I plan on losing a couple of pounds this Pesach by giving up carbs during the holiday.
Now I know it sounds impossible. Between the matzo and the macaroons, the Jell-rings and the fruit slices and the blandishments of boxes of Barton’s candy that everyone brings, gaining weight on Passover is tradition. There is a voice in our souls saying “eat, bubbeleh.”
Good thing I belong to Etz Chayim, which is a liberal synagogue. We do what is good for us, and eating lots of matza–a product which manages to be both crunchy and sharp enough to cut the roof of your mouth, while having a taste so subtle that it needs a 1/3 inch of butter to be palatable, is not good for you. I don’t care that the custom of eating matza is so embedded-one could even say impacted–in the Jewish psyche that one of my Seder guests passed around a picture with a picture of a matza covered toilet and the capiton “Let my people go.” I’m planning on composting most of the matza I bought for the Seder.
I’ve gone to the farmer’s market and loaded up on my fruits and vegetables. I have a little dried fruit, too. Plantain chips are not hametz, but they are as filling as toast. For some reason, I bought 4 boxes of matza ball mix, but no matter, I can save them for next year. This year I’m having Pesach on South Beach–low carb all the way.
I started this practice about 15 years ago, when I was working at Common Ground with a macrobiotic cook. When we were talking about Passover, she made a very interesting remark: “So you give up yeast for a week? How healthy!” Then she spoke about all the things people eat when they can’t eat yeast because of something called Candida, or when they have allergies to wheat, and that got me to thinking about why I ate as much Matza on Passover as I did, and the only answer was: “because I always have.”
Well, feh on that! Here I was in California, mistress of my own household! I was tired of the weight gain on Passover, tired of the cycle of running to the chocolate because I felt sorry for myself eating matza, Also tired of the natural consequence of all that matza.
So I gave up the perforated bread of affliction, and brought nuts and dried fruit and cottage cheese for lunch at the store instead of matza pizza, had scrambled eggs with veggies for breakfast instead of matza brie, and instead of serving matza kugel with our dinners of Seder leftovers, I steamed a bunch of broccoli and green beans (or carrots), instead.
And the “going” problem? It went away.
MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2011
Passover on South Beach
Pesach in South Beach
When we conduct the Seder, matza is called ‘the bread of affliction.’
Because strictly observing the commandment in Deuteronomy does not just mean eating matza instead of bread–if you take it seriously, Passover means no products made from any dough, or anything that is cooked with water and swells. That means no pasta, no noodles, no rice, no barley, no cookies, no corn,no soybeans or soy products, nothing made with corn syrup, only specially prepared extracts because regular extracts are made with grain alchohol. Oh, yes, and the swelling in water thing means no beans, no peas, no legumes of any sort.*
Matza is dense, and dry,and leaves an unbelievable amount of crumbs around the house. It can’t be toasted, and it does not satisfy the appetite. It breaks erratically, and scratches the roof of your mouth if…
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