Chili and Corn Muffins
Chili and Corn Muffins

The days after Rosh Hashanah are a time to reflect and prepare for the upcoming day of Yom Kippur both mentally and physically. While we would like to focus on the spiritual experience of prayer and repentance, often the hardships of fasting can distract from the true objective of the day. Although it is inevitable that there will be discomfort while fasting, taking precautions so that you don’t get ill or dehydrate are important to ensure your fast goes well.

Drink a lot! Hydrating your body is key to an easier fast. Dehydration will cause weakness, headaches, and overall discomfort. Water is the best way to hydrate your body. You can drink other liquids as well, including sports drinks that provide electrolytes, but stay away from caffeinated beverages, which make your body lose more water.

Wean yourself off caffeine. Caffeine is one of the hardest things to do without on a fast day for someone who is used to consuming daily doses of it. Since caffeine is addictive, your body will display signs of withdrawal without it, such as headaches, irritability, and weariness. You can slowly take yourself off of caffeine starting two weeks before a fast, reducing your intake until you are not drinking any caffeine a couple of days before the fast.

Do not overeat. One might think it’s good to load up with a large meal before the fast, but in fact eating a normal-size meal is more beneficial. Eating a heavy, big meal will make you uncomfortable and will not supply you with any more calories for the next day when you cannot eat. It may actually expand your stomach and make you hungrier when fasting. The best thing is to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Eating foods you might crave will also only make you crave similar foods when fasting. Stay away from high-fat, sugary, and salty foods.

Load up on carbs. Carbohydrates, especially complex ones, are the best to eat before a fast. They help your body retain more water and stay hydrated, and keep you fuller and more energized once fasting. Breads, pastas, rice, beans, fruits, and vegetables are all good sources of complex carbohydrates. Whole-grain carbs are even better, since they are digested slowly and keep you fuller longer. Don’t eat too much protein or fatty foods. v

Moroccan Bean Stew

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups chopped red peppers

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. ginger

salt and pepper to taste

15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

15-oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with juices

1 cup vegetable broth

Directions:

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add peppers, squash, and onions and cook for 5 minutes.

Add cinnamon, garlic powder, cumin, ginger, and salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute, then add beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, and broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Serve over couscous or with crusty bread.

Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to elke@TakeHomeChef.net, or visiting www.TakeHomeChef.net.

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