Dear Miriam | Passover Perplexes Gluten-free Dieter


Dear Miriam,

I generally follow a gluten-free diet year-round, and my practice is to eat kitniyot on Passover. I use this time of year to stock up on GF products that are otherwise hard to find, but I don’t have clear ways to differentiate my own diet for the holiday. What are some ways I can observe Passover without eating much (or any) matzah, since my year-round diet is already basically kosher for Passover?


Always Chametz-free

Dear Free,

While Passover often feels like it’s all about food, focusing only on what we eat misses so many spiritual/religious angles to explore, from liberation to peoplehood to passing values onto the next generation. Pick one, or several, of these ideas to latch onto, which may allow you to broader your perspective on what role Passover can play in your life regardless of your diet.

There are also many ways you can still participate in the outward signs of holiday prep. You can (and should!) still clean your house. Even if you haven’t been eating chametz, others in your house may have been. Ridding your home of dirt (rather than leavened food) isn’t really the point, but it can feel wonderful to do a mindful, time-sensitive deep cleaning. You can throw away or donate any food you know your household isn’t ever going to eat, change dishes and pour boiling water on your countertops and display ritual objects like a seder plate or Miriam’s cup that only get used once a year.

Also spend some time focusing on what you want to get out of the seder experience. Are you planning to host guests this year? Want to try out a different Haggadah? Learn a new tune for a holiday song? Add in some contemporary readings about relevant themes? I know many people who focus so heavily on the food aspects of the holiday that by the time they sit down at seder, it’s hard to remember what we’re even gathering to commemorate.

I also encourage you to think mindfully about what you’re going to eat for the week. Even if you could eat the same food you eat year-round, it doesn’t mean you should. Are there any traditional Passover favorites you really enjoy? Any childhood food memories you could recreate? Even if the recipes take some readjusting to be truly gluten-free, bringing in a few Passover-specific holiday tastes could go a long way in making the week feel different.

Finally, remember that this holiday is also about celebration. If you’re a wine person, splurge on a nicer-than-usual bottle. If you love chocolate, take advantage of the wide selection of Passover options. If produce is what you crave, visit a farmer’s market and dream up an extensive karpas (vegetable) course for your seder. There are lots of ways to celebrate freedom, and I hope you get to taste as many of them as possible.

Be well,



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here