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Dissecting the Decade

How have the health trends changed since 2010?

10 contributors share

JANUARY 2020 // TEVES 5780 // ISSUE 48

Back on the Bandwagon

Chapped, Cracked Dry

How can I recommit to my food plan after another slip?

7 foods for healthy winter skin

To A Cozy Start

Not Just a Number

Serving up buckwheat pancakes and chia pudding this morning

How age affects metabolism

Meet Dr. Simcha

Avi Weinberg discusses the pursuit of emotional health—and where he found his gems

Do Not Enter

6 tips for banishing wintertime viruses from your home

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Kugel Is

Th a t G o od? An honest look at

fo glorification and its effects on ourohdea lth

Heart to Heart Why do I feel distant from my husband?

w w w. g o l d e n t a s t e i n c . c o m

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COPY & RESEARCH Deputy Editor Esther Retek Nutritional Advisory Board Dr. Rachael Schindler Laura Shammah, MS, RDN Beth Warren, MS, RDN, CDN Tamar Feldman, RDN, CDE Nutrition Contributors Tanya Rosen, MS CAI CPT Shani Taub, CDC Health Advisory Board Dr. Chayala Englard • Chaya Tilla Brachfeld, RN • Miriam Schweid

FOOD CONTENT Food Editor Esther Frenkel Recipes, Food Styling & Photography Yossi & Malky Levine Charnie Kohn ART & PRODUCTION Creative Director Baruch Samuel Designers Rivky Schwartz • Shevy Gerdts

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Photography Sruly Rosenberg • Ruchy Baum Yanky Schwartz

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The Wellspring Magazine is published monthly by Wellspring Magazine Inc. All rights are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part or in any form without prior written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The publisher reserves the right to edit all articles for clarity, space and editorial sensitivities. The Wellspring Magazine assumes no responsibility for the content or kashrus of advertisements in the publication, nor for the content of books that are referred to or excerpted herein. The contents of The Wellspring Magazine, such as text, graphics and other material (content) are intended for educational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care provider with any questions you have regarding your medical condition.

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From the Editor

Food, Food Everywhere Food plays a central role in our lives. There’s no denying that food has the ability to generate connection, to bring hearts together, to unite and excite, and even comfort and evoke feelings of home. There’s also no denying that food glorification has reached new levels in recent years, with ads, posts, and recipe sections that subtly (or not so subtly) portray food as the promise for happiness, the key to ultimate pleasure, and a veritable party for all the senses in every bite.

“Why does everything have to be about the food?” “Why not?”

As a people that is focused on spiritual pursuits above all else, this seems contradictory to our values. After all, we do understand that food is intended to be a means of nourishment, and a vehicle through which we perform various mitzvos like matzah, berachos, and succah. Should this medium be pleasant for us? Certainly. But must it be so grand that it almost becomes an end of its own? Probably not. With Chanukah behind us and the stacks of towering (exorbitant) donuts dripping in decadent sauces and toppings a memory of the past, all we’re left with (besides the calories) is this question: Has food glorification gotten out of hand in our community? Has Shabbos and Yom Tov become more about the menu than its essence? Has a simchah become more about the lavish feast and Viennese bar than the milestone the new couple or bar mitzvah boy has reached? But, no worries, I won’t be turning preachy on you. I’m writing these words under the deeply moving influence of what I watched last night: thousands upon thousands of Yidden who congregated to celebrate the 13th siyum of Daf Yomi. It’s as if we’re in the week of sheva brachos now, the unadulterated joy of celebrating as one still lingering in our hearts.

In the excitement of these days, every Yid feels like a brother or sister. As an askan put it so beautifully, "Daf Yomi

is like all of Klal Yisrael holding hands."

What were thousands of Yidden doing in that gigantic stadium? To the unaffiliated eye, the congregation of masses to celebrate the completion of an ancient Aramaic text seems bizarre. But, for us, it’s no surprise at all. Above all else, we’re a nation that craves meaning. When channeled properly, this hunger leads us to the attainment of greater spiritual heights. When we’re operating on a lower level of pleasure, we may seek to quiet our hunger with a slice of kugel, and then another.

And so, while one could argue that food glorification is a reflection of an animalistic element, perhaps we can see it otherwise. Certainly, at the ideal level, our quest should be for all things spiritual. When we feel a ravenous hunger, we understand that it isn’t for food, but only for a deeper yearning. But, until we get there, at least we have a kosher outlet, too.

This issue’s cover feature on food glorification is a fun read. In the piece, Shani Pruzansky does an excellent job at honing in on the various elements in our life that revolve around food. And while the question that we’re left with is, “Does it have to be this way?” Let’s not lose sight of why it is this way. After all, it’s only when we judge ourselves and others with the benefit of the doubt that we can eventually put an end to less-than-ideal practices and the negative repercussions they have on our health and wellbeing. In discussing her contribution to this issue’s feature on how the health trends and perspectives have evolved over the past decade, health practitioner Toby Lebovits wrote to me, “The way I see it, man’s search for knowledge nowadays is a fulfillment of the prophecy (Amos 8:11), ‘Days are coming … there will be not a famine for bread nor a thirst for water, but to hear the words of Hashem.’” As a people who crave connection and meaning, we’re perpetually hungry. May we merit satiating that craving with spiritual pleasure. And until that happens, let’s make a l’chaim and enjoy a slice of good, kosher food.

Hearty appetite, Shiffy Friedman

Well-Put! Every minute is another chance, completely disconnected from anything that happened the moment before. Shani Taub

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 15


JANUARY 2020 TEVES 5780 ISSUE 48 The next issue of Wellspring will appear iy”H on February 5th.


WELL INFORMED 20 TORAH WELLSPRING By Rabbi Ezra Friedman 24 SPIRITUAL EATING By Rabbi Eli Glaser, CNWC, CWMS 26 DENTAL HEALTH By Dr. Jacques Doueck, DDS 28 HEALTH UPDATES IN THE NEWS By Esther Retek 34 FIGURES By Malka Sharman 36 HEALTH ED Age Related Weight Gain By Laura Shammah, MS, RDN 40 FEATURE Dissecting the Decade



Good Morning, Good Food The dishes you want to eat first thing in the a.m.

Kung Pao Chicken, Anyone? Charnie takes us to China Seven foods for healthy skin


40 LIVING WELL 46 IN GOOD SHAPE How to Burn Fat, Fast By Syma Kranz, PFC 48 ASK THE NUTRITIONIST Back on Track By Shani Taub, CDC 50 COVER FEATURE Can Kugel Really Kill? By Shani Pruzansky 60 AT THE DIETITIAN The Severely Restricted Diet By Tamar Feldman, RDN, CDE 62 CUP OF TEA With Chana Weinstock Neuberger, MD By Esther Retek 64 MEMOS FROM A KINESIOLOGIST Relief and Regulation By Miriam Schweid 66 DIY Headache Relief By Miriam Schweid 67



FEATURE Prescription for Joy By Chava Leah Beer

80 CHILD DEVELOPMENT By Friedy Singer & Roizy Guttman, OTR/L 84 EMOTIONAL EATING By Shira Savit 86 HEART TO HEART By Shiffy Friedman




On Surrendering, Childhood Obesity, Acid Reflux, and More

Ray of Hope invites readers to submit letters and comments via regular mail or email to info@ wellspringmagazine. com. We reserve the right to edit all submissions and will withhold your name upon request. We will honor requests for anonymity, but we cannot consider letters that arrive without contact information.

The Ultimate Victory

Issue #47: Cover Feature

Issue #47: Wellbeing Feature

This Chanukah, I drew a lot of strength from Yaffa Tova’s beautiful article about her sister Tamar, who was diagnosed with cancer. You see, my sister was diagnosed too, shortly before Chanukah. Like Tamar, she’d been exhibiting multiple symptoms for a long, long time — well before any of us even realized something was amiss.

I really enjoyed last month's Wellbeing feature on surrendering to one's emotions to achieve true happiness. I think it's an important concept and one that most people aren't aware of. I just think it's vital to point out that one must not use "surrendering" as an excuse for inaction or not doing hishtadlus. A person must "surrender" on the one hand, allowing himself to really feel his emotions and let them run their course, but on the other, he must work to move on and keep putting one foot in front of the other, being careful not to become mired in wallowing and sulking in the long run.

Baruch Hashem, the doctors are optimistic about her recovery. As Yidden, we keep praying to the One Above, and drawing chizuk from publications like Wellspring. Thanks for shining light on topics that are most important to us,

R. Feder

Wesley Hills, New York

18 Wellspring | January 2020

Mali W.



What could be the cause of my 4-month-old baby’s inability to have bowel movements without the use of glycerin suppositories? How can I resolve the issue?


Nursing babies should have a bowel movement (BM) several times a day, and bottle-fed babies should have a BM at least once a day. If your baby only has a BM with the help of a glycerin suppository, either her anus must be enlarged, which can be done at a well visit at the pediatrician, or she may need digestive help. Acidophilus, fig pep, or a chamomile bottle with sugar once or twice a day should do the trick. If you’re nursing, take ground flaxseed or flaxseed-oil caplets to help your baby with this issue. To your health, Chaya Tilla (Tina) Brachfeld, RN, health kinesiologist

I Was That Child Issue #46: Cup of Tea With Chaya Stern

As a formerly overweight child, I so appreciated reading Chaya Stern’s interview in the November issue. She exhibits an empathetic approach to dealing with these children, which is more important than anything else. Although I’ve been successfully maintaining my significant weight loss for well over a decade, the pain I experienced as an obese child is still in my bones. A child, in general, is so vulnerable to comments from peers and adults, and this is especially true for a child whose self-esteem is shattered. It’s important to stress the importance of looking into the whys when a child is overeating. I implore mothers of overweight chil-

dren, or children who are obsessed with food, to assess what may be impeding their happiness. Of course, every young kid likes nosh and snacks, but to be so focused on them may be a sign of deep underlying discontent.    Name withheld

The Meds Were the Culprit Issue #46: HealthEd

Laura Shammah provides a very comprehensive outline on acid reflux. In one of the sidebars, she points out that certain medications may cause acid reflux because they relax the sphincter, allowing acid to rise upward.

Several years ago, I needed to take a postmenopausal medication for some time. As soon as I started on it, I felt a kind of heartburn I’d never before experienced. It was excruciating.

I tried looking back to see which foods I had eaten that may have caused the issue, even severely limiting my diet for several days, but none of this helped improve my discomfort. It was only when I returned to the doctor and mentioned the mystery that he said, “Oh, acid reflux can be one of the side effects of the medication you’re on.” May we all be healthy and well informed to avoid any undue suffering,   

Sara L.

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 19

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.

Quick Question

Well Informed

Torah Wellspring: Spiritual Health By Rabbi Ezra Friedman

One Page at a Time The real secret of success


As these lines are being written, siyumei haShas are taking place around the globe. It’s incredibly inspiring to observe how the fire the nations desperately endeavored to extinguish is still burning so fiercely within us. What a kiddush Hashem it is to witness the passion Klal Yisrael possesses for Torah learning — both those who merited to complete the cycle and those who are sharing in their simchah. The unity of our nation that emerges during these times moves every heart. One powerful lesson comes to the fore when we ponder these watershed moments in history. A Yid once visited a tzaddik, relating that he had learned all of Shas. The tzaddik responded, “You learned Shas. What did Shas teach you?”

Every Yid who completes Shas or learns even one word of Torah experiences the privilege of having the Torah teach him. But, from the Daf Yomi siyum in particular, we can cull a powerful lesson that,

20 Wellspring | January 2020

when applied to our lives, is a foundation of success in all areas.

When we get there, it’s a true acquisition, the kind we really want.

Each of us has a natural will to achieve, to make an impact in this world, to improve ourselves and others — and we’re ready to do what it takes to attain these worthy goals. The pleasure of accomplishing is what drives us to keep doing, working, and trying. True success, however, does not happen in an instant. Some things may appear like success, they may look like progress and accomplishment, but if they didn’t take time or effort, they’re not the real thing. Losing those achievements will happen just as quickly as it took to attain them. This is the reality even in the gashmiyus realm, such as those who got rich or famous overnight, without investing much effort. These so-called “successes” come and go, making nary an impact on the individual, much less on the world.

It’s when we give an endeavor the time and patience that it needs to unfold, through continuously taking small steps, that we eventually achieve true success.

This is even truer concerning our ruchniyus, our real world, in which success truly counts. In the olam hanefesh, this is especially clear. Not a single triumph in the spiritual realm arrives in record speed or without effort. It only becomes a reality with a burning desire that is so powerful that the individual is ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen even over the duration of a lengthy process, which is usually the case. In terms of the nefesh, whether it’s toward cultivating more simchah, becoming more empathetic, or fostering more inner peace, if we attain it without yegiah, investment, it’s just a counterfeit. In other words, I may have acquired more knowledge in my mind, but that acquisition hasn’t made a true impact on me. I may understand why I need to love my fellow Jew, but I don’t yet feel the love in my heart. I may grasp the concept of bitachon, but I don’t feel the sense of inner peace that the Chovos Halevavos describes.

Thus, any ruchniyus acquisition that I genuinely desire only becomes a reality when I invest myself in making it happen. This involves giving it the time,

whatever it takes, until the change takes place. This is a challenge that our natural preference for quick-and-easy, instant-gratification success does not appreciate. And this is precisely the reason why those who are truly successful in life are the minority. Many people would be ready to work on their relationships, kindness, or faith — even taking giant steps toward that goal — if they would see the results immediately. However, we must realize that it’s when we give an endeavor the time and patience that it needs to unfold, through continuously taking small steps, that we eventually achieve true success.

Every Yid would like to learn Shas in its entirety, but who ends up actualizing that desire? If the cycle would have lasted just two weeks, involving exponentially more intensive learning, many more would likely have joined the ranks. But, we see that it’s davka those who are mevater on the instant results, toiling through the small steps, day by day, who end up completing Shas seven and a half years later. The success isn’t instant at all, but the steps in getting there are much more doable.

This foundation applies to all areas of life. When we’re cognizant of this reality, we will manage to attain true success, with Hashem’s help. What does this involve? By swapping giant steps with small ones, and exchanging anticipation of short-term results for an understanding that real results take time, I can make it happen. And, instead of being focused on the end date, on the finish line, the question we should ask ourselves is: “What will I do today in order to achieve my goal in five years from now?” What kind of father do I want to be then? What type of spouse? Friend? How do I want my connection to Hashem to look? My business? Why is this so difficult to do? In addition to the fact that an individual wants quick success, it’s difficult to face the reality of where he stands today. By thinking in long terms, he’s admitting that he’s not there yet—and far from it. Because that’s hard to do, he’ll rather set an unrealistic goal, as long as the finish line is close by. Obviously, this is an illusion. Not only is this person not close to his goal today, but he also won’t reach it in the long

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 21

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Well Informed

Torah Wellspring: Spiritual Health

First, it was two Yidden. Then, two more. And this year? Hundreds of thousands of us celebrated in unison around the world.

run, after the time it needs to develop has elapsed, when he could have been the winner.

Let’s look at a gashmiyus example to understand the concept with clarity. If an average earner wants to become wealthy in record time, he will set for himself unrealistic goals, deluding himself as if he’s already there. For this person, no matter how much time passes, he won’t get there. Not only is his fantasy not true today, but it also won’t be true tomorrow or in the amount of time he wasn’t willing to invest in the endeavor in the first place. On the contrary, if this person faces the reality that true success does not happen overnight, or even in a short amount time, and he instead gives the project the time it needs, he will set a realistic goal, doing what he can today in order to get there one day in the future.

When we think, “But the finish line is so far away,” and we therefore don’t take the initiative to take those first steps, we not only lose out today, but we lose out forever. When the time it takes to reach the finish line does one

day arrive, we won’t have achieved the success then either.

ners of Klal Yisrael, coming together to celebrate as one. The kiddush Hashem and achdus we’ve been witnessing was precisely his goal.

If I want to be the ideal parent right now, for example, I will enter an illusion as if I’m already there, because it can’t actually happen in reality. The gestures I will make won’t truly reflect the parent I want to be. But, if I will ask myself, “What kind of father do I want to be in five years from now? What am I doing today to be that father?” and I carry through on that, I can realistically be there one day, with Hashem’s help.

But, upon introducing this concept and in laying down his plans to execute it, what did Rav Meir speak of almost a century ago? “When one Yid will travel to the United States,” he wrote, “and enter a beis medrash, he will immediately become unified with another Yid there.” He spoke of two Yidden, connecting together with Hashem.

In the same vein, this also happens in the ruchniyus realm.

Growth is an organic process, one that requires our time and patience — not any earth-shattering moves.

When Rav Meir Schapiro, zt”l, introduced the concept of Daf Yomi, his vision was to unite Klal Yisrael together with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, as he wrote, “I want all of Klal Yisrael to learn the same thing.” Certainly, this venerable rosh yeshivah, who had a burning passion for Hashem envisioned what we’ve seen at this year’s siyum and the ones that preceded it: masses of frum Yidden from all cor-

First, it was two Yidden. Then, two more. And this year? Hundreds of thousands of us celebrated in unison around the world. This may have been his goal, but when he started out, he saw the reality. And, at that point in time, that was all that mattered to him. If we take the time today to look into the future, setting a realistic commitment to take the small, gradual steps to get there, we will get there, with siyatta diShmaya. And when we get there, it’s a true acquisition, the kind we really want. May we merit attaining true success in every area of life, no matter how long it takes to get there.

Rabbi Friedman can be reached at Teves 5780 | Wellspring 23

Well Informed

Spiritual Eating By Rabbi Eli Glaser, CNWC, CWMS

Today, I Can Handle

The “Stay in the Day” Mindset


When Yosef brought his sons to Yaakov for a brachah, Yaakov asked, “Mi eileh? Who are these?” (Bereishis 48:8–9), which implies that he didn’t recognize them.

However, Rashi explains that through his ruach hakadosh Yaakov wasn’t looking just at Menashe and Ephraim, but rather at their evil descendants: Yerovam, Achav and Yeihu. Thus, the Divine Spirit left Yaakov and he was unable to give his grandsons a brachah. Yosef responded, “They are my sons whom Hashem has given me with this.” The Midrash tells us that Yosef showed Yaakov his kesubah, attesting the halachic validity of his marriage, and therefore his sons are worthy of a brachah as of today, irrespective of what will come in the future. The Shechinah then returned to Yaakov and he was able to give a brachah. From this episode we can learn a pow-

erful lesson for our daily lives, especially for trying to master goals such as changing unhealthy habits or beginning new behaviors: Stay in the day! Many of us suffer from the disease of “tomorrow.” Why is it that so often we have such difficulties committing ourselves to a new project or undertaking? Because in our minds, we aren’t taking the goal as something to be accomplished each day on its own, we feel that the undertaking is only worthwhile if it includes the whole project or goal in its entirety. For example, our promise to ourselves to exercise half an hour every day for the next month, or cut out chocolate until

Pesach is doomed not as much by the objective, but by the longevity we assign to it. It’s too overwhelming to digest such quantitative change, so much so that it handicaps us from making any change at all.

What’s the solution? Today. “Today” is the cure for the disease of “tomorrow.” Staying in the day, approaching a goal one day at a time, completely shifts the focus. Yaakov’s despair ended when he refocused on the immediate merit of Menashe and Ephraim. So too, if we want to merit the fruits of our efforts, we need to discipline ourselves to concentrate on fulfilling our commitments and making the positive changes just for today.

Leave the future in Hashem’s hands, where it belongs in either case. We don’t have to muster the willpower to avoid chocolate for the next 90 days, only for the next 24 hours. That — we know that we can do. And if so, our despair will definitely turn into delight, and that is one of the greatest blessings.

Rabbi Eli Glaser is the founder and Director of Soveya. He is certified as a Nutrition/Wellness Consultant and Weight Management Specialist, with 25 years of coaching and counseling experience, and is maintaining a 130-pound weight loss for more than 16 years.

Soveya has offices in Lakewood and Brooklyn, and works with clients via phone and Skype around the world. For more information or to make an appointment, contact Soveya at 732-578-8800,, or

24 Wellspring | January 2020


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Well Informed

Dental Health By Dr. Jacques Doueck, DDS



Some people find that their jaw makes a popping or clicking sound. Very often, these sounds are nothing more than an annoying fact of life. But sometimes these noisy joints are trying to tell us that something is badly out of alignment. Just like if your car were to start making strange sounds, it’s important to find out what the cause of the problem is.

The jaw joint (temporormandibular joint, also known as TMJ) is a ball and socket joint, located directly in front of the ear, and it connects the lower jaw to the upper. There are a variety of orthopedic disorders that can affect it. A common problem associated with this joint is a slipped disc. Between the ball and socket is a small cushioning disc, designed, among other things, to act as a shock absorber and keep the bones from rubbing against each other when the jaw is being moved. If this disc slips out of position, popping and clicking can occur when you move the jaw. Reasons for this disc slipping include: an injury, missing teeth or an improper bite, as well as because of developmental disorders of the jaws or facial bones. It will frequently cause headaches and facial pain, as well as congestion, buzzing, ringing, and pain in the ear.

If the clicking joint is not treated, it may lead to “locking” of the jaw. In this condition, the disc becomes deformed or wedged between the ball and socket and the sufferer experiences a limitation of jaw movement, often with a feeling of “catching” or “locking” in the joint with movement. Patients usually experience headaches and jaw or facial pain, in addi-

tion to various ear symptoms. If caught early, most patients can be treated without surgery, but if allowed to progress, degenerative changes may require surgery to correct. The dentist can listen to your joint with a TMJ Doppler. Different joint sounds need different treatment. A mouth guard can help relax the jaw so the disc can reposition to where it should be. Your bite should be measured to make sure that your teeth mesh properly. If not, the dentist may need to stabilize your bite by building up the teeth or smoothing out interferences. If your jaw continues to hurt when you talk, chew, yawn, or open your mouth, your dentist will refer you to a specialist trained in diagnosing and treating the TMJ.

If you are having orthodontic treatment and the teeth and jaws do not fit together properly, the disc in the jaw joint can be affected. This happens if the fit of the teeth do not match where the disc needs to be. It is not unusual for the disc to start clicking or popping while in orthodontic care. If that happens, bring it to the attention of your orthodontist — the joint and its disc should be treated before things get worse.


1. Don’t force your jaw to open more than it easily can.


3. Don’t grind or clench your teeth.

2. Don’t chew things that are hard (like bagels).

Dr. Jacques Doueck has been practicing family dentistry in Brooklyn, New York since 1977, and is a Diplomate of the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines. He speaks nationally and trains other dentists in oral appliance therapy and state-of-the-art dentistry. Dr. Doueck is a member of the American Dental Association and serves on the District Claims Committee for the state society.

26 Wellspring | January 2020

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Well Informed

Updates in the News By Esther Retek


Those PostDinner Carbs Might be to Blame Winter nights are long for all of us, but for some people, they’re even longer. If you’ve finally hit your pillow and you still can’t get sleep to come, here’s what recent research points to as a possible culprit: the carbs you consumed earlier today. Insomnia, which affects up to 40% of adults in the United States, is no fun. Besides being exasperating, insomnia can have a serious impact on a person's health and wellbeing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), short sleep duration and sleep disruptions are associated with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and depression, to name a few. For this reason, specialists have been looking for ways of preventing or treating insomnia and other sleep disorders — starting by looking for all the possible causes. Recently, a study of females aged 50 and over that was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that components of the participants’ diet most likely contributed to insomnia, namely refined carbohydrates. Existing research has already called attention to the fact that diet may influence a person's sleep quality, but this study from Columbia University suggests that a diet high in re-

28 Wellspring | January 2020

fined carbohydrates — particularly added sugars — is linked to a higher risk of insomnia.

Working with the data of 53,069 female participants to reach a possible hypothesis, the researchers found a strong link between a higher risk of insomnia and a diet rich in refined carbohydrates. This includes foods with added sugars, soda, white rice, and white bread. Their results clearly associated sleep disorders with the consumption of carbohydrates. "When blood sugar is raised quickly,” explains lead author James Gangwisch, PhD, “the body reacts by releasing insulin, and the resulting drop in blood sugar can lead to the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which can interfere with sleep.” The researchers only worked with females aged 50 and over, but they believe that the findings could also apply to males and people of all ages.

So although you may be inclined to cook and eat more carbs during these cold winter days, it might be worthwhile to limit carbs so you can enjoy a hearty night of sleep.

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Well Informed

Updates in the News


Cell phone usage has caused more head and neck injuries than we would think

Some have dubbed texting "the new drunk driving" — and for good reason. New research, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, suggests that texting while walking can be seriously dangerous, noting the head and neck injuries that have occurred due to cell phone usage over the past two decades.

The fact that text distractions lead to accidents has already been established. According to the United States Department of Transportation, distracted driving, mostly as a result of phone use, has led to 3,166 deaths in past year. Of these deaths, 599 affected pedestrians, cyclists, and others who were not behind the wheel of a car at the time of the accident. Distracted driving, which includes talking, dialing or text messaging on a cell phone or any wireless email device, was responsible for 401 fatal crashes.

However, texting while driving is not the only way in which cell phone use can be distracting and potentially dangerous. Texting while walking, known with its portmanteau word “twalking,” can also lead to accidents. Curious to know to what extent this holds to be true, researcher Roman Povolotskiy and his team analyzed 20 years’ worth of data, examining the records of emergency department visits due to head and neck injuries. Here’s what they found: 2,501 people aged 13–29 presented at the emergency department with head and neck injuries related to cell phone use while walking. Based on these data, the researchers estimated a national total of 76,043 people with similar injuries.

A third of the injuries occurred in the head and neck area, and another third were facial injuries, including to the eyes, eyelid area, and nose. About 12% of the injuries were to the neck. "Cell phone-related injuries to the head and neck have increased steeply over the recent 20 year period, with many cases resulting from distraction," the study authors explain. That’s another reason to keep phone conversations brief while walking on the street.

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Well Informed

Updates in the News


How to banish winter viruses and bacteria from your home With the flu and cold season in full swing, it’s every parent’s dream to simply eradicate the insidious viruses and bacteria from their home. While a top-to-bottom cleanse is virtually impossible, here are six steps we can take toward achieving this goal.

1. Keep your distance.

The flu virus is a parasite that hangs around in respiratory secretions that travel through the air in small droplets; when projected by a cough or sneeze, they can fly about three feet before gravity takes over. Therefore, a flu patient who's actively projecting these droplets by coughing or sneezing can contaminate the air you breathe. Since you don’t always know whether someone has a benign nose tickle, a cold, or the flu, it's best to keep your distance from anyone with suspicious symptoms.

2. Don’t touch.

Simply touching a contaminated surface won't give you the flu, since the virus doesn't infect the skin — it has to make it to a mucosal membrane in your mouth or nose to cause an infection. But all too often, we come in contact with a contaminated surface and then transfer the virus to an open cavity such as the mouth, nose, or open wound. Therefore, it’s best to avoid a contaminated surface. If you did touch one, wash your hands immediately.

faces — think phone chargers, fridge handles, and light switches — at least once a day using any standard household cleaner. Also, realize that about 25 percent of people who become infected experience no symptoms but can still be contagious, so keep those wipes out, whether or not anyone in your household is sick. Cleaning surfaces isn't an ironclad way to avoid the flu because there are so many opportunities for the virus to spread, but it’s the best effort you can make for prevention.

4. Wash your hands.

In a public place, or even in your own home, it's crucial to wash your hands with soap and water after handling any commonly-touched surface. Lather up for at least 20 seconds, rinse under running water, and air dry or pat dry with a clean towel, as per the CDC's best practices. In the absence of a sink, a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is your next best bet.

5. Trash those tissues.

Encourage anyone who’s going around with a cold or flu to be conscious about throwing away their tissues. This way, you can avoid direct contact with a sick person's respiratory secretions, which may carry the flu virus.

6. Get your sleep. 3. Get the cleansing wipes out.

The flu virus can remain viable without a host for about 24 hours. In general, all household surfaces are likely to be contaminated with the flu virus if you're living with someone who has the flu, so make sure you wipe down commonly-touched sur-

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Having adequate sleep is a good protection, as it helps provide optimal immune system functioning and to prevent respiratory viruses like the flu. Make sure to get enough sleep during flu season, with the recommended amount being between seven and nine hours of sleep per night for the average adult, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

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Well Informed

Figures By Malka Sharman



Healthcare costs decreased by

Diabetes diagnoses increased by



The number of practicing dentists increased from approximately






The number of practicing primary care physicians increased from approximately





Obesity rates increased from


35.7% 39.6% to

34 Wellspring | January 2020

Annual insurance premiums for family coverage rose from

$15,000 $20,000 to

More than


new drugs have been approved by the FDA for cancer treatment

Annual cancer diagnoses increased from

1,479,350 1,735,350 to

In America, the percentage of adults smoking cigarettes decreased from

In America, the percentage of adults with high blood pressure increased from

18% 16%

28% 35%



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Well Informed

Health Ed By Laura Shammah, MS, RDN

Age-Related Weight Gain Inevitable or preventable? Many people find themselves putting on the pounds as they age, even if this was never a challenge in their younger years. The cause of age-related weight gain is multifactorial, including a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, genetics, social determinants, medications, and/or hormonal imbalances. While adding on a few pounds here and there may seem inevitable over time, it can be frustrating. What's more, some of those who never had a problem losing or maintaining their weight before suddenly discover that their scales won’t budge. There’s a scientific explanation for this: as we get older, our bodies don't respond the same way to weight loss efforts. In fact, as we age, we tend to gain 1–2 pounds a year, according to a review published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. That may not seem like much now, but over time, it can lead to significant weight gain and, in some cases, obesity. Obesity incidence increases when people are in their 20s, peaking between the ages of 40–59, and then decreases slightly above age 60. Not everyone is affected by age-related weight gain because a person's body weight is influenced by genetic makeup and lifestyle choices. Still, everyone will find it harder to maintain or lose weight as the years pass. Therefore, it helps to understand why this happens — and what you can do to avoid unnecessary weight gain as much as possible.


True or False: As one ages, their lean muscle mass decreases. Answer: True.

A person's lean muscle mass naturally begins to decline by 3–8% per decade after age 30, according to a report in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. This muscle deterioration is called sarcopenia. Muscle loss also occurs when a person decreases physical activity, commonly due to age-related health conditions like arthritis, or when someone is sidelined by an injury or surgery. While these individual factors may not significantly contribute to decline, they can have a dramatic cumulative effect. Why does muscle loss matter? Lean muscle actually burns more calories than fat. So, unless one is engaging in regular strength training with weights to maintain and build muscle, the body will need fewer calories each day to sustain itself. That makes weight gain practically inevitable when people continue to consume the same number of calories as they did when they were younger.

Most people do not adjust their caloric intake as they age. They continue ingesting the same quantity, but because they have a lower muscle mass to burn those calories, and they're engaging in less physical activity, they end up gaining weight over time.

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Yes, We Can Just because it’s harder to lose as we age doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you eat healthful, wholesome meals, and engage in regular exercise, your hormone balance will remain intact. Your metabolism will remain healthy as well. Here are some tips for mastering weight loss over age 40:

Eat more protein. Sarcopenia, or loss of muscle due to age, is often viewed as inevitable. But much of its severity is determined by protein consumption. One study found that men and women aged 70–79 who ate the most protein lost 40% less lean muscle mass than those who consumed the least protein. Muscle burns more calories, increases your insulin sensitivity, and maintains your testosterone production so you can stave off age-related health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The amino acids found in eggs, fish, chicken, and turkey help build muscle.

Exercise regularly. Your body requires exercise the way it needs oxygen and water. It's crucial to maintain muscle mass as you age. A pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a pound of fat, and muscles regulate blood sugar and enhance your body's insulin sensitivity. Try to challenge yourself and amp up the intensity of your workouts by adding 20 minutes of resistance training or by increasing the incline on the treadmill. Continue to strengthen your muscles so they help you burn more calories.

Eat nutrient-dense foods. Our metabolism can be damaged by chemicals and preservatives in our foods. Things like pesticides, growth hormones, trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and so on have all been linked to obesity. Consuming your foods in their most natural form (to the greatest extent possible) will have a great impact on your overall metabolism.

Make lifestyle changes. Lifestyle modifications can help you avoid weight gain as you age. Do you enjoy late nights with a large bag of popcorn and sweets? Are you a smoker? Is it difficult for you to take your tea or coffee without sugar? Old habits can be incredibly hard to break, but you can usually find healthier substitutes for the less-healthy ingredients in your diet. Stop stocking your fridge with sugary drinks. Remove your cookie jar from the countertop and replace it with a bowl of fruit. Serve food on smaller plates and practice mindful eating. These simple changes can make a tremendous difference in your weight goals.

Change your mindset. One of the main hurdles older people face when trying to lose weight is the erroneous belief that they can’t succeed. This mindset is self-defeating and will sabotage your weight management efforts if you don’t ditch it now. A good diet and workout program will go a long way in helping you live a fit and healthy life. Build a mindset that encourages you to live according to your weight goals. It might be difficult, but it's far from impossible.

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Well Informed

Health Ed


Which of these hormonal changes can lead to weight gain? A. A decline in estrogen B. A decline in testosterone C. A decline in growth hormone D. All of the above Answer: D. Both men and women undergo hormonal changes as part of aging. These decreases can result in significant weight gain.

For women, menopause — which generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 — causes a significant drop in estrogen, which, in turn, encourages extra pounds to settle around the waistline. This shift in fat storage may make the weight gain more noticeable and increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, fluctuations in estrogen levels during perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause, may cause mood changes that make it more difficult to stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan. As a result, the average weight gain during the transition to menopause is about five pounds.

Men, on the other hand, experience a significant drop in testosterone as they age. This hormone begins to gradually decline around age 40, at a rate of about 1–2% per year. Testosterone is responsible for, among other things, regulating fat distribution and muscle strength and mass. In other words, a decline in testosterone usually makes the body less effective at burning calories.

The pituitary gland’s production of growth hormone (GH) also declines from middle age onward. One of GH’s many functions is to build and maintain muscle mass. Thus, as GH decreases, it’s harder for the body to make and maintain muscle, which, consequently, also impacts the quantity of calories being burned. This has an unfortunate snowball effect: more fat and less lean body mass leads to using fewer calories, which results in continued weight increases over time. 38 Wellspring | January 2020


True or False: The metabolism slows down as one ages. Answer: True.

A decrease in muscle mass is likely to slow the metabolism, the complex process that converts calories into energy, known for the huge role it plays in weight gain/loss. Having more fat and less muscle reduces caloric burn. What’s more, many people become less active with age, which also slows their metabolism.


True or False: Age-related weight gain is solely the result of physical changes in one’s body. Answer: False.

Aside from physical factors, there are many additional reasons for senior weight gain. Stress, for one, often plays a significant role. As one ages, a person may find him or herself too busy to break for lunch, increasing the odds of wolfing down something from the vending machine or ordering calorie-dense takeout food. Older people often experience more work-related stress than younger ones, possibly leading to an increase in ghrelin, a hormone responsible for feelings of hunger, according to research published in the International Journal of Peptides. Try to take the time to unwind from work, enjoying some self-care activities, to make sure those stress levels aren’t just increasing and increasing.

Risk Factors What is their power? Staying physically fit may seem unimportant to those who may no longer hold body image in such high regard anymore. However, as we know, being healthy and active is significantly more important for your overall wellness than for your body image. It’s important to stay robust and mobile if you’re overweight or gaining weight as you approach middle age. As your body fat or waist circumference increases, you may be at risk for the following serious conditions: • heart disease

• breast cancer

• colon cancer

• poor mobility due to strain on joints and muscles

• type 2 diabetes

• stroke

Many of these conditions are a threat if you're overweight, no matter your age. If you don't have any of these conditions by middle age, your risk may increase if you remain overweight. This is because as the organs and muscles age, excess weight puts increasing strain on the body. If you do have any of these conditions by middle age, they may become harder to manage if you don't lose the weight.

Stay Young and Active By the time a person reaches his or her 40s and 50s, their career is likely in full swing, which can pose some weight loss challenges. For one, most older people are moving much less. They may commute to and from work, often sitting an hour or more both ways, and then sit at a desk for eight or more hours a day. Middle-aged people frequently have so much on their docket that there’s no time to take a walk or exercise during the workday. To keep those pounds off, move more. Physical activity, including aerobic exercise and strength training, can help shed excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, gaining muscle through exercise is extremely important, as the body requires muscle mass to burn calories more efficiently (which makes it easier to control weight).

For most healthy adults, experts recommend moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week (just a little over 20 minutes a day) or vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, for at least 75 minutes a week. In addition, health authorities recommend doing strength-training exercises at least twice a week.

Laura Shammah MS, RDN, has been operating a private practice in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Her clientele runs the gamut from people with eating disorders to those dealing with hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer. She also helps clients who run in marathons or are looking to lose or gain weight in a healthy way. Her nutritional guidance is published in MaryAnne Cohen’s book Lasagna for Lunch: Declaring Peace With Emotional Eating. Laura can be reached at 718-376-0062 or Teves 5780 | Wellspring 39

Well Informed


A Healthy Look Back at the Past Decade

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40 Wellspring | January 2020

Are We Better Off? Compiled by Shiffy Friedman Just a decade ago, the health landscape in the frum community was not nearly as vibrant as it is today. For starters, there was no Wellspring. But perhaps that was because, back then, there would have been no demand for a full-scale monthly health magazine that caters to our particular sensitivities and needs. Those who made spelt challah and stocked coconut oil in their pantries were the minority. You would have never thought that foods like quinoa and bulgur would ever be used in mainstream kosher cooking; and words like “holistic� were still relegated to the Merriam-Webster tomes. What health trends has the last decade seen? How are things different and how are they still very much the same?

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Well Informed


Less is More Tamar Feldman, RDN, CDN Just like in the nutrition field as a whole, my personal view of what defines healthy nutrition has evolved. In the past I focused on the basics: whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. I currently subscribe to a more holistically-focused nutritional approach, where the emphasis is on decreasing consumption of processed foods, as well as minimizing exposure to pesticides and chemicals. My current diet is best defined as plantbased, whole food, and organic clean ingredients. I also believe in using organic and grass-fed beef and poultry if possible, although I understand that it doesn’t work for everyone. Professionally, I’ve been doing what I did today already a decade ago: helping my clients reach their target health goals through nutrition. I believe I was Lakewood's first registered dietitian practice, as well as the first practice to take insurances.

Through my work, I’ve observed that frum consumers are much more educated on new findings in the field, such as the advantage of going Paleo, gluten-free, and grain free. They generally do not feel comfortable using sweeteners and other chemicals, and prefer a cleaner diet. Intuitive eating is very “in” and I believe that extreme dieting with the be-all end-all of being "skinny" is thankfully viewed negatively. I would like to believe that dietitians have made inroads in educating our community on these nutrition subjects.

Through my work, I've observed that frum consumers are much more educated on new findings in the field, such as the advantage of going Paleo, gluten-free, and grain free. - Tamar Feldman, RDN, CDN

Holistic is In Toby Lebovits, holistic health practitioner Over the past decade, technology has advanced exponentially and turned the world into a global village. An endless amount of information easily reaches the masses, and convenience has reached new heights with items being delivered the same day they are ordered. My perspective on the progress of the last decade is in man’s search for information. Personally, I’ve made few changes in my diet in the past ten years, as I’ve made my major lifestyle changes more like fifteen years ago. 

In my professional practice, I see a huge upsurge in the amount of people turning to holistic and natural methods. This is more in tune with our innate wisdom and intuition that Hashem designed us with. I see a lot of people looking for more wholesome meals for their families. Some are buying more organic, others are growing some of their own veggies. Many people are now switching away from highly processed oils and margarine. There is still room for growth, as many people are not clear on the dangers of foods like deli meats, trans fats or, my pet peeve, artificial sweeteners. 42 Wellspring | January 2020

Health is All-Encompassing Bashy Halberstam, INHC As I reflect back ten years, I am met with the image of me studying,  aspiring to be a mental health counselor. I was totally oblivious to the role nutrition should be playing in my life, and I was happy to enjoy food and even use it to self-soothe — especially as I was working on my papers late into the night. Coffee, chocolate, and wafers kept me awake, and the constant influx of sugar kept me going.  

These poor habits, coupled with lack of sleep and other poor lifestyle choices, were the trigger to the symptoms that resulted and propelled me into my quest to find answers to get my health back.

Looking back, I see that the symptoms I was having were really a blessing in disguise that led me on this wonderful health journey. I am now able to use the information I learned through psychology and health training, and help people in a deeper way. I am also very grateful for the shift in my relationship to food and the appreciation and acceptance I have for myself and my body.

The way I see it, a lot has changed in the health field in the last ten years. While there is way more suffering — the food supply has been tainted and manipulated; food sensitivities, chronic illness, autoimmune conditions, and other health challenges are on the rise — there is also considerably more awareness on the mind-body and food-mood connection. More research is available on the effects of food and lifestyle choices on our health. Nutrition has become a popular conversation topic, and more people are trying to live a healthful lifestyle. New discoveries have emerged in the field of functional medicine — a new method that focuses on maximizing functioning in the whole body. Functional health fascinates me and give us tremendous hope. There are not only questions; there are answers too.

Improvements and Setbacks Leah Wolofsky, MS, RD, CDN, Esq. A lot has happened in my life since ten years ago. Back then, I was just starting college, unsure of what my major would be.

The year I decided to enroll in my first nutrition class was just over a decade ago. I remember learning so many things that new research has since disproven. Back then, all the texts sung the praises of artificial sweeteners, and had a very anti-saturated fat attitude, whatever its source. Back then, MyPyramid was the nutrition icon (as opposed to MyPlate of today). Additionally, the frum community was much less conscious of nutrition and nutrition-related issues back then. Professionally, at that point, I was somewhat into nutrition but not yet a practitioner. I used to have a nutrition column in a weekly newspaper and people contacted me with random health questions; one person still sends me nutrition questions until today!

I think this decade saw both tremendous improvements in health and tremendous setbacks. On the improvement side, there's more of a holistic, environmentally-friendly and natural foods uptick. "No tobacco zones" and a move to cleaner air and less pollution has made tremendous strides. On the other hand, the rates of many chronic illnesses and our nation's obesity rate are higher than ever before.

Supply and Demand Shani Taub, CDC I’ve been in the health field for 15 years, leading the same lifestyle that I did a decade ago. It’s just my way of life!

In general, I see a trend of people wanting to be healthier and live a healthier lifestyle nowadays than they did then. There are many more low-fat, spelt, kamut, and organic products on the market, because there’s a demand for them.

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Well Informed


It’s So Much More Popular Nutritionist Tanya Rosen, MA Ten years ago, my professional practice was already in existence, though it was still rather new. I had two nutrition counseling locations and I was already giving exercise classes.

I’m proud to say that since then, and even before, I have always kept to the core premises of my food plan, both for myself and for my program. I never went with the trends or fads and have always practiced what I preached. This decade has seen an upsurge in popularity toward dieting and exercising. It’s now the “cool” thing to do. There’s also much more awareness and information about healthy eating. It’s more acceptable for kids to bring their own nourishing lunches, for example. Also, almost every restaurant has healthy options and is able to accommodate those with dietary restrictions.

Fat is Not At Fault Liba Solomon, CNWC

Food is Medicine Baila Wachsman, personal health coach The new buzzword is inflammatory. Research in recent years has confirmed that disease, whether regular or autoimmune, is caused by inflammation — which can, to some extent, be controlled by nutrition. This concept was made famous through The Wahls Protocol, which was first published in 2014 by Dr. Terry Wahls, who was diagnosed with MS in 2000. When conventional treatments failed her, Dr. Wahls began studying the latest research on autoimmune disease. To reduce the severe inflammation from MS, she drastically changed her diet. Her protocol allowed her to reverse many of her symptoms and get back to her life.

Additionally, she developed a plan to get her vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids from the foods she ate. Nowadays, we’re more aware of the concept of positive nutrition, not just that we must refrain from eating the negative foods. Your body should be getting its vitamins from food, and you need to eat a varied enough diet to get different types of nutrients. These concepts are something that most people were not aware of a decade ago.

44 Wellspring | January 2020

One of the most prominent shifts in mindset is that the low-fat, high-carb diet is suspect in causing the heart disease epidemic today. Contrary to what many believed a decade or so ago, fat is not bad; it’s the type of fat you eat that matters. (Of course, you can’t eat an excess of healthy fat, either.) An overload of carbs will be processed by the body as sugar, and will lead to many healthy issues. Another change seen over the past decade is the sharp increase in allergies. There are many suspected causes: contaminated food sources, GMOs, antibiotic-raised and confined livestock, air pollution, poor diet, or even lack of exposure at a young age due to fear of allergic reactions. Modern medicine does not seem to have been able to come up with many viable solutions to the problem, as immune-suppressing medication and steroids come along with their own list of negative side effects.

A Contradiction Eli Glaser, CNWC, CWMS I’m very grateful that I’ve had the clarity, honesty and willingness to value my health and prioritize my nutrition for the past 17 years (and maintaining a 130-pound weight loss) — irrespective of the food environments I’ve been in or the challenges life has brought. Therefore, a decade ago, I was doing pretty much the same thing I do today. I’m a big believer in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I have been an executive weight loss coach for the past 15 years, and during the past decade, I have observed the following duality: a greater overall awareness of nutrition and wellness, but at the same time, the obesity rates continue to climb. From a sociological perspective, I believe the answer is much more of an inside-out approach than a top-down intervention. It’s not nearly as much about the government trying to impose regulations on what we eat, as much as it is each individual taking personal responsibility for themselves and their health. This is so much more relevant in the frum world, where we hopefully live with the daily reality that we are made in the image of G-d and our goal in life is not to eat as many donuts as we can during an eight-day span, but use the physical world as a wonderful and enjoyable tool to develop and deepen our relationship with Hashem.

I believe that many of these issues are food-related, and that the quality of food, how it is prepared, and when and how much is eaten makes a big impact on our health and wellbeing. - Dr. Rachael Schindler

Being Proactive Dr. Rachael Schindler Looking back 10 years, in my opinion, the health industry has changed significantly. People were not aware of genetic predispositions like MTHFR, gut health was unheard of, and being gluten- or sugar-free was not as common as it is today. At that time, I was writing articles and advocating for a clean and unprocessed lifestyle (including for weight loss), well before it was the mode.

Unfortunately, today there are many more allergies, as well as issues affecting kids, like ADD/ ADHD. I believe that many of these issues are food-related, and that the quality of food, how it is prepared, and when and how much is eaten makes a big impact on our health and wellbeing. This holds especially true for the children who eat so much junk or “don’t like” certain foods or “only like” limited ones. Nowadays, when people come to me to improve health, hormonal, or gut issues, or to lose weight, I help them change their family’s unhealthy lifestyle. This is especially beneficial for the children in the family, since a good percentage of the issues that can or have already arisen are genetic and shouldn’t be ignored. For the sake of our children, we need to think about the future as well, and do what we can to prevent or better manage our health situations.

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Living Well

In Good Shape By By Syma Kranz, PFC

HOW TO BURN FAT, FAST 10 exercise moves that help burn calories (Part I) While you probably know that exercise on its own won’t do much to generate weight loss, there’s much to be said about the effect fat-burning moves have if executed in conjunction with a healthy diet. Here are the first five of ten exercises that are especially touted for helping ease along weight loss. Lunge for them!

Burpees (Squat Thrust) This cardio move tones your core, upper body, and legs all at once. Most people dread this four-count exercise for good reason: it is hard! But keep in mind — that’s why it works for burning fat. 1. Begin in a standing position. 2. Move into a squat position with your hands on the ground. 3. Kick your feet back into a plank position, while keeping your arms extended. 4. Immediately return your feet into squat position. 5. Stand up from the squat position.

46 Wellspring | January 2020

Jumping Lunges

Jackknife Crunches

Lunges are a fantastic thigh toning exercise; and thanks to the momentum required to jump up in between lunges, they’re an incredible calorie burner.

Jackknife crunches are an advanced abdominal move that engage both the upper and lower abs for maximal toning in the least amount of time. They are especially beneficial because lower abs can be hard to target without equipment.

1. Prepare to jump by bending your knees and sinking down into a deep lunge. Lean slightly forward and contract your core muscles. Maintain core muscle engagement throughout the exercise. 2. Quickly sink your weight down and then explosively drive both feet into the floor and launch your body upward, fully extending your knees and hips. 3. As you jump into the air, bring your feet quickly together and switch positions as you begin to land. You should also switch arms as you do this. 4. As you land, maintain a balanced foot position. Your forward knee should be over your forward foot and not beyond. Attempt to land softly on the forward mid-foot and let your heel come in contact with the ground. Avoid remaining on the toes of the forward foot. Keep your hips back and allow your hips and knees to bend deeply to absorb the landing. Don't lock your knees. 5. Drop to a deep lunge position as you prepare to start the next jump lunge.

Squat Jumps Do this plyometric exercise non-stop for a minute or two and you’ll know why it’s so recommended for fat-burning! 1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 2. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. 3. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as softly as possible, which requires control.

1. Lie flat on an exercise mat, extending your arms straight back behind your head. 2. Fully extend your legs. This is the start position. 3. Bend at your waist. At the same time, raise your legs and arms to meet in a closed jackknife position. Exhale as you do this. 4. At this point, your legs should remain fully extended at between 35–45 degrees from the floor. 5. Your arms should be fully extended, parallel to your legs. Your upper body should be raised off the floor. 6. Return to the start position by lowering your arms and legs back to the floor, exhaling as you do so.

Lunges with Reverse Leg Raise This move tones the glutes, thighs, obliques, and lower back, all while building coordination and balance. 1. Stand with your feet together. 2. Step back with your left foot and bend at both knees. 3. Make a 90 degree angle with both knees and then stand back up. 4. As soon as you stand back up, lift your left leg back and up in the air until it is parallel to the floor. 5. Lower your left foot back to the ground and then squat back down.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a professional trainer before engaging in an intense fitness program. Syma Kranz, PFC, is a certified aerobics, Pilates, and Barre instructor, as well as the fitness director at Fusion Fitness in Lakewood, New Jersey. What started out as a small exercise class in her home catapulted into a popular gym that prides itself with tzanua, professional instructors and an appropriate atmosphere with lyric-free music and proper attire. Syma specializes in training women to integrate fitness into their busy lives, paying special attention to proper form and alignment and specializing in core and pelvic floor strengthening.

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 47

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Ask the Nutritionist By Shani Taub, CDC

Back on Track

A Small Slip Doesn’t Mean a Large Fall

Question: I have noticed that my attempts at dieting and making healthy lifestyle changes have their ups and downs. When I'm doing really well with my diet, it’s hard for me to foresee a dip, since I feel so awesome. There’s nothing like that agile feeling, uplifted mood, and extra spring in my step when I'm following healthy patterns. But falls are inevitable. Whether it’s a simchah, a stressful week, even simply a day that I don’t have the patience to fight my natural inclinations — I’ll find myself slipping and indulging in that piece of cake or chocolate. Although I understand that setbacks are part of the process, I find them to be extremely challenging. How do I regain my control after letting my healthy habits go for a few days or even a few weeks? What tips can you offer to ease the transition from messing up to getting back into a proper eating plan?

Shani’s response: As you mentioned in your question, setbacks are simply part of the process. Every up comes with a predicted down, especially during the first few weeks of starting a food plan. Until you really get into your new healthy habits, everything entices you, making it so much easier to fall. I always say that dieting is a muscle — the longer you keep to it, the more you exercise it, the stronger you become, and the easier the self-control becomes. And because setbacks are so part and parcel of committing to a new diet, the question you asked is one of the most frequently asked questions. My most practical advice on the matter is to try

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a change in mindset. Many of us have a very black-and-white approach to dieting — we think that either we eat totally healthily, or we binge on potato chips and chocolate all day. Truthfully, we know that this way of thinking doesn’t make sense. Logically, we know that every additional fatty food or every unhealthy carb is going to affect our weight and yes, there is a difference between eating one piece of chocolate or not stopping and eating another five. I suggest to my clients that they try to develop a different perspective, similar to how we view improving our middos. If a person is struggling with anger, every success is a victory and every failure is a message for him to continue with his inner work. We don’t think of it as all or nothing. You wouldn’t feel that if you lost your

cool in the morning, you may as well stay angry all week. It seems obvious to us that each challenge that arises is its own chance to succeed, and each time we overcome an obstacle, it’s a celebration of its own. The same holds true with our eating habits. If we fail to follow through with our food plan, whether it’s for one moment or one week, that’s not a reason to quit. We may want to turn to food to self-soothe, but it’s important to remind ourselves that every moment offers a new chance. We know that Hashem renews the world, not just every day, but even more so, every minute. Every minute is another chance, completely disconnected f rom anything that happened the moment before. Even if you allowed yourself

to indulge, you can control yourself the next time you’re tempted. I like to share with my clients many phrases from Chazal that we apply to tikkun hamiddos that they can essentially apply here too. The most oft-quoted one is “A righteous person is one who falls seven times and gets up each time anew.” I recall one client calling me after a few months of being off my program and humorously quoting the Chazal that baalei teshuva stand on a higher platform than the righteous. I gladly invited her back and helped get back on track, even after her extended relapse. Again, with a proper outlook and strong desire to continue, you can get back with renewed strength. Wishing you much success!

Self-Afflicted “Punishments” A very common feeling after one falls is a need to “punish” oneself. Clients often relate to me that after a Shabbos of too many “forbidden foods,” they’ll try to starve themselves Sunday and Monday, or they’ll omit some foods from their original diet plan. Although it might make sense to them (I just have to lose the weight I gained!), I find that this concept usually backfires. Fasting, starving, and omitting foods just causes more resentment and more setbacks. Instead, I encourage my clients to resume with their regular diet plans, and this will help them get back to their good habits and successfully lose

the weight they picked up. A little introspection after you fall also doesn’t hurt. It might be worthwhile to review your diet plan with your nutritionist or dietitian to see if your plan contains too little food, which can often be the reason for a setback. Reviewing what happened before you slipped up might be helpful, too. Try to remember if you were stressed, overwhelmed, hungry, frustrated, or anything else, and see if perhaps these feelings were your triggers. Check in with yourself and try to develop an alternate plan to deal with overwhelming feelings or emotions.

Please send your questions to the nutritionist to Shani Taub, CDC, has been practicing as a certified nutritionist in Lakewood for almost a decade, meeting with clients in person and on the phone. She also owns the highly popular Shani Taub food line, which carries healthy, approved, pre-measured foods and delicacies sold at supermarkets and restaurants. Teves 5780 | Wellspring 49

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50 Wellspring | January 2020


Kugel Really


A candid look at food glorification and obesity in our community 2-Part Series

Part I But First, Is Kugel That Good?

There’s no denying that food plays a central role in the frum lifestyle. From our multicourse Shabbos and Yom Tov meals to our many food-oriented mitzvos and minhagim, there’s always a reason for another feast. While these seudos, kiddushes, and weekday meals nourish our bodies and foster connection with our families, friends, and neighbors, it sometimes seems that our fervor for food has boiled over. Has the means become a glorified end? 

Shani Pruzansky Teves 5780 | Wellspring 51

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We are living in a time of unparalleled gastronomical abundance. Gone are the days when Jewish cuisine meant pastrami sandwiches on rye or bagels and lox, and the most exotic fare we allowed ourselves to dabble in was Chinese food.

These days, with words like foodies and charcuterie boards part of our everyday lexicon, and with serving styles and ingredients we couldn’t pronounce a decade ago now “trending,” we’re seeing an explosion in kosher flavors and foods that would astonish the generations that preceded us. Food ads in our periodicals are more sensual than ever, glorifying a part of our lives that is undoubtedly important, but not in the way it is portrayed. More than that, we’ve reached a point where a Jewish event isn’t complete unless there’s food being served. From the fullblown “Lavish fleishig buffet,” to the more modest “Refreshments will be served,” there is rarely an event of any kind that takes place without food. It can be a hot waffle bar and gourmet coffee station at your daughter’s school’s Melaveh Malkah, a carving station and wine tasting at a neighborhood parlor meeting, or a gourmet six-course meal with white-glove service at the yeshiva’s dinner, but we all know, it needs food to have a draw. And let’s not get started on the thousands of pictures starring a plate of food or a show-stopping dessert that monopolize far too many social media pages. Unfortunately, all this hyper-focus on food is not without consequence. In addition to broadening our palates and turning many of us into amateur connoisseurs or genuine foodies, the near-obsession with all things edible has led to an alarming problem: the overwhelming prevalence of obesity in our communities. Part One of this feature addresses the food glorification aspect of the issue.

Food, Food Everywhere Let’s face it: In many shuls, the aroma of simmering cholent in the background is as much a part of the Shabbos morning davening as is the selling of aliyos and the candy man being the most popular person in the building for anyone less than four feet tall. For many, the Shabbos morning kiddush is the highlight of the week, as it provides mispallelim and their wives with the opportunity to chap a great schmooze with their friends and neighbors over an even greater piece of potato kugel. But whether your shul goes all out every week with an impressive hot kiddush that features all you could ask for in heimish fleishig cuisine, from p’tcha to yapchik and everything in between, or they offer a few pieces of herring alongside a crumb-filled plate of kichel, you likely won’t find fruit 52 Wellspring | January 2020

platters or trays of raw vegetables in shul on Shabbos morning. Is there any way to revolutionize the Shabbos kiddush? We posed this question, along with several others, to gabbaim and involved shul members in the Tristate area and beyond. “The Shabbos morning kiddush in our shul is sacred,” Heshy Fishman, gabbai at a large shul in Monsey declares. “We use some of the membership dues to pay for it each week, and it really brings the kehillah together. No one is touching the kiddush.” Chaim Greenberg, a member of the board in a relatively new shul in Toms River, vehemently agrees. “The kiddush is not a place to start getting healthy. If someone’s on a diet, they can watch what they eat, but there’s no way the kiddush is going to work if

we cut it down to just salad and fruit.” Chaim explains that it’s about more than just satisfying people’s cravings for a piece of kugel or a slice of kokosh cake. “I work hard all week,” he says, “and so do most of the other mispallelim in my shul. We look forward to relaxing on Shabbos over some good food. It’s an outlet for most of us and it really enhances our Shabbos — why take it away?”

Make it snappy

Another gabbai, Shimon Young from LA, says that his shul offers some healthier options along with the typical kiddush fare. “We have whole-wheat crackers, and some weeks, we also serve a salad. It’s up to that week’s sponsor to decide what they want to include. But that kugel and cake is not going anywhere.” What kinds of foods get eaten first at the shul kiddush? All three interviewees are quick to point to the fragrant slices of potato kugel. “No question about that; when people come to a kiddush, they’re looking for that hot piece of kugel,” says Shimon. “Everyone likes it — the older crowd, the younger ones, the kids. If there’s cholent, that’s a popular choice too.” Herring is another kiddush favorite. “Our shul is big on herring, and we serve at least three different kinds at each kiddush,” says Heshy. “It always goes.” Even if someone would appreciate healthier fare at the kiddush, if there’s nothing available and all of his peers are enjoying the foods on display, only a hefty dose of self-control would keep him out of the social eating game. With so many enticing foods to choose from, that’s no simple feat. And apparently, the shul kiddush isn’t getting a menu revamp anytime soon. But what about that one day a year when every child walks out of shul with a bulging bag of treats? Are any shuls taking steps to tone down their Simchas Torah offerings? “Sure, we toned it down,” Shimon chuckles. “Last year we cut back to only one nosh per aliyah.” “It’s one day a year,” Chaim adds. “Is it really the biggest deal if the kids get a bit too much junk?” But what if it weren’t expected? What if kids grew up knowing that they’d walk out of shul on Simchas Torah with a single treat in hand instead of a sack filled with candy? “If some new shul wants to try serving carrot sticks to the kids on Simchas Torah, they can go ahead,” Heshy opines. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to work. Kids know what to expect, and it’s too late to turn the clock back. We can cut down on the amount of nosh we give out, but we can’t eliminate it completely.” Will shul continue to be a place where people fill themselves with foods like greasy potato kugel and chocolate-oozing kokosh

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cake? Or will we, as a society, find the courage to change the decades of unhealthful eating habits and revolutionize the way we eat in shul? These gabbaim and board members think it’s an impossible task, but is it really?

On the Home Front Lifelong behaviors are molded and learned in childhood. Every parent knows that young children are like fresh cement, and that the impressions made when they are still young last far longer than any lectures or speeches we may try when they grow older.

And yet, so many of us fail to give our children one of the most basic tools they need in order to live a happy, healthy lifestyle: the ability to make healthy food choices. But not everyone has thrown in the health-food towel. Some mothers trying to buck the trend and make their own homes a place of healthful food choices. “I recently made the change to whole wheat, swapping whitewhole wheat flour in all of my recipes, from pizza to cookies,” says Chani Danziger, a young mother of five in Lakewood. “The kids hardly know the difference.”

Rivky Sternberg, a mother of seven in Brooklyn, has cut out all high fructose corn syrup and food coloring from her kids’ diet after reading about the way they affect behavior. “My kids weren’t happy in the beginning,” she shares, “but eventually they got used to the change. They are so much calmer and more focused now. It’s amazing what a small change in their diet can do!” Rivky admits that her conviction is challenged each time a kid brings home that dreaded pekeleh or bag of loot from a siyum. To combat this, she and her husband have instituted the practice of purchasing nosh from their kids.

“I don’t want to be the mean mother who is confiscating their goodies,” she says. “And I don’t want to turn this into a battle or to make candy some forbidden fruit that they can’t wait to get their hands on. When I buy their nosh off of them, they feel like they are getting something in return, and I’m getting all that sugar out of their hands. It’s a fair system that’s win-win all around!” Some other mothers, though, find that their hands are tied once their kids reach a certain age.

“My son did not know what candy was for the first few years of his life. He thought that the best Shabbos dessert was a slice of watermelon,” says Gittel Hammer, a mother in Baltimore. “And then he came home from his first day at Morah, sucking a lollipop. It was downhill from there.” 54 Wellspring | January 2020

Like Gittel, lots of parents feel the battle is lost when the kids leave home. The food served at babysitters, schools, and even in shul, is simply beyond their control, and even the kids who have been raised to know that sugar is bad for them and can give them all sorts of “boo-boos” will have a hard time resisting that pull when it’s shoved in their faces. It’s not only about the choices we make or teach our children to make; it’s also about our perspective on food. The level of importance with which we relate to food directly determines how much value it will hold in our children's eyes. While food glorification may certainly be occurring on a communal level, with our children being exposed to decadent ads, elaborate and fancy recipes, and obsessive food talk that we did not grow up with, it is our decision to which extent that focus will carry over into our homes. 

For example, when we're preparing for a Yom Tov, how much of the talk at home is about food, menus, and delicacies? At the seudah itself, is cuisine the focal point of conversation? We can choose to discuss the essence and themes of the Yom Tov, or we can talk about whether or not the meat is tender enough. When we return from a simchah, is the menu a main topic of discussion?

From the full-blown “Lavish fleishig buffet,” to the more modest “Refreshments will be served,” there is rarely an event of any kind that takes place without food.

Please your palette

While good food is certainly one of life’s (albeit low-level) pleasures, if our eyes light up every time we’re on the subject, and we find ourselves gravitating toward the subject frequently, we're giving our children a (not-so-subtle) message: food is an end of its own.

At School As every Jewish mother knows, our influence over our kids is as limited as the school we send them to. We can keep a strictly whole-grain, sugar-free kitchen, but if our kids’ school views nosh as a good incentive, our battle is as good as lost before it has even begun. “My kids come home every day with another nosh they won in a contest or raffle,” says Gittel. “I’ve complained to the school, but they always give me the same answer. They tell me that nothing works as well as an incentive like nosh does, and the rebbeim and teachers need to do whatever it takes to run their classes successfully.” But not every rebbi and teacher agrees with this sentiment. “We have a system of privileges in place in our class,” says Rabbi Yossi Teitelbaum, a rebbi in Far Rockaway. “I almost never use food as an incentive. Instead, kids can win a free homework night, a free quiz, a walk with rebbi during recess, a five-minute break from class, or the privilege of being my messenger for a week. The kids love it and the system really works!” Other schools, like Tiferes Bais Yaakov (TBY) in Lakewood, have a strict no-nosh policy that all teachers enforce. “My daughter comes home with all kinds of creative prizes, from helium balloons to erasers and stickers,” Rivky, a proud TBY parent, shares. “She’s just as thrilled as she would be if she got a taffy — if not more!”

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For many, the Shabbos morning kiddush is the highlight of the week.

And then there are other teachers, who reward their students with edible treats — only instead of the latest nosh to hit the candy aisle, they use actual food. While that may be a good choice on the sugar-loading end, it still scores points on the food-as-areward scale. “My son recently won three pieces of potato kugel in some reading contest he had in school,” Chani laments. “Another time, he won a small sushi platter. It’s always about the food, food, food.”

On a Communal Level While the proliferation of simchahs is a blessing that we’re grateful for, going out at night to eat a multicourse meal, along with plenty of desserts, presents its own set of challenges. Rabbi Eli Glaser, founder and director of Soveya and Wellspring columnist, advises the members of our community to take a step back and ask themselves before attending an event or simchah: Do I really need to eat there? For most of us, it’s almost a given that we will partake in some of the food offerings at a simchah or another event, but Rabbi Glaser urges us to challenge that norm. Why are we eating at this wedding or dinner? What would happen if we attended for reasons unrelated to the food? Are we adding to the joy of the baalei simchah by consuming a plateful of creamy cholesterol? Picture the scene: It’s a Wednesday night in February, and you’ve been invited to attend your neighbor’s daughter’s chasunah. You’ve arranged a babysitter after too many phone calls to count, rushed through the kids’ homework and the mountains of laundry awaiting your attention, picked out an outfit, and had your sheitel freshly set. You dab on the last bit of lipstick just as the doorbell rings. The babysitter is here, your husband is waiting, and it’s time to go. Finally — a night out! You get to the hall just in time to catch the tail end of the chuppah. After the crowd explodes in exuberant exclamations to accompany a joyous round of Od Yishama and you’ve caught your 56 Wellspring | January 2020

neighbor in an excited mazel tov hug, you meet up with some other neighbors on the block and fall into your designated seat with a loud sigh. You’re absolutely famished. And the rolls set up at the center of the table are calling your name a tad too loudly. You’re halfway out of your seat so you can go wash when you remember: you’ve just committed to starting a new food plan after so many past failed attempts. And you’ve been doing so well! Should you really blow it at this wedding? Another part of you might argue that you don’t have a wedding to attend every night, and you can take an occasional break from your food plan. Besides, it’s a simchah! You should be able to enjoy it without counting calories. Or should you? “The mitzvah of attending a wedding is to be mesame’ach the chassan and kallah; not to eat,” Rabbi Glaser stresses. “Your health must always take priority.” With that in mind, Rabbi Glaser would suggest you adjust the above scenario. Along with all the other things you have to get done before leaving the house, although it might be challenging, making sure you prepare and eat your dinner has to be a high priority. That’s the first step in developing a healthy and responsible relationship with food – don’t sacrifice your intrinsic needs no matter what the situation or circumstance. Don’t show up famished and vulnerable. Give yourself the best chance for success by preparing in advance. As for wedding guests on strict diet plans due to health concerns, Rabbi Glaser advises that they consider which choice they think would make the baalei simchah happier: if they were to fully join the meal and jeopardize their food plan and perpetuate their health concerns, or if they’d attend the wedding only to wish mazel tov and to be mesame’ach the chassan and kallah? “If the baal simchah would see you six months from now,” says Rabbi Glaser, “do you think they’d be happier to see that you are still struggling with your weight and all the associated health problems, or that you have reached a healthy body weight and you are no longer dealing with chronic health issues?

Squash the prep “If you are committed to a food plan and you need to get your weight under control, this is your immediate focus. You need to take care of yourself and realize that it is Hashem’s ratzon for you to prioritize your own health and wellbeing right now. No one else is going to do it for you.” He adds that wedding guests should not concern themselves with how it will look if they don’t partake in the seudah. “Everyone is leaving that wedding and going home to their own lives,” he says. “No one will remember if you ate or not. But you will have to leave the wedding with the choices you made at that table and live with them. Don’t let any subjective fears about feeling awkward take precedence over your own health.”

Rabbi Glaser emphasizes that this is especially true for people who are in the beginning stages of a food program. At that point, one slip can wreak havoc on their diet. Once they’ve reached a healthy weight level and have moved on to the maintenance part of the program, they can have more flexibility to partake in the food at simchahs, as long as they follow the three Ps (see sidebar). He also urges event planners and baalei simchah to rethink the standard food options usually offered. There are so many ways to scale back on the excess of empty calories served at these events. “Lots of caterers offer vegetable platters, salads, and healthy proteins on their menus,” he explains. “Why not let your guests enjoy the food without sabotaging their food plans or their health?” He also advises the community at large to rethink the need for serving food at every single event. “Can we really only count on people donating money at a parlor meeting if we woo them with hot poppers and chicken wings?” he asks. “Why do we feel we need to lure grown men with food, especially so late at night? Is that $50 check really worth perpetuating someone’s obesity and diabetes?” These are hard questions with no simple answers, but maybe it’s time for us, as a community, to start reevaluating the way we host events and fundraisers. Does food really always need to be part of the equation?

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How Important Is The Food? Take The Poll! Does food mean a lot to you? Or is the menu just a side point when you’re attending an event? 1. When you hear about a community event, the question “But will there be food?” is: A. The first and only one you ask. B. Not even on your radar.

C. Something you wonder about, but would never voice out loud.

2. How often do you attend events at which no food is served at all? A. Never.

B. All the time.

C. Occasionally.

3. After an event that was especially memorable, you can’t stop talking about A. The food.

B. The program.

C. The amount of money raised with such a small amount of food involved.

4. When you attend a wedding, your first stop is: A. The shmorg.

B. The baalei simchah.

C. The baalei simchah, after just a quick stop at the shmorg.

5. You share pictures of food you’re being served or that you’re serving your family with everyone on your contact list A. At every meal you eat. B. Never.

C. Rarely.

58 Wellspring | January 2020

What’s in my slice of kugel? The nutrition facts of your simple piece of potato kugel might astonish you: 415 Calories 26g Fat

1.5g Carbs

Rabbi Glaser’s 3 Ps to Eating Successfully in a Social Environment:

Relish the rings

1. Plan. You need to have a plan before you attend a social eating event or you will be setting yourself up for failure. Food is naturally tempting and it can be very difficult to control yourself in a social setting. Before you leave for the event, ask yourself: Will this be my breakfast or dinner? Will I eat anything at all at this event? Will I stick to the main course only and skip everything else? For optimal success, plan ahead instead of eating spontaneously. 2. Be precise. Your plan should be as detailed as possible or you can end up eating upwards of 5,000 calories in one night. Set limits on exactly what you will eat, and on how much of it you will eat. Be as precise as possible. 3. Have patience. The digestive process only starts 5 to 10 minutes after eating. Instead of overloading your plate without thinking, take a reasonable portion, and then wait for satiation to start kicking in. You can drink a glass of water in the meantime, or enjoy a conversation. Standing near the shmorg and pounding food is the perfect way to sabotage your food plan and to mindlessly stuff yourself until you feel sick.

Coming up next: Is obesity more rampant in the frum community? If yes, why is it so? Part II will address the topic from the perspective of individuals who are overweight, as well as from nutritionists and dietitians who are dealing with this issue. Join the conversation!

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At the Dietitian By Tamar Feldman, RDN, CDE

The Severely Restricted Diet:

Healing from Extreme Food Intolerance A Case Study Age: 24 year old female

Malky’s case was complex and had been passed on to me by a colleague. Her previous dietitian had recognized that what superficially may have appeared to be an eating disorder was none of the sort. She simply could not tolerate many foods, and had removed one food at a time from her diet, eventually subsisting on the minimal amount of foods her system was able to handle. Malky’s weight had dwindled down to an unhealthy 91 pounds at 5 feet 2 inches, her cycles had long stopped, her social life was negatively impacted, and she and her parents were very concerned. Malky was frustrated with her inability to find a diagnosis for her obscure GI (gastrointestinal) difficulties, and she was having a hard time coping with her limited diet and fatigue. As she expressed to me: “I’m tired of hearing that I have IBS. What is really wrong with my digestion and how do we go about fixing it?!” 60 Wellspring | January 2020

Occupation: Speech therapist — mild to moderately pressured work environment Lifestyle: Moderate to high stress

Foods reported as tolerated at session one: Salmon, tilapia, white chicken baked with salt and pepper, cooked zucchini and carrot, applesauce, rice cakes, baked potato, butternut squash, very small amounts of nuts. Significant history: Frequent antibiotic use at a young age for recurrent strep infections, seasonal allergies, lactose intolerance. Other significant factors: Self-described Type A personality. Symptoms: Diarrhea, severe cramping, and burning sensation after eating fatty and fibrous foods, occasional reflux. Intervention: Malky agreed with my assessment that her current diet was too low in calories, fat, nutrients, and overall variety to support good health, but she needed help healing her digestive system enough to tolerate food again. While I could not pinpoint a definite cause for the decline in her digestive system, a likely culprit was imbalanced gut bacteria from antibiotic overuse. We decided to start with a gut healing supplement regimen, bile acid support, replacement of beneficial gut bacteria, and supplemental stomach acid.

The supplements prescribed for a six week duration were:  L Glutamine.

 DGL and aloe combination.

 Probiotic 450 billion — prescription grade.  Bile support supplement containing beets. Additional recommendations:

 Bitter greens or black coffee before meals to stimulate bile flow.

 Apple cider vinegar before meals to replace deficient stomach acid.

 Ten minutes daily of deep breathing or a relaxation CD, along with a CBT workbook for stress reduction.  Meals should be consumed slowly, only when calm and with proper chewing, to aid the digestive process. After six weeks, Malky reported a 50 percent reduction in her symptoms and agreed to add one food at a time from a list we decided on. She waited two to three days between each new food to better identify any adverse reactions. After four months, Malky was successfully consuming most non-gluten grains, nut butters and larger nut quantities, grass-fed beef, cooked vegetables, avocado, and chia and flax seeds. At the six-month mark, she was able to tolerate some raw vegetables and onions and garlic, and we were able to start the process of weaning her off of all the supplements aside from a quality probiotic. Her weight had increased to a healthier 105 pounds, she reported very minimal to no symptoms, and had more energy than she’d had in years.

While there is data to support this hypothesis, I have noticed in my work with gastrointestinal issues that a large percentage of IBS clients have high stress lifestyles or intense personality types. The cortisol release from a stress response can be very damaging to the gut, and combined with bacterial imbalances, can wreak havoc on digestion. Extra support via supplementation is almost always necessary in order to stop the vicious cycle of impaired digestion and further food restriction. The good news is that with proper guidance and stress management techniques, most individuals can successfully heal themselves from the need to follow a severely restricted diet. *Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.

Tamar Feldman, RDN, CDE is a highly acclaimed and experienced registered dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She maintains a busy nutrition practice with offices in Lakewood and Edison, and via phone/skype to numerous international clients, specializing in balanced and sustainable weight loss and nutrition therapy for autoimmune and gastrointestinal issues. She can be reached at 732-364-0064 or through her website: Follow her @gutdietitian. Write to Tamar at to join her whatsapp group for weekly gut health lectures.

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 61

Living Well

Health Personality By Esther Retek

Cup of Tea With:

Chana Weinstock Neuberger, MD


If you were to seek the indicators of Chana Neuberger’s unique, trailblazing career path in her early life, you wouldn’t find them. Her trajectory started out as run-of-the-mill as it gets, ticking all the boxes of society’s standard protocols. After graduating from Bais Yaakov of Toronto, Chana attended BJJ seminary in Eretz Yisrael, and upon her return, landed a teaching position. “Although I always wanted to pursue a higher education,” says Chana, “it wasn’t very accepted in my circles. And so, since my grandmother and mother were both in education, my career choice was quite predetermined for me. The problem was, though, that on my very first day of teaching, I knew this was not something I would want to continue long-term. I tried it all: elementary school, high school, took some correspondence courses, but I intuitively knew that was not my roadmap.” However, since she was in shidduchim at that time, Chana continued traversing the 62 Wellspring | January 2020

OCCUPATION: Medical Oncologist

LOCATION: Baltimore, MD.

PASSION: My kids! Yoga, skiing, running, and home decor

SHE WISHES PEOPLE WOULD KNOW THAT: Since early detection saves lives, it’s important to keep up with all recommended screening tests, including colonoscopies and mammograms.

Living Well

Health Personality

well-trodden path for another while until she mustered the courage to choose the road not taken.

When did it finally happen? “During my second year of teaching, when it was getting clearer to me that I needed something else, my mother consulted with Rav Zelig Epstein ztz”l regarding his take on pursuing an advanced degree. His response? “What is the problem?” And shidduchim? “Hashem makes shidduchim,” he stated simply.

With the support of daas Torah, Chana applied to and attended University of Toronto for two years. It was there that she discovered her vocation of choice: medicine. “Since I had already ventured out into unfamiliar, atypical territory, I decided to pursue something that would really give me fulfillment and satisfaction. For me, that meant medical school. After two intensive years in University of Toronto, I was accepted to the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York. There, I vacillated between several options and tried different medical fields such as OB/GYN, radiology, and anesthesiology, but nothing spoke to me like oncology.” Despite many people’s hesitation towards the field of oncology, Chana’s heart was set on the field even before she began her advanced studies. It was also at that time that an acquaintance of hers whose friend was participating in a research study for Ashkenazic Jewish women with breast cancer told her about the wonderful frum woman who was her oncologist. After a brief phone conversation with the doctor, Chana was intrigued. The oncologist, pleasantly surprised that the enthusiasm for research was coming from a Bais Yaakov graduate, agreed to take Chana as a summer research student and taught her the basic terms and concepts so that she could have some knowledge of the field.

For the next few months, while waiting for the September semester to commence, Chana diligently studied with her “mentor.” The more knowledge she acquired, the more motivated she became to pursue her degree. “After starting medical school, I realized that I would really

64 Wellspring | January 2020

During my fellowship, I worked with a patient who was approximately my age. like to be an oncologist, although I was initially set on becoming a radiation oncologist. I appreciated everything about the position and valued the tremendous impact I would be able to have on people’s lives. It’s a difficult position to attain and I worked hard to make it happen. I busied myself with publishing, researching, and making connections in the field.” One roadblock Chana encountered along the way was shmiras Shabbos. While radiation oncologists generally do not have to work on Shabbos per se, they do have to be on call at all times for potential emergencies. “And so, I sat with a radiation oncologist and a rav, accurately outlining what I might have to do on Shabbos, if called on duty. Most of the work I would have been required to do would have easily fallen under the category of an emergency, but despite this condition, I was told not to pursue this field. So, despite being offered a radiation oncology position both during my final year of training and during my first year of residency, I declined the offers on both occasions due to the Shabbos issue.” Instead, Chana, who was already married at the time, went on to train as a medical oncologist in a completely shomer Shabbos training program, both during residency and fellowship. Eventually, she moved to Baltimore because of a shomer Shabbos fellowship she obtained there, and she landed a position in a prestigious hospital. For several years, while balancing motherhood and her career, she worked part time in the oncology adult clinic, seeing

patients several days a week. “Although it was rewarding to work in the adult clinic, I had previously considered a career working with children as a pediatric oncologist. However, at the end of the day I decided that it would be much more of a struggle to juggle motherhood with the kind of time and dedication necessary to work with children. Pediatric oncologists are the most amazing people. These specialists work with their hearts and souls and form the most beautiful relationships with their patients, who become like their children. The profound connection and intense emotions associated with the work would not allow me to disconnect after a full week of work; Shabbos would certainly have been an issue, and ultimately I decided to exclusively treat adults,” Chana explains. Four years ago, once her responsibilities at home allowed her to accommodate a full-time work schedule, Chana accepted a regulatory job reviewing and approving new cancer drugs. She also continues to supervise a medical oncology clinic on occasion, mentoring fellows as they treat patients. “Working in the clinic and witnessing the pain of this devastating illness daily would take a toll on my emotional health, leaving me depleted and taxed. My current job allows me to work on some major advancements in the field, without having to constantly witness the intensity of the anguish and heartache. ” Still, Chana misses certain aspects of her former job. “Being in contact with so many patients is exhausting, but treating them gives you immeasurable satisfaction,” she admits. When Chana recalls some of the memorable patients she has treated, she nostalgically reminisces of those times.

“I treated many veterans and they never ceased to inspire me,” she says. “I remember working with a patient and, based on his service date, I realized that he had fought during World War II. When I asked him about it, he regaled us with his adventures as a teenager on the front. He shared that he was part of the combat at Normandy during D-Day, which I found fascinating. When I

thanked him for saving America, he cut me short and corrected me that he hadn’t just saved America; he had saved the world.”

While every patient is unique, and every life saved or made more pleasant is a cause for joy, some patients stand out in Chana’s mind for one reason or another. “During my fellowship, I worked with a patient who was approximately my age. As soon as I was introduced to her, I loved her. She was such a beautiful and special soul. My time with her, however, was not long. My heart still aches for her,” says Chana. Of course, a position like Chana’s forces her to face death on a too-constant basis. “While many patients end up living for many more healthy years, there is a lot of loss to cope with.”

Every loss is painful to bear, tearing at the heart. But what happens when it rears its ugly head with such frequency? “Although a medical practitioner could become desensitized under such circumstances, I work hard to try to comprehend what my patients are going through. A lecture I heard one year at an annual convention for oncologists has remained with me ever since. A prominent doctor related that she once received a phone call from her child’s school, informing her that her child was badly hurt and was rushed into the hospital. Although the caller assured her that things would be fine, she recounted how frantic and lost she felt at that moment. Later that day, after recomposing herself and seeing that her child was doing much better, it dawned on her that this was only an inkling of how her patients and their families feel constantly. She suddenly realized how dark, frightening, and utterly confusing their worlds become and with what terror they live with at every moment. I think of her words often, especially when I need to refocus and truly understand what my patients are going through.” Death has also taught Chana to appreciate life, she adds. “For me, a relative’s simchah is not a burden, an event that gets in the way of my schedule. For me, it is a chance to observe the kaleidoscope of life, the inherent gift that healthy people live with. I re-

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Living Well

Health Personality

joice with every little celebration and milestone. Death taught me how much I have, and how grateful I must be. I learned to thank Hashem past a superficial phrase of gratitude. And although witnessing death daily can leave one crushed, it has taught me to be so profoundly connected with life.”

Of course, it’s the family members of a patient who feel the patient’s plight most acutely. Even for those who baruch Hashem are cured, the day-to-day realities of an illness are devastating, and there are many difficult emotions to face along the way. Unfortunately, when there is loss, the family is left bereft, reeling in pain. Chana tries to be a bulwark of strength for them, trying to help them through the challenging times.

“Although a cancer diagnosis is always devastating,” she points out, “we have seen much success in healing. Treatments have evolved to a point where there are so many tools in our arsenal. I find it humbling and meaningful to be one of Hashem’s messengers in healing so many. My current job allows me to be of aid to our society in such a broad sense — obtaining and approving effective drugs, researching, reporting, and more.”

Working in the field of medicine, and especially oncology, affords one the privilege of witnessing miracles up close. For Chana, that is one of the most rewarding perks of her work. As a frum Jew, she recognizes that even when healing is clothed in nature — such as through medication or treatment — it is a miracle nevertheless. “A patient once came to us for a second opinion. After taking the necessary tests, and comparing it to the original scans, we realized that the tumor was noticeably smaller this time. Since the patient hadn’t been given any treatment between these two evaluations, we were surprised at the discrepancy. When relating the results to the patient, he matter-of-factly stated that it makes sense, since he takes time every day to visualize his healthy cells fighting the cancerous cells. I don’t know about the actual healing power of visualization, but for the staff, it was simply miraculous.” What is Chana’s stance on alternative treatment for healing cancer? “Thankfully,” she says, “and paradoxically sadly too, I think the Jewish community is very well-informed about cancer nowadays. They have a lot of connections to eminent doctors, and rightfully follow doctors’ protocols. Overall, our community is also very respectful of doctors. However, it does bother me when I hear that people try alternative methods before following basic protocols. Baruch Hashem, someone who is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s has an over 96 percent chance of long-term survival if the accepted treatment protocol is followed. When someone in these circumstances goes solely with alternative treatments, he or she may lose their chance to be cured. Why would anyone want to do that?

“I recall a patient in our community who was battling with a very difficult prognosis. Some people pressed the family to use organic foods as a means of treatment. Although well-meaning, I found it hard to imagine that anyone would think that organic food would be the cure for this patient in her circumstances. I

66 Wellspring | January 2020

wish treating someone would be as simple as switching to organic food.

“Generally, eating healthily and engaging in healthy activities can be crucial alongside treatments, giving the patient much needed energy during these trying times, but that’s ‘in addition to.’ The first step is always to consult with a qualified medical practitioner about the treatment of choice,” says Chana. While Chana admits that cancer treatments still need a lot more research and improvements, she’s excited to share the advancements of the two innovative treatments that have made their debut over the last two decades. “Immunotherapy and targeted therapy are the two most recent breakthroughs,” she notes. “In short, immunotherapy is a treatment that activates the immune system to fight the cancer cells. Immunotherapy is designed to elicit or amplify an immune response. As part of its normal function, our immune system detects and destroys abnormal cells and most likely prevents or curbs the growth of many cancers without us even knowing about them,” Chana explains. “Although the immune system can try to fight cancer cells, these cells often have a way to avoid destruction by the immune system. Immunotherapy works to strengthen the immune system and enable it to successfully fight cancer cells. It’s important to note,” Chana is quick to add, “that immunotherapy may cause side effects, many of which happen when the immune system that has been revved-up to act against the cancer also fights against healthy cells and tissues in the body.

“With targeted therapy on the market, oncologists are now able to target cancer cells much more effectively than ever before. Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread. With this laser focus, precise treatment plans are more effective.” Chana speaks of these innovations with unmistakable fervor. For her, these two new treatments are not just another two options to offer patients. Rather, she sees in them the opportunity for hundreds of patients to have an easier treatment experience, as well as a higher survival rate. Studies about cancer, new treatments, or experiential medicines are not merely the topic of another news update for Chana, but rather a new avenue that will hopefully help many.

How has Chana maintained the enthusiasm she felt decades ago when she first started out in the field of oncology? “People ask me how I can work so many hours and balance family life. People ask me how I can handle the stress that comes along with my job. People ask me why I get so excited with new initiatives in the field. And then, if they have the courage, people ask me why I chose this field. And there’s one answer I provide them all: passion. Passion and a sincere appreciation for my job give me the strength and courage to prevail over the challenges it comes along with. I am so pleased, and forever grateful to all those who encouraged me to forge my individual, unique path for myself — one that I still find fulfilling and meaningful.”

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Living Well

Memos from a Kinesiologist By Miriam Schweid

Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems, affecting around 2.5 million Americans. It’s defined as having hard, dry bowel movements, and in most cases, the cause is insufficient fiber in the diet or dehydration. Fiber adds bulk to stool, which in turn stimulates contraction of the bowels.  Regular bowel movements are important to remove toxins from the body. Other causes of constipation include inadequate exercise, weak muscle tone, poor diet, age, and side effects of certain medications.

Relief and Regulation The young woman had been suffering for nearly a decade


t a wedding last year, I met a young newlywed woman whose mother had reached out to me several months before. “My daughter is getting married shortly,” her mother had said to me, “and I’m concerned.” For her daughter, Shevy, bowel movements were possible only with the help of laxatives or enemas. Upon further questioning, I learned that constipation was actually not a new issue for Shevy; she’d been suffering from it since as early as fifth grade, when she’d been adamant not to use the facilities at school.

Since then, Shevy had been relying on laxatives. It worked, her mother said, so they simply bought another bottle when the old one was empty. When I suggested getting to the root of the issue, Shevy’s mother felt it would be better to do so later, not at a time when they were so close to the wedding date. When I met finally met Shevy at her friend’s wedding, she was actually reciting asher yatzar, enunciating every word with a seriousness that spoke volumes. Then, she came over to me and asked if we could speak.   Shevy confided that since her own wedding six months earlier, even after she tripled the laxative dose (!) she could not have a proper bowel movement. Of course, she was suffering from excruciating stomach pain, as well as gas and bloating. This was not how she envisioned her shanah rishonah to feel like, and she wanted to know when she could meet with me to discuss this further. We scheduled a time to do so.

Constipation may give rise to other ailments, such as bad breath, body odor, headaches, coated tongue, diverticulitis, gas, bloating, and stomach pain.

Unfortunately, too many people I’ve met have “made peace” with this condition, living on laxatives for much too long instead of clearing out the colon, which serves as the holding tank for the waste matter. A clean colon helps us feel lighter, healthier and more energetic.

During our appointment, I explained to Shevy that after using a supplement or medication for a long time, the body simply gets used to it and does not react to it, even when the dose is increased. Therefore, the laxatives weren’t having the desired effects anymore. Shevy wanted to know why it happened just now. I explained that constipation is often exacerbated by stress, changes in lifestyle, jobs, and eating habits, all of which may occur early on in marriage.

In either case, it was time to find the cause of the issue. Upon further education, Shevy was eager to make changes to her old diet of Danishes, store-bought sandwiches, soda, and milkshakes. To start, she eliminated dairy and wheat completely. We added 12 ounces of raw vegetables and 3 fruits daily. She was to drink only before and after — not during — meals to allow for better food digestion. The addition of brown rice, quinoa, and oats would add bulk, as would the vegetables, fruit, and water. Shevy would also take magnesium in a powdered form (which makes it easier to regulate the dosage), and would decrease the dose in the case of diarrhea. In addition to this protocol, I recommended a probiotic.  It did not take long for Shevy to see results. Although she’d been living with constipation for years, her body had been yearning for a healthy diet and regulation. Many times, our body can be forgiving like that. Someone may have been overweight for 20 years, but the as soon as they start eating a healthy diet they start losing weight immediately. With time, Shevy learned to notice a pattern. Even if she was eating well, when she was stressed or overwhelmed, she experienced constipation again. I taught her some relaxation breathing techniques and encouraged her to keep up her great work. For someone like her, asher yatzar has taken on a new meaning. She knows what it means to feel light, free, and relieved.

Miriam Schweid is a Brooklyn-based kinesiologist. She can be reached through Wellspring. 68 Wellspring | January 2020

Living Well

Home Lab By Miriam Schweid


recipes for natural living

Headache Relief Although headaches may be common occurrences and are usually not a symptom of a serious ailment, they’re still very unpleasant to endure. Here is one effective way to ease the tension and feel better when a headache hits.

In a small glass bottle, combine: ¼ oz vodka ¼ oz peppermint essential oil

Wet your fingertips with the blend and firmly massage above each eyebrow while keeping your eyes closed. Relax, inhale the pleasant scent of peppermint, drink water, and repeat. You should feel relief within minutes. Be very careful to avoid contact with eyes since the mixture will burn and sting. In case of eye contact, rinse for 15 minutes with lots of water and apply a wet and cool compress for 30 minutes. Note: Wash your hands well after using peppermint oil, especially before touching food. Since a good quality oil is strong, working with gloves is not a solution as they will tear or dissolve immediately. The scent usually dissipates within thirty minutes of so. Keep out of reach of children.

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 69

Living Well

Diary Serial By Rina Levy

s s e l e p a Sh e c n Da Chapter 2

Back Up I’d finally taken the last of the suitcases up the stairs. It had been a tiring day — actually, a tiring week. This Pesach was supposed to have been a break for the whole family, a chance for my mother to enjoy her grandchildren without the burden of cleaning the entire house, and having to cook and serve all the meals of the Yom Tov. We were planning to enjoy Chol Hamoed with trips to local attractions and some good old-fashioned family bonding time. The reality of the week, however, was that it was frustrating and not at all relaxing. Yaffi’s antics made everyone angry and I had to police my teen daughters. Even my toddlers were easier to deal with than Yaffi. I thought about the worst scene of the week as I dropped myself heavily into my armchair. On Erev Shabbos at the pool, just as I got comfortable on my lounge chair, I noticed my daughter Kayla schmoozing with a group of new friends. I was happy to see her enjoying herself with a group of girls her age. Like a typical sociable 13-year-old, she’s always looking for action, and she likes meeting and interact70 Wellspring | January 2020

ing with different types of girls. Kayla is a powerful personality and her younger siblings usually make sure to give her her space.

Just as I was about to open the page to the thrilling serial in my favorite magazine, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Yaffi looked like she was about to run over and join them. A silent prayer emanated from my soul that she not do, or say, anything to upset Kayla. As she came running, to the horror of all the girls, they saw that Yaffi’s two arms were swinging in opposite directions! Her elbows were jutting outwards, her mouth was open and a bit off center. Her legs were wobbly at the knee, yet too stiff for her to be running. She was wearing her swim skirt rolled up three or four times on one side so it was asymmetrical, and her cover-up was the good shell we’d been saving for her to wear on Shabbos. To top off the awkwardness, her bangs were hanging in her eyes. I felt a stab of humiliation for Kayla because, by the look on her face, I knew she was mortified. Just about five feet

from reaching them, Yaffi’s legs deceived her and she went flying — she hadn’t noticed that the girls were standing on a patch of grass and her foot hit the beginning of the lawn. Yaffi flew, head-first and screaming, into the group of girls! My heart sank. I couldn’t believe my eyes. What in the world is wrong with that girl? Kayla shrieked, “Yaffi! You weirdo! OMG! Go, get away from us!” As bad as I feel for saying this, it was as if we were at the circus and I was watching a clown. In the history of the world I can’t imagine someone could be so klutzy by accident. This was just beyond my comprehension. I felt like laughing and crying. It was the culmination of a week of smaller strange episodes, but this was the wakeup call of a lifetime.

After Yaffi stood up, and realized that she had fallen, she didn’t even react or apologize. She just stood there, her feet open wide, as graceless as can be. She was leaning forward halfway, more to the right, but her back was ramrod straight. Her two arms were like metal bars next to her body, hands bent inwards by her overworked wrists, fingers closed tightly, as if she was hiding something in her palms. The veins and bones were bulging out of her wrists and it even looked painful. She just stood there clueless, totally stiff and unmoving, as if she was wondering if she should run off and catch up again with the girls. It was actually so long, and her posture was so strange, I snapped a picture of it. She held the position long enough that I could reach over, grab my camera, focus and click. All the while, she still stood there oblivious. I took that picture as the first of many, documenting my dear Yaffi’s peculiar body movements.

I just couldn’t get the vision out of my mind and kept looking at the picture. What do I do with this? To whom should I bring this story and picture? A neurologist? A psychologist? My family doctor should be the first stop. Known to be a very good diagnostician, he has patients of all ages from all over the city waiting hours to see him. If anyone would know what this was all about, it was Dr. Fein. I made an appointment for the first slot that was available. While I was anxious to learn the truth, I was relieved to be taking action. I needed to get to the bottom of this. To be continued...

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 71

"Joy has been sewn into the fabric of life, but over time, it gets buried beneath the layers of grime and negativity."

Heart to Heart

Meet Dr. Simcha

Why do I feel distant from my husband?




Joy for

A Conversation with

Avi Weinberg, aka Dr. Simcha

By Chava Leah Beer

Our quest for happiness is a central focus in our lives, at the root of much of what we do. Monsey-based counselor Avi Weinberg has taken this matter very seriously, doing all he could to unearth the secrets for attaining this elusive state of being. Here, he shares his findings, which have helped not only him, but also the many individuals who have turned their lives around thanks to his wise counsel.

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 75



“Picture this scene,” Avi Weinberg starts by way of introducing the topic that is close to his heart. “A muscular thug brandishes a gun, giving you a stare that sends shudders down your spine. Drawing on your inner reserves of adrenaline, you desperately think of a way to escape this nightmare. ‘Uh, how much money do you need?’ you ask him directly, assuming he needs some fast cash to fund his next fix. ‘Fifty bucks,’ he answers. You breathe a bit easier. “‘Fine. Come with me,’ you tell him, and lead him down the block and around the corner. You ask him to wait outside the door of your home. Cautiously, you dig out your safe from its concealed place and punch in the numbers. You remove a precious family heirloom, a deeply sentimental and priceless piece that has been in the family’s possession for centuries. Without a second glance, you hand it over to the guy who’s nervously twiddling his thumbs. He looks you up and down and puts the precious relic right back into your hands. ‘Yeah, I need money for drugs, but what about you? You must also be on drugs!’ “Who in their right mind,” Avi asks, “would ever give up a precious heirloom when all they’re being asked for is fifty dollars?”

The introduction in and of itself provides us a glimpse of Avi’s approach. But before he finally shares how he came to discover the secret to happiness, he shares another story. The road sign reads: New Jersey, 50 miles ahead. It’s 7:00, just before the chuppah of a close relative, and you’re still sitting behind the wheel, anxious to get to the hall on time. Suddenly, you hear a pop. You must have driven over a nail and now you’re left with a punctured front tire. You 76 Wellspring | January 2020

pull over to the side of the road. ‘Why did I put my spare tire in the garage?’ You ask yourself. ‘I knew I should have kept it in the trunk; how could I have been so reckless?’ The thoughts come fast and furious. Now I’ll have to wait here in the freezing cold for hours until help arrives. I’ll miss the chuppah and everyone will give me those dirty looks — there he goes again. Now I’ll have to stay for the whole meal, and I’ll get home so late and… “Do you realize that when you do that, you’re giving up your most precious asset?” Avi asks. “Simchas hachaim, joy of life, is like a priceless heirloom, our most precious asset. We shouldn’t be giving it up for anything. Why, then, when we’re faced with frustration, are we so quick to simply give it up?”

Mr. Avi Weinberg, who is fondly known as Dr. Simcha but prefers to known simply as Avi, confesses to be “obsessed” with the topic. This longtime Monsey resident and father of six who keeps a low profile (though proud to be the nephew of Rabbi Noach Weinberg ztz”l of Aish HaTorah fame) has spent more than four decades on a painstaking journey to find happiness. It started with the questions that were plaguing Avi in his own life: How can I acquire joy? Is it something that comes naturally? Can one rejoice while suffering? Feeling discontent, and as an intense thinker, Avi, already in his sixties today, set out to find the answers.

Like a philosophy student digging through tomes of scholarly works, Avi Weinberg spent hours upon hours searching. Finally, he discovered a treasure trove of insight in the wisdom of the Torah. Being in the business of pursuing happiness, he began to notice the centrality of this theme wherever he looked. Over the years, he has amassed a collection of anecdotes, perspectives, comments, tips and advice on his favorite topic, culled from the pages of the Chumash, Midrash, Gemara and other sefarim. Fortified with this invaluable information, Avi has gained a solid grasp of the subject, which he has colored with his unique perspective. The clarity he demonstrates on the multifaceted topic is dazzling; one can call him an expert on the subject, although he is the first to confess, “I have no creden-

tials — nisht in ruchniyus, nisht in gashmiyus.” Lack of a PhD and rabbinical certification notwithstanding, Avi is impressively well-versed in a subject that he’s passionate to spread further. How does he explain the emotions that plague many of the individuals he counsels? “Depression,” says Mr. Weinberg, “can be a weapon of the baal davar (the euphemism he uses to refer to the yetzer hara, whose name he purposely avoids using). It’s his way of getting us to sin. This is the evil inclination’s last battle before Mashiach,” he explains, “all he wants is to drag us down and make us beat ourselves up. He’s working very hard to accomplish this because simchah leads to so much good and will ultimately bring Mashiach. In today’s world that is permeated with the secular view, we often talk about ‘finding happiness in life.’ Being on a quest for happiness is obviously a good thing, but the expression is so misleading; it’s simply wrong. There is no such thing as finding happiness in life,” Avi explains emphatically. “That would suggest that happiness is dependent on certain circumstances. In Lashon Kodesh, joy is called simchas hachaim, and its exact definition is happiness of life, a state in which one experiences the joy of life itself.” When one accesses that incredible emotion, Avi notes, no external factor has the power to influence this state — neither illness nor loss, failure or spiritual slumps. The more Avi realized this truth, the more he began to live it, moving from seeking happiness externally toward finding it within. This eventually led him toward sharing his insight with those who needed it most. Today, Dr. Simcha has become the address for individuals floundering in a maelstrom of despair. “As far as formal training or education is concerned, I’m open about my lack of credentials,” he says comfortably. “No, I don’t have a formal degree, but I have accumulated a lot of priceless material that has been proven to be helpful, baruch Hashem.” For the most part, Avi’s clientele is comprised of people who are depressed and suffering from symptoms resulting from the depression — such as addictions, stuttering, and more severe circumstances. Teves 5780 | Wellspring 77



“Don’t they go to professionals?” I ask.

“I tell them to go to a rav or therapist first. ‘If all else fails, come to me.’” Isn’t this an overwhelming task? Is it even possible to restore the spirit of someone so downtrodden and helpless?

Avi waves away these doubts. “Often,” he offers, “these issues are exaggerated, making us feel stuck in negative situations. We often have a negative assumption that simchah is unattainable, that it takes a lot of hard work and time to get a hold of this elusive treasure. Nothing could be farther from the truth,” he says unequivocally. Joy has been sewn into the fabric of life, Avi explains, but over time, it gets buried beneath the layers of grime and negativity, so we can hardly remember that it’s there. “Have you ever noticed that young children are happy by nature? As long as their most basic needs are met, their faces exude joy and they smile and giggle for nothing.”

That child lies within every one of us. All we have to do is access this endless source of joy. But really, how does Avi manage to bring these suffering souls out of the darkness and into the light?

The key to his success, he admits, is in the warm, nonjudgmental relationship he develops with his clients, or rather, the beneficiaries of his wholesome kindness. “Everyone calls me Avi. I talk to them as a friend.” In his warm and genuine manner, Avi makes the individual he is helping feel safe and secure as he plumbs the depths of their emotions, getting to the core of the issue that is causing them to feel dejected. But that is not the only master key he holds. His brilliant understanding of what makes humans tick allows Dr. Simcha to reach people with whom so many others have failed to connect. “The human being is wired to fight authority, to rebel against force-feeding of any sort. That’s why I always tell

people who consult me, ‘Let me share something with you,’ instead of ‘Listen to what I am going to say’ which automatically breeds resistance.’” With patience and sensitivity, understanding and devotion, Avi has helped people of all ages overcome a host of issues including stuttering, marital strife, addictions and other problems. “Often, the underlying issue beneath all of these problems — which are legitimate and need to be validated, of course — is a lack of simchah.”

To prove his point, Avi recalls the work he did with his youngest “client,” a young boy who blamed his depression on his lack of success in learning. “I told him that Yaakov Avinu, the greatest masmid in the Torah, was also targeted by the baal davar who tried to take away his simchas hachaim. See,” Avi explains to me as he did to his junior friend, “even someone who excels in his learning still has to struggle to stay happy. Finding it hard to learn is not a reason not to be besimcha.”

Avi was once chatting with an elderly man in his 80s, the kind of guy who everyone was comfortable asking for a favor. The man confided in him, “Avi, I don’t have a single friend.” This was shocking; here was someone who seemed to be connected to a large network of people and he claimed not to have a single friend? Avi, the quintessential friend, forged a bond with him and helped him get out of his rut. A former stutterer treated by Avi currently lectures around the world, teaching people how to stop stuttering, too. “I make myself available to every Yid in pain,” Avi stresses. “I tell everyone I meet that I’m always available for them in all ways. Watching people access their inner simchah is a pleasure I won’t give up for anything in the world.” Some may call him one-track minded, but Avi is vehement with his approach, which he sources in the Torah.

He proceeds to describe our self-imposed limitations,

If I don’t do all I can to make myself happy, then I’m not Avi. And if I’m not there for myself, who am I?

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showing how we hold onto them although they stunt our growth.

“When faced with a challenge, a difficult situation, what is the preferred way to tackle it? With simchah or without? Any little child can answer the question. So why do we allow ourselves to get drawn into gloom? Some say that atzvus, despair is the equivalent of Nun shaarei tumah — the epitome of evil.” Sounds negative enough, I think as he pauses for dramatic effect, “But I say that lack of simchah is paramount to death.” His voice rises a notch as he continues. “Simchah doesn’t just enhance our lives; simchah is life itself !”

To back his statement, he offers evidence: “When we pray for the coming month in Birchas HaChodesh, we make many requests regarding the kind of life we would like to merit, all beginning with the phrase, “Chaim shel —,” a life of —. Notice that we don’t ask for Chaim shel Simchah — because life and joy are synonymous. Without joy, there is no real life. A healthy, vibrant life can only be experienced if someone has joy.”

Avi cites several more sources on the topic, which leaves me wondering: With all this information at his disposal, does he sing and clap to the tune of, “If you’re happy and you know it” all day? His answer is an instant, “No.” He himself, he adds, has struggled intensely to achieve simchah. “Maintaining my simchah is a never-ending project,” he confesses. As a person with deep emotions that often leave him feeling as if he were dangling upside down from a swirling roller-coaster, simchah is not something he can always access with the snap of a finger. Nevertheless, Avi has made a conscious decision to invest his efforts in the attainment and maintenance of positivity.

“When something has value, we invest all we can into it. Take, for example, our children. How much time, money and effort do we invest in them? We don’t settle for second-best, because we appreciate their infinite value. The same goes for simchah.” His next words shock me at first, but once he elaborates, I’m wowed by his flawless reasoning that makes it all come together. “If you would ask me,” says Avi, the husband and father who is selflessly devoted to those who need him, “who is the most important person in my life, I would answer: Me. That’s because if I don’t do all I can to make myself happy, then I’m not Avi. And if I’m not there for myself, who am I?” With concentrated effort, Avi Weinberg has learned how to achieve simchah in all circumstances and he spreads this joy wherever he goes. Giving to others what he has worked so hard to attain is, no doubt, a source of tremendous satisfaction and happiness.

This is part of a cycle that began with his own inner work.

He references a familiar source with a unique spin to bring across his point. “In the tochacha, we are rebuked for not having served Hashem besimchah uvetuv leivav, with joy and goodness of the heart. Joy and big-heartedness are closely intertwined. When one is happy, he is able to give of himself to others.”

Here too, he notes, the centrality of joy is emphasized as a catalyst for perfecting our character and helping us become better people. Building strong, healthy relationships, one of our most important goals, only becomes possible when simchah is present. “If Eliyahu HaNavi would come to me,” Avi says in his classic entertaining manner, “and would offer me a blessing — I could choose whatever I want my children to have, you know what I would ask for?”

Having gotten to know this dynamic personality, I could anticipate the answer. “Happiness. I would ask him to bless them with the ability to experience happiness, even out of pain!”

Despite his appropriate nickname, Avi is not a smiley clown who conceals the real feelings of sadness and sorrow, anger and disappointment that plague us constantly. For this too, he offers a Torah-based explanation. “Yirmiyahu delivered the most horrific prophecies to Klal Yisrael. And nevuah can only rest upon a person who is in a state of simchah. How is this possible? Isn’t it a paradox? That’s because simchah does not negate sad emotions; it is the playing field of life and is a constant. Even when challenges are thrown our way, we can choose to focus on the goodness that surrounds us all the time.” All it takes is a moment of thought, he notes, to completely switch our default mindset.

“Three times a day, we express our gratitude to our Creator for the miracles and wonders He does for us constantly, every single day, nonstop. Imagine that you would meet a friend on the street and he looked very jolly and upbeat. ‘Why are you so happy?’ You would wonder aloud. If he were to tell you that we had just been saved from being run over by a car a moment before, you’d sing and dance along with him. Have you crossed the street safely? Are you healthy? Rejoice! We may not be aware of the miracles and wonders that accompany us from Above every moment of the day but they are certainly there. Life itself should bring us tremendous joy, if only we took time to contemplate the kindness of Hashem that surrounds us at every turn.” The positive vibes bounce through the receiver and the genuine idealism he reflects is electrifying. I can’t help but feel an inner joy as our conversation comes to an end.

Thank you, Dr. Simcha, for treating me too, free of charge. Avi Weinberg can be contacted through Wellspring.

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Child Development By Friedy Singer & Roizy Guttman, OTR/L

Childhood Anxiety All in the Mind… or All in the Body? Part II

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Friedy Singer and Roizy Guttmann are neurodevelopmental therapists and the directors of Hands on OT Rehab Services, Hands on Approaches, and the H.O.P.E. (Hands on Parent Empowerment) Foundation. They are focused on educating and empowering the community to help children with anxiety, processing and learning issues. They can be reached at


ast month, we discussed the three potential causes of childhood anxiety: emotional/psychological, neurochemical, and physiological. The root of emotional/psychological anxiety is a trigger experience or a series of experiences that made a highly disturbing emotional impact on the child. A child psychologist or other trained mental health professional is the address for this type of anxiety.

Neurochemical-based anxiety is caused by an imbalance or dysfunction of the nervous system, specifically the neurotransmitters the body uses to calm that system. If a child is experiencing neurochemical-based anxiety, he or she should be brought to see a child psychiatrist, although pediatric psychologists and therapists can also be a valuable resource in addressing this issue.

The third type of anxiety, based in physiological causes, like sensory processing issues or unintegrated primitive reflexes (or a combination of the two), makes the child feel stressed by normal, everyday stimuli and interactions. A pediatric OT specializing in sensory integration and/or reflex issues is the person to see about this type of anxiety.

Distinguishing One From Another Because there could be more than one factor at play, it is difficult (even for professionals) to identify the root cause of any child’s anxiety with 100 percent certainty. That said, there are some important factors to bear in mind when considering your child’s anxiety and how best to address it.

If the anxiety has a sudden and intense onset, your first route should focus on emotional/psychological anxiety. Has your child undergone a frightening, disturbing, or traumatic experience recently? (Remember our friend’s son who took an adult’s “I’ll report you to the police!” so much more seriously and literally than was probably intended? Something an adult or an older child might brush off could still have a traumatic effect on a younger child.) Talk with your child. Make inquiries of the other adults who are a part of his life (teachers, babysitters, and so on). Ask people you trust to keep an

eye out when and where you’re not around.

Whether or not you can put a finger on the cause, a psychologist or a therapist can often be a helpful resource in getting to the root and/or helping a child move past the anxiety-causing experience.

What if the anxiety isn’t a sudden development, but a slow, gradual one? In that case, look in the direction of physiological or neurochemical roots. Which one to focus on largely depends on how old the child is or was when you first noticed the anxiety. Neurochemical anxiety is not usually diagnosed in children under the age of six. If your child is under six, physiological anxiety is likely to be the primary cause to investigate. While the symptoms of neurochemical anxiety may begin presenting at a slightly earlier age, due diligence should be carried out before establishing this diagnosis.

Even if your child is older than six — even if he or she is approaching adolescence — you'll some-

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Child Development

times realize or recognize certain physiological anxiety symptoms (or undercurrents of them) that stem to early childhood or even infancy. These children were the babies who reacted intensely to sensory stimuli, who shied away from noise and touch. These were the children who were constantly chewing — on their pencils, hair or clothing — or who were always grinding their teeth at night. These are the children who lost it if everything wasn’t “just so,” and would break down over changes in plans. While at first glance a situation may seem to have intensified of late, the underlying issue and manifestation may have actually been present for years. Look into that carefully.

Signs include the need to know exactly what to expect and intense concern surrounding anticipated events not happening as expected. Anticipatory anxiety and obsessive-compulsive issues often have physiological roots, as the child fears unexpected changes in his internal and external environment, and he attempts to control that environment. Another indication of a physiological root is if a child has been participating in emotional or behavioral therapy for a significant period without the desired effect. If the root of anxious behavior is truly emotional or psychological, therapy will usually help it disappear in the long run.

If the root is physiological, however, treating it as a psychological or behavioral issue will often help to minimize only one particular manifestation of the anxious behavior. But the physiological response, having lost an outlet of expression, will seek a different outlet of expression. Your anxious, thumb-sucking child may stop sucking her thumb, but then she turns into an anxious, nail-biting child. Her unintegrated sensory systems or reflexes are looking for an outlet. And they will find one.

The Mind-Body Connection Most of us are aware of how the mind affects the body. If we’re scared, for example, our heart starts beating faster and our breathing gets shallower.

Less common knowledge is how the body affects the mind. Internal physiological stimuli can have a powerful effect on our thoughts and emotions. One of the most simple examples is how you inevitably have less patience and are more irritable and negative when you’re fasting, or when you’ve somehow made it all the way to midafternoon without managing to eat a normal breakfast or lunch. Hunger and thirst are internal physical stimuli, and they noticeably affect the mind and mood.

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The relationship between the body and the mind is a constant, complex give-and-take. Childhood anxiety, when it occurs, may be caused by one, the other, or an interplay between the two. Let’s end with the story of 7-year-old Adina, who, about two weeks after starting first grade, developed a sudden, intense fear of robbers. She refused to stay in bed, and would stand outside her parents’ door and cry hysterically unless they let Adina sleep in their room, or unless one of them went to sit in her room until she fell asleep.

Adina had always expressed a preference for strong sensory stimulation and pressure. She liked to be “squished” in her bed by lots of blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals. She chewed on her bottle as a baby and toddler, and still enjoyed chewing, usually limiting herself to gum. During the same time that Adina manifested her intense fear of robbers, her sensory desires also intensified. Gum didn’t cut it anymore; Adina chewed on zip ties and waxed nostalgic for a particular baby toy that was made of a tough, rubbery material. Adina requested that her bed be loaded with more blankets and bolsters so she could feel even more squashed. Her mother told us that the complexity of finding the root of the anxiety clicked one night when Adina kept coming out of bed to talk to her mother (even though her father was sitting there in her bedroom). The first few times, Adina said dramatically, “I’m scared! I’m so scared of the robbers!”

Each time, her mother sent her back to bed, reminding Adina that her father was in the room with her. Then Adina came out and, with the same intensity, declared, “I need to chew! I need something to chew!” It was the same urgency, the same tone, except that beforehand Adina had been grumbling about a disturbance that was seemingly emotional, and now she was complaining about an irritation that was clearly physiological. Her mother wanted to know if it was the fear of robbers that was causing Adina to feel a powerful desire for sensory stimulation, so that she could calm herself (i.e., an emotional/psychological trigger exacerbating the physiological reaction)? Or had Adina’s sensory system somehow become less regulated, causing her to feel intensely anxious, and Adina had chosen to pin the anxiety on robbers (an intensification of the physiological trigger exacerbating the emotional reaction)? The proximity to Adina’s entrance into first grade could point to either answer. Because of the sudden appearance of the anxiety, it could be that Adina was reacting to an emotionally disturbing experience. Maybe Adina was being bullied by other students

Adina refused to stay in bed, and would stand outside her parents’ door and cry hysterically unless they let her sleep in their room.

or was being intimidated — intentionally or unintentionally — by a teacher or staff member.

On the other hand, the transition from kindergarten to first grade is a tough one in many regards, particularly when it comes to children who are sensory-seeking. In preschool, art projects, toys, and games abound. Every day, students get hands-on time with glue, scissors, paper-mache, modeling clay, finger paint, and other sensory media. Jumping, running, rolling, and other physical activities share equal time with sitting still. In first grade, after the initial thrill wears off, the physical reality sets in. No more (or very little) modeling clay, finger paint, and paper-mache. Jumping and running are restricted to recess, and the majority of time is spent sitting still. Adina's sensory-seeking, stimuli-craving body might be shouting for help, seeking to satisfy a physiological need that is not being fulfilled. What route should Adina's mother take?

We advised her to make inroads in both directions. We instructed her to speak to Adina, her teacher, and any other parties who might be able to provide insight into whether bullying or another emotionally disturbing occurrence is happening at school. We explained that if she would get clear information or indications that this is the right direction, then (in addition to addressing the problem directly, if possible) a child psychologist or therapist might be able to alleviate Adina’s emotional distress. At the same time, we cautioned her not to ignore the physiological component. We suggested that it might be wise to turn to an OT specializing in sensory integration issues for an evaluation. In tandem with this, Adina’s mother can do her best at home to provide Adina with the sensory stimulation she is now missing at school. She can invest in clay, kinetic sand, shaving cream, finger paint, and other materials, and make them available to Adina every day for projects. She can also encourage games like jump rope and dodgeball, go to parks with climbing equipment, and visit indoor play areas with trampolines and ball pits.

Knowledge Is Power Watching your child struggle with anxiety is a frustrating and painful experience for a parent. The challenge is multiplied a hundredfold when you have no idea where the anxiety is coming from, or how to address it. With siyatta diShmaya and careful observation, you should be able to get some clues as to its source and start finding ways to treat it.

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Emotional Eating By Shira Savit

What Are You Thinking? How Our Thoughts and Feelings Affect Digestion Two women are sitting in a bagel store. They order the same exact thing: a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Mind-body nutrition teaches us that these two women might very likely digest their meal in completely different ways, because of their thoughts about themselves and attitude towards the food they are eating. If one of the women eating is feeling guilty or anxious (“I shouldn’t be eating this bagel," or “Will I gain weight from this?”) her body may experience a low-level stress response. Stress can be a reaction to a real threat or an imagined one, and the body will respond accordingly. Our thought patterns, which are usually messages that have been ingrained in us for years, can cause our body to shift to fight or flight mode, which will elevate cortisol 84 Wellspring | January 2020

and insulin, and slow down our metabolism.

Miriam came to see me when she was already 43, but her battle with food had begun as a young child. When she was just eight years old, her mother commented that she was “too chubby” and brought her to a nutritionist. The nutritionist put Miriam on a strict diet, and instructed her to bring cucumbers and tuna or a salad to school for lunch instead of having the hot lunch that the school served. Miriam described the scene, in a very emotional manner, as if it were yesterday: she showed up in school the next day with her container of tuna and vegetables. The looks and laughs she received made her feel utterly ashamed and humiliated.

Miriam related that ever since that episode with the nutritionist,

She was fascinated when I explained that her shame about her current weight could actually be preventing her from losing those pounds.

Over the course of a few months, Miriam learned to be more compassionate with herself. When she recognized that it was merely her inner critical voice saying “you have no self-control," or “you are unlovable if you are fat,” she began to counteract that voice with positive affirmations, such as “I am doing the best I can," or “I forgive myself for not having the perfect body. I am human and lovable just the way I am.”

she’d been on and off various diets and continued to struggle with food and weight. Every time she ate something “not healthy,” she felt like a "willpower weakling," and a failure. She thought about food all the time, and wished she could magically shrink her body down four sizes. My work with Miriam involved educating her about the stress response and how it was affecting her body. She was fascinated when I explained that her shame about her current weight could actually be preventing her from losing those pounds.

I also advised Miriam to go on a “no-diet diet.” Naturally, this was challenging for her, but I guided her throughout the process and helped her along with tools and strategies so she could let go of her dieting mentality, guilt, and self-imposed rules regarding eating. For example, Miriam was scared to have Oreo cookies in her house because she didn’t trust herself not to eat them. Once she learned to trust herself, she felt empowered that she could own the cookies and choose to eat them at certain times and not at others. This was a big victory for Miriam. Over time, she started to lose weight, but even more significantly, she let go of her judgments, guilt, shame, and dietary misery.

In order to be in the ideal state of calorie burning and metabolic functioning, we need to maintain the ideal “emotional state” and attitude towards ourselves and the foods we are eating. A person can be eating a nutritionally compromised meal, but if their head and heart are in a calm and confident place they will digest their food more effectively. Similarly, even if someone is eating the healthiest food possible, if they’re thinking toxic thoughts about themselves or the food, then fat storage will likely rise, and metabolism will slow down.

Shira Savit, MA, CHC, MHC is a mental health counselor with multiple certifications in nutrition and health. She specializes in helping her clients with weight loss, emotional eating, and binge eating. Her unique approach incorporates both nutritional and emotional factors to help her clients reach their goals. Shira has a private practice in Yerushalayim and also works with women in any location via phone or Skype. She can be reached at 516-978-7800 or

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In Session with Shiffy Friedman, LMSW

Heart to Heart

I Feel Distant From My Husband

The summarized interactions in this column are either based on reader-submitted questions or are a composite of several sessions that helped guide the individual toward the first step of his or her emotional health journey. Since emotional work is always a process, the goal of this column is to provide direction toward the first step, as well as important points of exploration that could b’ezras Hashem lead to the menuchas hanefesh the questioner, and every Yid, seeks. The Editors

I would call our marriage a good one. According to the books, you could even call it perfect. My husband and I are nice to one another; we try to please each other. We don’t fight. But I still feel like there’s this barrier between us. Tell me more about this barrier.

I feel like there’s something holding us back from feeling close to one another, like we’re two people living together under one roof but without any connection. Where do you think this barrier is coming from?

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My husband is a good listener and he doesn’t have a hard time sharing how he feels, but I still can't discuss my inner world with him. There are things I wish I would or could tell him, but I don’t. Like what?

So many things. From small stuff, like I would appreciate his help with something, to more emotional things like what types of compliments make me feel good or how I feel when he’s not available for me.

What do you think is inhibiting you from sharing that with him?

I would feel very uncomfortable, vulnerable. Exposed.

So you don’t involve your husband in your emotional world because you don’t like how it feels?


And is that what may be creating the distance between you? Could this be the barrier?

Yes. If I would be able to involve him in my feelings, not only in the technical parts of my life, I would certainly feel closer.

That is indeed the truth. Connection in marriage happens when inner worlds are shared. This does not mean that every single emotion must be expressed in order to feel connection. Neither should every emotion be expressed. However, every time we feel something that we do want to express to someone, but we keep it locked inside out of fear, we’re unintentionally erecting an emotional shield between us. There are many reasons why I may not want to share my inner world—I may be afraid to disappoint, to feel rejected, to be misunderstood, or to be too exposed. If I don’t view myself positively, exposing my inner world means exposing my negative self. Regardless of the reason, which I may not even be aware of, as long as this unexpressed thought or sentiment weighs heavily between us, both of us will subconsciously feel an uncomfortable distance. This is not only true in marriage, but in every relationship. If there’s something I’m keeping from my parent, child, or friend, I’m creating a distance between us. Of course, the closer a relationship is meant to be, such as in marriage, the less favorable such a situation becomes. This is not to say that in order to experience a close connection, everything you feel should be shared with your spouse. It's not always the right time or setting to do so. However, as long as the lack of sharing is intentional—because you’re afraid to open up—the barrier expands. In order to clear the distance, therefore, first acknowledge the fear you have about sharing your inner world. The fear is very real to you. You may want to explore the roots of this fear. From a logical perspective, you understand that your husband is willing to listen and to be there for you. Emotionally, you feel afraid. Were there instances in the past where you expressed your emotions and felt unpleasant emotions as a result? It often helps to notice how we carry over these fears even in relationships where the outcome would be different. By doing so, we deprive ourselves of feeling the closeness we really want. At the same time that you allow yourself to feel the fear, take the plunge to open up. It may help you to express your fear, as well. “I’m so uncomfortable/afraid to share this with you, but I really want to do this.” This may be very frightening at first, especially if you’ve been accustomed to burying your emotions as opposed to unearthing them. Over time, however, once you share repeatedly, and the gesture will (hopefully) be met with understanding and empathy, you will find that your fear decreases, and it becomes possible to foster a connection.

Vantage View A husband or wife may feel distant from their spouse for a number of reasons. As is the case with this woman, when one spouse is empathic and emotionally present and the other is not sharing their inner world, this is often the cause for the barrier. If unexpressed emotion builds a barrier between husband and wife, and between people, in general, how much more so when the truth is concealed. If an individual intentionally withholds information from their spouse, the two are virtually living in two separate worlds. Whether it’s withholding financial information, not divulging occurrences that transpired, or even not sharing a preference that remains unexpressed, all of this creates a barrier. Even if the other spouse never discovers the truth, the shield remains between them until that truth is shared.

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Good Morning, Good Food The dishes you want to eat first thing in the a.m.

Kung Pao Chicken, Anyone? Charnie takes us to China Seven foods for healthy skin

Index Page

Breakfast in Bed




Have it Homemade




My Table














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P. 112

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“Now that the Cabernet vines have grown older and our knowledge has improved, one can say that the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is reaching new heights every year.� Golan Flam, Winemaker

Product of Israel

Dear Cooks, Every now and then, we get a request from a reader to include the nutrition information for our recipes. For various reasons, it’s something we haven’t yet done, but I do occasionally think about the benefits of such an element. Especially because the dishes in Seasoned are wholesome, it would be nice to feel good about preparing and eating them, seeing their nutritional value in black and white. That was actually the thought process behind our "Nutrition Facts" column, in which we highlight a different fruit or vegetable’s nutrition content every month. We might know how much vitamin D is contained in the milk we drink every morning, but how would we know that one medium zucchini provides over 50 percent of our daily-recommended vitamin C intake? So yes, when it comes to healthy food, it’s always nice to know what we’re consuming. But what about in regard to the unhealthy stuff ? Health department officials seem to be scratching their heads on this one. Has nutrition labeling helped stave off the rampant rise in obesity? Has larger print for those labels made a difference? I wonder. In this issue’s Tidbits, a similar question is raised. Would seeing how much exercise is required to burn off the calories from a certain food prevent you from buying or consuming it? Or, once you’re set on having it, do you care less about the sweat it’ll necessitate later? Here in Eretz Yisrael, I’ve started noticing a new feature on food packages. Foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium clearly state this fact, sporting a symbol to convey it. When I first saw these symbols, I was caught off guard. Similar to cigarette packaging that states, “Smoking kills,” this initiative is clearly designed to help consumers steer clear of unhealthy choices. While I do wonder how much of a serious impact this will make on society in general, the strategy did work for this mother: I couldn’t see myself “treating” my kids to something that so boldly states, “Contains a high amount of sugar.” And so, when I spotted the symbol on a bag of chocolates, I swiftly returned it to the supermarket shelf. If so much of what we’ve considered “treats” are now labeled in this way, we should be encouraged to start looking into healthier options — or concocting those alternatives on our own. Pancakes, a cross between real food and a treat in our house, are a good start. We have the recipe right here. Happy cooking,

Est her Teves 5780 | Wellspring 93

Brisk, chilly weather. Warm, homemade food.

@ ko s h e rd ot co m

Breakfast in Bed With the temperature outside dipping into the teens, getting out of bed in the morning becomes ever harder. Snuggling under a blanket and inhaling the delicious aroma of a healthy breakfast is one of life's luxuries. But that’s a sweet dream for most of us; after all, someone’s gotta prepare that breakfast! Even if you won’t be enjoying these dishes under the covers, grab a blanket, slip on some fuzzy slippers, and let yourself feel pampered at the kitchen table. Warm up, feel cozy, and stay healthy with some of our winter morning faves.

Recipes, styling, and photography by Yossi & Malky Levine

Oatmeal With Caramelized Apples If my childhood memories could be served in a bowl, this recipe would be it. I would look forward to Sunday mornings so I could wake up and smell the delicious aroma of the oatmeal my mother was preparing. Once I got to experiment with it myself, I found caramelized fruit to be an amazing addition. Oats are among the healthiest grains around. They are an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and studies show that eating oats can lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. This breakfast is the most delicious way to look after your heart. Yields 2 servings

1 cup instant oats 2 cups milk (or almond milk) 2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped 4 Tbsp maple syrup ½ tsp cinnamon 2 Tbsp water

Place oats and milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until oats start to thicken. Meanwhile, add apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, and water to a skillet over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, tossing apples a few times until they are caramelized on all sides. Pour oats into bowls and top with caramelized apples. Teves 5780 | Wellspring 97

Mediterranean Shakshuka This has just about everything you could want in a hearty breakfast. Delicious sauce, chunky vegetables, and softly cooked eggs. Can you tell it's my favorite? You’ll find shakshuka on the menu of every Israeli cafe, each claiming that theirs is the best. Now, yours can be the one. Try this Mediterranean take on the classic Israeli shakshuka, and there is no going back! Note: If you don’t own an oven-safe skillet, transfer the mixture to a baking pan before adding the eggs. Yields 3-4 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 eggplant, diced 1 zucchini, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced ½ red chili pepper, sliced ½ tsp chili powder (optional) ½ tsp cumin (optional) ½ -1 tsp salt ¼ tsp black pepper 1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes ¼ cup tomato sauce 2-3 eggs 8 mini fresh mozzarella balls

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat an oven-safe skillet with olive oil over a medium flame and sauté onions until soft. Add eggplant and zucchini, and sauté for an additional few minutes. Once vegetables have softened, add garlic, chili pepper, chili powder, and cumin, and mix to combine. Taste (be careful, it’s hot!), and add salt and pepper as necessary. Pour in chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce, and simmer for 6-7 minutes so the flavors can combine. Use the back of a spoon to make 2-3 small wells in the sauce and carefully crack and drop in the eggs. Gently spoon a bit of tomato mixture over whites to help contain the egg. Sprinkle salt and pepper over eggs, and add fresh mozzarella balls. Carefully transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes. Serve with crusty bread on the side. 98 Wellspring | January 2020

Chia Pudding With Maple PeanutButter Glaze Chia seeds hit the scene a few years back as a top superfood. They're packed with antioxidants and are high in fiber. The added bonus is that they taste great, too. This is best made the night before, allowing the seeds to swell and absorb the milk, producing a pudding-like texture. I’ve added some vanilla yogurt to the recipe to give it a really creamy texture. Yields 4 servings Chia Pudding 1½ cups milk (or milk alternative, like almond, soy, or coconut milk) 2 Tbsp honey 1 tsp vanilla extract ½ cup chia seeds 8 oz vanilla yogurt Glaze 2 Tbsp maple syrup 2 Tbsp peanut butter 1 banana 2 Tbsp coconut chips

Whisk the milk, honey, and vanilla together in a sealable container or jar. Add chia seeds and mix with a fork. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, spoon pudding into cups and add a layer of vanilla yogurt. Add another layer of pudding (or as you wish). To make the topping, mix maple syrup and peanut butter to create a glaze. Pour glaze over pudding. Decorate with banana slices and coconut chips.

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Buckwheat Pancakes With Strawberry Balsamic Sauce These light, fluffy pancakes are a great way to start the day — and kids love them, too. They're gluten-free and can be made with any milk or milk alternative of your choice. Make the batter the night before and store in the fridge for a quick and easy breakfast in the morning. Yields 8-10 pancakes Buckwheat Pancakes 1 egg 1 cup milk 1Ÿ cups buckwheat 1 tsp baking powder 1 large banana, sliced Strawberry Sauce 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen) 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 Tbsp coconut sugar

Pulse the egg and milk together in a blender. Slowly add buckwheat and baking powder, and blend. Set aside. Meanwhile, chop strawberries in half, and place in a small saucepan with balsamic vinegar and coconut sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes until sauce has thickened. Spray a skillet with oil and heat over a high flame. Place 3 slices of banana onto the pan and pour pancake batter (about 3 Tbsp) over it. Once the underside is golden brown, flip, and cook the other side for a minute or two. Repeat until batter is finished. Pour strawberry sauce over pancakes before serving.

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Breakfast Quesadilla This is comfort food in a blanket. Light, fluffy, cheesy scrambled eggs in healthy, tasty wraps — is there a better way to say "breakfast"? Choose a whole-grain wrap for added fiber. They taste better, too. Yields 2 quesadillas

4 whole-grain (or other healthy) tortillas 1 Tbsp olive oil 3 scallions, chopped ½ chili pepper, thinly sliced (optional) 4 eggs, beaten ½ cup grated cheddar cheese

Toast tortillas in a dry frying pan for 1 minute on each side, or use a panini maker. Set aside. Heat a skillet over a medium-high flame. Add olive oil when hot, and sauté chopped scallions and chili pepper for 1-2 minutes. Pour in beaten eggs, cook for 2-3 minutes, and add grated cheese. Scramble, continuing to cook for 2 minutes. Transfer egg mixture to 2 toasted tortillas. Cover with the 2 remaining tortillas and cut sandwiches into quarters.

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Super Speedy Supper STARTS HERE.

A growing collection of quick dinner recipes to ease your supper-prep, engaging articles about the latest cooking trends, interviews with top chefs, and so much more!



By Yossi and Malky Levine

Chunky Salsa Salsa is the ultimate party dip. Serve it with crackers, sliced vegetables, or tortilla or corn chips, and you have a ready-made celebration. Store-bought salsa can be “hit or miss.” It’s often overly spicy or overly sweetened, and besides, if you look at the ingredients on processed salsa, sugar is usually among the first. With a homemade version, you don’t need to add sugar at all. If you choose perfectly ripened tomatoes, they are delicious, and naturally sweet. The best part about homemade salsa is that you can customize the flavors and control the consistency. I like mine chunky, so I make sure to have the food processor on the pulse setting. Note: Since this salsa does not contain preservatives, it must be covered and stored in the fridge. It will last for about 3-4 days. Yields 2-3 cups

2-3 ripe tomatoes 7 oz canned chopped tomatoes 2 scallions 1 chili pepper, seeds removed ½ red onion 2 cloves garlic 1/3 cup cilantro ½ tsp chili powder ½ tsp cumin ½ tsp xylitol (optional)

Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined. Don’t overprocess if you like it chunky.

some have well guarded trade secrets we just call them family traditions

HERZOG LINEAGE nine generations of patient winemaking

By Yossi and Malky Levine

MEXICAN NACHOS AND SALSA You may associate nachos and cheese with restaurants (and hefty prices), but once you make your own and realize how simply it all comes together, there will be no need to order this out anymore. The beans and avocado turn it into a filling and nutritious dish, especially if you buy the healthier tortilla chips. You can put this meal together as your kids are coming home from school, or serve it for a Sunday afternoon lunch. Either way, everyone will love it. I like to broil the cheese to melt it and make this really delicious, but that’s optional. Some people prefer it simply shredded over the top. There are some dishes that look great as individual portions, but salsa and nachos are not one of them. This needs a large serving dish piled high so that everyone can just dig in. Yields 4-6 servings 1 large bag tortilla chips 1 can black beans, drained 1 cup chunky salsa (see recipe in "Have it Homemade") 1 cup grated cheddar cheese ½ cup black olives 1 avocado, cubed Preheat oven to broil. Arrange tortilla chips in an oven-safe dish. Spread drained beans and salsa over it. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Broil until cheese is melted. Decorate with olives and avocado.

By Charni e


Ni hao from China!

Chinese food has enjoyed popularity for quite some time. With staples such as rice and soy sauce readily available, Chinese-style fast food can be found in restaurants throughout America. The dishes are usually battered, fried, sugar- and sodium-loaded, so it’s no wonder our taste buds gravitate towards these carb-heavy dishes. Contrary to what you may think, standard Chinese cuisine is actually healthy. An average Chinese person eats many more vegetables than the average American. Frying is only one of the many methods of cooking in China. Steaming, boiling, and stir-frying are popular and less fattening ways of preparing real Chinese food. Chinese cuisine is a broad term; and in a country of this size, that certainly makes sense. Each region in China has its local cuisine, depending on its weather, agriculture, techniques, and lifestyle. The most influential of Chinese cuisines are Cantonese, Sichuan, Shandong, and Jiangsu. Cantonese cuisine is rather mild, while Sichuan cuisine tends to be quite spicy. Rice is a unifying staple in all of Chinese cuisine, but how it’s prepared and cooked varies according to the region. Steaming is the most common way to enjoy rice in China. However, some cook it low and slow to create rice congee, also known as rice porridge. Noodles are another integral ingredient of Chinese cooking. They can be served both hot and cold with a variety of toppings and often with broth, or they can be served dry, as well. Fried noodles are used as toppings for many dishes. Chinese food is usually flavorful and pungent. When cooking, the Chinese focus on color, texture, and most importantly, taste. Sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, and salty flavors are used to create Chinese dishes. Fresh ginger, scallions, sesame, and soy sauce are major components of Chinese food. In some regions, star anise, Sichuan peppers, cloves, and cinnamon are used to further boost flavor. Last month, while exploring Spanish cuisine, tapas, bite-sized foods, were in the spotlight. In China, these are called Dim Sum. Dim Sum, which means “touch the heart,” are bite-sized foods meant to do just that: touch the heart but not satiate fully. Dim Sum is typically served on steaming baskets or on small plates. It is also frequently served with tea. Dim Sum restaurants can be found all around the globe. Their menus often include bao buns (steamed bread stuffed with vegetable and or meat), rice noodle rolls, and wontons. Chinese dinners are traditionally eaten with family and friends. Chicken soup, wonton soup, and egg drop soup are popular dinner starters. After the soup, each guest gets a bowl of rice. A round, rotating dish — a lazy Susan —— is placed in the center of the table. All the home-cooked dishes are placed on the dish and diners top their rice with food from the center of table. Dinner is usually followed by tea, and dessert is generally fresh fruit.

Travel Tidbits In Chinese culture, an individual who’s eating from a bowl should not hold it from underneath, because that resembles the act of begging. In China, a total of 45 billion pairs of chopsticks are used each year.

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Restaurant Style Egg Drop Soup Serves: 4 Total cooking time: 10 minutes

Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Ten minutes is all it takes to create this all-time favorite soup. With a bit of experimenting, I was able to create a low-fat and lower-sodium version of the classic egg drop soup. Enjoy your favorite Chinese soup from the comfort of your own home. It’ll take you less time to prepare than to get ready to leave your house!

4 cups chicken broth 1 cup water 1 teaspoon liquid aminos ½ tsp salt ½ tsp garlic powder ¼ tsp sesame oil ¼ tsp white pepper 2 eggs, well beaten

Place first seven ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Once soup is boiling, use a whisk to stir soup quickly, in a round motion, to create a whirlpool. Slowly pour in beaten eggs. Keep stirring pot while pouring in eggs to create wispy ribbons.

114 Wellspring | January 2020

Kung Pao Chicken Serves: 4–6 Total prep time: 45 minutes Kung Pao Chicken is a popular Sichuan dish that is sweet, spicy, and so flavorful! Traditionally, it’s made with Sichuan peppers, which are extremely spicy and hard to find. Skip the cayenne pepper if it’s not to your taste. Add vegetable like broccoli, peppers, and bok choy, and serve over brown rice to make this main dish a well-rounded meal!

6–8 thin slices chicken cutlets

¼ cup honey ¼ cup sherry wine


1 Tbsp liquid aminos

¼ cup liquid aminos

½ tsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

½ tsp ground ginger ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

Sauce: 2 Tbsp olive oil


2 spring onions, thinly sliced

toasted peanuts

1 red hot pepper, deseeded and diced

spring onions, optional

4 cloves garlic, crushed Slice chicken cutlets into small and thin strips. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for marinade, then add the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from refrigerator and preheat a frying pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Sear the chicken strips for about 3 minutes per side; remove from pan and set aside. Add thinly sliced spring onions and hot pepper to pan and sauté for five minutes. Add crushed garlic and sauté for about a minute or until fragrant. Pour rest of ingredients for sauce into pan and cook for five minutes over medium-high heat. Keep stirring so sauce won’t burn. Place chicken back in pan and cook for an additional five minutes. Serve over a bowl of rice and garnish with toasted peanuts and spring onions.

In the pages of Wellspring, we share expert advice from some of the community’s most popular and competent dietitians and nutritionists. In this column, you get to see how they practice what they preach in their own kitchens. Pull up a chair at “My Table” and join the chat.

Soup Season This Month:

In preparation for this month’s article, we sent out the following message to Wellspring contributors: It’s soup time of year again! There’s nothing like sitting down to a hearty bowl of steaming soup while listening to the howls of the blustery wind outside. Add to that the nutritious benefit you stand to gain from the dish, and it’s a win-win all around. Which soup did you prepare for yourself this week? And what do you know? As the responses kept coming in, one type of soup topped the charts as a clear winner: zucchini soup (hence its spotlight in this issue’s Nutrition Facts column). While there is no dearth of soup recipes out there, it appears that the dietitians and nutritionists we have on board prefer the low-carb, nutrient-dense benefits that make zucchini soup unique. (To avoid repetition, we chose four recipes out of the contributions.) Soups like mushroom barley and butternut squash-sweet potato are great choices too, but why have your carbs in your soup when you can enjoy them as a side dish? You’re best off keeping your soup as a vegetable-only course.

Shani Taub, CDC:

Here’s my quick and easy version of zucchini soup: I add a bag of cauliflower and zucchini cubes to a sautéed onion, then add water to cover. Once the vegetables are soft, puree with an immersion blender. It makes for a delicious, creamy soup.

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Tamar Feldman, RDN, CDC:

Here’s my favorite recipe for zucchini soup: Ingredients: 1 head of garlic ½ Tbsp oil, for sautéing 3 large onions, diced 2 leeks, diced 4 large zucchini, chunked 1 medium potato (optional) salt and pepper, to taste

Tanya Rosen, Nutritionist:

Here is a vegetable soup recipe that I like. Ingredients: 1 medium onion, chopped 2 medium carrots, sliced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 14½-oz can diced tomatoes 3 cups vegetable broth or water 1 tsp dried thyme 2 bay leaves salt and pepper, to taste 

1 tsp onion powder, or to taste

1 cup broccoli florets (or cauliflower florets)


1 medium yellow squash, cut into ¾-inch cubes

Spray head of garlic with cooking spray and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.

1 cup medium zucchini, cut into ¾-inch cubes

Meanwhile, in a large pot, sauté onions and leeks for 10–15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add zucchini chunks, potato if desired, salt and pepper, and onion powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes.


Remove garlic cloves from the bulb and add to the soup. Puree with immersion blender. Adjust salt to taste. Serves 10 Calories without potato: 10 per cup (free) With potato: 25 calories per cup/6 grams of carbs

Heat cooking spray in large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and sauté, stirring frequently, for 4–5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth (or water), thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add broccoli; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes. Add squash and zucchini; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Compiled by Shiffy Friedman

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Bashy Halberstam, Health Coach:

I’m in love with bone broth, and for very good reasons. When our grandparents used to say, “Eat chicken soup to feel better,” we viewed it as an expression of love and care. Nutritionists now interpret this phrase quite literally. Chockfull of nutrients and minerals, bone broth — very similar to chicken soup — is one of the most healing foods you can consume. I like to make it all winter long because it's rich in collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline — minerals that support the immune system. The collagen heals your gut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation. The glycine can detoxify your cells and improve brain function and sleep. The calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus it contains make the broth great for bone and tooth health. Bone broth also supports joints, hair, skin, and nails, due to its high collagen content. I try to serve the broth often and use it as a base for other dishes, as consuming eight ounces daily is considered ideal. One of the keys to a health-boosting bone broth is to cook it low and slow for at least 24 hours. This process infuses the water with all the beneficial nutrients. The type of bones to use depends on the desired nutrients and results. Chicken has a higher protein content while beef has a higher cartilage content, and turkey has selenium. If you’re seeking the gut healing properties for digestive issues or leaky gut, you may want to use chicken bones. If you’re seeking to boost your joints, you may want to go with beef. I like to use a combination of all three to get a combo of nutrients. When I prefer a lighter broth, I use just chicken and turkey. I invite you to experiment and see what you like and what works best for you. If you usually find fatty foods irritating, I suggest you refrigerate the broth after it cools, and then remove the fat layer that accumulates and enjoy it without the fat. However, if it doesn't bother you, it's actually good for you. You’ll find that traditional broth gels up when refrigerated. If you find it too heavy, use more water per bone ratio. This is highly customizable to your needs and experience. Start at your comfort zone and build up. Use a 10-quart pot for a heavier soup and 12–16 quarts for a lighter soup. You can do this either in a crock pot or on the stovetop. The amount of bones you’ll use varies by pot size; in an 8-quart pot, you’d use about 3 pounds of bones. To make it more convenient to prepare bone broth, I usually put a mix of the different types of bones into wrap-n-boil bags and then freeze them in storage bags. This way, I just take a mixed package of bones out of the freezer and put it straight into the pot. Note that the apple cider vinegar in the recipe helps extract the collagen from the bones. It is advisable to go up to the full

120 Wellspring | January 2020

3 tablespoons if you can tolerate it. 1 pkg chicken bones 1 pkg turkey bones 1 or 2 pieces beef bones 2–4 cloves garlic, crushed (or more, to taste — 2 will add mild flavor) 1 onion, sliced 1–3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 1 lb carrots 2 zucchini, thickly sliced 1 Tbsp Himalayan salt, or to taste (increase for larger pot size) 1 tsp peppercorns, whole or ground, to taste water, to cover Optional add-ins (for nutritional boost and enhanced flavor): celery stalks 2 bay leaves thyme parsley oregano ginger parsnip dill Place the bones into a wrap-n-boil bag and set aside. Place all the vegetables into the pot or slow cooker and add water to cover. When the water boils, add bones (adding them after the vegetables and water have boiled will make for a clearer soup). Add seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 24–48 hours.  If you prefer to have just the broth, let it cool slightly and strain. I like serve it along with the vegetables. If you don't like a particular vegetable, put it into a mesh bag so you can remove it when cooking process is done. Note: Since whatever is in the bones will leach into the soup (and that's what makes it so healthy), to get the maximum nutrition, it’s important to use well-sourced, hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken or meat. I like to serve this often, yet don't want to serve the identical soup over and over again. Therefore, I rotate between the following varieties:  1. Regular bone broth. 2. Asparagus version. 3. Blended version. 4. Removing the vegetables and make it into a vegetable cutlet. Have in mind that since these soups are all bone-broth based, they go very well with matzah balls.

Asparagus Soup 1 large onion 1 kohlrabi 2 pkgs frozen asparagus 4 qt bone broth ½ Tbsp salt, or to taste pepper, to taste

Blended Vegetable Soup After making standard bone broth, remove the wrap-n-boil bag with the bones. Pour off half of the bone broth and refrigerate it or freeze it. Blend the rest of the pot’s contents with an immersion blender. You now have a delicious vegetable soup. Vegetable Cutlets Remove the squash and carrots from the soup. Add: 1 Tbsp ground flax meal 3 eggs seasoning, to taste salt and pepper garlic powder Blend all the ingredients with an immersion blender and let it rest so that it firms up. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop to create equal-sized servings. Bake for 40 minutes. Ideas for bones: Do you want to use the chicken on the bones too? You can remove the chicken pieces and fry them and serve them with chummus, techina, or in a pita or toasted wrap bowl.


xtra calories, who needs 'em? Especially after a marathon of Yomim Tovim and all the delicious calories that come with them! Luckily, Mehadrin is here to save the day once again! How? They say EXTRA this time. Extra everything besides the calories! The NEW (Cholov Yisroel) Mehadrin extra light ice cream is full of extra flavor, protein, and fiber with each sweet bite at only 80 calories per serving.

Mini c

Sauté onion until transparent. Add kohlrabi and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus and cover. Sauté until it softens, about 10 minutes. Add bone broth and cook for 45 minutes. Blend the soup using an immersion blender.  Strain the soup through a mesh colander to remove the pieces. You can squeeze out the pulp even more effectively by pushing on it with a spoon.



80 only

Don't expect to find any junky ingredients in your pint, just simple ice cream goodness, guilt-free. calories

So have your sweet treat and enjoy it too! Now excuse us while WE go indulge...

Eat Well

Nutrition Tidbits in the News By Malka Sharman

Beneath the Surface Seven Foods for Healthy Skin It’s the winter look: chapped hands, dry skin, cracked lips — and you sure feel it when you have it. For most of us, winter compels us to bring on a slew of moisturizers, lip balms, or any other product that promises softer, healthier skin. Just like every organ in the body that requires balanced nutrition for optimal functioning, skin, the largest organ in the body, needs a proper diet for it to function at its best. As scientists learn more about the foods that support skin health, it's becoming increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health, aging, and even appearance of your skin. Below are the top seven foods and drinks recommended to attain your healthiest and best-looking skin.

1 Fatty Fish Fatty types of fish, such as salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation and keep skin moisturized. Reducing inflammation is beneficial, since that’s often the cause for redness and acne. Fatty fish is a great source of vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for the skin. The fatty acids can even make your skin less sensitive to the sun's harmful UV rays, which are also present in the winter, protecting its cells.

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Eat Well

Nutrition Tidbits in the News




This delicious fruit is high in healthy fats that benefit body functions, including enhancing skin health. Avocados are high in beneficial fats and contain vitamins E and C, which are important for healthy skin. It's no wonder that avocado creams and oils became the rave in the world of skin products.

These nuts have many characteristics that make them an excellent food that promotes healthy skin. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, fats that the body cannot make itself. In fact, they’re richer than most other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. One ounce of walnuts also contains 6 percent of the RDI for zinc, which is essential for the skin to function properly as a barrier, as well as necessary for wound healing and combatting both bacteria and inflammation.

4 5


Sweet potatoes Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene. Carotenoids like beta-carotene keep the skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock. When consumed, these antioxidants are incorporated into your skin and protect your skin cells from sun exposure. This may help prevent sunburn, cell death, and dry, wrinkled skin.

Dark Chocolate If you need one more reason to eat chocolate, here it is: the effects of cocoa on your skin are pretty phenomenal. A study cited by the National Institute of Health shows that after 6–12 weeks of consuming a cocoa powder high in antioxidants each day, participants had thicker, more hydrated skin. Their skin was also less rough and scaly, and had better blood flow — which brings more nutrients to the skin. Another study found that eating 20 grams of highantioxidant dark chocolate per day could allow your skin to withstand over twice as much UV radiation before burning, versus eating low-antioxidant chocolate. Make sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa in order to maximize the benefits and keep added sugar to a minimum.

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Broccoli This healthy vegetable is full of many vitamins and minerals important for skin health, including zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C. It also contains lutein, a carotenoid that works like beta-carotene. Lutein protects your skin from oxidative damage, which can cause your skin to become dry and wrinkled. Additionally, broccoli florets also contain a special compound called sulforaphane, which boasts some impressive potential benefits, especially in protecting the skin. It is also believed that sulforaphane maintains collagen levels in your skin.


Water As simple as it sounds, drinking water is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin in shape. It keeps your skin moist — and that makes fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable. It also helps your cells absorb nutrients and get rid of toxins. Additionally, it helps with blood flow, keeping your skin healthy and glowing.

Forty Five Minutes of Jogging: Is the Chocolate Bar Still Worth It? Will labeling foods with the amount of exercise needed to burn the calorie amount you’d be consuming motivate healthier choices? What if I told you that the snack you’re about to eat will “cost” you an hour on the treadmill. Would you say, “No, thanks,” or keep munching? New research published in Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health indicates that labeling foods and drinks with the amount of exercise needed to burn off its calories may be an effective way of encouraging people to make healthier dietary choices. Given that the current system of food labeling by calorie and nutrient content is poorly understood, this alternative may be worth a try, the researchers suggest. Physical activity calorie equivalent or expenditure (PACE) food

labeling aims to show how many minutes or miles of physical activity are needed to burn off the calories in a particular food or drink. For example, eating 229 calories found in a small bar of milk chocolate would require about 42 minutes of walking or 22 minutes of running to burn off. While this study was small and would require further research, the results showed that when PACE labeling was displayed on food and drink items and on menus, on average, significantly fewer calories — 65 fewer per meal — were selected. Based on their findings, and average consumption of three meals a day plus two snacks, the researchers suggest that PACE labeling might potentially decrease around 200 calories off daily intake. So are you read to pay for your food in treadmill strides?

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Eat Well

Nutrition Facts in a Shell By Esther Frenkel

Here’s the place to check out nutrition labels for the nutrient-dense produce that come in their natural peels-- just so you know what wholesome goodness you’re feeding your family and yourself !


ZUCCHINI Principle

Nutrition Value

Percentage of RDA


17 Kcal



3.11 g



1.21 g


Total Fat

0.32 g



0 mg


Dietary Fiber




24 µg



0.451 mg


Pantothenic Acid

0.204 mg



0.163 mg



0.094 mg



0.045 mg


Vitamin A

200 IU


Vitamin C

17.9 mg


Vitamin E

0.12 mg


Vitamin K

4.3 µg



8 mg



261 mg



16 mg



0.37 mg



18 mg



0.177 mg



38 mg



0.2 µg



0.32 mg





126 Wellspring | January 2020

With zucchini as a staple in every homemaker’s vegetable drawer, it’s about time we put this vegetable in the spotlight so we can properly appreciate this humble vegetable. Many call it “squash,” but I prefer “zucchini” (anything with a z sounds cooler!). Others call it “courgette,” and it’s a favorite among those who prefer to fill up on low-carb fare. Next time you’re standing over the chicken soup pot, doling out bowls of golden broth, you’ll want to add some of that green stuff into your plate. Let’s see what we’re gaining when we add zucchini into soups, soufflés, or any other dishes. Loaded in nutrition and low in calories, zucchini is not only high in its water percentage, it’s high in essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium, as well as antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. Zucchini is actually the star in a health topic that’s especially relevant during wintertime: immune boost. That’s because one medium zucchini provides over 50 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C. As far as a boost to your immune system, seeds from squash plants also have a long history of use in traditional and folk medicines for just that purpose. A 2006 study published in Phytotherapy Research that investigated the effects of squash seeds on immune function found that the raw seeds were effective in alleviating detrimental effects associated with protein malnutrition, free radical damage, and oxidation. An often overlooked benefit from zucchini is the fact that it’s high in the heart-healthy mineral potassium. One cup of cooked zucchini provides more than 15 percent of the daily value, which is usually more than what’s included in the typical multivitamin supplement. A 2008 study done by the Endocrine Research Unit at Devi University in India found a high presence of polyphenols and ascorbic acid in extracts taken from the peel of zucchini and other squash vegetables. When the researchers tested the effects of using these extracts on rats, the group supplementing with squash extract showed beneficial effects in regard to thyroid, adrenal and insulin regulation. They attributed these improvements to the antioxidant effects of squash’s phytonutrient chemicals. Zucchini is also very easily digested since it’s mainly made of water. It also offers some dietary fiber that can bring natural constipation relief or help treat diarrhea. To obtain the biggest digestive boost, eat the entire vegetable, including the skin.

IN YOUR PLATE Zucchini is the perfect vegetable to add volume to soups as an alternative to the carb-loaded potato. Add raw zucchini to your favorite green smoothie recipe.

To cut down on refined carbs, try using wide zucchini ribbons or thinner spiralized zucchini “noodles” (famously known as zoodles) in place of regular wheat pasta or lasagna noodles.

Use cooked squash as a salad topper or ingredient to add healthy volume to any stir-fry, omelet or lettuce wrap.

To cook zucchini, you can either roast, grill, sauté, broil, or steam. It cooks pretty quickly and can become limp and watery when overcooked, so keep an eye on it.

IN THE KITCHEN Zucchini Lasagna

While zoodles are a popular alternative to spaghetti, using zucchini to replace lasagna noodles is a rather original, yet totally worth-it, use for this nutrient-dense veggie. Enjoy the rich flavors in this dish! 2½ lb ground beef 1 red onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed 2 Tbsp oregano 2 Tbsp basil

½ tsp cayenne pepper ½ tsp sea salt

3 cups diced tomatoes 6 oz tomato paste

6 zucchinis, thinly sliced Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add ground beef and brown. Add in all spices. Mix in diced tomatoes and tomato paste. In a greased 9x13-inch baking dish, place a layer of sliced zucchini and then ladle on a thick layer of about half the meat mixture. Top meat with another layer of sliced zucchini and top with a final layer of the remaining meat mixture. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes.


You’re careful about calories, you crunch the numbers, and you track your daily diet, but how conscious are you of calcium, the mineral that keeps you strong and healthy? Calcium plays an important role in strengthening bones and teeth, but it also helps muscles and nerves function properly. Calcium isn’t something your body can manufacture, so it's essential to include calcium in your diet, as well as vitamin D to help with its absorption. If your body isn’t getting enough calcium from the foods you eat, it will use the mineral straight from your bones, essentially robbing them of some of their strength. A calcium deficiency can eventually lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass. This calcium-rich smoothie will not only boost your bone and tooth health, it’s delicious, too. 128 Wellspring | January 2020

1 cup milk or milk alternative 1½ cup spinach leaves 1 banana 6 strawberries 1 tsp sesame seeds 2 Medjool dates

Combine ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth. Chill until serving.

Why these foods for bone health?

Milk is good for our bones and teeth, and drinking milk can help prevent osteoporosis later in life. Milk is also fortified with vitamin D. However, many individuals find it hard to tolerate dairy. Thankfully, most milk substitutes contain calcium, so using oat or almond milk can be equally as beneficial as whole milk. Check the label for vitamin D contents.

Spinach is super high in calcium, particularly when eaten raw. If putting leaves in a drink scares you, keep in mind that once this is blended with the other ingredients, you'll never know itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s there.

Bananas actually help the body absorb calcium and other vital nutrients to promote healthy bones.

Strawberries are not only a delicious addition to this smoothie, but they, too, are rich in calcium. No need to defrost â&#x20AC;&#x201D; just pop the frozen berries straight into the blender.

Sesame seeds are tiny, oil-rich seeds that grow in pods. They have a nutty flavor and are incredibly nutritious. Sesame seeds have a great calcium content, with the brown variety scoring even higher than the white.

Dates serve as a natural sweetener. In addition to sweetening the shake, they contain calcium too. It's a win-win for all.



Sarcopenia Definition: noun

loss of muscle tissue as a natural part of the aging process.

Sarcopenia causes a 3–8% decline in lean muscle mass per decade after age 30, which likely slows the metabolism.

Laura Shammah, RDN, CDN

Teves 5780 | Wellspring 131

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Profile for The Wellspring

Wellspring Issue #48  

Wellspring Issue #48