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 Hebrew-school-educated nutritionist, 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
- Instead of artificially coloured horseradish, make your own horseradish using beets.
- Instead of mystery gefilte fish with hydrogenated oil and sugar, make Quinoa Quiches. (Or make your own gefilte fish.)
- Instead of baked-to-death brisket, try this spiced lamb.
- Instead of sulphite laden dried fruit compote, make baked apples.
- Instead of a Matzo Meal Cake that uses a dozen eggs, make these Sweet Potato Brownies (with quinoa flour)
- Instead of palm-oil crusted fruit flan, make a grain-free fruit crumble.
- Instead of faux chocolates with mystery fillings, make chocolate almond butter cups.
- Instead of those creepy jelly lemon wedge candies, make this almond honey brittle.
UnDiet Passover recipes
Some of these UnDiet Passover menu ideas are non-traditional – but don’t be shy about breaking from tradition!
- Simple Bone Broth Recipe (add chicken + veg)
- Red Onion Soup
- Vegan Celery Root and Apple Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque
- Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup
- Cauliflower Couscous from The UnDiet Cookbook
- Simple Kale Salad
- Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad
- Sweet Potato Salad
Side Dish Options
- Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
- Sweet Potato Zucchini Latkes (use almond flour)
- Lemon Cumin Roasted Carrots
- Mashed Cauliflower (eliminate the millet)
Main Dish Options
- Coconut Curry with Cod
- Shepherd’s Pie (rather appropriate, right?)
- Baked Salmon Cakes (use almond flour)
- All-Dressed Sweet Potatoes
- Slow Roasted Veg and Sausage (use zucchini noodles)
- Moroccan Inspired Lamb (use cauliflower rice)
- Grain-Free Fruit Crumble
- Chocolate Chia Pudding
- Chocolate Cream Pie
- Baked Apples with Easy Dairy-Free Ice Cream
- Dairy-Free Maple Cream Custard
- Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Macaroons
- Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
What healthy Passover recipes are you cooking up this year?
10 responses to “Healthify Your Passover and Skip The Constipation”
not jewish, but love that there are alternatives for ALL holidays! what is the yummy salad shown above? must make that!
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.
Meghan, these options are brilliant – thank you so much. I love this post & completely agree with your sentiments. Happy pesach :)
totally agree with Maxine!! Love all your info and your recipes! Thank you from Maryland!!
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
We do that as well. Everything is made completely form scratch, using whole ingredients only.
Love the holiday!
Absolutely good Passover recipes. Loved them all
SO TRUE!! The most constipating holiday ever! I love Passover and all the traditions.
But this year has to be different. As I recline, I will only indulge on one matzah board and then eat lots and lots of veggies. Thanks for the great Undiet recipe ideas. Happy Pesach!
As usual you and your recipes and your advice is FABULOUS. Thank you again and again Meghan Mench.
I loved this post! The receipes look great. I already eat very little matzoh, but will add more veggies and water. Thank you and Happy Passover