The per­ils of eat­ing Jewishly

The Jewish Chronicle - - KOSHER - BY PETER GAFFNEY

EV­ERY COUN­TRY has a food or dish that peo­ple as­so­ciate with it. Bel­gium has waf­fles; Aus­tralia has pavlova and Italy is known for pasta. And the kosher diet? Well, where do I start? Ro­gelach, cholent, her­ring, kugel, latkes, whiskey, chal­lah. I could go on and on. So — can the kosher diet ever be healthy?

The an­swer, in short, is yes. How­ever, it takes a lot of ef­fort, ded­i­ca­tion and hard work to stay on track, not gain weight and lead a healthy life­style.

I am the owner of a per­sonal train­ing com­pany and I am also a religious Jew. I not only see, deal with and eat kosher food all day but also make sure that my clients stay on track and achieve suc­cess while be­ing able to eat the foods they en­joy.

When it comes to a bal­anced diet, be­ing Jewish can have an im­pact. The life­styles we have, whether it in­volves a bar­mitz­vah one week or a wed­ding the next, leads to a lot of temp­ta­tion and overeat­ing.

As for Shab­bat — pro­ceed with cau­tion. When peo­ple ask me “How’s work?” my re­sponse is “as long as there is Shab­bat, I’m in busi­ness!”

HOW DO WE GET AROUND SHAB­BAT, CHAGIM AND SIM­CHAHS?

It all comes down to mak­ing the right choices, whether you’re cook­ing the food, or eat­ing it. Ad­di­tion­ally, your willpower will af­fect your eat­ing habits. Don’t get me wrong — a Jewish/ kosher diet can be a very clean and healthy way of liv­ing. In fact, Is­rael (think sal­ads, hum­mus, chicken shish­lik...) rates in the top 10 coun­tries for health­i­est di­ets, as found by a study pub­lished in global health jour­nal.

It’s all about con­trol and dis­ci­pline, like any­thing else in life. We have our equiv­a­lent of a Christ­mas meal ev­ery week. So what’s the game plan? I’m speak­ing more to the men out there. Kid­dush, kid­dush club, what­ever your weak­ness — and you know what it is — you need to be able to make sen­si­ble choices and go with the right foods to fit in with your life­style (for ul­ti­mate suc­cess it has to be a life­style not a diet).

If you think you can have a bowl of cholent and kugel washed down with three whiskies ev­ery Shab­bat and ex­pect to lose weight, I’m here to tell you, get real!

I know how your Shab­bat morn­ings start. They prob­a­bly go some­thing like this: two choco­late rugelach for break­fast, then off to shul for a cou­ple of hours. Shul wraps up by mid­day but be­fore you go out for lunch you have to eat at Benjy’s kid­dush. Cholent, kugel, whiskies, her­ring etc.

Add the break­fast calo­ries to this and you’re sit­ting on more than 1,200 calo­ries by the time you sit down for lunch. I won’t go on — you get the pic­ture. All right, I will. Com­bine lunch and then go­ing out for din­ner on Satur­day night and you’ll be look­ing at 4,000 calo­ries.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

Try the fol­low­ing on ev­ery Shab­bat for the next month: on Fri­day night, fo­cus on por­tion con­trol; limit your­self to a sin­gle piece of chal­lah and eat lean chicken rather than al­ways con­sum­ing red meat. Cut back on the roast pota­toes or kugel.

Change the way you ap­proach Shab­bat morn­ing. Have a black coffee with a bowl of fruit-and-fi­bre ce­real in­stead of the rugelach. When it comes to kid­dush, swap the cholent and kugel for her­ring and a cracker. Lose all but one shot of whiskey and, for lunch, have just one por­tion. Re­sist sec­onds and choose fruit for dessert.

I guar­an­tee your Shab­bat will look at least 2,000 calo­ries lighter and when you weigh your­self on Sun­day morn­ing, you will be pleas­antly sur­prised that you are still at the weight you had worked so hard to achieve the week be­fore.

Fri­day night can turn into a calo­rie-fest

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