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We won’t forget the time that eight-year-old Elchanan turned bright red after Purim. From the tops of his feet to his forehead, including his legs, stomach, arms and hands – his skin was completely crimson! Alarmed by his bizarre appearance, his mother immediately made an appointment with their pediatrician.

As soon as Dr. Lobel examined Elchanan, he promptly announced, “Purim!”

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“What? What about Purim?” Bracha asked.

“Yes, this is what we call ‘Purimitis.’ Your son is having an allergic reaction to all the artificial coloring in the candy he ate.”

He looked Elchanan in the eye. “How many rainbow-colored lollipops did you eat in the last two days?”

Elhanan was already bright red, he didn’t have to blush. He just smiled.

“Don’t worry, the rash will eventually disappear,” Dr. Lobel said.

Not everyone’s kids get sick from over-indulgence in sugary junk and artificial everything, but most conscientious parents do expect to encounter some groans, complaints, whimpering and temper-tantrums at this time of year. Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats. But giving in to their demands by inundating their bodies with an onslaught of non-nutritious substances doesn’t usually lead to genuine happiness.

Balance and moderation are key and if we are really excited, and really convinced, we could possibly get ourselves and our families really psyched to have a great time making healthy mishloach manos that those on our list will greatly appreciate.

Why? Because: if we are well nourished with healthy food we will have more energy and be in a much better mood. The word HEALTH is an acronym for:

Happiness
Energy
Attitude
Laughter
Thankfulness
Healthy food!

 

And ENERGY is a great acronym for:

Enthusiasm
Nutrients
Exercise
Rest & Relaxation
Gratitude
You matter!

 

Purim is almost here! Is there anything we can do to help make it be a healthy holiday?

Here are some Tips for a Healthy Purim:

1. Feed the kids (and yourself) a nutritious, grounded breakfast early in the morning, before the goodies start arriving at the door. The more well-balanced food already in you, the less room there will be for treats. And for the older family members, solid food can help prevent or alleviate the drunkenness almost guaranteed by putting alcohol in an empty stomach.

2. Drink 2-3 liters or 8-12 cups of fluid daily. This prevents the dehydration which causes headaches, irritability, fatigue, and much worse. Try to drink between meals.

3. Sit when you eat. Yes, we all know this one is obvious derech eretz, so why is it so difficult to remember to do it?

4. Chew slowly and gently; the more you chew, the less you’ll eat and the better you will feel!

5. Stop eating before you’re full! Rambam advises to stop when we feel ¾ full.

6. Rest, Nap, and Sleep – before you feel overwhelmed and over-extended.

 

Healthy Mishloach Manos

Here’s a Colorful Curried Rice (borei meenei mezonos) that you can combine with an apple (borei pri ha’aitz), a carrot salad or a chic pea salad (borei pri ha’adamah) and some energy bars.

 

Colorful Curried Rice

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 minced garlic cloves
½ cup almond milk*
¼ cup chopped scallions
¼ chopped fresh dill
2 grated carrots
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ cup of favorite cooked beans: chic peas, black beans, adzuki, or lentils

*almond milk can be substituted with soy milk or coconut milk

 

Directions:

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl and let it sit so the flavors absorb.

 

Turmeric Carrot Salad

Ingredients

2 lbs carrots, grated
1 package of fresh green parsley, well rinsed, chopped
1 cup fine slivers of purple onion
¼ cup oil (preferably olive)
Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon (about 3-4 tbsp)
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt

 

Directions

Combine all the ingredients, except half the parsley, into a large bowl, and stir well. Then add more parsley as decoration.

 

Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt (1 tsp if home cooked, none if canned)
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp sweet paprika
½ tsp dried oregano
2-4 chopped fresh garlic (or 1-2 tsp garlic powder)
Fresh parsley or cilantro—4 sprigs, chopped
1 chopped tomato or red pepper

 

Direction

Combine all ingredients and marinate about two hours.

 

Purim Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds, crushed
4 cups oats
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil
1 tsp real vanilla
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped dates

 

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.

2. In a stainless steel pan, heat the oil, sugars, vanilla and salt over low heat, stirring until the ingredients are well mixed.

3. Add the dry oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit to the heated ingredients and mix well.

4. Press firmly onto a baking paper on an oven tray.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400°F.

6. Let cool for about two hours, before cutting into bars.

 

Enjoy and Purim sameach!

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Chava Dumas is an educator, certified doula, and women's health support counselor. She is the author of “Prepare for Pesach…B'simchah! 40 Lifesaving Lessons to Help You Make It to the Finish Line,” a book that inspires women to celebrate every day of life. She can be reached at dailysimchah36@gmail.com.