Tips for before the fast by Ira Milner, R.D: 1) The first source of your discomfort is the body’s need for water. Water is involved in practically every bodily function, and if you provide the body with enough fluids, it will help you function as a whole. So, the day before the fast, remember to drink, drink and DRINK. (When you go from room to room, carry a tall glass of water as a reminder.) Your regular daily intake is supposed to be six to eight 8 oz glasses. The day before a fast, that should be upped to eight to ten glasses. (Do the math: That means one glass every hour between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.) Warning: Although you may think cola, coffee and tea also supply water, the diuretic properties of caffeine make those beverages inadvisable. Remember also that most fruit are more than 80% water, and vegetables are from 70-95% water.
2) Decrease protein. Protein attracts water, and too much of it can leach water from body tissues. In extreme cases, dehydration could result from consuming too much protein because the extra protein pulls out water that is later needed to remove the waste products from the body.
3) Increase Starch and Fiber. Simple carbohydrates (chocolate bars and candies) are sugars. Complex carbohydrates (whole grain breads and cereals, pasta, potatoes and legumes) are starch and dietary fibers. Although during digestion both break down into glucose, complex carbohydrates take longer to break down, and help ease the pangs of a fact. (Think of what the marathon runners eat the night before their run.)
4) Decrease salt, spices and fried foods. What happens in your body when you eat them? Your blood level of sodium rises. This stimulates the brain’s thirst receptor, which triggers the thirst sensation. In addition, since water is required to remove salt from the body, it further increases the body’s need for water.
5) Avoid caffeine. If you regularly drink more than two to three cups of coffee per day, taper off several days before. Although technically caffeine is not addictive, the body becomes accustomed to its stimulant effect, and suddenly abstaining from it will inevitably produce the ‘withdrawal headache’.
6) Two other ways to minimize water loss the day before a fast: Don’t exert yourself too much and stay out of the sun.
So what is your meal before a fast? Chicken soup, roast beef, and a tall glass of cola? That’s a no-no-no. Here’s a suggestion:
Whole grain challah
Steamed vegetables or tossed salad
Lots of plain water.
Tips for after the fast by Ezi Levi:
After the fast let’s slow it down:
We last spoke about how to eat properly before a fast, so let’s discuss what is important to know when breaking the fast.
” your eyes are bigger than your stomach”:
Did you ever hear that expression? Well, that is what most people do when they prepare for eating after a fast. During the afternoon of the fast they go shopping, or prepare a lavish feast, making a lot more food than can possibly be eaten leading us to overeat, and of course, eat the wrong foods as well. This in turn leads people to feel sick or get a massive headache.
So let’s review some ideas that may help prevent such an occurrence.
Prepare before, not during the fast:
As always, planning and in this case even preparing ahead of time is key.
Write down a menu for a post Taanis meal and you’ve won half the battle; and if most of it could be prepared prior to the fast, then even better.
After you set your menu, mentally prepare how much you will eat remember, your stomach Is now smaller than it was before the fast so you will feel fuller quicker
Avoid the post Taanis headache:
As we noted before, most people become hypoglycemic during the fast ( their blood sugar levels become very low) so when we infuse ourselves with an overload of sugars, it can cause a bad headache. So avoid the cakes, Danishes, juices, and white flour products and this should help to minimize or avoid getting a headache.
We don’t have to eat an entire day’s calorie intake in one sitting. As mentioned before,after a fast your stomach will be smaller and therefore, you will fill up faster than normal.
Eat slowly, eat a small amount then consider taking a break for about 15-30 minutes and see how you feel. If you are hungry then eat some more and if not, well then you know that you have eaten enough.
None of my articles would be complete without me reminding you to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water both before and after the fast.
Have an easy fast – and post fast, and a wonderful summer and may we be Zocheh to the גאולה
שלימה במהרה בימינו
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]