Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How an Intuitive Eater-Environmentally Conscious-Fighter For Social Equality-Dietitian Celebrates Passover

As far as Jewish holidays go, Passover is one of my favorites.  As a child, I loved it because of the food.  My memories are filled with fantastic brisket, homemade gefilte fish and matzah with chopped liver.  As I've become and adult, Passover is still my favorite holiday but now for different reasons. There's still the food, of course, but now I love the meaning.  

Recently my wife and I have started to host Seder for our families.  It's always a special night for us because we try to take some time to plan a haggadah that brings meaning to our families.  Before I go too far, though, let me explain a little about Passover for all the non-Jews reading.

Passover is the holiday that is celebrated in the spring, around the same time as Easter.  The holiday is celebrated in many ways but the primary way that most families celebrate with a meal called the Seder. In this meal we read from the haggadah.  The haggadah is a road map, if you will.  It explains symbols, tells you when to recite certain blessings and most importantly, it tells us the story of the Exodus.  The story of the Exodus recounts the Jewish bondage in Egypt and how Moses, with the help of 10 plagues, freed the Jews from slavery.  If you want a recap of that, try watching the Ten Commandments.  

The story of the Exodus is not why I'm writing this blog, though. I'm writing because Passover is meaningful on so many levels.  We celebrate Passover to remind us that we were slaves, to remind us of the sadness and bitterness of slavery and to help us remember that slavery is still around us today and it's our duty to help those enslaved to find their freedom.  

Slavery is a very important theme of the Seder and as the holiday approaches, I thought a lot about that from many different perspectives.  I've thought about it as an advocate of Intuitive Eating.  In that sense, I think of those that are a slave to a diet,  imprisoned by food choices and without freedom to eat what they love.  As someone that sees a broken food system, I see slaves all around.  From those workers that don't receive a fair wage for growing or picking my food, to the animals that are mistreated in commercial feedlots.  As an individual, I notice how I'm a slave.  

My slavery is not in the literal sense but I think of what really holds me back.  The thing that I am a slave to is fear.  I'm fearful that I won't succeed in business.  I fear that with every new blog post that no one will read it or that I'll say something that will offend someone.  It's that kind of fear that holds me back from doing what I love, from putting myself out there and from really trying as hard as I can. Fear is what makes me think I'm not as good as others in my field. It's fear that stops me from putting on my running shoes and getting back on the pavement. 

Mine might be fear but we all have our own forms of internal "slavery" that hold us back.  I like Passover because it's time to reflect on this issue and try to be better in the next year.  Even though it's uncomfortable to think about, I like that this holiday is a safe way for me to reflect.

Let me share with you how an Intuitive Eating loving, environmentally conscious, fighter for social equality, dietitian, father, husband and Jew honors the spirit of Passover in our annual Seder and after:  
  1. We buy only grass-fed, humanely raised beef.  We choose a local ranch Novy Ranches as our purveyor of choice. If you want to see the brisket recipe I use, read this post I wrote a while back. 
  2. We make our own gefilte fish using wild caught salmon and halibut.  You can find that recipe here.  
  3. When purchasing foods for our Seder, we try to buy Organic and local products when possible
  4. As we eat our dinner, I will slowly and listen to my body.  I will stop when satisfied and try not to eat to uncomfortable fullness. 
  5. My wife and I supplement our traditional haggadah with readings that help our family and friends reflect about their own personal experiences with Passover.
  6. Despite the fear, I continue to put myself out there.  Each post is a labor of love and my thoughts are my own and I have to learn that I should not apologize for believing what I believe.
  7. No matter how scary, I will continue to network and build a name for myself.
  8. I will fight to keep fear at bay but also remember to acknowledge that my fear is real but it is only my perception.  
I hope you've enjoyed this post and if you celebrate Passover, I'd love to hear how you celebrate your Seder.  


  1. Hi Aaron,

    I came across your blog because I was searching for other Jewish IE experts. So happy to find you. I really enjoy reading your posts on Facebook. Keep up the great work. I really like what you wrote about everyone freeing themselves from their own internal slavery as it relates to food and eating.

    At our Passover Seder, we spend time reflecting on our own personal bondages and the steps we can take to break free from them.

  2. Thanks for the comment and for sharing your Passover experience!

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