Tomorrow is going to be Taanis Esther, the fast of Esther.
When the Jews of Persia heard that Haman was going to kill the Jews, straight away they fasted for three days and prayed fervently to Hashem to save them from the evil clutches of Haman harasha.
One of the days that they fasted was actually the seder night.
In remembrance of that we also fast during the day before Purim. But since we know the outcome of the Purim story (which is a very happy one) Taanis Esther is a very lenient fast. It is not like Yom Kippur or Tisha B’Av where we can’t eat, drink, wear leather shoes, anoint, have a shower, etc. Rather we refrain from eating and drinking and that’s it.
In the northern hemisphere Taanis Esther falls out in winter which means a shorter (and usually easier) fast. But fasting can still be difficult. (Boys over 13 and girls over 12 fast.) Which is why I am going to supply you with a list of tips and tricks that can help you fast a little easier.
- Drink, drink, drink! (And drink some more!) But limit yourself. Drink more than you usually would before and after the fast, but remember not to drink too much. This will help keep you hydrated and yes, even in winter! Your body needs water much more than food.
After the fast drink (at least) two glasses of water and only then start eating. This is so you can supply your body with the fluids you have lost over the course of the day.
- Before the fast eat lots of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates to help keep you full. Ok, that’s all very nice but what are those? (You might be asking). Protein is in meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, nuts and more. Health fats include nuts, avocado, coconut and olive oil. And complex carbohydrates include whole grains and oats. (You can have oatmeal!)
- Eating foods with water can also help to keep you hydrated! Watermelon probably isn’t available right now (although it’s a great one for the summer.) You can eat grapes or cucumbers or anything else with a high supply of water.
- Adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a tiny bit of grape juice to your water helps the fluid to stay in your body for longer.
- Don’t overeat at the end of the fast!!! While we are hungry and weak and just want to eat a lot, don’t eat too much, it will just make you feel sick. Firstly drink water, and then eat a light and simple meal with a fruit at the end to regain blood sugars. Then wait. After a while if you are still hungry you can eat some more.
I have heard stories of people that ate tons after a fast and did not feel good afterwards. (And remember that the day after is Purim where there is going to be lots of yummy foods! Go check out my health blog for Purim.)
Wishing you an easy fast and Purim Sameiach!
I hope to see you all with the coming of Moshiach.
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