What exactly is “eating healthy”?
This has been the source of a trillion-dollar industry over the past few decades, and we are not going to even hit the tip of the iceberg in the context of this post. But suffice it to say that filtering through all of the media and political propaganda to find the true meaning of eating healthy can be a daunting task. So when my husband and I took on the mission of “becoming healthy” several years ago, we defined our mission very carefully. We set out on a quest to learn what it means to be TRULY healthy…not based on the media’s definition of health, not based on western medicine, or the propaganda fed by lobbyists and bureaucratic government organizations, not by what our neighbors or well-meaning family members said, and not by the latest social media fad…but based on the Torah’s definition of health and finding out how to support that through modern-day research.
I’ll spare you the long and drawn out details, but I spent four solid years of my life devoted to this quest. It’s safe to say that it became sort of an obsession for me, and I am now extremely passionate (understatement of the century) about sharing this information with anyone who cares to learn. (To read the longer explanation and see the Torah sources for this research: Torah Sources for Healthy Eating.) I gradually learned how to incorporate these concepts into our life, and I would advise everyone who is interested in transitioning to a healthier lifestyle to do so in baby steps. Trying to change too much too fast can be overwhelming, which defeats the whole purpose.
To give you a very high-level, abbreviated, overall summary of our beliefs on healthy eating that we will share at MMA, I’m including a list of most important priorities here:
Foods to eliminate completely & immediately:
- White sugar (brown is almost as bad, use it SPARINGLY)
- White flour
- Table salt
- Refined oils
- Conventional strawberries (they are a literal sponge for pesticides)
- Food coloring
- Soup powders with chemicals and MSG
- Soft drinks
- A new study from the American Journal of Public Healthstates that “soft drinks are just as bad for us as cigarettes” and has also shown that soft drink intake reduces the length of telomeres, the protective units surrounding your DNA, that are linked to cellular age, making us age faster.
- Keep dairy to an absolute minimum. One of the world’s top-rated and most-respected nutritionists (who also happens to be a Jew) says “the consumption of dairy products is one of the most questionable nutritional practices of modern times”.
- If you insist on eating meat and fish, (in spite of the science), follow the Rambam’s advice (supported by modern-day research) and eat it only 1 – 2 times per week (eating meat only on Shabbat and Yom Tov is a brilliant rule of thumb).
Proven causes of hyperactivity & aggression in children: Artificial food color & flavor, preservatives, cows’ milk, gluten, sugar (jam, candy, snack foods, soft drinks, etc.)
- For sweet tooth: Dates, dried fruits, raw unprocessed honey, agave nectar, stevia, grade B maple syrup (organic, unprocessed), bananas, date syrup, coconut sugar
- For baking: Spelt flour (wholemeal or white)
- Pure Sea Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, or Dead Sea Salt
- Cold-pressed olive oil and/or coconut oil (I do all of my baking with coconut oil and add small amounts of cold-pressed olive oil or sesame oil to salads.)
- Organic strawberries are ok, just wash them only with salt and water because they literally absorb whatever you spray on them.
- Homemade almond milk is amazingly healthy, easy & delicious. (Recipe coming to the website soon!)
- Raw desserts (Recipes coming soon!)
- We make tons of mouth-watering desserts at home using almond flour, oats, spelt, barley, flax, chia, coconut oil, etc.
- Use organics whenever possible!!!!!
In a nutshell: clean, whole foods. Not packaged or processed.
General healthy eating guidelines:
- Eat only 2/3 as much as you think you need.
- Exercise to get heart rate up before eating.
- Try to give your digestive system a break at night.Stop eating well before bedtime.
- Take some time in the morning to hydrate before eating.
- All taste buds and food preferences can be retrained, relearned, and totally transformed.
- It takes roughly 21 days to change a habit, but slightly longer to overhaul a complete life pattern. Yes, even children. Yes, even grown men.
Note #1: this section includes only the physical component to healthy eating. You can read more about the spiritual component of healthy eating here: Torah Sources for Healthy Eating.
Note #2: I do not believe or recommend that anyone should feel obligated to adopt this life philosophy of healthy eating overnight. I share it with you here so that you will understand how and what we are teaching the children and families at MMA.
Note #3: We are working on adding a Recipes section to this website, so stay tuned! FYI: I have 3 criteria for all my recipes: 1) My family and guests must drool over how yummy they are, 2) They are packed with only clean, nutritious ingredients, and 3) They’re easy to make.