We interviewed Soveya, an organization started by Rabbi Eli and Mrs. Zakah Glaser, who wanted to develop a healthier relationship with food and eat better. They founded Soveya, which now helps many children, teenagers and adults build better relationships with food and learn to eat healthier.
Yaldah: What inspired you to create Soveya?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: Before Soveya, there was no Jewish organization to promote healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food the Torah way. We wanted to do that, to help kids, teenagers and adults develop healthy relationships with food.
Yaldah: What does Soveya do now? How does it help?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: Soveya provides coaching for kids, teens and adults. We also provide scholar in residence and educational programs. One program we have, SWITCHH is a Torah-based program for Jewish day schools educating parents, teachers and students about taking care of our bodies and proper nutrition. SWITCHH provides newsletters, workshops and so much more helpful information.
Yaldah: What does Soveya mean? Where does it come from?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: Soveya comes from the word “ושבעת” – to satisfy. Food is meant to satisfy, and you must learn to be satisfied in order to have a healthy relationship with food.
Yaldah: What are some tips to give our readers in order to stay healthy?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: You must have a healthy relationship with food. Guidelines and boundaries must be put into place on what food to eat. You should focus on why Hashem gave us food – to fill us up. Food that is healthy and nourishing will make you feel full and better.
Yaldah: How can girls eat healthy if unhealthy food surrounds them?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: It is very important to realize that healhy food tastes good and makes your body feel good. If all that is surrounding you is candy, you must realize that you are able to wait an hour for your next meal. You do NOT have to eat something simply because it is in your fridge. A healthy food plan should also be set, making sure you are not starving.
Yaldah: How can I encourage my parents to buy healthier foods?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: You should first thank your parents for teaching you Torah. In fact, there is a pasuk in the Torah,” ושמרתם את נפשותיכם”, commanding us to take care of ourselves. One way we can fulfil that is by eating healthy. Eating well, and providing nourishing, tasty and healthy foods will be better for your body and your mind.
Yaldah: What can we do to inspire people to make good food choices and be healthy?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: It is not possible to inspire someone, they must inspire themselves. But, you can lead by example. Start making healthy food choices in your life and you will find that others around you make the same choices!
Yaldah: What are reasons to be healthier? What caused the drastic change in your eating habits?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: I felt that I had gotten out of control – enough was enough. I was putting unhealthy things into my body and was becoming unhealthy. I was willing to change and take responsibility for my past actions. I looked at how I used food in an inappropriate way and saw that I need to do anything to change and start developing a healthy relationship with food.
Yaldah: How can our readers bring your tips to their families?
Rabbi Eli Glaser: Just start changing. Start recognizing the amazing, natural food Hashem has provided for us. Learn to be satisfied and eat well. Food is fuel for your body and will help you live. It is not something to turn to when feeling upset, angry or sad.
Yaldah: Thank you so much, Rabbi Glaser. Readers, we hope you enjoyed this interview and will bring some of Soveya’s tips to your lives!