Chia - Secret Weapon for Fasting. (Picture of Chia Pet)
#1 Reduce Caffeine Early!
Two weeks before the fast slowly wean off coffee. Caffeine withdrawal is the number one reason for a hard fast. Stop drinking coffee 2 weeks prior to the fast. Switch to green tea (less caffeine) to minimize the withdrawal effects. Taper in such a way that you completely eliminate caffeine 3 days before the fast. Do this and you may not have to endure the symptoms prior to the holiday.
#2 Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
Honestly most people are dehydrated most of the time. The second most common reason for a bad fast is plain dehydration. So if you start out dehydrated, you will be that much worse on game day. Therefore, one should increase their water intake to at least 8 glasses of water/day (2L) for 2-3 days prior to the fast. Also avoid coffee as it is a diuretic and makes you lose water.
#3 Focus on eating complex carbs before the fast:
Complex carbohydrates like those found in whole grain pasta and breads, brown rice, fruits, vegetables, and beans (legumes) are best for maintaining your body's muscle energy levels during the fast. As an added benefit, carbohydrates help your body absorb water more efficiently, so eating carbs will aid in staying hydrated during the fast. Whole-grain products and fruits/vegetables that are high in fiber are best, as these will not only provide energy but are slower to digest and will keep you feeling fuller the longest.
Avoid complex simple carbohydrates (basically anything made from white flour or containing added sugars) as these kinds of carbs will make you MORE hungry due to their effects on blood sugar.
#4 Eat smaller meals before YK
Large meals will actually use up more water in order to process them. The goal is to feel full, not stuffed or bursting. Eating too much too quickly can also lead to crashing blood sugar and difficult hunger pangs a few hours after the meal. Your body will try to absorb all the extra nutrients quickly and will overcompensate, leading to a blood sugar crash.
#5 Drink Water, Not Coffee, Soda or Alcohol:
There is a final festive meal traditionally made before YK starts called seudah ha-mafseket: At this last meal before the fast try to drink lots of water, or sugar free sports drinks. Avoid beverages with caffeine (soda, coffee, tea) and alcohol, as these will worsen dehydration significantly if consumed right before the fast. Also avoid juices, as they are high in simple sugars, which will spike and then crash your blood sugar leaving hungry again a few hours later.
BONUS!! SUPER SECRET WEAPON FOR A SUCCESSFUL FAST! CHHH-Chia!!
Yes its true! Best known for its functional role in the growth of pseudo-hair on the Chai Pet. If you never heard of this super-food you are going to want to look into it. It is chockfull of goodness.
Besides being awesome in a nutritional sense, Chia seeds also have an added benefit of holding 10 times their weight in water. Therefore, they are good for decreasing the effects of a fast because the seeds act like mini time-release water capsules.
People swear by this little secret and I would like to share it with you.
Chia “Fast” Relief Instructions:
How to make it:
1. Soak 1 tsp in 1 cup of water overnight in the fridge.
2. Add the chia into water and drink right before the fast.
3. Experience an easy fast.
I wish everyone an easy but meaningful fast this year! G’mar Hatima Tova!
Dr. Anders Nerman, ND
Dr. Anders Nerman, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor with an Integrative Family Medical practice in Wolfson Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. He has focus in the treatment of Digestive Disorders, Food Allergy/Intolerance Testing, Infertility and Hormone Balancing, Chronic Pain/Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Weight Loss. For more info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.drnerman.com. To book an appointment call 054-427-8667.