On the Eve of Passover I was in New York. While still in Israel I received a recommendation about a special rabbi, DovBer Pinson, and to attend his Seder I traveled to Brooklyn for the first time. The Seder started late due to the end of Sabbath. I was supposed to arrive around eight o'clock but was told by Mark, the organizer, that it is "Jewish time" and surely won't start on time. Strange - I was sure that was only an Israeli thing. At half past eight I was still on the subway; by mistake I had taken the wrong train. I am one of those people who always(!) arrives on time, often even early, and it was already a quarter to nine. Usually I get stressed when I'm late but for some reason I was calm. "This year I guess I am freeing myself from slavery to time", I thought to myself, "and the Seder will probably begin just when I arrive". After changing to the right train I exited the subway station on the right street but very far from the address, number 450. I started to walk. The street was empty, dark and a bit scary; I felt like I was in a warehouse area. The thought crossed my mind that I might have mistaken the address, but I was determined to find number 450. I actually passed it and had to walk back. I stood at the corner of the street, under a lamppost, opposite a white door that really did not feel like an entrance to anything, though it had a sticker with the number 450. I knocked but no one answered. I heard a woman's voice talking to a child, and she sounded upset. I said to myself, "Well, no Seder this year... it isn't the end of the world". But to my surprise, I was flooded with a desire to celebrate Passover. I phoned Mark the organizer but there was no answer. I left him a message that I am lost and would he contact me urgently. I felt sorry for myself. I meant to return to Manhattan but suddenly my hand opened the door. It is hard to describe the feeling that came over me. The door opened to a little space that lead me into a big auditorium. Dozens of happy people were there, dressed for the holiday, Kipas on the men's heads, beautifully set tables, red wine, silver plated dishes, eggs, bitter herbs, Matza. The space was tremendous in size, alight with bright magical chandeliers, and white long curtains covered the high windows. Yochi, the Rabbi's wife, blessed me and said I had arrived just in time for the lighting of the candles. She gave me a long candle and with it I lit a little candle that I placed between dozens of other bright little candles.
This indeed was a night of order ("Seder" in Hebrew) and departure into freedom, inspite of, or maybe because of, the kind of food that was served, which I usually don't eat.
Tomorrow I'm going on a diet!
Why Weight? Diets Don't Work
You can't turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with the hottest obsession which has been around for years: weight. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution - your shortcut to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as 9 or 10 years of age.
Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. America's populace has reached its highest weight in history. About half are overweight; one-third are obese. Diets steer us away from our common sense and dip deeply into our pockets while eliciting few, if any, lasting results.
Diets don't work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle; how could one diet be right for everyone? Diets don't work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 4.5Kg (10-pound) gain once off the diet. Diets don't work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed and weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body.
Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances. In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting.
Balance and a sustainable weight are your birthright. Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom. There is no such thing as a quick fix; you already have everything you need within you. With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself wisely and purposefully and be completely nourished. Working with your body rather than against it will bring about increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.
Food Focus: Sprouts
In their raw form, sprouts have a cooling effect on the body, and therefore are best consumed in warm weather or by robust, warm body types. Those who tend to feel cool can try steaming spouts or adding them to warm dishes such as stir-fries and soups, to reduce the cooling effect. There is a wide variety of edible and delicious sprouts, each with a different texture and flavor: alfalfa, mung bean, lentil, radish, clover, sunflower, broccoli, garbanzo and adzuki.
Great ways to serve sprouts:
* Add to salads.
* Combine with other vegetables in wraps, roll-ups or stir-fries.
* Use as garnish on top of soups, stews, scrambled eggs (free
ranged organic, of course).
* Add to rice or whole-grain dishes.
* Use in sandwiches instead of lettuce.
* Eat as a snack
Recipe of the Month: Spring Sprouting Steamer
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 package mixed crunchy sprouts
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
4 lemon wedges
Organic salt to taste
1. Slice zucchini and carrot in discs about 5cm (1/4 inch) thick.
steam with sprouts for about 5 minutes or until desired
2. Toss with tarragon, olive oil and salt in bowl.
3. Serve with lemon wedge.
Easiest to sprout: green lentils, mung beans, adzuki.
2. Drain well and spread on plate, tray, in wide container or
use a sprouter.
3. Rinse twice a day - keep moist but not too wet.
4. You can start eating them when a little sprout is seen.
5. When sprout is about 1cm (0.4 inch) long - refrigerate in open
container to avoid spoiling.
6. Rinse well before eating to discharge bacteria and germs.
10% Discount on Sprouter
A great place to buy seeds, sprouters and get advice on home sprouting and other products related to a healthy lifestyle is at "New Horizon": http://www.newhorizon.co.il/
Tel Aviv store - located at 109 Nachalat Binyamin.
Buying through this newsletter will provide a 10% discount on a sprouter until the 30/6/08. All you have to do is give this slogan: SPRINGSPROUTS.
It's such a pleasure to help those closest to us become happier and healthier. Please forward this newsletter to friends, family members or colleagues, to whomever might be interested and inspired by it.
Spring has arrived. Eat sprouts and feel alive!
Holistic health counselor