Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Oh Matzah!

Recently my husband mentioned that the G'Ra only ate matzah on Pesach. In my house growing up we followed this minhag, which seems to be uncommon. Anyhow, it occurred to me that perhaps one of the reason for our adherence to this minhag was that matzah is notoriously difficult to digest; basically, the vast majority of us have at least some digestive reaction to this most important food.

With that in mind, I figured I would share a few of the avenues that have helped me survive the gastric reactions that can coincide with Pesach. These avenues were discovered through research online and combing through many a holistic health book. As I am not a medical professional however, please remember I am not endorsing the following, nor in any way claiming them to be catch-all, universal cures. Indeed, the following will not work for everyone, and may even have adverse effects if someone has a medical condition. Rather, since I have suffered tremendously over the years when eating matzah, I am posting these as personal experience testimony. Please digest this information, if you will, and proceed with caution. It is always best to consult with a medical professional, when possible.

The A Problem
If you are unable to digest wheat products due to food allergies, speak to your Rav about eating either oat shmura matzah or spelt matzah instead.

The C Problem

If you find that matzah sits undigested in your stomach for most of Pesach:
  • Eat almost ripe bananas
  • Eat raw pears, grapes, oranges, or apples
  • Drink a strong, black cup of coffee (no sugar!) first thing in the morning
  • Eat a tablespoon of olive oil once in the morning and in the evening
  • Avoid excessive consumption of dairy products, eggs, meat, caffeine, or sugar
  • Consume 3 tablespoons of honey through out the day
  • Drink licorice tea

The D Problem

If you have the opposite reaction, and matzah passes undigested through your system:
  • Eat ripe to very ripe bananas
  • Eat cheese
  • Eat baked/cooked apples
  • Drink pomegranate juice

General Tonics
The following drinks can support proper functioning of the digestive tract.
  • Mint herbal tea
  • Ginger/ginger tea*
  • Lemon water**
  • Garlic water (crushed raw garlic in water)
*To make ginger tea, boil peeled, fresh ginger in water for several minutes and strain.
** Add fresh lemon juice to taste (1/2 to 1 lemon) to a cup of water and drink first thing in the morning.

  • Drink chamomile tea
  • Drink warm water
  • Drink tea with cardamom
  • Drink a mixture of lemon juice, honey and ginger in warm water
  • Eat/drink ginger (See ** above)

Hopefully some out there tries one of these and finds some relief. I know I am going to have to resort to a few of these in the coming weeks, and will be adding the necessary ingredients to my Pesach shopping list. More on Pesach preparations to come, bli neder.

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