In a previous post I spoke about the perfect Jewish diet. Basically it sums up to “on weekdays eat as much as you need, and on Shabbat and Holidays eat as much as you wish“. Obviously, I don’t mean you should go to extremes. Over-eating is never good, not even on Shabbat, and living like a hermit, eating only scarce water and stale bread, is certainly not The Jewish Way.
So what is?
In order to find the right balance we must first understand how all this works. What is the difference between Shabbat and normal weekdays, and how does that affect our bodies, as well as our souls?
On Jewish sacred days the souls and the world they live in are elated. The change is not only in quality but in quantity as well. Our sages tell us that we are actually granted an “additional spirit”, a Neshama Yetera, on Shabbat and Holidays. And as we now have two, we must feed two… That is why we eat a lot without suffering from the excess. Of course we must remember that our souls are supposedly doubled, but not tripled or quadrupled…so there is a limit to eating – even on Shabbat and Holidays.
In addition to that, according to the Kabbalah, as The Worlds rise on holy days, that which was on normal weekdays a luxury becomes a part of sanctity, becomes a Mitzva. Therefore eating for pleasure becomes a “good deed”, and has spiritual protection against all harm.
This is not the same on weekdays. Because we have “only” one soul, overeating has no justification, and becomes unnecessary and harmful, pretty much like how science explains the creation of fats from food materials which are unnecessary for our body.
Also, because The Worlds are on “low-mode” on normal weekdays, as luxury eating is not a Mitzva, we don’t have this spiritual protection, and it could all transform into refuse, fat and cholesterol.
I must emphasize that all this does not mean one should starve on weekdays. But good, healthy, tasty food in sufficient quantity, as opposed to over eating, and consummation of junky food, could well be considered as “eating as much as you need” without entering hermit territory. Because you need good food, and you don’t need junk.
And as for keeping the balance on Shabbat and Holidays, I believe that someone who has a habit of controlling what he eats on weekdays, has no real danger of becoming a savage eater on Shabbat and Holidays.
I also believe that adopting this way of life should be done gradually, especially the part about controlling what you eat on normal weekdays.
So let’s sum up, giving you…
The Perfect Jewish Diet
1. On weekdays eat so that you can serve G-D the best way, taking care of your body as well as your spirit, eating good healthy food, in sufficient quantity, but avoiding excess.
2. Avoid eating what you don’t need. Avoid candy and junk food, but be wary not to harm the spirit. What I mean is that if avoiding candy and the such brings you to depression, if you really need it, consider disregarding the rules just this once, because depression is really bad for you.
3. Avoid depression, if possible…
4. When attacked by an urge to eat candy, or whipped-cream chocolate cake, try to tell yourself: “Wait for Shabbat, dude!”
5. On Shabbat (and Holidays) let yourself go…but remember you have only one additional soul to feed and not sixty.
6. Go slow about it.
I was lately delighted to hear that our balanced eating theory actually features in one of the most successful diet systems now popular in the US – the E-Factor Diet, by John Rowley. In his method he preaches caution – six days a week, when one’s supposed to eat only health-food products. But once a week, he says, one has to let go, and eat whatever he wishes or dreams about. He explains scientifically how a body in diet actually needs a “let-go” period at fixed times, otherwise a backfiring reaction of weight gain may occur. That “let-go” day may well be Shabbat; if so, your’e actually combining our Perfect Jewish Diet, with The well known E-Factor Diet, and that’s cool. What’s more, it may even work, and that’s even cooler…
So you can check out Rowley’s method here. I tell you – it’s really interesting.
That’s all for now on the perfect Jewish Diet, but –
I’ll be happy to hear from you, and please stay updated with our new posts. For that – you know where to click…
Cheers (or should I say Lechaim!)
For a pdf version of this post click here!
(picture courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/slgc/5375779201/)