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Aug 8, 2011 07:27 AM

What are you eating before the fast?

I am a big proponent of pre-fast meals that are salt-free, high in protein, and include vegetables and noodles. Vegetables and noodles release water slowly as they are digested. "Heavy" protein and fat meals stick to your ribs.

I also see the pre-fast as a pretext for eating a really rich chocolate mousse.

Salt-free, because salt is a diuretic.

Kashered meat is therefore out. I don't do fish since (not in your mother's day, but in in recent years) almost all fish are dipped in a light saline solution before being sent to market. You can't tell whether the fish you are buying has been salted in this way just by looking.

So I make a noodle dish with a red sauce and lots of salt-free white cheese. Friendship makes both cottage and farmer that are widely distributed.

And then I serve a really rich mousse, heavy cream, butter, whole eggs. Yum. Most commercial ice creams have added salt.

I'm curious to hear your solutions. On beyond (I mean before) eggs and ashes.

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  1. Probably whatever I can grab at Penn Station at around 7pm since I have a late meeting. :-(

    1. meat is out before tisha b'av since you are not spposed to eat meat during the 9 days. my hubby and I find that beans are great as well as enriched pasta like barilla picolino-it has extra fiber

      3 Replies
      1. re: koshergourmetmart

        True for this fast, but a lot of people eat it eruv Yom Kippur, and given that it contains a lot of salt, that may not be the best choice.

        1. re: AdinaA

          We eat a lot of grapes and watermelon the day before the fast.
          However, I feel like come 2-9p.m. tomorrow whatever we ate today won't alleviate our urge to drink a few gallons of water anyway.. Watermelon, grapes, low-salt, high protein, high fibre etc. I don't think any of it truly makes a lick of difference. We're going to be cranky, exhausted and probably unpleasant regardless of the meal tonight ;)

          1. re: marissaj

            Since I don't usually wake up early for breakfast on 17 Tammuz (and didn't this year), in general, I'm not too concerned with tomorrow's fast. However, I had a minor case of heat stroke yesterday (softball doubleheader) and I'm not sure if I'll be recovered in time. I'm thinking of getting a couple gatorade-type drinks this afternoon to load up on potassium and the good sodium.

            For YK, my wife's family usually makes a chicken soup, with very little salt. Unfortunately, the Hungarian definition of very little salt is not the same as mine. :-)

      2. I never cook particularly salty food, but I don't worry about it before a fast, either; I hydrate well over the course of the day and don't sweat much, so my major problem is hunger rather than thirst. I try to focus on protein and fat, excluding simple carbs like noodles that are metabolized very quickly. This year's menu is salmon filets with a horseradish crust (contains panko, a simple carb, but my anti-fish husband specifically requested it) and dill-sour cream sauce, Turkish olive-oil braised leeks from last week's New York Times, and a Caprese-ish salad, replacing the usual tomatoes (which we don't like) with roasted pepper. Ice cream for dessert. Powerade or Gatorade to drink.

        3 Replies
        1. re: GilaB

          good article ar

          Don't start the pre-fast meal on a full stomach:
          The pre-fast meal often begins at 5 PM, so a large lunch could prevent you from eating enough immediately before the fast. It is best to have a small lunch, or no lunch at all. A large breakfast early in the day based on cereals, breads and fruits can provide the energy you need during the day, yet these high-fiber foods will be far downstream by the time of the pre-fast meal and will not keep you from eating enough food at the pre-fast meal. A large breakfast is also helpful because it stretches the stomach. After eating breakfast, it is best to consume beverages during the day. This will not fill you up, since liquids are absorbed quickly, and this will ensure that you have absorbed enough fluids during the day to start the pre-fast meal being well hydrated. Be sure to avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine. You should also drink at least a glass or two of fluids with the pre-fast meal because many foods need extra water to be digested properly.

          Eat foods that are digested slowly:
          Include some foods high in oils and fats in the pre-fast meal, since such foods delay emptying of the stomach and effectively prolong your meal. However, beware of fatty meats or salted potato chips that could load you up with too much salt. Salads and other high fiber foods that are so important in one's normal diet should be de-emphasized for the pre-fast meal since they travel quickly through the digestive system. Fruit, despite its high fiber content, is worthwhile since it carries a lot of water in a "time-release" form.

          1. re: koshergourmetmart

            That's a good article but it may be more accurate for YK, because my pre-fast meal tonight will be closer to 7, not really impacted by the salad I had for lunch.

          2. re: GilaB

            Indeed, some of us miss fluids, with others it's food.

            I did the eggplant from that times story last Shabbos; wonderful. I've done green beans this way for years. Say what you will about their other policies, the Turks know how to cook.

            In case it's useful to you, Trader Joe's sells frozen leeks. A real time-saver that you don't find in many stores. Washing the mud out of fresh leeks takes a lot of time.

          3. do you usually do meat or dairy before yom kippur? any specific menus?

            3 Replies
            1. re: PotatoPuff

              I make a big pot of chicken soup with chicken and vegetables and kreplach. Also roast chicken, glazed carrots, green beans and potatoes. Chocolate cake for dessert if anyone wants. Most fill up on the soup. We find it best not to eat meat before the fast.

                1. re: DeisCane

                  Maybe s/he means red meat, as opposed to poultry?

            2. Like my ancestors before me, I have challah with a touch of honey, gefilte fish, boiled chicken, and a big bowl of soup with lots of noodles or rice. Unlike my ancestors, though, I spike the soup with a dash of sriraccha sauce, because I hate the taste of boiled chicken and unsalted soup.

              I also drink a liter of water, throughout the day.

              Just before the start of Tisha B'Av this year, I ate two power bars (I was worried about getting caught in traffic before the seuda hamafsekes). Best fast I ever had.

              8 Replies
              1. re: The Cameraman

                Do you normally not drink much water? I drink a liter easily every day. For YK, I'm looking at more like three liters.

                1. re: DeisCane

                  I believe I have added my coffee theory here before. I am a coffee drinker who used to try to abstain for at least a day or two before a fast to try to get ahead of the withdrawal symptoms. Really, a week was recommended, but that was torturous. I now drink a lot of water, eat a meal with carbs and low-salt (before Yom Kippur, that would be more of a Shabbos-type meal as there is a source for that--Challah, fish, chicken soup, roast chicken and potato kugel) and then... plain, non-creamy cake with a large coffee. Finish with more water. Loading up on a big coffee immediately before the fast has "tricked" my system into thinking that I have not stopped drinking it for the day. I do not get my withdrawal headache and fast quite well. I believe the pacing of the meal and the drinking is quite important. Always start the meal earlier than you think, eat slower, and take breaks, make sure the dessert comes at least 15 minutes before the start of the fast so you will have a bit of room to drink the last couple of cups of water.

                  1. re: cappucino

                    I am a coffee drinker as well....ple explain - that one large coffee before the fast , lasts until the following evening ? no caffeine headache ?

                    1. re: georgeliot

                      I would love to hear if my method works for others so please let me know if you try it. The day before the fast, I have my regular amount of coffee (one or two cups--usually two) and then I drink a big coffee right before it begins chased with a cup or two of water. It really does work. Somehow, I guess my withdrawal symptoms would kick in somewhere at the 24 or 25 hour mark and the fast is over at that point. Please try it and let me know.

                      1. re: cappucino

                        Cappucino, I just tried your method -- a coffee Shabbos morning, then another followed by a couple of cups water just before the fast. My son was worried it would dehydrate me, but I felt okay ... and none of the usual headachy caffeine withdrawal. Thank you for the suggestion.

                        1. re: almond tree

                          Thanks for the feedback almond tree. As for me, it worked again this year. So far--no headache. And I never had to give up the coffee. More responses would be great.

                          1. re: cappucino

                            A gatorade about an hour before the fast starts is a great help for me.

                  2. re: DeisCane

                    Sorry, I meant an *extra* liter of water.