Medical professionals: don’t overeat after Yom Kippur
Food for thoughtBagels and lox are tempting

Medical professionals: don’t overeat after Yom Kippur

'It’s not like you need to eat the three meals that you missed'

Rabbi Barbara Symons of Temple David in Monroeville is expecting 100 guests at her Yom Kippur break fast on the night of Sept. 30. Both Hillel Jewish University Center and Chabad House on Campus are anticipating more than 200 attendees at their co-hosted Saturday evening meal, said Danielle Kranjec, senior Jewish educator at Hillel JUC.

For those gathering in Monroeville, Oakland or at a host of other sites, the post-Yom Kippur plate may appear pretty similar.

Symons plans on serving bagels and lox. The Pitt party is offering a “dairy bagel schmear,” noted Kranjec. The potluck dinner that Rabbi Paul Tuchman of Temple B’nai Israel in White Oak anticipates joining should also be familiar, he said.

Despite the bountiful bagels and luxurious lox sure to supply many menus, eager eaters should exercise discretion and common sense in the moments following Yom Kippur, said several local physicians.

“The most important thing is to not overeat when breaking a fast, which is a tendency we all have,” explained Sari Cohen, a naturopathic doctor at the UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine.

Sari Cohen

“If you eat too much, you’re going to end up feeling crummy, and you don’t want that,” echoed Elan Noorparvar, an internist at Century III Medical Associates in West Mifflin.

When the Day of Atonement comes to a close, as opposed to feverishly filling one’s empty gut, “you want to ease back into eating slowly,” said Cohen.

“It’s not like you need to eat the three meals that you missed. You can have a normal dinner, and your body will catch up,” agreed Noorparvar.

Ideally, post-Yom Kippur nourishment would be easily digestible foods, which are “not too fatty or greasy,” said Cohen. Rice and fish may be suitable options, she added.

“Even with a couple bites of a cookie, [your sugar will] come up quickly,” said Noorparvar. “You don’t want a heavy meal.”

While cramming crackers down a parched maw should be avoided, something else to keep in mind is that regardless of one’s hunger, staying hydrated is key, said the physicians.
“Water is excellent,” said Cohen.

“In general, water is always a good thing,” agreed Noorparvar.

Although orange juice is a staple on the break fast menu, reaching for the liquid extract right after fasting really “depends on the person,” said Cohen. “I find juice too sweet and will crash if that’s the first thing I go for, but that could be individual.”

Both doctors recommend that as with eating, similar judgment be used when quenching one’s initial thirst. “Don’t pound four bottles of water right up front. Take it easy; slowly hydrate yourself over the course of the night,” said Noorparvar.

Between the bagels, lox and beverages, if you thought that there was a lot to consider (and now less to eat) after the fast, Cohen has a recommendation for earlier. “I think there’s a tendency to overindulge before a fast as well,” she said. Ingesting too much food or drink beforehand could “make fasting even harder, so a similar meal before the fast could help ease people into it.”

As the authorities will tell you, in the absence of food, Yom Kippur delivers much food for thought. Similarly so at the holiday’s close.

Said Symons, break fast is “an opportunity for our community, which had been in prayer together, to relax, socialize together and enter the New Year. I also want to ensure that no one goes home alone.” pjc

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

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