  3. 2 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/2 cup orange juice, preferably freshly-squeezed
  5. 1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix all of the ingredients in a pitcher and enjoy chilled.

Eat Foods That Break Down Slowly:

Whole grains are the darlings of diabetes doctors and patients. Your body has to work very hard to break them down. The result of this is a slow and steady flow of sugar into your bloodstream, which will keep you satiated.

Cuban Chicken and Brown Rice One-Pot Stew

Adapted from Mombabe

Photo: Sea Turtle

Photo: Sea Turtle.

  • 4 chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup frozen baby sweet peas
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  1. Cut up the onion, carrots, red bell pepper, and celery.
  2. Mince the garlic.
  3. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pot.
  4. Brown the chicken on both sides.
  5. Season with oregano, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pour in the minced garlic.
  7. Add the chopped onion and celery.
  8. Lower the heat, and cook for 20 minutes.
  9. Add the carrots, red bell pepper, rice, chicken broth, and bay leaf.
  10. Sprinkle in the saffron strands.
  11. Bring the pot to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes.
  12. Add the frozen baby sweet peas and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Lentil, Root Vegetable, and Tahini Casserole

Adapted from Chef Shai Tannaphoto-2

For the casserole:

  • 1 1/2 cups lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup cubed pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw tahini
  • 8 1/2 cups water
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 lemons, juiced

For the rice:

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt

Prepare the brown rice:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot.
  2. Add the rice and salt to taste.
  3. Stir fry until the rice is hot and aromatic.
  4. Pour in the water.
  5. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 minutes.

Prepare the lentil casserole:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Rinse the lentils in cold water.
  3. Chop up the onion, carrots, and tomatoes.
  4. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven.
  5. Sauté the onion until golden-brown.
  6. Add the pumpkin and carrots.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste and, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  8. Add the water and lemon juice.
  9. Bring to a boil.
  10. Add the lentils, Swiss chard, and tomatoes.
  11. Lower the heat to medium, and cook for 30 minutes.
  12. Pour the lentil stew into an oven-safe dish.
  13. Drizzle 1/4 cup of raw tahini over it.
  14. Bake for 15 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Ladle the lentil stew into bowls over brown rice.

May you be sealed in the Book of Life, for a sweet and good New Year.

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