14 Jewish Ideas That Will Actually Keep You Healthy
How Maimonides’ medical writings can help you lose weight.
One of the greatest ancient physicians and philosophers just happens to also be a Rabbi. Commonly known as Maimonides or the Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135/1138 to 1204) wrote about nutrition and health almost 1,000 years ago and his teachings have stood the test of time.
It’s been inspirational to read Maimonides’ medical and philosophical works and see how similar his caveats are to what you’d read in the New England Journal of Medicine.
If you believe that the relationship between mind, body and physical health is a modern discovery, think again.
Here are 14 of my favorite bits of wisdom from Maimonides who wrote about all the relevant nutritional, medical and philosophical teachings of his times and previous centuries:
- You should eat only when you are hungry and drink only when you are thirsty.
- Overeating is like poison to the body and can lead to illness.
- The preservation of health lies in abstaining from satiation.
- Even someone who exercises regularly will become obese if he constantly eats refined bread.
- Flour that has been sifted so well that no bran remains is an unhealthy food and should not be eaten in quantity.
- If wine is consumed properly, it is a major factor in the preservation of health and the cure of many illnesses.
- One of the most powerful forces of human nature is habit, irrespective of whether these are actions or perceptions. For instance, you may choose bad foods to which you are accustomed over good foods to which you are not accustomed even though it is the less correct choice.
- If you do not exercise, you will suffer from pain and depleted energy levels, even if the correct foods are eaten and all the rules of medicine are followed.
- The most beneficial hours of sleep are the eight hours until sunrise.
- One must pay attention and constantly consider one’s emotional activities. Maintaining them in equilibrium, during health and illness, must take precedence over any other regimen.
- Constant anxiety damages the body.
- It is human nature to be influenced by your environment. You should only associate with people who will have a positive influence.
- Accept the truth from whatever source it comes.
- Let a person replace [stress and] anxiety with hope ... It is conceivable that the opposite of what one fears will actually happen as this is (equally) in the realm of possibility.
Maimonides maintained that the “whole person” must be treated, not just the symptoms of illness. You didn’t just call a doctor when you were sick. You went to the doctor to discuss your general state of health and psychological well-being. If you were sick, the doctor would examine your eating habits, fitness levels and emotional state of mind. The cause of illness was first discussed before the symptoms were diagnosed and treated. Mind body balance was maintained in both times of illness and health.
When people ask how I can take the advice of a doctor who lived so many years ago, I have to chuckle. Maimonides had it down millennia ago. That said, we have made some wonderful strides in modern nutrition, health and psychology. The Mind Body Synergy Diet presents a realistic system and practical guide, which integrates the best of both the ancient and modern world, for achieving mind body balance.
FRUIT SALAD RECIPE WITH ORANGE POPPY SEED SYRUP
- 2 lbs. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered if large
- 1 lb. fresh grapes (any color), halved
- 6 clementine’s, peeled well and separated into sections
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 to 2 apples, cored, cut into sixths and sliced into ¼” thick pieces
- 1 banana, sliced
- Orange Lemon Syrup:
- 4 tablespoons liquid honey
- Juice of 1 medium lemon (about ¼ cup)
- Juice of 1 medium orange (about ¼ cup)
- Heaping ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
- Optional Garnish: Mint leaves
1. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange. Stir together syrup ingredients, mixing until honey is completely dissolved into the syrup.
2. Rinse and slice fruit in the order that it is listed. Don’t slice your apples or bananas until you’re ready to add the syrup since the lemon in the syrup will keep them from browning.
3. Drizzle syrup over the fruit and toss to evenly coat the fruit with syrup.
Other fruit options that work well in this salad: pineapple, kiwi, raspberries, and blackberries. This fruit salad is easy to make and everyone will appreciate a healthy option. The orange-lemon syrup is sweetened with honey and glazes the fruit to keep it looking and tasting fresh longer. Your fruit won’t brown even after a few hours at room temperature. This recipe can easily be cut in half for a smaller crowd.
ABOUT: Natasha founded Natasha’s Kitchen to create confidence and joy in the kitchen. She shares tried-and-true, family favorite recipes with detailed photo and video tutorials that anyone can master no matter your skill level – http://natashaskitchen.com
ASIAN AHI TUNA SALAD
- 1 cup Edamame (shelled)
- ½ cup small dice Red Bell Pepper
- ½ cup shredded Carrot
- ¼ cup sliced thin on a bias Scallion
- 4 ounce Mixed Greens
- 3 chopped roughly Baby Corn
- ½ lb. Ahi Sushi Grade Tuna (seared with salt and pepper)
- ½ cup Cashews (roasted & salted)
- 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Honey
- ½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
1. For the salad dressing – whisk together the apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, and honey. Let sit in fridge while you make the salad.
2. Toss all ingredients of the salad together except for the tuna. Toss the salad with the dressing (you may not need it all – use just enough to lightly coat the ingredients. Place Tuna on top and serve.
Sara has a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). She has received the Top Toque Award at graduation. Sara has worked in various Michelin Star kitchens in NYC – www.urbancookery.com
CHICKPEA VEGGIE WRAPS
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon Thyme
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- A few drops hot sauce
- 15 ounce organic chickpeas
- 2 cups torn romaine lettuce or spinach
- 5 grape tomatoes, quartered
- 3 Artichoke hearts, quartered and slice into small pieces
- 4 stalks of celery
- ½ cup green onion, chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
1. Spinach tortillas or whole-wheat pita bread
2. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside
3. Empty 15 ounce of garbanzo beans into a bowl and smash with a potato masher to desired consistency.
4. Mix salad ingredients in a bowl, dump garbanzo beans on top.
5. Pour dressing over the top and toss.
6. Spread on a tortilla and roll up for a gluten free option or put the mixture in a whole wheat pita and serve.
ABOUT: Kenna has been studying nutrition for 10+ years on the benefits of an organic plant based diet. She also writes for Vegan Housewives about the health benefits of a plant based lifestyle and tips on how to transition to healthy eating – http://meatmeetsvegan.com
Excerpt from The Mind Body Synergy Diet, by David Zulberg.
The MIND BODY SYNERGY “Diet” identifies fundamental principles in both ancient and current research, providing a practical system for mastering mindfulness and weight loss. It has just six habits, implemented at the right pace. You add one new habit every 5 days, for 30 days. That’s it. On The Mind Body Synergy “Diet”, your pounds will automatically fall off and you will notice a positive shift in perception, no matter what life throws at you. It is not because you are actively seeking these results but as an expected consequence of reclaiming your born right to be in touch with your natural instincts – a mind body synergy. (Black and white edition $11.99, Color edition $16.06)