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Healthify Your Passover and Skip The Constipation

 

Passover is a Jewish holiday that extends for eight days, requiring observers to avoid leavened bread. That's the basic rule. No problem. I don't remember the last time I ate leavened bread. If that was all that is required for an UnDiet Passover, I'd be fine.

Beyond this, the rules get a little fuzzy. You could join ten different families for Passover on the same street and have ten different experiences of what Passover is. Even to this good little hebrew-school-educated nutritionista, it gets confusing.

For example: wheat, barley, rye, spelt and oats are forbidden, unless those foods are labeled "kosher for Passover." Matzoh, the primary symbolic  'food' of Passover, is made most often with wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats. Confusing, and you can throw your gluten-free dreams out the window. Food can get the stamp of approval if rabbis have determined that foods containing these grains are cooked in 18 minutes or less - after which time the natural leavening in the grains would cause foods to rise.

Typically "Kosher for Passover foods" are those made specifically for the holiday under the supervision of a rabbi. Unfortunately, I have yet to meet a nutritionist rabbi, and much of the kosher foods are loaded with hydrogenated and modified vegetable oils, monosodium glutamate, and refined flours and chemical preservatives.

Rice, millet, corn, beans, and lentils are additional foods that are usually forbidden during Passover. These are forbidden as they can be ground up and cooked like flour and therefore, can be mixed into stuff and baked and rise, therefore falling into the leavened bread category.

Quinoa is the saving grace of those trying to observe both gluten-free health and Passover.

I respect those that choose to follow the traditions of their culture combining those with the traditions of their families.

The question I have is how a holiday that was intended to celebrate the freeing of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, evolved into a holiday filled with heavily processed ten-pound matzoh bagels, kosher for Passover toothpaste and chewing gum, cakes that use a dozen eggs, the most constipating food combinations there ever were, ridiculously sweet bad wine, and the swapping of day-to-day dishes for disposables for eight days to avoid contamination (some people do have a second set of real dishes for this holiday).

Free Yourself From The Constipation Nightmare

And just as the Jews were freed from Egypt, you too can be freed from hours spent sitting on the loo, bunged up from the overindulgence of the previous nights' Passover feast or the morning treat of fried matzoh. Keep the water and veggie game high, the matzoh meal containing foods to a minimum and you should be good to go... literally.

How To Avoid Constipation During Passover

  • Drink lots of water, throughout the day.
  • Minimize the matzoh intake. Even the gluten-free options are fiber-free starch parties.
  • Say no to matzoh bagels. A week without bagels-- you can do it.
  • Eat lots of vegetables. And then eat more. Raw, steamed, baked, blended.
  • Reduce/eliminate sugar. Really, though, what is with those creepy jelly 'citrus' slices.
  • Avoid over eating. This is a tricky one but pace yourself. The amount of food served as a Passover dinner is often the equivalent of three meals.
  • Skip the sugar-rich Manischewitz wine. Have some fizzy water and grape juice between glasses of normal adult wine, or skip the wine altogether.
  • Drink even more water. Worth saying twice.
  • Up your smoothie game. A great way to get in loads of fiber and water and it will be a refreshing breakfast option to keep you free from the aforementioned bagels.

The traditions have evolved and some of these may not be working. I'm pretty sure this was not how people celebrated this holiday five hundred years ago, let alone fifty years ago.

What if "the way it's always been done", or the ways our families celebrate it,  just doesn't work for our own personal values and philosophies? Then what do we do?

That's where we ask: Is this working?

Ideas to Help You UnDiet Your Passover

UnDiet Passover Menu Options

Some of these UnDiet Passover menu ideas are non-traditional - but don't be shy about breaking from tradition!

Appetizer Options

UnDiet Your Passover and Make This Instead - Grain-free flax crackers


Soup Options

UnDiet Your Passover and Make This Instead - vegan french onion soup


Salad Options

UnDiet Your Passover and Make This Instead - Kale Salad


Side Dish Options

UnDiet Your Passover and Make This Instead - Balsamic Roasted Veggies


Main Dish Options

UnDiet Your Passover and Make This Instead


Dessert Options

UnDiet Your Passover and Make This Instead

What are you cooking up this year for Passover? Are you UnDieting your own holidays?

UnDiet Your Passover and Make This Instead

5 Responses to “Healthify Your Passover and Skip The Constipation”

  1. sharon stanley said…
    not jewish, but love that there are alternatives for ALL holidays! what is the yummy salad shown above? must make that!
  2. rebecca said…
    I'm lucky, my maternal family is *really* into whole food! and most of us stay away from gluten too. I never have to fear going to Easter, Christmas or thanksgiving. There is always more than enough for me to eat. No ambrosia salad or candied yams or green bean casserole from a can.
  3. Maxine said…
    Meghan, these options are brilliant - thank you so much. I love this post & completely agree with your sentiments. Happy pesach :)
    • Charli said…
      totally agree with Maxine!! Love all your info and your recipes! Thank you from Maryland!!
  4. mik said… April 20, 2020
    I actually love Passover. Our tradition is actually to have no processed foods on Passover and to make everything from scratch (and I know many other that do that as well), which is great clean eating

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