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Right now we’re in the middle of “The 9 Days”- the saddest time in Jewish history. From the first of the Jewish month of Av until the 9th is a period of semi-mourning where, among other things, eating meat is not permitted except for Shabbos. The 9th of Av is the date that the Great Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed- both times, it happened on the same Jewish date. A few other sad things in Jewish history happened on this date as well. The 9th itself is a fast day; no eating or drinking anything from sundown the night before until nightfall of that day.
My kids don’t seem to mind the lack of meat for dinner. Jack (type B ) is always perfectly happy to subsist on grains and dairy- the challenge is to get him to eat fruits and veggies. Hannah usually feels better with meat for dinner, but has been doing perfectly fine with eggs, fish, and dairy. She just needs to make sure she gets enough vegetables and protein, and she doesn’t have any noticeable reactions to “avoid” dairy products.
As an O nonnie, I need a lot of animal protein to maintain normal function. While I do well on fish and eggs, I also need red meat to feel my best. Needless to say, I haven’t been feeling my best this week. I made sure to eat meat every day the prior week, and less fish than usual, to help prepare me for a week without red meat or poultry. But I still couldn’t feel satisfied on the first “meatless day” until I ate some cheese, which I’m not supposed to be eating. Too much cheese makes me stuffed up and it can also make me irritable.
After the first day sent me reaching for “avoid” cheeses such as mozzarella and Muenster, I began eating chevre BEFORE the cravings got the better of me. Chevre isn’t listed on my SWAMI at all. I could say “It’s an avoid for O nonnies, and I’m an O nonnie, so it’s an avoid for me.” Indeed, that’s the stance I take most of the year. But goat dairy has always been easier on my system than cow dairy, so I figured it’s my best bet right now. I then decided to look up how chevre is made, and compare that to the cheeses on my neutral and beneficial lists. It’s cultured and then strained, not cooked, making it closer to quark cheese than any other cheese on my dairy list. Quark is a “beneficial” food for me. If the cheese is cultured, strained, then cooked in any way, it would make the chevre more like cottage cheese, which is neutral.
I’m still not sure how I feel about consuming chevre on a regular basis, but for this week, I think it’s my best choice. Remaining unsatisfied isn’t a realistic option either. I’m feeling stuffed up right now, but I don’t know if that’s from the chevre or a continued reaction from the cow’s milk cheeses I ate a few days ago.
For Shabbos, when meat consumption is permitted, I plan to eat meat for most, if not all, of my meals. Normally we make fish and salad for Saturday’s lunch, but this week we’re serving cold cuts with the salads instead. I’m not doing this to be hedonistic or to have a “meat fest” which would be inappropriate at this time of year; I’m simply making enjoyable Shabbos food while also ensuring that I nourish my body with what it needs to make it through the rest of the week, including the upcoming fast.
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