Life on the other side: Melt, Svelte and Gelt

Let’s face it, there are few things women have in common as I must admit, although I’m not a very active universal as food, figure and finance. Or, put a bit differently: person (my most common activity is fingers melt, svelte and gelt. Obviously there are more important flying across the keyboard), when I do force matters to be considered (health, family, etc.), but I’m talking myself to do some exercise, I always feel good generalities here – and within the Western world, few topics ignite the hearts and minds of women as do issues of yummy food, looking good and burning those bucks. We’re all different – yes. But boy can we find commonalities over a melted tuna sandwich, the latest and greatest diet craze of a 70% off sale.

Living in Israel doesn’t make us any different – same thoughts and desires, just different geography.

Those of us on this side of the Atlantic have had lots to stress about lately (not to imply that you on that side have not). The war in Gaza, living under constant threat, the tragedies. I know it’s maddening for our friends and families overseas as well. If you’re a concerned and informed human being, then of course you’re worried about “the situation” here. So what’s the solution? Melt, svelte or gelt!

Being a bit of an irreverent person, one who tries to see humor in many situations (it helps relieve my stress), I relate to food at times like these more than any other. And there’s no food as comforting as something melted!

Place a few slices of Swiss or Muenster or cheddar or Gouda between two slightly toasted slices of whole grain bread, add a few thin slices of red onion, a generous helping of tuna mixed with mayo, maybe a tomato, perhaps a pickle, and slap that baby into the toaster oven (or better yet your panini press). Wait till the cheesy heavenliness starts to melt, take it out and eat. YUMMY! Works better than two Excedrin – I promise you – especially if followed by slightly melted Haagen-Dazs Belgian Chocolate.

Of course if you’re the disciplined type, or the gym rat sort don’t have any among my friends, but I expect they do exist), you’ll go for
the svelte solution. Working out, getting healthy, being busy with your body, watching your weight, etc. – that seems to downsize the tension. Or so I’ve been told.

I must admit, although I’m not a very active person (my most common activity is fingers flying across the keyboard), when I do force myself to do some exercise, I always feel good afterward.

And try as I might to ignore the endless ads to remove wrinkles, pump up the lips, lose cellulite, add curves, subtract age spots, blah blah blah, I can’t ignore them. I want to look good; who doesn’t? So maybe I will fall for that miracle product that promises to solve all my problems with the swipe of a magic wand, or buy that brand of cosmetics aimed at women my age – and, yes, I will of course concentrate on what stars were wearing at the latest U.S. award’s ceremony (hey, I live in the Levant – I need the exposure) because I, like most other women, want to be considered sexy and svelte!

And the final tension reliever? The one thing that is ALWAYS good for our health? The one solution that is universally popular in the U.S., Israel and everywhere else in the world? That would be SHOPPING!

Because, just between you and me, nothing can soothe the soul like spending shekels. Let’s face it, how many women do you know who don’t love shopping? I’ve heard there are one or two, so this not for them. But as for the rest of us – bring on the bargains!

Shopping, and especially finding a bargain, is one hell of a tension reliever. I have seriously looked into the psychological reasons behind this phenomenon. Why does walking out of a store laden with shopping bags full of metzias cause such glee? And bringing those bags home, spreading your purchases across the bed and reliving that moment when the sales clerk rang them up and added an additional discount that you weren’t even aware of? Heaven!

So … if you’re a woman, and interested in your health, take it from me – these too can be a few of your favorite things.

Anne Kleinberg, author of Menopause in Manhattan and several cookbooks, left a cushy life in Manhattan to begin a new one in Israel. Now she’s opened a boutique bed and breakfast in her home on the golf course in Caesarea. For details, visit and

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