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Apr 2, 2004 10:28 AM

South Beach Diet theory and Pesach

  • p

Good morning! I started the South Beach diet almost three weeks ago: to get the first two strict weeks out of the way before my birthday, and before Pesach.

Yesterday, I had what seemed to me a revelation about the "usual" Pesach diet, on which I am always hungry, and manage to gain a couple of pounds as well. Based on South Beach theory, I believe that it's the surfeit of matzah and matzah products, as well as the Pesach sweet treats that make me feel hungry!

I would welcome discussion and thoughts about this from others on this board.

The South Beach theory is that refined carbohydrates lacking in fiber(read matzah, matzah meal rolls, matzah balls, sponge cake, etc.) and high glycemic (sugar)index vegetables (read potatoes,especially without their skins) and fruits (read the strawberries that we go through in great quantities) are quickly digested and metabolized by our bodies into sugars, in response to which our pancreases (pancrei?) push out a large quantity of insulin. The insulin causes a fast drop in blood sugar, which we perceive as feeling hungry again. So we have a craving to eat more of what just made us feel hungry. And on and on. The excess sugars are converted to belly fat.

During the first two weeks of South Beach, one avoids all breads, and other baked goods, as well as high glycemic index vegetables and all fruits, and all alcoholic products. I thought it would be impossible to follow, but after 3 days I was doing fine: no cravings for the missing items. V-8 juice and tomato juice substituted for my a.m. o.j. The cheese and spinach omelettes every a.m. kept me satisfied till lunch: unlike my usual bowl of Kashi or Product 19. The S.B. required mid-morning snack (a Miller's cheese stick) was often forgotten about! I did have a small glass of wine on Shabbat.

Therefore, if my theory is right, I should just stay as close to the South Beach "strict" phase as possible during Pesach, and I should feel satisfied. Lots of eggs, cheese, fish (gefilte is great), poultry, nuts, and green vegetables (we also celebrate with lots of new spring asparagus anyway!) For example, I will stick with a cheese stick, 30 pistachios, or a couple of slices of turkey with a dab of mayo and some spinach and peppers for a snack, instead of a piece of matzah or a roll.

I did buy a box of whole wheat matzah to eat after the seders (when I have to have some shmurah!). I will eat matzah and matzah rolls sparingly, go easy on the potatoes and desserts. I will drink only red wine. I will report back Chol Hamoed!
Thanks, p.j.

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  1. You mention that Gefilte Fish is great, but I was always under the impression that is (or at least the bottled varieties) has matzo meal as a main ingredient? Am I wrong?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Susancinsf

      you're not wrong. most gefilte fish not only has matzo mela, but also sugar. Neither are good for the South Beach.

      there are non-gebrokts, sugarless varieties available. Finding them can be tricky depending on where you live.

      1. re: baruch

        Sorry...I didn't have the gefuilte in hand. We use the frozen kind. I know there is some sugar in there, as well as matzo meal. I was just trying to give an example of something that might work--always in moderation, of course.

        My main point was that the South Beach diet theory seems to explain why I and my family are always hungry during Pesach, and why I then tend to gain weight.

        Shabbat shalom & a kosher Pesach to all. p.j.

        1. re: p.j.

          In the gefilte fish I have, it is only 1 g of carbs per ball. Not bad.

      2. re: Susancinsf

        Kedem makes a jarred "Gourmet" Gefilte this year that has no eggs, no matzo meal and no msg.FYI

        1. re: Susancinsf

          gefilta fish both bottled and frozen have sugar. the ones made during the year have matza meal. on pessach there are brands made without matza meal. but i don't know what they use other than eggs to keep it together.

        2. c
          Caitlin McGrath

          "fruits (read the strawberries that we go through in great quantities)"

          Actually, strawberries are very low on the glycemic index; they're one of the most healthful fruits you can eat, from a GI point of view.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Sorry...I was typing this without book in hand, and I haven't had a chance to read the Stage 2 info in detail yet. I know S.B. doesn't like bananas, which were my favorite snack.

            Well, I look forward to noshing on the strawberries, then. Thanks and Shabbat shalom.

          2. Have you thought of doing Weight Watchers. It is much easier to do on a kosher diet. There are no restrictions on what you can or cannot eat. It has to do more with portion control and excersise.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Eric
              Caitlin McGrath

              There are no restrictions in the South Beach Diet that make it difficult to follow while keepig kosher. It only restricts sugar, simple carbohydrates (e.g., processed grains), and saturated fat, and encourages eating whole foods and regular dairy and meat products, none of which are in conflict with a kosher home.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                The desserts in phase one are either jello or the ricotta cheese variations. Cheese cannot be eaten after a meat meal, thereby limiting the choices. Same is true for snacks that are mainly cheese--can't eat after meat meal. Some people wait 3 hours after eating meat before they eat dairy and some people wait 6. Ideas for other snacks and desserts would be great.

            2. As per HaRav Rabbi Feinstein Shlita, you can fulfill your obligation for the for cups by using grape juice diluted with water (ask your Rabbi the measurements needed). Wine has A LOT of sugar in it and I too no longer eat sugar or any flour. I am however having matzo's to fulfill my obligation at the seder only, but not during the week. I think the killer to most people w/ Passover foods is all of the cottonseed oil -- it's is soooooo bad for you and it's in a lot of the passover dips, dressings, etc.I bought a mini-George Forman for Pesach and I'll be living on fish,veggies, etc.Chicken on occasion.Good Luck!Chag Sameach!