Monday, March 15, 2021

Tips to Update Passover with Plant-based Recipes and Ideas

Passover Story, Vegan Recipes and Ideas
Photo credit Nancy Andres

When I host a Seder this spring, you can bet we'll retell the Passover story and feast on foods that feature whole food plant-based ingredients.


Passover is a festive Jewish holiday that starts this year at sundown on March 27, 2021 and ends the night of April 4th. 


Jews from around the world will gather in their homes to mark Passover in many ways.


Our gathering will be with our immediate family. One consolation of the pandemic is than even during lockdown, we can send Happy Pesach Wishes and see loved ones via Zoom, Facetime, or Skype.


The Passover story is outlined below. It shows which foods are a big part of Seder rituals, and identifies which plant-based products veganize the traditional animal-based ones. 


Discover Passover whole food plant-based recipes that are colorful, flavorful, healthy, and fun to eat. 


Do you want to learn more about Jewish culture or want to refresh your memory? There's something for you as well.


This blog highlights recipes that are low fat, low refined sugar, and low sodium. Each can easily transform ingredients including eggs, brisket, chicken soup, and capon into healthier vegan ones. 


An eating plan that uses unprocessed vegan foods is good for our health and the environment.


Eating no animal products is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and prevent cruelty to animals as well. See more at PETA.


Note: Although foods including tofu, lentils, and quinoa may not be considered suitable to eat for Passover by some Jews, I believe these things are an update for better nutrition. They include nutrients I need to stay healthy. I prefer to eat them holiday or not.


The Passover Story and Recipes


Please understand, you don't have to be Jewish or vegan to explore them.


Passover commemorates the Hebrews’ Exodus from Egypt, and our peoples’ journey from slavery to freedom.


At the Seder, a ceremonial event/meal which takes place on the first night or first two nights of the holiday, those gathered round the table read portions of the Haggadah.


The Haggadah is a guide that sets out the rituals and steps in the re-telling of the Exodus story. It originally comes from the Jewish Bible, in the Biblical Book of Exodus. 


Our story starts in ancient Egypt, where a particularly hostile pharaoh orders the enslavement of the Jewish people, as well as the systematic drowning of all Hebrew firstborn sons.


The pharaoh's daughter spies and rescues one baby she sees floating down the Nile. 


When this baby (Moses) grows up he discovers his true identity as a Hebrew. He also recalls the Egyptians' harsh treatment of his people.


Moses kills the Egyptian slave master and escapes to the Sinai Peninsula, where he lives as a humble shepherd for 40 years.


Let my People Go.


One day, however, Moses receives a command from God to return to Egypt and free his people from slavery.

At first, the pharaoh refuses to let the Israelites go. Here are words to the song that describes the Israelitesplight.

As a result, God unleashes 10 plagues on the Egyptians including turning water to blood, boils, locusts, darkness, and death to all firstborns. 

At the Seder we re-tell an important part of the Passover story as described below.

This quote comes from the American Jewish World Service Website. 
"We spill drops of wine from our cups, mourning the suffering the Egyptians endured so that we could be free. This year, as these drops spread across our plates, let us turn our hearts toward the millions of people around the world suffering today’s plagues of hatred, prejudice, baseless violence and war."

Only then do the Egyptians convince the pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. 


Passover Story Moses at Red Sea
                     Illustration from Pixabay has been altered


Moses guides his people to the Red Sea, but the pharaoh's army pursues them.


A miracle occurs, and the Red Sea parts long enough for the Jews to get across. The passage closes and the Egyptians drown.


The Haggadah is a book that serves as the guide to retelling the Passover story and outlines particular blessings, traditions, and symbolic foods for Seder and Seder Plate.


Passover celebrations may vary from home to home, country to country, and some customs are based on whether we are orthodox or not, and which part of the world our ancestors were born.


A staple at a Vegan Seder is Matzo, Matzoh, or Matzah. No matter which spelling you prefer, make sure it isn't egg matzo. That isn't vegan.



Matzo, an important Food for Passover



Matzo doesn't go on the Seder plate, but plays an important part in the ceremony. Matzo symbolizes the unleavened bread eaten when the Israelites fled Egypt, and didn't have time to bake leavened bread. 


We abstain from eating leavened bread throughout the holiday, and eat no food that is leavened (chametz). 


Maror, a portion of bitter herbs, which can be horseradish, romaine lettuce, celery, or cilantro signifies the bitterness of slavery. The Seder plate pictured above and credited to me contains celery, because I couldn't find a fresh horseradish in the market. 


Look below at a picture of horseradish. It tastes spicy and wonderful when you peel it, wash it, grate it, and combine it with a few drops of olive oil, teaspoon of black pepper, and a few drops of lemon juice.




Haroset or charoset are two spellings for the chopped nuts, apples, and grape juice or wine mixture on the Seder plate. It represents the mortar used to build the pyramids in Egypt, while the Hebrews were in bondage.


Karpas or parsley is a symbol of spring and the initial flourishing of the Hebrews during Joseph's time (before slavery in Egypt) and today as free people. 


Zeroa or Z'roa, which is a roasted beet, in lieu of a shank bone, represents the sacrifice made the night the Hebrews fled Egypt. 


Beitzah, is an avocado pit, white eggplant, wooden egg, or seeds instead of an egg, to symbolize the circle of life, spring, new beginnings, and hope. 


Now on to the Recipes...


The first one comes from Nava Atlas at the Vegan Atlas. She's a fabulous food blogger and cookbook author. Her recipe is for Ashkenazi Haroset for the Passover Seder.


Nava Atlas Passover Recipe
Photo Credit Nava Atlas



Here's a link for vegan Cream of Leek and Asparagus Soup from Nichole Milak at VegKitchen. See uses these scrumptious ingredients for Passover, and her recipe has no cream or other fattening animal products.  


Next up is Judee Algazi, the Real Food Blogger at Gluten Free A-Z. Her recipe is a colorful main dish that's suitable for any holiday or weekday meal. See Vegan Stuffed Roasted Peppers. 

Gluten -Free Vegan Recipe
Photo Credit Judee Algazi


Next up is my recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Enjoy it at a Passover Seder or eat this nutrient dense savory side dish in-season in spring or fall. 

Photo Credit Nancy Andres



To finish off the meal on a sweet note try one of these...





I've shared my take on the Passover Story and what to put on the Seder Plate, and posted mouthwatering whole food plant-based recipe ideas.


Please comment about them at the link below (no link in your comment as it won't be published that way). 


I'd appreciate re-shares on social media to share the love. 


Don't forget to visit the blogger sites included above and leave comments there as well.


Wishing you Happiness and Health in Every Season. 

And...
Nancy Andres' Motto at Colors4Health.com

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Monday, March 1, 2021

5 Winter Activities to Elevate Your Mood

Activities, and Ideas to Improve Outlook


Some of us find March weather a bit daunting. Cold, wind, and other forms of inclement weather makes us hibernate indoors. 

Updated 4/12/2021

It seems as though a downbeat mood is a magnet for cabin fever. 

If you can relate, keep on reading to discover 5 winter self-care activities to elevate your mood.  


Catch a dose of sunshine


Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin,” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. 

Research indicates Vitamin D can help prevent disease, reduces depression, and boosts weight loss. Vitamin D is an important element that regulates the immune system as well as the neuromuscular system. 

In winter, some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight. 

If you are concerned about SAD or any other mental or physical health concern this winter, don't hesitate to consult with a health care pro. 

This post is for information and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.


Take time out 


Take a break from highly focused work to relieve mental weariness and the blahs. For more ideas read renew your enthusiasm. 

Temporarily let go of striving by sipping a cup of hot cocoa or tea. My favorite "pick me up" tea is ginger.

Cup of Tea Perks You Up at Colors 4 Health





Mediate on the beverage's warmth, flavor, texture, aroma, as you grasp the cup in your hand. 

Actively engage your 5 senses to make any experience grounding and release stress. 

For more about mindfulness, stress reduction, and the 5 senses read this.

Another healthy fix for the blues is to phone a friend or acquaintance you sense might need encouragement. 

At times, all we need to feel uplifted is to reach out to someone else. Your gesture may make that person's day brighter and will give you a sense of satisfaction and connection as well.

Rev up your engine


A sure cure for feeling ho-hum is vigorous exercise.

Temperatures outdoors may be chilly, but winter is a fun time to bundle up and ice skate, ski, sled, build a snowman, or play ice hockey. 

Any form of aerobic movement will get your heart pumping, blood flowing, and endorphins circulating.

Want creative ideas and tips for exercises that are economical and fun? Read this.

Health Benefits of Exercise


Even if you want to stay indoors, you can get moving by dancing to upbeat music, or follow along with an online workout routine. 

When you participate in exercises you enjoy, chances are you'll have the motivation to follow through.


Meditate on what is good


Research and life experience indicates when we reflect on what is working in our lives, we strengthen our attitude of gratitude and improve our outlook.

Gratefulness makes us count our blessings, appreciate kindness around and in us, and feel thankful for small pleasures in daily living.

Instead of dreading colder weather, grateful people see winter as a chance see the beauty in the first snowfall, the shimmering colors in sparkling icicles, and sense each breath of crisp winter air with wonder.

For tips about how colors function to draw more gratitude into daily living, read this post. 

Perhaps you appreciate being able to enjoy an outdoor firepit or fireplace, or bask in the warmth of a crackling fireplace indoors. 

The colorful glow of the flames are a fine backdrop for reading a feel good book, listening to an audio love story,  or simply daydreaming. 


cozy and warm at Colors 4 Health


No hearth. No problem. Cuddle up in a warm blanket, fuzzy socks, and pajamas. Watch a winter thriller on video or TV.


Brighten your mood with colors


If your furniture, walls, and home environment contains many dark colors, it can add to winter woes. 

Deep tones do not reflect sufficient light, but there is a fix for it. 

Consider adding a foot mat in light blue in your bedroom, or put up crisp white curtains in the kitchen. 

Another color idea is to toss turquoise throw pillows on your couch or fill a vase with fresh flowers that are pink, yellow, or lavender.

Use light colored clothing accents to perk up your wardrobe. Perhaps your being hankers for uplifting colors including sky blue, coral, bright pink, and yellowy-beige. All can help cheer you this winter.

The colorful fruits and veggies you eat are mood elevators as well. Learn more about this subject at  4 Key Reasons to Eat a Variety of Colorful Fruits and Veggies.

Eat the Rainbow


The 5 winter activities I suggest above can enhance your spirit. Each one is an easy way to turn your day around for the better.

Before you go, don't forget to leave a comment. Please don't put links in comment, as it won't be published that way.

Please share your ideas in the comment section below about healthy ways you use to help elevate your mood and create positive energy.

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