Try some new traditions this Thanksgiving. Holistic, raw, vegan sound good to anyone? I don’t know about you but in the Thanksgiving past I usually ended up stuffed, unhappy and couldn’t wait to take another nap. It’s about the most unhealthy holiday I can think of. The family or friends create meals meant for overeating and if you are a family of drinkers, just pile on the calories, please. In a quick review of the stats, it appears that persons consume a average of 5,000 calories on T-day. Don’t get me wrong, I love food and I have loved the many homes I have spent Thanksgiving in (well, most of them). But, as a Holistic Mama I am looking out for me and the kid. I want her to know that there are options for healthier and happier living and that includes creating some new traditions, or perhaps, new non-traditions.
1. Skip the traditional sides. You will be lessening overall calories and carbohydrates with just a few changes. Plus, many of the side dishes I am going to list here are missing FIBER. Keep this in mind when you are choosing your meals for the day.
Canned foods and packaged foods are not filling because they are lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and fibers. Of course, you also know to try and stay away from anything in a BOX or CAN. Here is what else to steer away from. I never liked stuffing. Plus it’s about 320 calories and 43g of carbs. Skip it. Mashed potatoes – carbs, and when you make them wrong, they taste horrible. Cranberry sauce – what is it? Any gelatin like food that is sliced should not be trusted. Read the label for Cranberry “sauce” – sugar and sodium in a can, which equals more carbs. Fresh cranberries, though, are the bomb. Lots of fiber, and Vitamin C. See if there is a local farm near you.
You can trust this Raw Cranberry Sauce recipe from Elana’s Pantry. Next is Sweet Potatoes. Okay, skip the sugar and marshmallow junk (609 calories, 132g carbs), and create some amazing and tasty baked sweet potatoes simply by slicing into wedges and spreading organic garlic salt, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper – a lot of spices would work. But, if your heart truly desires the softer version of sweet potatoes then go for this pumpkin pie recipe which has only 242 calories and 41g carbs (eat half a slice for even less calories/carbs). With any of these recipes, always substitute organic ingredients whenever you don’t see them and, if there are questionable ingredients, do a Google search for the equivalent substitute.
2. Some people are Vegan or Vegetarian and not eating turkey. What is Thanksgiving without a turkey, you ask in dismay? Some cannot imagine Thanksgiving dinner without the commercialized turkey. Shall we review turkey farms? This isn’t because I am an animal rights activist or militant Vegan, (which I have come to heads with, at times). Most Vegans just want peace, love and veggies though. And, most of us like animals, no argument there. Farm Sanctuary does and they give a detailed review of the turkey used for meat. But, here is the visual breakdown of a typical turkey plant. Look, Mom, no gloves!
3. Eat like our ancestors. Maybe we should eat the food they ate at the first Thanksgiving. HuffPost did an article on this subject. But, what they left out was the food was leaner then, no pesticides or other chemicals to worry about. No GMO’s in the cornfed animals. Meats and fish were local, hand-caught or wild, and incredibly fresh. Food was eaten in season. See the RECIPES here in the HuffPost article. But, keep in mind, that the pictured recipes have all been modernized. Miso, for instance, was not in America at the time of the settlers. Sorry, HuffPost, now that I think about it, your article is missing a lot of content for readers who many not understand all these details.
4. Add more GREEN to your plate. Actually, add the rainbow. Okay, let’s review what we have mentioned so far. ORANGE – sweet potatoes. RED – cranberries. PURPLE – you could dice up some purple potato and spice it up and bake. BLUE – this blueberry desert sounds incredible, so I pinned it! YELLOW – I would say corn, and my father’s side all have farms in Iowa. It’s a shame that most of our corn is GMO. We used to have the best sweet corn while growing up. Why not try something different? Yellow cauliflower. Mmmm. You can make a cauliflower rice or simply steam and add real butter. The cauliflower rice is actually a great option for low carb and this recipe adds some kale, garlic, hot pepper and basil and made quickly in a high powered blender. It is raw vegan as well! GREEN – finally, the green additions are endless. Spinach with spice, brussels sprouts with chestnuts (I made this one year and it was a hit), steamed kale with a tahini sauce, braised rainbow chard, raw dinosaur kale with nutritional yeast, kale chips as an appetizer, string green beans, arugula salad with almond slivers.
6. And, last but not least. Don’t sit for four hours after eating a big dinner. This is a trick I learned when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes. I never had to take medication and was able to manage it with the right food and exercise. ALWAYS move after eating. Typically, women will be moving by cleaning up the kitchen and dining area, and men can join in too. Washing dishes, putting away linens, sweeping, organizing leftovers, and taking a walk to the garbage, going for a hike or sled ride – depending on your climate, are all ways to move. Take the dog for a walk. Get outside and play tag football – my brothers, Uncle, and cousins used to love to do this. Once the calories are burned and the food is better digested, chances are, you won’t need that nap.
I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving this year. This is a year of gratitude for my new website, which I built myself, time with my amazing daughter, and friends and family I have relied on for love and support. I am going to be up in the mountains away from it all, starting my own new traditions and breathing in fresh air and new ideas.