Tonight at 7:11 the sun set, kicking off my (and my fellow Jews’) fast for Yom Kippur – the day of atonement and the biggest of the High Holy Days. Now, this isn’t just a “hey, I’m not going to eat for 24 hours!” kind of fast: I can’t have food, water, or even gum!
So, what’s a food-lover to do during Yom Kippur?
- Eat a mostly normal dinner. As much as I’d like to binge-eat, I don’t. That’s a rookie mistake I learned in college, resulting in lots of stomach aches and discomfort! Instead, I eat a dinner about 25% larger than normal and make it something satisfying to body and mind. I always pick foods I love to eat that will last a while in my belly.
- Hydrate hydrate hydrate! I stay hydrated all day. Seriously, seriously hydrated. In a normal day, I rarely drink more than 16 ounces of liquid that isn’t coffee. Today I drank about 24 ounces of water as well as five 20-ounce bottles of [low-Calorie] Gatorade. Because the body can last longer without food than without water, this is incredibly important!
- Stay put. Traditionally, Jews are not to perform any work; even more conservative Jews don’t operate anything with moving parts during the holy day, too. This is because the 24 hours are meant to be spent in synagogue, praying. Although I don’t do all of that, I do make sure to do minimal activity, not only to respect the day but because the less activity I do, the less thirsty I’ll get. Hello, couch potato!
- Break the fast slowly. Similar to my first point, eating too much after not eating anything is a bad, bad idea and will result in awful tummy trouble and discomfort. For the first hour after the fast ends, I drink liquids… more Gatorade to rehydrate, maybe soup, but usually just water and sports drinks. Then I start incorporating other foods that are easy on the tummy. I don’t go and eat an entire pizza. I just kind of pretend that I didn’t fast and just eat normal. One day is nothing in the scheme of things!
Check out my dinner tonight, full of yummy things that I still feel sitting in my stomach: toasted sourdough bread, local Kentucky cheese of some kind (forgot the name! sorry!), avocado, and a bottle of VitaminWater.
50 minutes down… 23 hours 10 minutes to go!