Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Passover Mediterranean Style -- Guest Post by Diane Paul

30 Day Mediterranean Lifestyle Challenge

Diane Paul and I were talking about how you could maintain a Mediterranean diet during Passover. I asked her to share her perspective with all of you.

The 8 day Jewish holiday of Passover starts at sundown on Monday March 25, 2013. The basic kosher laws apply year round--no mixing of milk and meat during a meal, no pork products or shellfish. At Passover, additional restrictions apply--no leavened bread (to commemorate freedom from Egyptian slavery)--no foods made with grains (wheat, barley, rye, spelt, or oats). There are two main Jewish groups in the world, Ashkenazi and Sephardic. For Ashkenazi Jews, there are more forbidden foods during Passover--rice, millet, corn (including corn syrup), dried beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, soybeans, green beans, sesame and poppy seeds, and mustard. Sephardic Jews may eat these foods at Passover.

So how do you stick to the Mediterranean diet during Passover? It's actually pretty easy; You can have most of the foods across Waves:

Can you guess which of these Passover 
foods is Mediterranean diet friendly?
  • All fruits and most vegetables 
  • Kosher meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products 
  • Unleavened bread--Whole wheat matzah, matzah meal, matzah cake flour (made from flour specially prepared for Passover under rabbinic supervision) 
  • Coffee and tea--and water, of course 
  • Spices, herbs, olive oil, and condiments like horseradish (for gefilte fish) 
  • Nuts and nut butters (except peanuts) (still limited in quantity--keep counting those nuts. On Passover, I have it from a trusted authority that you can have 12 almonds and 8 walnuts) 
  • Quinoa is permitted because it's not a grain--it's a seed 
  • Kosher for Passover wine--if you graduated from Wave 1-sorry, no beer--it's made from grain. 
A similarity between the Mediterranean diet during Passover and at all other times--is that you'll have the same challenges. Passover recipes abound using potatoes, sugar, and matzah and are hard to resist. Like most religious and secular holidays, sweets are abundant. What would Passover be without some of the creative matzah recipes like one of my favorites: caramel, pecan, chocolate-covered matzah--not very Mediterranean though. Imagine Easter without peeps--that's Passover without potato and sweet matzah kugel (like a casserole), carrot tsimmis (carrots are not on the Wave 1 list), chocolate-covered marshmallow sticks, jelly rings, or chewy chocolate almond chews.

Here's a Passover recipe to adapt for the Mediterranean diet. My Dad always made fried matzah for us (called matzah brei)--now I'll make it for him and the rest of our family using whole wheat matzah and olive oil.

Mediterranean Style Fried Matzoh
  • Wet six whole wheat matzahs 
  • Mush them up 
  • Add 5 eggs and stir 
  • Add lots of pepper 
Heat a frying pan and coat with extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
Fry the mixture like an omelet (When one side is brown, flip over using a plate)
Serve with natural fruit jelly, sugar-free apple sauce, or plain Greek yogurt
I'll be having a Mediterranean Passover--but there's no way I'm missing some of those special Passover treats.

So lift your glass of Kosher for Passover wine and say--To Life! (L'Chaim) and pass the veggies.

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