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Since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated with the word Hamentaschen. This week, Jewish people around the world are preparing gift baskets and hamentaschen cookies to enjoy the celebration of Purim.

Purim is a one-day holiday beginning Tuesday at sundown which tells the story of Esther, wife of a Persian king, who hid the fact that she was Jewish. As the story goes, Haman was a vizier (an adviser) to the king who wanted to exterminate the Jews in the Persian Empire. Esther told the king the truth about herself in order to save her people from being killed.

 Purim is definitely one of the most fun holidays. Fun because it is a celebration of family and community – happy, merry, joyful! Purim is marked with a festival meal with friends, family and the community. My friend Zippi Livneh, a therapist and counselor, wrote a lovely letter about handling Purim; I wanted to share it with you.

7 Tips For a Healthier Purim

The Jewish holiday of Purim is coming up. If it’s important to you to limit or maybe even completely cut out sugar and junk from your diet, this holiday can be especially challenging.
Here are 7 effective and doable tips for healthier ways to deal with Purim, especially if you’ve gone off sugar and junk, whether it be for weight loss, your metabolic health, your mental health or all of the above.
After 25 years of living in recovery from sugar addiction, and helping hundreds of others to detox and recover from food addiction, I have learned and developed many strategies to get through Purim Sugar Free.
For those who are not familiar with this holiday, Purim has traditions similar to Halloween. Everyone dresses up in costumes, there’s parties and the tradition of Mishloah Manot – giving food packages to friends and to the needy. It’s also a tradition to get drunk on Purim. This means that Purim is a chaos holiday where candies, cakes, junk food and alcohol abound.
For people who are limiting their sugar intake, or have decided to abstain from sugar and flour, this can be a challenging holiday.
Not only that, Purim means the holiday season is upon us and Passover is around the corner with all the stress and junk foods that holiday brings.
Here in Israel, many people get Purim packages from work. Employers want to be nice to their employees, so they give them huge baskets full of expensive, delicious, hyper stimulating, hyper addictive, and very fattening junk food.
So, here are my tips:

Tip #1: Put the junk out of sight
This is a very important tip about all this junk food that starts lying around the house from the week before Purim. My suggestion to you is that when you get a package with lots of junk, if you have decided that you’re keeping it, don’t leave it lying around on the table or on the counter. As soon as it comes into the house, put it into a closed container or brown paper bag in the pantry, fridge or freezer, on a high or low shelf, not at eye level.
Here’s why that’s so important: When junk is lying around, people eat it unconsciously. I’ve seen this happen and maybe you have too. Somebody will reach for something, eat it and then declare “Why did I just eat that chocolate? I didn’t even want it!” That’s the psychology of it.
What we see is what there is.
If there is junk food lying around in the open, people will eat it even when they didn’t mean to.
Another reason to keep the junk out of sight is that if you have decided to give up sugar and flour, it’s hard to be exposed to so much junk and hyper-stimulating food so intensely. It takes a lot of inner energy to push back at all that stimulation. This can be exhausting and make you irritable and more prone to slipping up.
So, at least in your home, where you have control over what’s going on, decrease the level of that stimulation by putting the junk away.
Of course, this isn’t just for Purim. This can be a general rule in your home. Then the chances of having that unconscious eating is much lower, not just for you, but for anyone in the home.

Tip #2: Don’t give away junk you don’t want. Throw it away
This tip is specifically for those who have made a conscious decision not to keep junk food around the house because it’s not healthy.
If you are one of those people who doesn’t want junk food in your home, I challenge you to throw it in the garbage rather than pass it off to someone else.
I get it, people are reluctant to throw away fancy cakes and chocolate, so they give them away.
They give it to their kids to take to school or they put it in the staff room. They take it to work, or they give it to the soldiers here in Israel.
Let’s think about it for a minute. If you’re getting rid of these foods because you know that they make you fat and sick, then you should know that they also make the kids in school, the teachers in the teacher’s room, the people at your workplace, and the soldiers defending your country fat and sick!
Of course, they like it. It’s delicious, very delicious, but it’s also damaging to their health. If they didn’t ask for it, don’t offer it.
Don’t forget, around the holiday of Purim those kids, teachers and soldiers are exposed to tons of junk anyway and passing off your junk food to them means you are adding more harm. The more there is, the more people eat. That’s just the way it works.
If you got unhealthy foods that you don’t want, just throw them away.

Tip #3: For Mishloach Manot, add more healthy foods
like quiches and fruits. Make a nice salad or a pot of soup. It doesn’t have to be chock stock full of chocolates, candies and marshmallows.
Now, you may feel like it’s expected from you, because it
is a socially accepted thing to do. You can be the change!
Perhaps invest in a nice container, plate or bowl  instead of expensive chocolates.

Tip #4: The Purim Seuda (meal)
This tip is actually practical for any festive or special meals in general.
Don’t starve yourself before a big meal, be it a wedding’ a restaurant or the Purim Seuda.
Fasting before a big meal is part of the harmful diet mentality.
What actually happens is you get there starving, and then whatever is being served first, that’s what you eat.
Then people end up eating things that they wouldn’t have necessarily eaten, such as bread, or find themselves scarfing down hot dogs because they can’t wait till the steak is ready on the barbecue. Don’t come to a festive rich meal starving because then you end up eating more, faster and perhaps foods that you didn’t plan on eating.

Tip #5: At a festive (and rich) meal, always begin with a big portion of vegetables
, fresh or cooked. When we begin a meal we’re always hungriest. That’s when the food tastes best and we eat it faster.
If you begin a meal with vegetables, you use those natural tendencies to enjoy and eat more vegetables.
Then by the time you get to the other parts of the meal, you feel a little fuller. You will naturally slow your pace. This way you enjoy your meal more, and it can make a huge difference in your food choices.

Tip #6: Offer your kids money or toys in exchange for candies they received. You’ll be amazed how willingly many children will give up the candies for a sum of money or a toy they want.

Tip #7: Consciously focus on the significance of Purim that is not food related.
What are we celebrating? Not hamentashen, but the fact that miracles can happen.
We’re celebrating how G-d helped us when it seemed all was lost. We’re celebrating the power of prayer and women in our society, community, helping others and charity, and enjoying friends and family. Those are the real celebrations of Purim.
Think about what you can give and not just what you will be getting (or not getting).

You can join Zippi’s newsletter at this address:

Have a joyful holiday!

Blessings to you,


2 Responses to Purim

  1. Orah Zamir March 15, 2022 at 2:30 pm #

    Hi Theresa,
    I got my first food plan from you in 2005. Today I am in OA 90. I weighed 231 and now 124.
    About Purim, the tradition is to drink until you don’t know the difference between Mordecai, the good guy, and Haman, the bad guy. The story is famous for God not being mentioned. It is always a big topic of discussion. Some people consider Vashti, the Kind’s wife who refused to dance for his drunken friends and was banished, the real heroine of the story. All in all, you did a good job on the holiday and the tips were good.

    • H. Theresa Wright March 15, 2022 at 8:56 pm #

      Hello Orah! It is so good to hear from you! Thank you for your supportive comments!
      the article was written by my friend Zippi who lives in Israel. I’m glad you liked it.
      I am so happy that you are well, and abstinent, and at your normal weight for all these years!

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