We wish each other a happy Chanukah, but unfortunately for many, it's not so healthy, to say the least.
True, olive oil and cheese are traditional foods on Chanukah. Somehow, that filtered down to become a nightmarish unhealthy mixture of cheap oil, white flour and white sugar, filled with hauntingly high-sugar content jelly to make a fried donut that in Israel is called a sufganiya, literally, a "soaked ball of dough", appropriately called so because it's soaked with oil, sugar and empty carbs. Add to the fact that at many Chanukah celebrations, these donuts get washed down with banana liqueur. What a formula for high blood pressure, indigestion and weight gain! For sure, the Maccabees didn't touch these health hazards.
True, we eat cheese and olive oil on Chanukah in remembrance of the salty cheese that the brave sister of Yehuda Maccabee, Yehudit, fed the Greek King before she beheaded him. We eat foods with olive oil to commemorate the miracle of the tiny pure vial of oil burning for eight days when it only sufficed for one. But, there are many healthier ways to enjoy cheese and olive oil. Start with a Mediterranean Salad (photo, above), super healthy, easily digestible and very appropriate for Chanukah. Mix fresh veggies with olives, salt and pepper, olive oil and cubes of your favorite cheese. Add the herbs of your choice for extra taste. You'll have a healthy and enjoyable Chanukah meal, where you won't gain an ounce the whole eight days of this lovely holiday. We want your Chanukah to be just as healthy as it is happy.