Styling and Styling by Sara Goldstein
We’re saying goodbye to our seminary girls, and they’re saying hello to a year of learning that goes far beyond the classroom.
During my own seminary year, I didn’t know the impact my behavior had on my health. All I knew was that after a few weeks of mac-’n’-cheese parties with our friends at 1 a.m., my roommate and I realized that we weren’t functioning. We decided to turn our room into the “bubby room,” with lights off before midnight.
Since becoming a health coach, I’ve worked with many post-seminary girls, and after sending my own daughter off to sem, I realized how hard it is for our girls to maintain healthy habits while away from home. A girl’s seminary year is the time where she gets to experience her first taste of independence and responsibility. Aside from being a year meant to set our girls on their spiritual journey, it’s a crucial time for them to begin taking responsibility for their own health as well. But the lifestyle our girls often adopt in seminary — a year that’s meant to start them off on a healthy path, both spiritually and physically — often leads to the development of unhealthy patterns that take a lot to repair.
Health vs. Rhythms
As human beings, our bodies depend on a lot of rhythms and cycles, including digestive, sleep, and hormonal cycles. All of those cycles are intricately connected. When one is off, the others get thrown off as well.
Lots of girls come home from seminary out of whack. They’ve spent the year pulling all-nighters with friends, relying on Israeli takeout and fast food for their meals, and surviving on gallons of coffee. Most girls come home spiritually inspired, but physically exhausted and out of rhythm. As fun as seminary deserves to be, it’s important for our almost-grown-up girls to go in with a mindset of “I have an amazing body, a gift from Hashem, and with this new independence comes the new and exciting responsibility to make sure I take care of it.”
The best way to do that is by keeping our rhythms on beat!
Our body’s internal clock, called our circadian rhythm, dictates important physical, hormonal, mental, and behavioral functions over each 24-hour cycle. When we go to sleep too late, we miss out on critical restorative internal work reserved for nighttime, including digestion, healing, and detoxification. Living in chronic fatigue also places our bodies in chronic stress, which can not only cause adrenal and hormonal imbalance, but also wears us down physically and emotionally, impairing our ability to make good decisions.
It might be hard to slip away from late-night DMCs. But if you aim to be in bed before midnight as often as possible (the earlier the better) — you’ll experience the year on a different level, and you’ll come home healthier too.
Before even thinking about foods made with healthy ingredients, first think in terms of rhythms. Try to stick to routine eating times as often as possible. The exact times aren’t as important as the concept of eating at regular, consistent intervals, like breakfast before 10 a.m., lunch at midday, and supper before 8 p.m. Rather than grazing on snacks throughout the day, aim for three meals and a few wholesome snacks in between — and stop there.
This may sound obvious, but so many girls skip breakfast and grab a coffee or two (or three!) followed by a pastry here, a yogurt there, and go all day without a proper meal. Running on this combination of caffeine, sugar, and adrenaline is a perfect storm for thyroid and hormonal dysregulation. It’s also the culprit behind the 9 p.m. crashing and cravings and late-night overeating that forces the body into “digest and metabolize mode” rather than “rest and repair mode.”
Once you have your rhythms rolling, you’ll feel the difference, and the long-term effects will be significant as well.
Let’s help our seminary girls take advantage of this incredible opportunity to step up to the plate and set themselves and their habits up for lasting success.
Rorie Recommends: Dash Cookware (www.bydash.com)
I recently got obsessed with Dash, a line of mini plugin cookware that’s perfect for travel — and dorm rooms. Their Rapid Egg Cooker is a quick, easy way to make mess-free hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, or scrambled eggs in minutes. They have an entire line of mini waffle makers, a rice/grain cooker (perfect for oatmeal), and a mini indoor grill. And get this — they make a single-serve portable blender that comes with a USB-rechargeable battery, so it can work anywhere in the world! For seminary girls who don’t have access to real kitchens, these gadgets can be the perfect solution to filling in with healthy meals.
Better-for-you Oatmeal and Yogurt Bowls
I’ve noticed that when seminary girls think “healthy,” they automatically think yogurt and oatmeal. Maybe it’s because they’re quick, easy, and don’t actually require cooking! However, most flavored yogurts and oatmeal packs contain a lot of added sugar. Here are spins that transform both into wholesome meals that hit all four macros to help balance blood sugar and promote hormonal health. (Busy mothers, you might love these, too!)
Yogurt Bowl, Take 2
- 1 5–6-oz (140–170-g) container of plain whole-fat yogurt (regular or Greek)
- your favorite nuts or seeds
- fresh fruit, ideally berries
- cacao nibs
- Whole-fat milk products contain less natural sugar (lactose) and help keep you fuller longer. Add a small amount of pure stevia, monk fruit extract, or raw honey if you find it too tart.
- Using crunchy nuts and seeds instead of granola cuts sugar content and adds protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
- Fresh fruit is more filling than dried and contains less concentrated sugar.
- Cacao nibs will give you that dark chocolate kick along with healthy fats, fiber, and a boost of magnesium.
Oatmeal, Take 2
- instant or stovetop steel-cut whole or quick oats
- 1–2 spoonfuls nut butter
- chia or hemp seeds
- fresh or cooked fruit
- Sweeten your oats with pure stevia, monk fruit extract, or raw honey as needed. Add cinnamon for a naturally sweeter version. Chia or hemp seeds will add protein, healthy fats, and even more fiber.
- A fruit garnish adds sweetness, fiber, and of course vitamins and antioxidants. Red apples add fun color and crunch.
Rorie Weisberg, CHC, is the author of the newly released cookbook Food You Love: That Loves You Back. Her passion? Making a healthy lifestyle doable and delicious, favorite foods included. Rorie is the health ambassador of Kosher.com, a popular health columnist and lecturer, and founder and CEO of Full `N Free, LLC, an exclusive line of better-for-you baking essentials. To learn more about Rorie's story, product line, courses, and live demos, visit www.fullnfree.com.
All statements are suggestive only. Please consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.
(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 857)
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