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How Do I Avoid Weight Gain Over Pesach?

Stack of Matzo traditional Jewish Passover bread

We’re just starting to get our bodies ready for summer and Boom, here comes Passover! How is one to pass over this holiday without putting on the pounds?

When faced with a large pile of matzo, one may respond with fear. Will this year’s Passover be similar to all other Passovers?

Four Questions

  1. Does matzo have gluten?

  2. Why can’t I get that high fructose corn syrup-free Coca-Cola they have in Israel here in America?

  3. Will I get constipated?

  4. Will my siblings find the Afikomen before I can?

The answers are yes, no one knows, not if you consume enough water along with your matzo, and, for me, no. Nobody hides the Afikomen in my family anymore. My brother hid it under the foyer rug one year and everyone walked all over it the entire night. Needless to say, we’ve swept that tradition under the rug. So to speak.

Bread of Affliction

You may wonder how you are going to avoid gaining weight over Passover when all those kosher for Passover products are so sugary and unhealthy. Chocolate covered marshmallows, anyone? Chocolate covered matzo? Those gross jelly ring things we hate but eat anyway?

I approach Passover just as I approached going gluten-free (doctor’s orders!). I don’t eat any of the processed specialty products with little nutritional value; I just avoid the offending foods, and otherwise eat as normally as I can.

Passover made easy:

  1. Throw out the chametz (for ⅓ of you that’s the gluten you already don’t eat). And if you don’t eat gluten, I’m assuming you won’t eat matzo, because it can only be made out of wheat, barley, rye, spelt, or oats. The big gluten-containing grains. (Oats, naturally gluten-free, are generally cross-contaminated during crop rotation and should be assumed to contain gluten unless labeled otherwise.)

  2. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. If my recent clients are any indication, most of you are confused and wary of that anyway.

All meat (except pork and other non-kosher meat and fowl, of course) and fruits and vegetables (except peas and corn for Ashkenazi, known as kitniyot – which also includes rice, lentils, soy beans, string beans, peanuts, mustard, sesame and poppy seeds) are kosher for Passover. So let this be a time for you to start that “cleanse” you keep meaning to do and forego all processed food items.

If you do it the right way, you may even lose weight over Passover.

“Let my people go!”

Now some people aren’t trying to not gain weight over Passover. And for them that surprisingly takes considerably more effort. And by effort, I mean having their lap band loosened. Yep, my source (Rabbi) told me this is actually a common practice. People who have had lap band surgery get it loosened before Passover; tightened after. And I thought it was a pain to get my braces off for my Bat Mitzvah.

I guess some take that “reclining” edict as far as they can.

Speaking of indulging, should you choose to go for the matzo, beware of the possibility of constipation. Make sure you drink plenty of water, and, in my opinion, just don’t indulge in matzo.

Although, my wheat-free (for health reasons) Rabbi told me he made Spelt matzo and feels fantastic.

Our Cup Runneth Over

Is it a sin to forego the matzo? Not if you drink the four cups of wine. I just made that up.

However, Passover is the only time my father will chastise me if my wine glass isn’t continually full. Guess we can file that one under Pros.

And my mother just alerted me that she found kosher for Passover Peppermint Patties. It seems they really want me to come home for those Seders. Peppermint also has digestive benefits.

Extra tidbit: To help avoid weight gain, take a nice walk after that filling Seder. The weather is getting nice, and you probably need an excuse to distance yourself from those bitter family members. I mean herbs.



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