Keeping It Healthy?

Posted: March 3, 2010 | Author: Rita | Filed under: Rita | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »

Warning: I did NOT create the following baked good:

Several observant Jews work in my office and so on Monday, the first workday after Purim, co-workers dumped the unwanted remnants of their Purim baskets in the kitchen for others to “enjoy”. This, dear readers, is the shocking aftermath. What the heck is it? I’m not sure. I can only deduce that some snack factory in Illinois churned this out in hopes of capitalizing on the ever popular Twinkies market — seriously, who eats Twinkies (or Twinkies knockoffs) anymore?

What kills me is that someone actually ate this since there are a couple of them missing!

What’s my point? Well, aside from looking plain ol’ gross, check out what this “Jr. Strawberry Jelly Roll” is made out of:

A bunch of preservatives, chemicals and sugars. Unhealthy, bad for you, and probably tastes like crap. But what’s this? There are two hechshers (kosher symbols) at the bottom, the little ‘M’ and the tablet with a ‘K’ inside. Yes, this package of sugary empty calories is kosher. So what? Well, despite the fact that in recent years there have been giant leaps forward when it comes to food companies producing healthier products, or at least touting the scant health benefits of their own junky foods, kosher products generally have lagged far, far behind in getting in on this trend. This is a sad but typical example of an item you’d see stuffed on a grocery shelf in the kosher section. I’ll bet if your local supermarket has one, you might find several products like these. It’s as if retailers think Jews don’t eat anything but overly preserved gefilte fish, instant soup mixes that still have loads of trans fats or cans of oversalted chicken soup! Please.

But there is a ray of hope.

Despite the fact that many kosher products barely resemble real food, there are now thousands of mainstream items by big brand names that are now certified kosher. You probably have at least a few in your pantry or fridge and don’t even know it! There is an encouraging amount of organic and healthier kosher products now, even antibiotic-free chickens at Whole Foods! Though stereotypical “Jewish food” isn’t historically healthy (giant pastrami sandwich with a side of pickles and schmaltz, anyone?), it’s nice to know that despite the predominance of the “Jr. Jelly Roll” and its ilk there are increasing amounts of Jews who care about their health and what the heck they’re eating. Even rabbis are getting in on the healthy lifestyle thing.

So while I came back to work after a lovely weekend and found really nasty snacks, I did what I felt to be the right thing:

I threw them out!

Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.