Purim is my favorite holiday. Who doesn't love the costumes, festive meal and all the candy? Bring on the joy and....the calories. I have celebrated Purim in many different ways: Eat every treat presented, eat none of the treats presented, eat a few treats, refrain for a while and proceed to eat a few more because who really can stop at just one yummy treat? Not me.
I'm sure you have heard the old saying it's not what you eat, but how much. Having a square of chocolate is fine. Having a dozen squares of chocolate is not so fine. Why oh why can't we stop at one square of chocolate? The answer is...dopamine. The pleasure neurotransmitter.
Dopamine is released into our body whenever we engage in a pleasurable activity (ie., eating treats.) What is worse, high levels of sugar in the bloodstream can lead your body to crave more sweets and sugar. So the cycle continues; crave sweets, eat sweets, crave more, etc.
How do we exit the sugar wheel? Purchase a one-way ticket. I take one Purim treat for eating, then place the rest of the candy on a hard to reach shelf. I can't have three candy bars if I can't reach them. (A perk of being short.)
The second trick is to fill a plate up with treats. That's right, fill 'er up. There is a catch, you knew it was coming, the treats have to be different types. Make one section chocolate, the other fresh fruit, the third popcorn, and the fourth veggies and dip. Yes, veggies can be a treat, especially dipped in yummy hummus or ranch dressing.
There is one last option, it's the best... and worst. Don't get on the sugar wheel to begin with. Your body will thank you, your willpower will increase, and while everyone is complaining of the Purim sugar overhang, you will be blissfully maintaining that healthy stride.
Some healthy treats include:
- Nuts: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, unsalted peanuts, and pistachios.
- Fruit: Strawberries, apples, oranges, kiwi, persimmon.
- Cut veggies with dip: tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, pepper and baby corn. (Buy the dip, no need to go crazy)
- Yogurt with muesli, (oats, two tablespoons of raisins, cinnamon)
These are the ways I found to stay healthy on Purim. One piece of cake, one hamantaschen, have some veggies, eat some fruit. Binge on joy, get high on laughter. Hide the candy from the children (and myself). Start thinking about Pesach. Freak out. Shove some popcorn into my mouth, take a deep breath. Isn't Purim wonderful?