Healthy Life Lessons from Maimonides to our Days

Rambam

Our generation is facing one of the serious health issues – obesity. In response to public demand many diets were introduced in the recent years. Some of them come and go quietly without creating too much damage; some of them unfortunately did not go so unnoticed. We have rights to ask the question who is behind promoting those diets and how many years of scientific studies did they undergo?

When a new diet shows up, people jump to it without realizing we are playing with our
own health. It is not yet another book, or an article – it is our health that is at risk.

Some people who follow kosher dietary laws would eat anything as long as the package has a trusted rabbinical certification. It is assumed to be good. G-d will take care of theside7 rest. Is it true?

We do not seem to think that the Torah requires us to control our eating to preserve our health. It is quite opposite. There are laws in the code of Jewish laws (Halacha) about eating. I will have another post to cover this amazing topic.

Maimonides – one of the greatest Jewish philosopher and the outstanding doctor who lived 800 years ago wrote a tremendous amount of material concerning health. Maimonides’ teachings have withstood hundreds of years and are as solid and truthful as they have ever been. Many recent nutritionists outside of Jewish world came to the same conclusions after decades of proven studies on the matter. Every science and medical discovery till nowadays just provides confirmation of Torah’s ultimate truth and wisdom. It encourages the fact that this manual for living is given to us with love and care.

In his writings, Maimonides gave very clear instructions regarding what, when and how much people should eat in order to lead a healthy life. One of his well-known quotes is: “No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”

His attitude to medicine is based on three main fundamentals — nutrition, physical exercise and balanced mental state. If you practice physical activity but neglect your nutrition, or eat healthy but do not exercise, or suffer from depression, then eventually your health will suffer. Maimonides has talks on the benefits of sun exposure, vegetarianism and a good night sleep.

Maimonides teaches Don’t eat three hours before bedtime; wait one hour after rising to eat; don’t drink milk; avoid meat (if you must eat animal flesh, choose chicken); eat small fish, such as the sardine, instead of big fish, like the tuna; don’t drink as you eat, (Too much fluid dilutes the enzymes, which makes digestion harder) and, the most obvious one, don’t overeat.”

Maimonides says that most of the health and sickness of the body ruled by how one digests his food. One who does it in the proper way will be a healthy person, but one who does not do it right will be a weak person and can bring himself to danger.

The beginning of the digestion process takes place in the mouth, as the teeth grind the food and mix it with saliva. Therefore, one should not swallow any food without chewing it first. The stomach’s job is much easier if one were to chew his food properly before swallowing it. Since chewing is so important, one should refrain from talking (including talking on the phone). Aside from the danger of choking, this also prevents proper chewing. Reading also distracts one from chewing. One should not place food on his fork while he is chewing, as he will swallow his food faster if he sees food ready on his fork to be eaten.

One should be in a happy mood and not full of anger, fear and worry while eating.


Even a snack requires you to sit down, chew well and give it your full attention.

Healthy Snack


Are all vegetables born equal? 

The majority of people know that eating fruits and vegetables is very important.

Vegetables are essential to our health because they are whole foods, created by nature and are rich in large amount of nutrients. The processed foods that we so commonly eat, can never compare to the health benefits provided by broccoli or carrots which have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.

By eating variety  of vegetables, one can get the best all-around health benefits. Different color vegetables contain unique health components that are important to our health.

Vegetables have many common properties – vitamins, minerals and fiber. One might think that it doesn’t matter which vegetables to eat; that they provide equal benefits. It is fascinating how different they actually are, even just  by looks – size, taste, shape, and color

Green vegetables

Green vegetables contain chlorophyll  (a protein compound that aids in creating healthy Kale Green 300x400red blood cells), fiber, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion, support health of our eyes and vision, and boost immune system activity.

Green vegetables have fewer calories, less sugar. They are cleansing and provide light uplifting energy. They are good throughout the year but especially during spring – natural time for body cleansing after winter when our system was collecting and storing to keep us warm.

G-d created people in balance with the nature. Signs and hints are everywhere around us. Green leafy vegetables grow during the spring. Spring is the first season when nature is awakening after the winter. New green leaves are emerged on trees and bushes, and new green grass covers the land.

Spring is the best time of the year to eat leafy greens – arugula, watercress, parsley, bok choy, mustard greens, etc.

But even among green vegetables some possess undesired properties.

Chard, spinach, rhubarb, beet leaves – are stressful vegetables. They might increase risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones since they contain oxalic acid, which binds calcium and eliminates calcium from the body.

Green paper – is one of nightshade vegetables (as tomato, eggplant, red pepper, potato) which is better to avoid. Nightshade vegetables speed up the heart rate and slow down digestion. They are high in alkaloids which block vitamin B absorption. They might contribute to arthritic and rheumatic symptoms.

List of Healthy – Healing – Good For YOU – green vegetables:

Kale Dinosaur 330x400

Broccoli,

Brussels sprouts,

Green Cabbage,

Kale (green, red, dinosaur)

Collard, Bok Choy,

Parsley, Cilantro,

Arugula, Watercress,

Dill, Mustard greens,Leek 300x400

Cucumber, Kohlrabi,

Chinese cabbage,

Romaine lettuce, 

Dandelion, Celery,

Green onion (scallion),

Leek, Zucchini, 

Sugar snap peas,

Green beans.


**Health Tip: Kale and Collard provide more vitamins, minerals and protein than meat (pound for pound)


Mother’s Day calls for a Dessert

MothersDayBouquet2015My daughter sent me this beautiful bouquet of flowers. Her love and thoughtfulness shines through the choice of unique, colorful, and every time different but always gorgeous bouquet. It touches my heart every time with realization and appreciation of our deep connection. She attached a card that speaks volume to me – loving and caring message enveloped in the refined sence of humor. I can’t help sharing it here:

Happy Mother’s Day to my greatest teacher, my best friend and my cheapest therapist! I love you! #CoolestMom #BestMom #MyMomCooksGreatFood #HealthyMom #MomIsOnInstagram #mom #MomGivesAdvise #MothersDay #Flowers #Colorful #Spring #MomAppreciation #Mommy #Mama #FunMom #WiseMom #SmartMom #MacrobioticMom #ILoveYou #Love #ChefMom

I was not into cooking, moreover into healthy cooking. 😦 at the time when my daughter attended the high school. She learned how to cook and she loves cooking since then. She used to find complicated recipes, provided me with the list of ingredients to buy (many of which I had not heard before). 🙂 and another cooking masterpiece emerged! I was amazed at her creativity. Sometimes she would call me at work to find out at what time I was coming home because she was cooking dinner. It had to be perfectly done and warm by my arrival. In addition, she was designing beautiful menus and we played roles. She was an owner of a boutique restaurant and I was a lucky guest. I got to enjoy colorful menu, delicious food, gorgeous presentation, excellent service and a great company.

Ever since then, when it comes to having a meal, she does not just start eating; she makes a beautiful arrangement on her plate and when it is decorated to mouth-watering appetizing state – it is ready to be eaten.

I believe the passion for the food decoration is passed on with genes. It runs in the family – my mom always spent time on elaborated decoration of every dish when we had guests over. Not a single dish would be served at the table unless it is fully decorated regardless of the fact that guests are already gathered and hungry 🙂

All these good memories are connected with the food I cook today. My cooking is an act of love. It is important to give love to the food while making it. The taste is totaly depends on the state of your heart while preparing food. When you cooking with passion it guarantees the delicious result (not experience or good recipe description). I am inspired to dedicate time to arrangement and decoration of my dishes. This dessert is my grateful gift to my teachers: my mom and my daughter who continue inspire me today.

Happy Mother’s Day to You and Your Mother !!!!DessertAgarStrawberryRaspberryKiwi600

Miso Soup is my Hero

Yesterday I had a stressful day at work. It is hard for me especially because I do not have a good poker face; actually it is quite opposite 🙂 I exercised an attempt staying composed, not overreacting, smiling, praising worthless ideas … It was one of those days…

But now it is time to nourish myself.

Miso soup
Miso soup is my hero; it always comes to rescue me and never fails. Actually any warm mild-tasting soup is relaxing. It is good to start a meal with soup. It calms you down after a busy day and prepares digestive system to digest solid food that is following the soup.

Miso soup is easy to make, so I cook a small portion. Freshly made miso soup has the most healing magic. It requires a few ingredients – dried wakame that is always on my macrobiotic shelf, miso paste and two to four vegetables. Almost any vegetable will do the job. Every combination results in another taste bouquet though delicious. Dried shiitake mushrooms can be added to enrich the soup with tremendous healing power. Shiitake mushrooms deserve a separate post.

Today I found in my fridge red cabbage, daikon, and broccoli – perfect nutritious combination of crunchy red cabbage, white daikon and refreshing green broccoli. It takes 10 minutes to make this simple miso soup. Give it a try!Miso Soup

Sun, Vitamin D, Food and Health

walk along the Miami beachFor the last three years we are spending Passover in Miami, Florida. It proved to be an amazing getaway after long, cold, sunless Chicago winter. It has all that is needed to rejuvenate – sun, ocean, long sandy beaches to stroll along, ample kosher for Passover food, multiple Chabads in walking distance, and plenty of locally grown vegetables and fruits.

I am surprised at myself getting up at 7 am every day without an alarm clock energized ready to roll. I am rushing to the beach to get my morning walk while the sun is the healthiest.

Yesterday I read an interesting article about Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for people’s health. Sun is the best source. Vitamin D forms when the sun touches our skin and is deposited in our liver. Liver stores inactive vitamin D up to 20 days. Kidneys request a small portion of the stored vitamin D, activate it and send it to work in our body. Activated vitamin D kills diseased cells, plays essential role in calcium absorption,  healthy development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, facilitates immune system’s function, reduces risk of chronicle diseases.ChinaStudy

Intake of animal food creates an acidic condition in our blood and slows down the activated Vitamin D.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/nutrition-advice-from-the-china-study/?_r=0

You might take Vitamin D supplements or believe that you getting it by eating cheese and meat; in reality it is quite opposite – this vitamin D does not become active and does not get to the stage where it does its work keeping us healthy.

I try to go for a walk every opportunity the sun shines in Chicago. Even 15 minutes’ walk will do the wonder. During winter I cook wild caught white meat fish to recharge the vital vitamin D level during those dark grey days. Wild caught fish is a healthy second best source of vitamin D.

Check out the recipe for a well-balanced meal with wild caught Lake Trout

Brown Rice Lake Trout