104 posts categorized "Health and Fitness"

Functional Fitness

Functional Fitness
Did you ever ask yourself, "Why did the Creator give me a body?" Surprisingly, most people don't know the answer.

Let's ask an easier question: "Do you know what fitness is?" Many gym-machos can't answer that one either. Look at this example:

Craig has humongous biceps from the hundreds of heavyweight dumbbell curls he does every day. Yet, when his wife asked him to take down a can of tuna from the top shelf in her kitchen pantry, he couldn't do it because his shoulders were too tight. He simply couldn't raise his arms that high, despite his 6'1" frame. Frustrated, his 5'3" wife stood on a kitchen chair and took the can of tuna down herself.

What's wrong with Craig and so many people like him? Why do so many people who work out suffer injuries and have difficulty doing everyday tasks?

To get some surprisingly simple and straightforward answers to the above questions, see Functional Fitness, my feature article in this week's exciting new issue of Breslev Israel web magazine.

Also featured this week:

Rav Shalom Arush - The Prowess of Prayer

Racheli Reckles - Don't Blame Yourself

Dr. Zev Ballen - Breathe

Yehudit Channen - Gratitude for Every Occasion

Dovber Halevi - My Lech-Lecha Moment

Dennis Rosen - Grateful Awakening

Yehuda Gerlitz - A Debt of Gratitude

Bright Beams blessings for a beautiful new week!

Beware: The Expanding Succoth Waistline

DB Succoth

Succoth begins tonight, Wednesday, 4 Oct., 2017. This post, if you follow it, will aid your health and save you from needless holiday weight-gain.

Parenthetically, I don't believe in dieting of any kind - most diets are unhealthy fads that lead to short-term weight loss and long-term frustration, metabolic and/or nutritional imbalance, ailments of all kinds and weight gain. The extremes of Paleo and Primal that tell you to eat all the meat and fat you want but stay away from carbs to total vegan that tells you that an egg, sardine or chicken breast will kill you are not in accordance with Torah and the Rambam's timeless advice on nutrition. But, let's save that discussion for another time. Meanwhile, the best advice is what I call "Ivri", eating just the way our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did. That means eating foods as close to the way Hashem created them, with no interference from food manufacturers and genetic modifiers. With that said, let's talk about Succoth...

In Judaism, Succoth is the annual "joy harvest", where we gather happiness for an entire year. The problem is that with multiple daily festive meals, visiting friends and relatives in their Succas and partying all week long, most people gather pounds in addition to the joy. And, the excess weight eats away at the joy…

But like Rebbe Nachman tells us, there's no despair in the world. Today's Beams might save you from adding two inches to your waistline this Succot. None of us want to go the route of gaining needless weight, so let's do a little holiday-eve preparation with this food for thought:

The perenniel post-holiday problem of many Jewish people is the added calories, pounds, flab, and cholesterol of a week of eating and rejoicing in the Succa. As the Beams is committed to the health of body, mind, and soul, we've composed a few guidelines to combat the expanding Succoth waistline.

Beware of empty calories: empty calories come from nutrient-scant foods, especially manufactured products, fast food and junk food. Stick to what I call nutrient-dense foods, where you get the most nutrients from each calorie consumed. Here, the winners are fresh vegetables, fresh foods and naturally dried (not roasted or salted) seeds and nuts. Nutrient-scant foods (cakes, pastries, sweets, soft drinks and liquor) are outright dangerous to the body.

Beware of the cakes: Many people want to make a blessing on the Succa every time they enter it. But, one really shouldn't make a blessing unless he eats something. For that reason, many folks eat cake ("mezonos", at a minimum amount of a little over and ounce) so they can say the "Leshev B'Succa" blessing, the blessing to sit in the Succa. If a person eats 2 ounces of cake 3 times a day, that adds another 840 calories to his daily intake. The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a says that one should make a "Leshev B'Succa" blessing only when eating a proper meal that includes washing your hands and breaking bread. So, don't eat cake for the purpose of making a blessing to sit in the Succa. If a person eats 3 average-sized portions of cake a day for the 9 (outside of Israel, 8 in Israel) days of the Succoth/Simchat Torah holiday, he'll gain more than two pounds. We suggest eating sliced fresh carrots or sliced green apples instead of the cake.

Beware of the liquor: Many people make a "Lechayim" every time they visit the Succa of a friend and relative. In Israel, quite a few people that barely touch alcoholic beverages all year long keep them on hand to serve guests, and end up toasting glass-per-glass with the guest. A one-ounce shot of vodka or 86-proof Whiskey is 70 calories, while an ounce of a 72-proof liqueur such as Kahlua or Banana Liqueur is a hefty 117 calories. 3 "Lechayims" a day is enough to pick up another half pound during the week of the holiday. Adding that to the cakes (see above), you've already gained 2.5 pounds during Succoth. Putting the weight on is so much easier than taking it off.

Beware of sweet beverages: Succoth is a time when parents allow the Pepsi and the Coke to flow freely all week long. Now hear this - an 8-ounce glass of Coke Classic is a whopping 97 calories, just as caloric as the equivalent amount of beer or of a slice and a half of bread. A person that drinks 6 glasses of cola a day will gain almost a pound on Succoth, plus wreck his teeth in the process. We suggest that you reach for the mineral water, sparkling water, or herb tea instead, for they have zero caloric value.

Beware of snacks: People like to munch in the Succa. We all know that you can't eat one Frito or potato chip - therefore, those plastic bags empty fast. One ounce of fritos, potato chips, or our Bamba and Bisli add another 160 calories to your calorie-aglore score. If a person drinks two glasses of cola and consumes two ounces of snack foods a day, he'll gain over a pound during Succoth. Again, fresh carrot and cucumber sticks are a virtually non-cloric and healthy replacement for the junky snack foods. And, if you want something sweet, try Madjool dates or dark chocolate that's 85% cocoa or more, but limit yourself to 2 dates or 2 chocolate squares a day.

So, with the cakes, the l'chayims, the cokes and the snacks alone - without the heavy meals that include kugel and fat meats, you've already gained close to 5 pounds. And, if you drink diet beverages and use artificial sweeteners, you might not gain the weight but you'll be likely to suffer from headaches and anxiety.

True, tradition is important; that is, as long as it doesn't ruin your health. Here at the Brody homestead, whole-grained rice, buckwheat groats and quinoa have replaced fried farfel and oil-dripping kugel. We don't fry, but broil and bake. We eat loads of veggies and fresh fruit, and drink local mineral water. Fish and lean poultry have replaced the lamb and veal, and we eat beef sparingly. Dessert is homemade applesauce, fresh cantelope cubes, or an almond-stuffed fresh date. Our bread is home-baked and whole-grain, preferably spelt with minimal or no yeast. We want to control what enters our bodies; the manufacturers care about making money, not about our health. That's why we don't buy their products. Our bodies weren't designed to digest the myriad of chemical additives and preservatives that they force-feed us.

The Rambam gives an important reminder - don't eat until you're full. The stomach resembles a washing machine - if you overload it, it can't do the laundry. By the same token, an overloaded stomach can't digest, resulting in indigestion, another common Succoth ailment.

A great way to combat the the expanding Succoth waistline is to walk for an hour a day. Better yet, while you're walking, talk to Hashem in personal prayer. That way, your body gets its exercise and your soul gets its nourishment, that is none other than connecting with Hashem. What could be better? Breslev Israel and the Beams wish you a happy and healthy Succoth with no indigestion and no expanding waistline, amen.

Ten Tips for an Easy Yom Kippur Fast

Easy Fast YK
Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean suffering. There’s quite a bit we can do to alleviate the bodily and mental stress that normally accompanies a fast. Today, the day before the fast, follow the following guidelines:
1. Cut down your caffeine intake to minimize headaches. That means stop drinking coffee, tea, and cola at least eight hours before the fast, and preferably twenty-four hours before the fast.
2. Avoid salty, spicey, and fried foods on the day before the fast.
3. Avoid white sugar, white flour, and white rice. Eat whole-grained foods such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread or challa.
4. Drink a lot of water all day long.
5. Eat a good breakfast that includes fruits, veggies, eggs or sardines, and whole grains.
6. The pre-Yom Kippur meal (se'uda mafseket) should include baked or broiled fish, a veggy salad, consomme, a small portion of chicken or turkey, and a side dish of complex carbohydrates such as kasha or quinoa. Substitute sweet deserts with watermelon or other water-retaining fresh fruit, and a cup of herb tea with a whole-grain cookie.
On Yom Kippur:
7. The more you immerse yourself in prayer, the less you'll think about food.
8. Rest between prayers. Don’t run around outside, especially in the hot sun. Save your voice for prayers. Idle talking will make you thirstier, and will detract from the holiness of the day.
After the fast:
9. Drink two glasses of water, and then eat solids gradually, so as not to shock the digestive system. Begin with fruit, like plums or grapes. The worst thing people do is to consume pastries and soft drinks, or “lekach un bronfan” (cake and liquor) right after the fast (these are unhealthy anytime, all the more so right after the fast when they give your body a shock of glucose).
10. Forty-five minutes to an hour afterwards, one can eat a balanced meal with protein, complex carbohydrates, and vegetables. After eating, relax for an hour with your favorite book (preferably Gemara of the laws of Succoth from Shulchan Oruch) and your favorite beverage, then begin constructing your Succa.
Attention diabetics, heart patients, folks with high blood pressure, and people whose health depends on regular medication - you must be especially careful to ask your doctor if you are capable of fasting, and then consult with your local rabbi, giving him the doctor's exact opinion. For many such people, it is a mitzva not to fast on Yom Kippur.
The Israel Cancer Association recommends that cancer patients not fast without approval from their physicians. Fasting could cause considerable discomfort in cancer patients, who need a lot of liquids to alleviate side effects of chemotherapy. Again, first consult the doctor and then the rabbi. Give the rabbi all the details that you received from the doctor.
Don't let children (boys under the age of 12 or girls under the age of 11) be overzealous. Make sure they eat on time.

With G-d's blessing and the above guidelines, you'll have an easy fast. May all of us be signed and sealed in the Book of Long and Happy Lives for the best year ever, amen!

Racheli's INSANELY DELICIOUS Coconut Pecan Crumble


That's it. 

I'm done. 

I don't think I can ever make another dessert again.

It's the early evening here in humid, sweltering Bet Shemesh and I'm watching my little boyfriend crawl across the table. But I can't stop him because I'm too busy stuffing my face with this INSANELY DELICIOUS crumble mixture.

I'm dropping crumbs all over the table, my skirt, and the floor but I don't care. I'm in keto heaven. 

Actually, I have to blame Rav Brody for this dessert. All of his posting about Gog and Magog and the end of the world got my appetite soaring to new and inhuman levels. Since I can't eat most of what's in my house because it's not keto-friendly, I had to improvise and make my own INSANELY DELICIOUS dessert. 

I don't know why, but I'm getting more keto-crazy with each day. I mean, why eat dinner when I can eat this instead? It's got nuts, eggs, coconut, and butter. It's practically a steak with broccoli on the side. 

As I leisurely sip my coffee I'm silently sending out ESP signals for someone to come and take this plate away from me, because I just can't. Maybe if I keep typing my fingers won't be able to reach over and grab some more crumble and force it into my mouth. 

Yes. I know. I need a therapist.

Now listen - this dessert took me an awful long time to make because I had to actually measure stuff, which y'all know I hate to do. But I did it for your sake. So somebody, PLEASE make this dessert so all of my hard work would not have been in vain.

If any of you are on a keto diet, it's my variation of a fat bomb.

I highly recommend you eat this while drinking a nice espresso or cappuccino, and/or top this over a generous scoop of sugar-free vanilla ice cream. OMG. Heaven.

Please write to me about the state of nirvana that you reached when you took a bite of this INSANELY DELICIOUS little creation. 

(Did you catch my attempt to control your mind? Did it work??)

This makes a very small batch, but it goes a long way. Feel free to double (or triple) the recipe:

-2 large handful raw pecans (coarsely chop them)

-1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes (You can have my sweet friend Tena mail you some if you can't find them in your area.)

-3/4 c. ground almond

-1/2 c. ground walnut

-3/4 c. splenda 

-handful pumpkin seeds

-1 T. cinnamon

-1 T. cardamon (YUM!!!)

-1 c. melted butter (YIKES!!)

-1 egg

Mix it all together, place it as flat as you can in a baking sheet, and bake it until it browns on the top. Mine took less than 10 minutes. If you start to smell burning, you might want to take it out.



Natural & Spiritual Remedy for Acne

Baby complexion
Several of our readers have expressed their desire for more emuna health and fitness posts. They're in our holding pattern, and I'd love to find the time to make a new set of Emuna Fitness Vids, but in the meanwhile, here is an effective natural & spiritual remedy for acne. Here it is:

First of all, be very careful not to say a bad word about anyone - no matter what - even about those that hurt you, G-d forbid.

Second, don't eat any fried foods. Don't eat any milk products that contain more than 5% fat.

Third, eat only whole grains and brown cane sugar - no white flour or white sugar.

Fourth, stay far away from junk foods and processed foods, especially smoked and preserved meats. No more pizzas!

Fifth, discontinue the creams and pills, and all other medications. Don't squeeze pimples, because that only increases inflammation and infection.

Sixth, eat lots of lettuce leaves and sunflower seeds. Vitamin E is good for the skin.

Seventh, wash your face with a gentle baby liquid soap. Keep your hands and your hair off your face.

Eighth, water washes away impurity from the body. Drink plenty of water, but no softdrinks and certainly no alcohol.

Ninth, Vitamin A shortage triggers acne. Snack on fresh carrot sticks or drink fresh carrot juice.

Tenth, ask Hashem to heal your skin, but thank Him for the problem because everything He does is for the very best!

With Hashem's help, your skin will clear up fast, G-d willing. Tomorrow, I'll give you a fantastic substitute for expensive skin creams - don't miss it!

Pink Salt


Awwww, yeah...

Now that's what I call, "Lox Heaven." Unless, of course, you're deathly allergic to salmon, like my soul sista and fellow writer, Sunny Levy. (Don't hate me, babe.) If you are, you would probably call this picture, "Lox Hell." Hellox. Sounds like a vaccine. 

I've gotta say that this is by far the BEST lox I have ever had, and I'm really not saying it because I made it. It's really the BEST lox I ever had. THE. BEST. And, it's super easy! Here's the recipe. Don't get scared - I didn't make this one up.

Equal parts of salt and sugar. I used one cup of each. Rub them into the fillet of salmon, wrap it tightly in Saran wrap, and place it in something large enough to hold it flat. I used one of the tins from my oven, which I first lined with foil, because lots of oil or juice or whatever it is starts oozing out. Oh, and you have to place something heavy on the fish. I used two large ice packs, a half a watermelon, and a jumbo size bottle of grape juice. Shame I didn't take a picture of that. It took up half my fridge!

If you want to do this recipe, here's the rest of the recipe: First, get yourself some liquid smoke. Second, I kept the skin on the salmon and cut it off after it was ready. Ready means after three days, in which you turn the fillet over once a day. Third, rinse the fillet really well after the third day. Pat it dry, remove the skin, and rub in some liquid smoke. Keep tasting it as you go in order to figure out how much liquid smoke to add. You don't need a lot. Next time, I'm going to rub in some dry dill along with my salt and sugar. When you slice it, use a large sharp knife and do your best to slice it on the bias - that means diagonally. I think. You won't get those perfect, thin slices like in the package, but you will get a salmon that'll make you unable to ever buy the packaged stuff again.

Now, as much as I hate, despise, and loathe white salt and sugar, I'm not brave or rich enough to experiment with a substitute for white sugar. In the case of salt, I would use Himalayan salt next time. It's about 35 times more expensive, but believe me, it's worth it. Here's why:

Let's put it this way: table salt is poison. Toxic. Bad for your health. It's made by heating up natural salt to 1200 degrees F. As a result, it loses most of the 80+ good, healthy minerals that your body needs. These minerals are alkaline, so they keep us hydrated, balance our sodium/potassium ratio, and give us tons of powerful electrolytes. Natural salt also contains trace elements that help with thyroid and adrenal function, as well as help in the creation of digestive enzymes, which not only help us digest our food better, but they also help us extract more vitamins and minerals from our food.

All that good stuff is stripped away in the process of making table salt. While they add iodine to their salt, it is in no way comparable to the health benefits in Himalayan or natural sea salt. And you want to know what else is in your salt? SUGAR! And MSG!! I'm not kidding! AND, here's the real kicker: table salt is not really salt at all! It's the flaky oil residue that happens as a result of oil drilling!!

Seriously?? After reading this, do you need more reason to stop eating it?

Not only is this "salt"' totally unhealthy for you, it makes you retain water, and it strips calcium from your bones. Furthermore, here's another secret that doctors don't want you to know: do you know why salt raises blood pressure? It's because the body is working so hard to remove all of those toxins that you've just put in your system! As a result, doctors misinform people by telling them to stop eating salt. This does nothing to fix the problem, because not only are you still not getting the vital minerals you need from natural salt, but you're still getting salt in other forms, such as additives in processed foods.

And what's the best part about all this? Table salt is addictive! The more you eat it, the more you crave it!

Read this article on the dangers of table salt. 

If you want to be healthy, start using Himalayan salt or grey sea salt in your food. You'll get all the good minerals and trace elements that you need, and you'll keep your body from losing precious minerals of its own. You'll also start to taste your food's more natural flavors, as you'll see that eventually, you won't need your food to be as salty. 

Here is a great article on the benefits of Himalayan salt. It also shares some amazing therapeutic uses for Himalayan salt. Definitely a must-read. 

I'd love to know if you start using it, or if you already use it, and what you think about it! 

Have a wonderful day!


Is There Hope for the Autistic Child?

Is there Hope
You bet there is. I've been hearing more and more about successful treatments with the use of a friendly bacteria named Lactobaccilus Reuteri, a star player in many probiotics. It has proven effective in eradicating H. Pylori, the criminal-bacteria culprit that eats away at the stomach wall and causes ulcers. L. Reuteri has also done a valiant job in overcoming the Clostridia infection that is so highly correlated to autism and the reason that so many autistic kids suffer from constipation. Consult a good naturopathic doctor and ask him for more information on the subject.

I often recommend that parents of autistic kids put them on a GFCF (gluten-free-casein-free) diet, for this also eases all types of autoimmune symptoms that are also related to autism.

The next time someone curses you and tells you to "eat poop", smile back, for Hashem will turn this curse into a blessing. Conventional medicine won't tell you about FT (fecal transplant), but it is a strong ray of hope. Here's how: Imbalances in the gut microbiome ― the community of trillions of bacteria living in the digestive tract ― have been linked with mental and neurological disorders, including anxietydepressionobsessive-compulsive disorder and Parkinson’s disease. While friendly bacteria are our best friend, the unfriendly types that often take over the gut wreak all sorts of havoc to our health. FT, by returning the gut's regime to the friendly bacteria, can literally reboot a person's health.

Many of modern society's ailments are due to the garbage our bodies ingest that destroy our microbiome, our desirable microbial population in the gut that that protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins. The main culprits are as toxins, air pollution, antibiotics, medications, processed foods and parasites. Often, we're too sterile and use soaps, sprays, cosmetics and chemicals that kill off good bacteria as well. That's why the best thing a person can do is to live and eat naturally.

Disclaimer: all the above does not purport to be a cure or solution to any ailment, but as food for thought and for further investigation. There truly is no despair and there's always hope. Don't ever forget that above and beyond our efforts, prayer alters nature!