By Dalia Brunschwig
Chanukah, the wonderful holiday of lights, is once again approaching. I personally experienced my own miraculous “seeing the light” story after my daughter was born seven years ago. It was an extremely difficult pregnancy and birth, and I had many complications afterwards.
Nevertheless, the fact that I was able to breastfeed, hold her in my arms and be able to be back home with my husband and older children was a miracle. Although I was conscious of it at the time, I only realized what a big present my daughter brought me when she turned one, and I started on my journey empowering other Jewish women with the knowledge that it’s not so hard to make healthier lifestyle changes.
By then, although grateful to be alive and healthy, I was still not back to myself; everything took longer, I was still carrying the pregnancy weight and going very often to the doctors for different check-ups (digestion issues, infections, etc). Once I stopped nursing, it was time to do something. As I cleansed my body, I started regaining control of myself. After many long months of inactivity, I was back! I regained my energy to walk everywhere and slowly started fitting back into my clothes.
The changes were so visible that I was approached by friends to help them regain back their strength and lose weight naturally. That is when I began coaching others with what had worked for me. Before I knew it, I had helped more than 40 women in Zurich. I was just eating clean and healthy foods, and I was maintaining my weight and my energy. I learned that everyone has individual needs and what was good for me was not necessarily good for others.
It was then that I decided to create my own program to help busy women adopt a healthier lifestyle. I put together a system based on the right mindset shift and an elimination process that guides people to learn to love their body by giving it the right nutrients at the right time.
Since I began coaching others in May 2017, I have been blessed to have grown my practice from four women to more than 30 groups, both local and internationally, with my five-day reset programs and my eight-week “Balance Redefined” program.
My approach is that you should listen to your body and fuel it with what it needs, and you will reach your ideal weight. There is no need to feel deprived when it comes to our traditions. You can always find alternatives, but I teach how to have a 90/10 food mindset. Whether enjoying the occasional treat or learning to crave healthy food, the key is to allow flexibility and find out what works best for your body in each situation.
Hashem gave us a most amazing gift—our incredibly complicated body—and it behoves us to take care of it properly. When we stop and think about how complex our body systems are, especially as women, we can come to a much closer relationship with our Creator, and consequently, we can appreciate and understand what a responsibility it is to look after ourselves.
Part of the message I transmit to the women I work with is a direct consequence of the story of my life—what seems to be so difficult and challenging is actually what is going to lead to the best things in your life. Every year on my daughter’s birthday, I feel it is my birthday, too; as though through that incredibly difficult birth, I have become the person I am today.
On Chanukah, we talk about the Greeks and how they placed enormous emphasis on the body. We know however, that taking care of our body is only a means to an end. We are obligated to look after our health because it is a mitzvah, and by taking care of ourselves, we will have the energy to be able to do more mitzvot as well as look after our families better.
Everything we do as Jews, even the seemingly mundane things like healthy eating and exercising, becomes part of something so much higher when we do things with the right intentions of serving Hashem.
I’d like to share this healthy levivot (latkes) recipe l’chvod Chanukah.
2 sweet potatoes
1 big onion
3 Tbsp. avocado oil
¾ glass oat flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water until soft.
Mash them with a fork and set aside.
Sauté the onions in oil.
Mix the sweet potatoes mixture with the onions.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Form small patties with your hands and place on a greased oven tray.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve with tahini and herbs, or with Greek yogurt if you prefer a dairy version.
I would like to encourage the Nishei Ora readers to practice more living with intention. Choosing what to do with each hour helps you feel less stressed while making the most of your time at work and at home.
Here are some tips:
1. Take Time to Center Yourself Regularly
If you notice that you’re feeling scattered or frazzled, stop what you’re doing for a second. Take a few deep breaths and turn your attention to the present moment. Ask yourself, “What do I need to be focusing on right now?” Give that one thing all of your attention, keeping your mind in the present.
2. Focus on Your Health
Your health makes a big impact on your overall well-being and productivity, so make a conscious decision to prioritize it. Eat well, get enough sleep, and get some exercise every day. Even small lifestyle changes can make a difference in your mood and energy levels.
3. Rethink Your Habits
Do you spend a lot of time on social media, on the phone or internet, Most of us have some mindless habits that can eat up a lot of time. In moderation, it’s okay to enjoy these activities. But if you aren’t happy with how much time you lose to these mindless habits, it might be time to cut back. Decide how much time you’re willing to spend on these activities every day, and set a timer to remind yourself when it’s time to stop.
4. Allocate Your Time Wisely
We all get twenty-four hours every day, but if you use your time well, it can feel like much more. Take a few minutes every morning to decide what you want to accomplish and when. Making a to-do list can help keep you on track. This simple tip can increase your everyday productivity dramatically.
If you want to make the most of your time, living intentionally is a must. Make a habit of being intentional with your time and attention, and you’ll become happier, more productive, and more mindful.
It is all based on creating healthy habits with baby steps to make them sustainable!
Dalia Brunschwig, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, founder of FULLY IN BALANCE GmbH. Born in Israel, she lived in Spain, the United Kingdom, Israel and now in Zurich, Switzerland, with her husband and three children. As a busy mum, Dalia provides insight into natural healthy weight loss and well-being via one-on-one private sessions or coaching, always factoring in that no one size fits all, and taking into account the kosher diet and our Jewish beautiful occasions.
If you’d like to understand more Dalia’s approach, she has a free guide on “First Steps to Healthy Weight Loss” on her website: http://www.fullyinbalance.com