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SETTING UP YOUR KITCHEN AND FOOD PREPARATION
FOR THE “JEWISH YEAR DIET”
BY RABBI BENZION ELIYAHU LEHRER
The following worksheet is a “jump start” to be used in conjunction with an in-depth personalized nutritional counseling session with Benzion Lehrer. It may be just one small chapter in a bigger book about health, healing and nutrition.
COOKING AND PREPARATION: Please note that “Cooking” means bringing water to a boil, then lowering the flame thus allowing the pot to continue at a small boil. Best to never open pots which are cooking unless the food is done or if you are not sure if it is still boiling.
For BEST results I recommend at least one hands-on cooking lesson (most people need two – three lessons) to see exactly how these recipes are done in real life. All my cooking lessons include sitting together and eating the foods we’ve cooked and HOW to eat the food, proper chewing, etc. – all part of the cooking/eating lessons. – Benzion
Set up for your kitchen
Pots, pans, knifes, cutting board.
Pots and Pans
(No aluminum! Only stainless steel pots and pans)
You need a deep frying pan with a lid which has no holes. (If the only kind of lid is one which is glass and has a small hole, you can buy it though when cooking it will usually be best to close up the hole in order that no steam escapes.) Steam, condensation is needed when cooking with a small amount of water as we do, so that your vegetables remain cooking in water and do not burn.
A pressure cooker and a deflector (a piece of metal which is put between the flame and the pot to prevent burning and facilitate slow cooking)
A small, medium and big pot
A wooden cutting board and sharp non serrated sharp knife
Wooden spoons, ladle, mixing bowels, big jars for pickles
A Gas stove and oven is best
A good water filter such as reverse osmosis which can get out the fluoride which is put in water, or bottled water either mineral-spring water or distilled water. Here is a phone number for Chaim in Jerusalem who sells filters and will let you pay in five payments- 052-386-1425 or Eli in Tzfat- 050-246-8050
Basic food items needed in your kitchen
Good quality olive oil, sesame oil-plus toasted sesame oil,
Tamari Sauce-sometimes called “shoyu,” Sea salt or Himalaya
salt, Miso-best barley miso sometimes called “mugi miso,”
other miso’s like “rice miso” or “hatcho miso” or also good.
Umiboshi plum-paste and whole Plums, umiboshi plum
vinegar, brown rice vinegar, rice malt.
Whole grains: Organic brown rice-short grain and long grain/basmati
Barley, oats-whole, steel cut and rolled
Cracked wheat, burgle, millet, noodles, corn and
Beans: Best to limit to mainly these three: Lentils, Adzuki,
Chickpeas, occasional tofu and tempee.
Round-onions, pumpkins, (there are many types) butternut
squash, cabbage, cauliflower.
Root-carrots, radish, burdock, turnip
Leafy-Leeks, Kale, Broccoli, Collard greens, Mustard Greens
Parsley, The leaves from Kohlrabi.
Sea weeds- Wakamee for soups, (soak and check it well) Kombu
For cooking beans, Arami and Hijiki as a side dish.
beans also soak and check.
Nuts and Seeds-Almonds, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, techina
(ground sesame seeds) sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Dried and Fresh Fruits – in season (more on this below)
Healing drinks-Kuzu drinks, lotus root, bancha tea, bancha tea and
tamari, ranshino, umeshou drink, rejuvilac
Pickles and other fermented foods such as pickled radishes, sauerkraut, etc.
Condiments – Gomasio – sesame seeds roasted and ground into sea salt in a vessel called a suribachi, Tehina,
HEALTH FOOD STORES AND ORGANIC VEGETABLES – in Jerusalem
On Agrippas Street – Teva Net 02-624-8540 or 02-623-4859 and Olam haTeva 02-623-2191(they both deliver)
On Beit Yaakov Street (1 block south of Machane Yehuda Shuk off of Yaffo St.) – Hadassa’s 02-624-5655 (not sure if they deliver but they might)
In Givat Shaul on Nijara St. 02-652-0107 and Emek Refiam 02-566-6660– Zimera (they deliver)
They all also have organic fruits and vegetables except for Olam haTeva.
Ben’s Farms delivers Organic vegetables. Order online at www.bensfarms.co.il Must check for bugs!!! Most of Ben’s produce has some level of infestation, it’s crucial to be checked and cleaned. Ben’s is one of the only sources for kale and collard greens which are needed for the diet.
Farmers Market on Fridays on Emek Refiam (on the right side of the street at the beginning of Emek Refiam) has beautiful organic vegetables. Hours are usually about 9am – 2pm during winter, maybe open as late as 4pm during summer. Lots of booths, tables, etc. if you go through the entrance and go straight and then make a left to the end you’ll find the organic vegetable vendor.
This is a link to a directory in English for healthy resources in Israel: http://www.thericehouse.com/joy/Israel%20Health%20Directory.htm
Breads and sprouted wheat bread: Sourdough starter needs to be made to begin making sourdough bread which is without yeast. See attachment about this.
Sprouted wheat bread is extremely sweet like honey. The complex carbohydrates that are within the whole grain become simple sugars when sprouted. Also the nutritional value including the vitamins and protein contained within basically quadruples when sprouted. This is the case with all grains and beans which are sprouted.
Instructions for sprouting the wheat berries are the same for sprouting any grains or beans.
The main time for eating sprouted wheat bread begins at Parsha Beshalach, right before Tu b’Shvat. It’s a great time for beginning to renew your intestines and sprouted wheat bread / drinking Rejuvilac is one good way to do that.
To make sprouted wheat bread yourself you need to buy a meat grinder with a very strong motor. You CAN buy sprouted wheat bread pre-made but making it yourself is always better. Obviously only Organic. Organic wheat berries need to be soaked overnight. Make sure that they are covered. Use 4 cups of water (only good quality / filtered water) to one cup of wheat berries. The water that soaks the wheat berries overnight becomes something called “Rejuvilac.” Rejuvilac helps to renew the intestinal tract because it is high in healthy bacteria’s which the intestines need to be balanced. (By the way please note do not EVER drink water that you used to soak BEANS with, that water must be thrown out).
Strain the water (Rejuvilac) from the wheat berries after soaking overnight. Keep the wheat berries in a covered container, best in a dark place. Within two days they’ll begin to sprout. Don’t let them sprout too much longer than the berry itself (the sprout should be about as big as the berry itself). The time it takes to sprout varies according to the temperature in your kitchen/home.
Grind the wheat berries in the meat grinder. The mush that comes out of the grinder should not be worked with your hands TOO much, just lightly form the mush/dough with your hands but don’t knead it (minimal pushing, just lightly form it into whatever shape you want). Put it in the oven at the lowest heat possible (about 100 -150 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 – 65 Celsius) You could cook it on a bit higher heat but sprouted wheat bread is considered a “live” food so it’s best to cook lower. Some people actually let it cook in the sun on rocks! It could take anywhere from 3 – 5 hours to cook on a low heat.
Regarding the wheat – from the beginning when the seeds are dry if you’re going to make more than 1.4 kilos of wheat berries you can take challah without a bracha before baking (it’s a “suffick”).
Note about ALL cooking: any time we use the word “water” we mean filtered water, purified or bottled water – NOT tap water with fluoride, if you are lucky enough to live with a well or a mayan (spring) you can use that water with our blessings because it’s not fluoridated.
Having a nice soup helps prepare your body for the intake of food. Some soups are a meal within itself.
Miso soup is a great meal-starter and good for digestion, blood purifier and helps to get your blood sugar regulated and great as a first food in the morning.
How to make Miso soup: get a pot of water boiling, grate carrots and chop onions (thinly sliced) and put them in the water as it’s heating. You can also put some chopped parsley or other leafy green such as kale, broccoli or leeks in it as you like. Of course all vegetables need to be checked for bugs and if you use parsley you need to dip each stalk into a glass of water and then “whip it” (hold the stem and whip it so the water comes off in drops – any bug that may have been on it will go flying off with the drops of water. Normally parsley is very clean but you still have to do this because “you never know.”
Soak Wakami (seaweed) in a bowl of water separately while the water is boiling. Check the Wakami for little orange/brown shrimp-type creatures and remove them if you find them. Usually we don’t find them at all but some packages may be infested so you still have to check. Kashrut sign on package has no relevance to whether there are bugs / infestations!
When the water gets to boiling let it cook on a lower heat (top on the pot) for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the Wakami in for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Then you take the Miso paste (barley miso sometimes called “mugi”) about a teaspoon for every cup of soup (so if you’re making enough water for 4 cups of soup use 4 teaspoons, etc.) Put the miso in a separate bowl. Take some of the clear broth you’ve made with the boiling water and vegetables and put it in with the miso, mushing it up until the paste turns to liquid. Add the liquefied miso into the pot of water with vegetables without letting the miso boil – best to turn off the flame at this point, if you’ve kept the lid on the pot the water should be PLENTY hot – gently stir the miso into the broth and let it sit for 5 minutes covered but with no flame before serving.
Other soups –
Barley Lentil Soup – cook the barley (2 cups of water to one cup of barley with a couple of grains of salt) for 45 minutes. Then stir the barley off of the bottom of the pot and add as much water as you’d like depending on how liquid you want your soup. Add lentils, Kombu and any other vegetables you might like such as cut carrots and onions. Cover and cook for another hour at least. Season with Tamari or salt.
A note about checking grains: all grains must be checked thoroughly on a plate by pulling the grains towards you and looking carefully for bugs, rocks, worms, etc. Make sure you remove everything from the grain that isn’t grain!
If the grain seems a little soiled or dirty you can wash it off. Put the grain in a big bowl and swish it around with water (filtered water if possible) then drain it out. Always be aware of a stray bug that might float to the surface and of course, remove it. Often everything you are buying is really clean but you still must check.
Regarding food which was checked for bugs before cooking – if you’re eating and you find a bug, you don’t have to throw out all the food. If you find THREE bugs, you do have to get rid of the food. Which is another incentive for really checking well.
As with all grains and all foods – only Organic. The best brown rice is Lundenberg California organic short grain brown rice. The pressure cooker method is ideal. The water to rice ratio is 1 ¼ cups water to one cup of rice. Put the rice and the water into the pressure cooker*. Add a small amount of salt – like a small pinch / maybe only 3 granules of salt (good quality sea salt or Himalaya Salt) per cup of rice. Close the pressure cooker, put it on a high flame. Let it come to full pressure (it makes a loud hissing sound). At that point put it on a very low flame with a metal deflector underneath it. Let it sit there for 50 minutes. When 50 minutes are over turn off the flame, don’t open the pressure cooker. Let it sit for another 5 minutes with no heat. Then when you open the pressure cooker it’s good to mix the rice on the bottom of the pot with the rice on the top of the pot. Then you can eat it!
Boiled Brown Rice – 2 cups of water to one cup of rice. Put rice and water in pot with small amount of salt as above. Cover pot bring to boil, turn down flame to lowest possible setting and cook for 45 minutes. Don’t open the pot when it’s cooking unless you suspect it’s not boiling and you need to turn the flame up a little bit. Don’t stir the rice! While the rice is cooking you can be involved in other things. Don’t forget to turn the flame off after 45 minutes. Let it sit without heat for 5 minutes. Mix the bottom rice with the top rice when you do open the pot and then you can eat it.
For both methods – occasional use of long-grain or Basmati rice is ok too.
*There are those who prefer to soften the whole grain rice by soaking the rice overnight. Obviously you should only use good quality water to soak the rice in if you prefer it soaked before cooking. The advantage of soaking the rice is the softening of the grain makes it more easily digestible. It’s best to cook the rice with the water you soaked it in, keeping in mind that you need a two-to-one ratio of water to rice for boiled rice, and 1 ¼ cups of water to 1 cup of rice for rice cooked in a pressure cooker. (However when soaking BEANS as noted in the “beans” section below, you must discard the water you soaked the beans in.)
HOW TO EAT RICE
Rice does not digest without chewing each mouthful until what is in your mouth turns to liquid. You must only swallow the liquefied rice after chewing thoroughly. Swallow the liquid and continue to chew the solid. You’re breaking down the rice from a complex carbohydrate to a simple sugar when you chew the rice. You will feel a feeling of harmoniousness as you learn to eat this way. The Japanese picture-letter word for “harmony” is a mouth chewing rice. You’ll notice that rice has no taste when you first put it in your mouth but becomes sweeter and sweeter when you chew it. Don’t add salt, soy sauce or Tamari to your cooked rice at the table. If you really crave it, occasionally you can add olive oil and a little bit of salt but very seldom. Occasionally you can use “gomasio” (the sesame seed condiment) or Umboshi plum with your rice, but not frequently.
IDEAS FOR LEFTOVER RICE
If you don’t get your saliva in the rice by licking the serving spoon it can last up to 4 days. So use a separate serving spoon to serve your rice from the pot you cooked it in, don’t get saliva on that spoon or the rice will start to spoil.
You can reheat the rice with a little bit of water in the pot.
You can make a nice mushy (“Mommy”) breakfast serial by adding enough water to boil it for 10-15 minutes so it becomes a soft, mushy cereal. That kind of rice is good to season with some Miso.
You can sauté onions in either water or a little bit of sesame oil and you can add the rice to it once your onions are half-cooked. You can add tofu or vegetables mixed in as well.
For those who can’t chew there is something called Rice Cream. This substance can literally save someone’s life. 7 cups of water to one cup of rice. No salt. Let cook on a slow boil for 2 hours with lid closed. Turn off the flame let it cool down. You will need a cheesecloth bag or clean cotton cloth to put the rice into because you’re going to SQUEEZE the rice and what comes out of it is the Rice Cream. Bear in mind that what first comes out is liquidy and that’s not what we’re looking for. You can eat it, but the stuff that comes out after the liquidy stuff which is similar to a glue-like consistency is the Rice Cream. It will get all over your fingers while you’re squeezing it through the cheesecloths. One or two tablespoons of this Rice Cream will make someone feel like they’ve had a satisfying meal, centers them, and purifies their blood. Once fully squeezed, what’s left in the cheesecloth can be baked and it becomes a delicious crunchy “bread-like” little treat.
Barley – cook like you cook rice (pressure cooker or pot method). To make creamy barley cook it twice – after the first cooking scoop the bottom to the top so it won’t stick, add half the amount of the original amount of water you added, and cook again for the same amount of time. This method is especially good for barley lentil soup.
Cracked Wheat or “Bulgar” – cook the same way you cook boiled rice but cook for only 20 minutes.
Semolina (wheat porridge) – cook the same way as you cook boiled rice or cracked wheat but add an extra cup or two of water depending on how creamy you want it. For those who need a sweetener you can use RICE MALT or barley malt. Occasionally date syrup (Selan). Remember that tasting the sweetness of the grain by itself is best. Sweeteners should be used sparingly, depending on your needs.
Oatmeal-or steal cut oats– cook the same way you cook bulgar (20 minutes). For whole oats, best to soak over night and cook for 45 minutes, though they may be cooked with out soaking for one and half hour.—this would be best for a Shabbat Chilunt. For Chilunt either whole oats or barely is recommended.
Cornmeal/Polenta – cook the same way you cook Semolina.
Millet – Millet can come out mushy or kind of flaky depending on whether or not you roast it first. If you lightly roast the millet in a pan over fire (no need to use oil) until the grains are toasty then you add 2 -3 cups of water for every 1 cup of millet (depending on how mushy you want it). Add small amount (pinch) of sea salt. Cook for 35 minutes. To make it more mushy don’t roast the grains, add 3 cups of water to 1 cup grain and of course salt. For a delicious meal cook together with 1-inch chunks of skinned pumpkin. Once fully cooked you can mash the pumpkin into the millet. Millet is good for Diabetes.
Kasha (Buckwheat) – cook the same way you cook cracked wheat but for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn off the flame. Wrap the pot in a towel to keep it warm and keeps it cooking without flame and let it sit for half an hour.
Whole Wheat Noodles (spaghetti) – boil in water, add a bit extra salt. Note that the less water you use to boil the noodles, the more taste you’ll have in the noodles. Cook until the noodles are soft (“when you throw them against the wall they stick.”)
Beans and Lentils
The main three beans which we eat are chickpeas, adzuki and lentils. Only the bigger beans such as chickpeas need to be soaked overnight. The water must always be discarded – do not cook the beans in the same water you soaked them in.
If possible it’s best to cook beans with a strip of Kombu Seaweed. The Kombu not only reduces the gassiness of the beans but also adds a delicious flavor, and it’s high in Iodine.
When cooking beans we use no salt, because salt condenses the beans, causing them to come out hard. Therefore we only add salt-tamari sauce (tamari sauce is preferred) to the beans towards the end of cooking them after they’re already very soft. Therefore when using Kombu seaweed with beans, wash off the natural sea salt that is on the Kombu before adding it to the beans. Kombu (like Wakami) should be checked for bugs (small sea animals that look like tiny, tiny shrimp) prior to using – If the creases in the Kombu can be opened easily that is sufficient to be able to check it. If not you must soak it as we do for Wakami.
At the moment that we add the salt/tamari most of the water should be cooked out of the beans.
Cooking Chickpeas – first, soak them overnight in good quality filtered or bottled water in a covered pot. Drain the water out of the pot when you are ready to cook the chickpeas. They need at least 6 hours to soak – best is 8 hours. Use twice as much water as chickpeas because they will soak up much of the water they’re being soaked in.
Chickpeas are best cooked in a pressure cooker for a hour and a half. Put the chickpeas into the pressure cooker, add water and one or two small strips of Kombu seaweed which has had the salt rinsed off of it and has been checked as described before. Use only enough water to cover the chickpeas anywhere from ½ to 1 inch over the top of the beans. The beans have already soaked up a lot of water by soaking them overnight. In order to salt the beans once they get soft, you will have to open up the pot (releasing the pressure) quickly by putting the whole pot under a stream of cold water. With pressure cooking on a low flame and a slight “hiss” within 45 minutes of cooking the beans should be soft and ready to be salted. Once salted close the pot and continue to cook the beans for at least another 5 – 10 minutes. If your plan is to mash the beans into hummus they need to be really soft, so cook them (total cooking time) for an hour and a half.
Adzuki Beans – do not need to be soaked overnight unless you are making a special sweet dish with Kombu and pumpkin. For regular Adzuki Beans begin with 3 cups of water to one cup of Adzuki beans. Add a couple of small strips of Kombu as well. It will depend greatly on the type of pot you are using and how high your flame is as to how fast the water will cook out. ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ Therefore I suggest that after about 1 hour of cooking check the beans and see if there is still enough water for the beans to continue cooking. If the water is cooked out add a bit more water and continue cooking until the beans are very soft and the water is almost gone. At that point add as mentioned up above Tamari or salt to the beans. Cover and continue to cook another 15 minutes. Depending on the kind of pot you’re using and how high of a flame it could take up to two hours or more to cook the beans until they are soft.
Lentils – are cooked just like Adzuki beans (with Kombu) although they only need two cups of water to one cup of lentils, and become soft after only 45 minutes – 1 hour of cooking. Note: when it comes to cooking beans, undercooked is a problem though as far as extra cooking, often the more you cook them the sweeter they get. By adding extra water and Tamari sauce and/or Miso you can make Lentil soup.
Bean Sprouts – soak chickpeas or lentils, etc. overnight. Discard the water. Best to keep in a dark place. Check the beans periodically, they will begin to sprout within 2 -3 days. You may then eat them raw or lightly steamed.
Cooking Vegetables – The goal is to bring the natural sweetness and flavor out of the vegetables. We do this by using salt (sea salt) or Tamari. Often it is best to begin with cut onions. Slice them thin and put in a pot with either a minimal amount of water or some sesame oil. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on the onions when you begin to cook them. (When using Sesame oil it’s best to add a bit more Tamari or salt than you would use cooking with just water). Begin with a higher flame and then turn it down to simmer. Use a deep pan and keep the lid on it. If the lid has holes in it, stop up the holes. The goal will be the salt will pull the juice out of the onions, thus allowing you to cook your other vegetables in the sweet onion juices. As mentioned above, best if possible that your vegetable dishes consist of a round, root and leafy vegetable. The onion is a round vegetable, being that it takes longer to cook we add it first. Next it’s best to add carrots, thinly sliced at an angle (the angle cut of the carrot combines both the top and bottom of the carrot which have very different energies). Once the carrots are almost soft, add your leafy greens (kale, mustard, collard greens, parsley, leeks, etc.).
Refer to the list of vegetable at the top of this sheet for examples of round, Rooty and leafy vegetables.
Broccoli is best cooked by itself, as well as cauliflower.
Pumpkin and Butternut Squash are best baked or steamed.
Seaweeds – There are four major seaweeds we use in cooking – Kombu, Wakami, Arami, and Hijike. Kombu as mentioned before is used for cooking beans. Wakami as mentioned up above is used for Miso Soup. Arami and Hijike are both side dishes and are best prepared by adding them to sautéed onions and/or carrots or cabbage. Both Arami and Hijike must be soaked in water for about 20 minutes before using them. Season during the cooking with Tamari sauce.
Roasting nuts and seeds – We like to roast pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds. Sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans are also good. All nuts and seeds can be eaten raw, but the flavor is greatly enhanced by roasting them and it makes them more easily digestible. Heat a shallow stainless steel pan on a high flame and when it’s good and hot, throw the seeds you want to roast into the pan. Use a wooden spoon or a wooden spatula to CONTINUALLY STIR the seeds, don’t leave them alone for a minute. Turn the flame down to a lower flame when the seeds start to “pop” (pumpkin seeds in particular will make a popping sound) and the other kind of seeds will begin to smell like they are roasting and get brown. You don’t want to burn them, just roast them. Keep them moving in the pan at all times, don’t stop stirring them! The stainless steel pan will keep it’s heat even after the flame is turned completely off. Keep stirring the seeds and when they’ve just begun to brown, put a capful or two or three (depending on how many seeds you’ve used – about a teaspoon full of Tamari for every cup of seeds you’re roasting) of Tamari sauce on them and stir well, making sure all the seeds get a little of the sauce on them (not too much, not too little).
Teas- Green tea. Bancha tea. Organic teas without caffeine. These teas unless they come in teabags need to be cooked. Put water into a tea kettle, sprinkle in the tea, bring to boil, turn down and let cook for 5 minutes.
Checking and cleaning for bugs etc. It’s essential to check for bugs on ALL vegetables and fruits, grains and beans. Vegetables should be rinsed in water and looked at carefully under light, especially lettuce, cabbage, etc. – to check leafy greens that means one leaf at a time. It’s time consuming so don’t rush. Check parsley by dipping each piece into water, holding on to the stem and “whip” it a couple of times in the air, sending the drops of water flying (and whatever bugs were on the parsley will fly off with the water). Carrots and other root vegetables need to be washed in water but seldom if ever have actual bugs but they often will have dirt which should be washed off. Grains and beans both must be checked carefully as well use a plate to sort/sift through the grains and beans, removing small rocks and whatever looks like foreign material, then rinse the checked grains/beans off before you cook them. Any bugs will normally float to the top at that point and can be removed. Always keep an eye on your food as you’re cooking in case you missed a bug or G*d forbid a bug flies into the food as you’re cooking it. Good quality grains and vegetables normally don’t have too many bugs in them, once you start eating this way you will get to know the suppliers in your area and whose stuff is “buggy” and which farmers have buggy fields, etc. Please note that broccoli and cauliflower, if there are small bugs in the “elbows” of the flowers you must cut the flowers off and only eat the stalk/stems, the whole flower part will be infested. I have found and farmers have verified this to me that broccoli and cauliflower are much cleaner (as well as other leafy greens) during the three weeks between the 17th of Tevet and the 9th of Shvat. At this time during these three weeks it’s the main time to include broccoli and cauliflower and other leafy greens in your diet.
Only a person who has good eyes, is calm and fears G*d should be checking for bugs. And of course it’s important to have good lighting when you’re checking.
Foods like dried fruits (dates, figs) should be checked as you’re eating them.
Flour- refer to my sheets on Sourdough bread.
Fruits – Dried fruit (dates, figs, raisins, apricots, prunes, cherries.). Organic is best. Fresh fruit – apples, pears, peaches, plums, watermelon (all when in season only). Grapes. It’s important to know when “in season” is. Fresh fruit is available year round in most places but is it really “in season,” that is, in the place that you live (in a temperate-climate place for instance and not a tropical place) is it really pear season in December? Just because a fresh fruit is available (because it’s been imported) doesn’t mean it’s “in-season.” Get to know your environment and eat fruit according to the season you are in. Fresh fruit is really only in season during the summer (after Lag b’Omer and really begins after Shavuos) and late summer (until Sukkot). Tree Berries and Chessiks come into season first, then watermelons, peaches, cherries, etc. Strawberries begin to be in season during Adar. Best to hold off on eating fresh fruit in Chodesh Iyar until after Shavuos (you may just begin about the 18th of Iyar). From Shavuos until Tammuz eat only fresh fruit. From Tammuz on you may want to begin cooking your fruit (compote, etc.) and slowly cutting down until grape season (white grape season after the 9th of Av which peaks at Tu b’Av). Hold off a bit from the grapes until the month of Elul (about the 15th of Elul), that begins red grape season all the way through Chag haSukkot. After Sukkot it’s best to turn your grapes into wine.
Foods to avoid – Unless you live in the tropics, it’s best to avoid all tropical fruits and vegetables. This includes all nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant), peppers, hot/spicy (“harif”) seasonings, Vitamin C supplements, oranges, grapefruits, bananas, mangos, papayas, guavas, pineapples, kiwis, persimmons, etc. Sugar, molasses, bee honey, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, (for most of us) dairy products, coffee (coffee is tropical), soda, artificially flavored drinks, white flour products, non-organic produce, non-organic grains and beans, wine which has had sulfides added to it, tap water (fluoride).
Animal products should be kept at a minimum. It’s good to eat fish for Shabbat and meat on Rosh Chodesh and during the Chaggim. Try to get the best quality fish and meat (Organic if possible). Eggs should only be organic and eaten only VERY occasionally (best only during certain months such as Elul, Adar and during Pesach). It’s not good to eat eggs on a regular basis, only once in a while.
Water – if you’ve using a filter system only use a high-quality filter system such as reverse osmosis. Otherwise use spring water or bottled water.