The Passover phenomenon
Friday, April 18, 2014
Every year at Passover I notice the same thing: I am able to follow a diet that is more restrictive than my usual diet. It’s not that I’m motivated, or that I’m particularly religious. Somehow, though, my brain signals to me that I can follow the ‘rules’ for this short period of time. Eight days isn’t too long, right?
During Passover, there is no ‘just a bit of this’, nor any ‘just this once’. It’s a yes or no thing. And I can do it. I do it every year.
This year, I’ve modified it a bit. I’m allowing some kitnyot back in. What are kitnyot? It’s a category of foods that may not be eaten during Passover by Jews following traditional Ashkenazi laws and customs. Kitniyot are grains and legumes such as rice, corn, soy beans, string beans, peas, lentils, mustard, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Long-standing tradition in other communities like the Sephardi may be different .
Since wheat products no longer seem to agree with me, matzah has been giving me problems this year. So instead I’m allowing rice and chickpeas.
So back to the original premise: I can follow this. Yet the rest of the year, I’m tempted by that bite of this and taste of that. I don’t binge. I’m not gluttonous. I eat reasonable quantities. But the reality is that I’m 5’1”, and my metabolism isn’t wonderful, even with all the exercise. So I need to keep a rein on those treats.
When I tried The Plan last summer to ferret out troublesome foods, I was able to stick to it almost 100% for close to two months. Cheese and yogurt, some of my favorite foods since childhood, had to be virtually eliminated. I continued this way through the end of the year with no problems. I was not tempted by this and that.
And then for no reason I can fathom, I started to stray. I never totally got back on track for more than a couple of days. Inflammation returned, and my body started feeling miserable. Aches in my knees, a constant bloated feeling, you get the picture.
As miserable as I felt, I clung to my self-image somehow. As I look at pictures from my dance camp two weeks ago, I see that I was heavier, but I’m still pleased with the way I looked. That’s something new for me.
While visiting friends in Miami last weekend, prior to Passover, I was subjected to rounds of visits that resulted in having to eat and drink something at each stop. By the end of the Seder on Monday, I was as miserable as I’ve felt in over a year. So the next day, I resolved to use Passover to get back on track. As usual, no problem!
I can do this for eight days, right? After that, I may have to declare another Passover observance for myself! But for now, it’s a start.