(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 12:28:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel < email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Kitniyot on Passover
Debbie in Torah Forum Volume 4 Number 70 asks advice for a vegetarian on
Pesach. The following 5 facts will summarize a good strategy for
vegetarians. The bottom line is that a WALNUT-SPINACH dish has as much
protein as meat and can comfortably be used by a vegatarian.
1) PROTEIN IS THE ONLY PROBLEM
It is permissable on Pesach to eat all VEGETABLES and FRUITS. The only real
problem for a vegetarian is obtaining sufficient PROTEIN.
2) 7 SOURCES FOR COMPLETE PROTEIN
Most people are unaware that the body needs not only PROTEIN but COMPLETE
PROTEIN. "Protein" refers to the 22 amino acids. The body needs 8 of these
amino acids which are referred to as the ESSENTIAL amino acids. (There are
10 essential amino acids in children). The body can in fact manufacture the
other 14 amino acids itself. If the body does not get ALL 8 essential amino
acids then the body has received NOTHING in PROTEIN since it will convert
the incomplete amino acids to sugars or fat.
There are 7 principle sources of COMPLETE PROTEIN (ie. foods that contain
ALL 8 amino acids). They are a) Meats, b) Fishes, c) Milk products, d)
eggs, e) flour products (wheat, soy..), f) most nuts (e.g. peanuts) g) most
seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds).
3) A PESACH SOLUTION: SEEDS & NUTS
We now see the problem: A strict vegetarian does not eat meat, fish, milk
or eggs and on Passover cannot have many flour products. If you prohibit
legumes then peanuts become prohibited also. But as the above list shows
other types of nuts and seeds are good sources of proteins.
In particular the following sources of protein provide the body with as
much protein as peanuts: 1) pignolia nuts, 2) pumkin seeds, 3) squash
seeds, 4) sunflower seeds, 5) cashews, 6) sesame seeds, 7) pistachio nuts,
8) Black or English Walnuts, 9) Brazil nuts.
My personal custom is to use Walnuts for the Charoseth. There are many
walnut based dishes (e.g. Mock chopped liver). Black Walnuts contain 40%
more protein than English walnuts. If you combine your dishes with
broccholi, cauliflower, spinach, okra or chard than the RESULTING COMBINED
nut-vegetable dish will have as much protein as meat.
4) HALACHIC COMMENT ON CHANGING MINHAG
To the best of my knowledge and belief it is PREFERABLE not to change
minhags or ask for Hatarath Nedarim IF ONES NEEDS CAN BE OBTAINED ELSEWHERE.
5) UN STUDIES: REFERENCES
Under certain circumstances two incomplete proteins if eaten AT THE SAME
TIME can complement each other and produce a complete protein. The United
Nations commissioned many studies on this to help 3rd world nations that
don't have adequate protein. You can find this information in various
books. One such (old) book is
Diet for a Small Planet, Lappe, 1971, Ballantine Books, NY.
As already indicated, based on this book, it would appear that a
WALNUT-SPINACH combination will provide as much protein as meat.
Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA
Rhendel @ mcs drexel edu