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I have always loved fruit. I remember being filled with delight and excitement when the fruit truck would arrive outside our house in South Africa, filled with boxes of the most luscious African fruits of the season: many varieties of sweet mangoes, firm and juicy lychees, sweet and firm seedless grapes. Or, I would simply love going with my mom to the fruit store and having a sticky fruit feast in the car on the way home.
And today, I still get excited by fruit, and can eat copious amounts, which would be fabulous if I didn’t value self-discipline, or if eating fruit at my whim actually worked for my body.
I still get excited by fruit
So, I decided to visit a renowned raw-food healer and see what she thought about my passion for fruit. One of the things she is big on is food combining and eating certain foods at certain times of the day. According to her, fruit is amazing, but only for breakfast, and only between seven and nine in the morning. A precious two-hour period to get my fill of fruit for the entire day.
Now, this two-hour period happens to coincide with getting my daughters ready for preschool and getting them out the house, which doesn’t leave much time for the focused eating of fruit that I dream about before bed. But still, I find moments to sit down and savor some delicious fruit.
If you catch me on a bad day, I am a little grumpy about this whole meal plan. I find myself thinking how extreme it is. What’s so bad about snacking on a piece of fruit? I think. Or, It’s 9:15 a.m., what’s the big deal? But, catch me on a good day, and this two-hour block of time is a revelation. My digestion feels better. I am eating bigger meals, and more vegetables later in the day, and I feel lighter. But most of all, setting aside time for a fruit meal (which can include shakes, nuts, seeds, nut milk and any version of fruit I desire) allows me to really relish and appreciate fruit in a way that I have never done before. I am excited to get out of bed and even when I am awakened while it is still dark outside, my fruit meal is a sweet little surprise that awaits me.
This got me thinking about certain aspects of Jewish life, like Shabbat. Having times when certain activities are not allowed is a real gift. For example, my 4-year-old daughter loves drawing, and I explain to her how special it is to be able to look forward to drawing after Shabbat is over, and how she may not love it quite as much if she were allowed to draw any time, all the time. Although there are people who are careful not to leave children with a negative feel for Shabbat, I think she gets my point, and I see it as an important lesson. Of course, I also make sure she gets to enjoy special things only on Shabbat, like treats and ice-cream that she loves, so she looks forward to Shabbat and is left with a sweet taste.
Having times when certain activities are not allowed is a real gift
I think, also, how amazing the Torahis in that it builds into the Jewish calendar all kinds of anticipation: the bride and groom not seeing each other in the week preceding their wedding; abstaining from bread and leavened foods for the eight days of Passover; husband and wife following the laws of taharat hamishpacha (family purity); waiting for the special clothes and treats that are set aside just for Shabbat.
I think of King Solomon’s wise words: “Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heaven.” There is something so special about everything having its proper time and place.
So, back to the fruit situation. I know there are a million-and-one dietary theories that contradict each other. I know that each person’s body and needs are unique, and believe that this recommendation is not necessarily the way for everybody. But for now, I have to say, this two-hour fruit thing is good for me and is teaching me quite a lot. And anyway, there are only 21.5 hours until my next bite of fruit.