Pre-Taanis Preparations: By Ezi Levi

ezi leviShiva Asar B’tamuz and TIsha B’av, being the longest fast as well as during the hottest Time of the year, the discussion seems to turn to what one should eat to prepare themselves properly, so let’s do a little review.

The biggest cause of weakness during a fast is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Because we haven’t eaten in so many hours our blood sugar levels ( BGL) dip and causes us to be lightheaded. So what can be done pre Taanis to help this? The best recommendation that I can give for this is to eat pasta or oatmeal before the fast. Both of these foods release sugar into the bloodstream slowly and over time so you can keep your sugar levels up over a longer period of time. Will it last you until the end of the fast? Unlikely, but it will keep you going longer, however don’t stuff yourself with it, eat a normal sized portion.

The other thing that causes weakness during a fast is dehydration. We generally don’t drink enough water as it is, so before the fast it is even more important to drink at least 10-12 cups of water as well as to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables which are high in nutrients and water content.
My favorites are grapes, watermelon, cherries on the fruit side and peppers, lettuce and cucumbers on the veggie side. But really any fruits or vegetables will work.

What about electrolytes and sports drinks?

Well….. If you are concerned about losing electrolytes because you will be outside a lot and sweating up a storm, or if you eat a very low sodium, potassium and calcium diet, then you may want to consider increasing your intake of these electrolytes and sports drinks may be a quick way to do it, But sports drinks only replace what’s missing and I don’t believe the body stores extra electrolytes that you may take in “just in case” you need them. And besides, they have tons of sugar and artificial sweeteners which are horrible for you as it is. If you feel you need more of these items,then there are natural ways you can increase them.

Potassium-

bananas have lots of it, also coconut milk as well as many leafy vegetables such as kale have lots of potassium.

Calcium –

peppers and other vegetables have lots of calcium, milk and cheese products tend to have that as well.

Salt-

well, most of us eat more salt in one day than we need in a week so I wouldn’t worry too much about it and if you are on a salt restriction diet, then check with your doctor before adding salt.

Bottom line is – stay away from the sports drinks.

A good meal pre Taanis would look something like this.

Large garden salad with a light amount of dressing to taste. Whole wheat or 60/40 pasta ( if you can’t handle either, then stick with regular pasta), a serving of protein like chicken cutlets, meatballs, or fish.

Some fees fruit for dessert, and of course water. Later in the evening have some more fruit, and water. If you decide to get up before the fast, then a bowl of oatmeal will do the trick.

The other thing that will help, is to stay indoors and keep cool throughout the day.

One last note: people also suffer from caffeine withdrawal, especially if they drink a lot of coffe or caffeinated beverages. Unfortunately,there really is not much to do with this except to get up before the Taanis and have a coffee.

Much hatzlocha for an easy fast!

Ezi Levi is a certified health and diet coach and is the director of the Men’s Weight Loss Center. The center works with men and teenage boys who are committed to losing weight in a safe and natural way by learning how to make healthier choices in their primary and secondary foods. To find out more or to schedule a free, no obligation health consultation please call (732) 903-4129 or Email at [email protected]

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