Author: Shira Isenberg

Stress Less This Summer

Instead of getting stressed out that stress is hurting you, think of the stress response as a way your body becomes stronger, getting you ready to face adversity.

Smart School Snacks

With school about to start, I’m getting anxious. He does okay with school lunch, but I don’t know what kind of snacks to send because now everything seems like junk food to me. Help!

Going Green: Lettuce—The Perfect Pesach Vegetable

Q: I’m elbow-deep in soapy water checking my maror for the Seder, while chatting with a friend on the phone, who tells me that lettuce has no nutritional value. Is that true? If so, why are people always talking about eating more greens?

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Q: I toss and turn for hours every night, just staring at the clock. Is there anything I can change in my diet to help me get some rest?   A: You’re not alone; insomnia affects almost half (48 percent) of Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This inability to get a good night’s […]

Mediterranean Diet Makeover

So how do you go about changing over to a more Mediterranean-style diet? In a word: gradually. Slow changes to your lifestyle are more likely to last, so don’t expect to upgrade your eating plan overnight. To get your eating habits closer to where you want them to be, start with these six steps: 1. Switch […]

Running for Life

What’s It Like to Run a Marathon? When he hit his late twenties, Ben Kramer—a former high school hockey player from Long Island, New York—was living a pretty sedentary lifestyle and was carrying around more than a couple of extra pounds. But he supported his wife, Samantha, when she registered for a half marathon, flying […]

Pesach Dieters, Take Note: You Can Have Your Potato—and Eat It, Too!

Q: Potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes … with all these carbs, it’s no wonder I gain a pound for every day of Pesach—and the week before, too! How can I avoid overdoing the carbs? A: As a long-time potato lover, I feel the need to defend one of my favorite tubers. Potatoes get a bad […]

Winter Workout

What are some good ways to stay active when it’s cold outside?

Living the Sweet Life

Q: I’m a sugar addict, and I especially love those caramel sufganiyot around Chanukah time; I look forward to them all year. But as I’m getting older, I’m more worried about what I’m doing to my body. Is sugar really as evil as all the health nuts make it out to be? A: Well, it […]

Weighing In on Obesity in the Frum Community

Can We Create a More Health-Oriented and Less Food-Centric Culture? Q: Does being frum put one at greater risk of obesity? A: When it comes to religion and health, there’s an odd paradox. Religion tends to be somewhat protective of health, except when it comes to weight. People who participate in religious activities tend to […]

Getting the Nutrients You Need

Q: As someone who follows a kosher diet, I want to know, are there any vitamins and minerals that I should take? A: There is nothing inherent in a Torah lifestyle that would preclude following a healthy diet. In fact, since we’re commanded to take care of our bodies, choosing nutritious foods while limiting less […]

Shabbat Menu Makeover

How you can have an elegant and delicious Shabbat meal without sacrificing your waistline Q: How can I make healthier choices on Shabbat without feeling like I’m eating “diet foods”? A: As Orthodox Jews in the twenty-first century, we’re interested in following a healthy diet, but frequently our typical Shabbat fare makes this very challenging. […]

Conquering Potato Fatigue

Q: I’m so tired of potatoes for every side dish on Pesach. What are other options if I don’t eat gebrokts? A: As a self-professed potato lover, I feel that a meal is just not complete without potatoes. But I know not everyone enjoys these tubers to such an extent. Thankfully, we have a world […]

Is Pesach Cleaning Hazardous to Your Health?

Q: My asthmatic husband constantly complains about the “poisonous” sprays and cleaning products I use to clean our home. Do they really pose a danger? A: This question is especially pertinent now, when a bottle of bleach becomes our constant companion as we get down and dirty in the cabinets in the name of Pesach […]

Get Lunch in the Bag

As back-to-school season is upon us, parents are once again dreading the grating task of packing lunch for their kids. In recent years, many day schools and yeshivot have wisely begun to focus on nutrition to combat the pediatric obesity epidemic and improve our children’s health, but the new rules limit parents’ choices. It used […]

Making a Vacation Game Plan

While I’m glad I get to vacation during the summer months, it really throws my diet off-track. How can I have fun without regretting it later?

Drink to Your. . . Health?

Q: With conflicting information about alcohol—it’s healthy, it’s harmful—I’m nervous about drinking the arba kosot on Seder night. Can you clarify whether it’s safe to drink and tell me how much is too much? A:  It’s no wonder you’re confused—alcohol really is a double-edged sword. Alcohol has been used safely for thousands of years; however, […]

Taking Chanukah to Heart

Q: In light of all the oily food I’ll be consuming over Chanukah, can you explain how oils can be healthy if they contain so much fat? A: Ah, Chanukah, the Festival of Oil—I mean, Light. Because oil and light are intertwined in this holiday, many of us feel duty-bound to partake of the oily […]

A Kiddush Conundrum

  Q: I am always at a loss trying to find something reasonably healthy to eat at our shul’s weekly kiddush. What do you suggest to improve kiddush fare? A: When I think of a typical kiddush, the first thing that comes to mind is the color brown: cholent, potato kugel, chopped liver, chocolate cookies, […]

Dip the Apple in the…Splenda?

Q: I know you’re supposed to eat sweet foods this time of year, but I don’t want all the calories! Is it safe to use artificial sweeteners—and more importantly, will they help me lose weight? A: At 4 calories per gram—or 16 calories per teaspoon—it might seem as if sugar won’t add too many calories to […]

Weighing In on Eating Out

Q: Lately, we’ve been eating out several times a week, and I feel it in my clothes–everything is getting tighter! How do I stop this weight gain without completely avoiding restaurants? A: It sounds like you may be overeating at restaurants–and you’re not alone. Many people see going out to eat as a time to […]

Breaking the Snack Habit

Q: How do I stop my terrible habit of constantly snacking on anything and everything?

A: Snacking is not a terrible habit. In fact, most nutrition experts agree that regular healthy snacking is a smart nutrition practice. It provides valuable nutrients in between meals and also keeps you from getting too hungry. If you don’t eat enough and you allow yourself to get extremely hungry, you may end up overeating when food is available to you, leading you to consume extra calories. Snacking is especially important for individuals over age sixty-five.

Fortify Your Body for Flu Season

Q: What’s the deal with swine flu? Is there any way I can change my diet to prevent getting it? A: Now that flu season is here, this viral infection of the respiratory tract is not to be taken lightly. Despite the tight control health professionals have over many infectious diseases, the flu—or influenza—is still […]

Take Control of Your Shabbat Meal

Q: I love Shabbat, but I hate that it’s become a battleground for my eating habits. I’m careful about dieting all week long, but when Friday comes around, I get thrown off course. Shabbat Chanukah is even more of a challenge with all the dreidel-shaped cookies and sufganiyot around. Please help! A: What you’re describing […]

A Few Fasting Fixes

I always feel weak when I fast—and I get a headache halfway through the day. Can you share any nutrition tips to help me feel better this Yom Kippur?