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Glass versus Rubber

After Succos, I introduced you to the Five to Thrive: sleep, hydration, attunement, physical activity, and eating well. On Chanukah, we exercised our “sixth sense” of flexibility, which helps us get through the times when perfect planning just isn’t practical. Coming up next are Purim and Pesach, two of our most joyful but hectic seasons in the calendar. They’re a time when we can’t always stick to our usual routines, including some of our healthy habits.

Even when it’s hard, we don’t want to let our healthy habits go down the drain. Nobody can run on empty. But when there’s so much happening, can we really keep up our healthy habits?

The Juggling Act

I heard this idea in a shiur from Mrs. Chani Juravel years ago and have been quoting it ever since. She noted that we all have a lot of “balls” we juggle in life. Those balls are our responsibilities. The key to a balanced life lies in knowing which “balls” are rubber and which ones are glass.

The glass balls are the ones that always come first. No matter what else is happening, they can’t be dropped. The rubber balls, though, can be delegated, canceled, or wait-listed. They won’t shatter if you drop them.

Most of us have our regular juggling act pretty much down pat. But sometimes extra balls — a simchah, a Yom Tov, a medical difficulty, or other stressors — are thrown in that make it impossible to keep our act running smoothly. That’s when it’s important to know which balls are rubber and which are glass. You need to know which balls are okay to let go.

Your “Glass Habit”

When it comes to healthy habits, there are glass balls and rubber balls, too.

Normally, sticking to all five healthy habits is an anchor. They bolster your energy, enhance your mood, and keep you healthy, strong, and fit. But when a few extra balls are thrown your way, keeping up all five habits isn’t so simple. Something might need to drop.

Each one of us have healthy habits that are “glass” — we can’t function without them. Other habits are important but less crucial to our well-being; they can bounce if need be. But you can’t just wake up one morning mid-crisis and prioritize your healthy habits! The time to decide which ones are which is before the storm hits.

We all have different natures and needs. Some women feel lethargic or don’t eat as healthily if they miss their exercise routine. Personally, I can do without my workouts if I need to, but too little sleep impacts my eating, my mood, and my productivity. For some people, eating well is a “glass habit” — if they don’t have full, balanced meals, their functioning goes down the drain — while others can be more flexible and make do with grab ’n go options from time to time. For some people, drinking water doesn’t come naturally, and without filling up those water bottles and having a reminder on their phone, they’ll start feeling the effects of dehydration everywhere, while others are just fine with grabbing a drink whenever they’re thirsty.

Take some time during this pre-Yom Tov season to think through your healthy habits. Which ones are critical for you? Sleep? Eating well? Exercise? Hydration? Which balls need to be guarded, especially during times of stress?

Once you know what’s glass for you, you won’t be thrown for a loop when extra balls come hurtling your way. When the storm blows over, you’ll be able to gracefully bend down and pick up those rubber balls again.

Till next time,


Medjool Dates

Medjool dates are sweeter and plumper than regular dates. I find that they make a huge difference in recipes. Don’t swap them with regular dates, especially not in this week’s recipe.

I love baking with dates. When you want something sweet but you’re trying to limit processed sugars, there are quite a few unprocessed options out there, like silan, natural maple syrup, or raw honey. But using a whole fruit is better than any of them. That’s because the natural sugar in fruit is paired with a whole lot of fiber, making it lower glycemic than any sweetener can be.

Hazelnut Date Biscotti

Dates have a great chewy texture and delicious sweetness, so they star in many of my recipes. Once you try this recipe, you’ll be making a lot of it!

Yields about 32 biscotti

  • 2 eggs
  • 10–12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup cashew butter (see note)
  • 1 cup hazelnut butter (see note)
  • ⅔ cup Rorie’s Grain Free Flour Blend
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • raisins, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, crushed walnuts, cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, or a mix of the above, for adding in

Preheat oven to 350˚F (175°C). In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend eggs and pitted dates until totally smooth and combined. Add all remaining ingredients to the food processor and mix until just combined. Do not overmix, or it will compromise the texture.

Remove the batter from the food processor and divide it into two equal pieces. Add desired mix-ins and shape each piece into a long, narrow log. Place both logs on a lined metal baking sheet. Bake for 16–18 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes. While the biscotti are cooling, lower the oven to 300˚F (150°C).

After 30 minutes, use a very sharp knife to slice each log into 14–16 slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet, placing them on their side. Bake for 12–15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the biscotti in for about 30 more minutes to toast. (If you like your biscotti less crunchy, remove after 5 minutes and allow to cool.)

Store biscotti in a cookie jar for four days or freeze in a freezer-safe container for two to three months. They don’t fully harden when they freeze, so you can enjoy them straight from the freezer.

Note: You can swap out either nut butter for almond butter, but the flavor won’t be as bold.

(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 727)

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