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Top Tips for Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season
The holiday season is all about abundance and sharing that abundance with friends and family. Unfortunately, this also means that there is an abundance of sugary, salty, artificially flavored, and sometimes, even toxic food being passed around.
Now, no one wants to show up at Christmas or New Year’s Day dinner and find nothing but big bowls of sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, however, and we are here to help point you in the right direction so you can enjoy yourself without sacrificing your health and without offending anyone. Keep reading so you can make good decisions this holiday season so no one will mistake you for Santa Claus later on.
1. The Turkey
If you plan on serving turkey or ham this season, the last thing you want to do is serve your family some GMO fed, preservative laden, factory farmed animal. This time of year, many farmers markets offer organic, free range animals, sometimes butchered fresh for you and ready to be picked up any day you want.
If you live in a more remote area that has wild turkeys and you, or someone you know, doesn’t mind hunting, a wild bird is also a great way to avoid those factory farmed birds. Look for the words “free range” or “non-caged” animal.
2. The Gravy
Many of them are using artificial colors and flavors also. Do yourself and your family a favor by learning to make gravy from scratch with real turkey juice thickened with some organic starches and flour.
There are probably hundreds of recipes on how to make your own gravy and if you have never done this before, you will be surprised at how easy it really is. (It also tastes far better than any packaged or canned gravy).
Pies are a nice treat and don’t have to be those sugar and fat laden ones you see for sale in your supermarket.
Baking a pie from scratch means you control the ingredients and you can make it a healthful treat for your family. Don’t use those cancer causing hydrogenated GMO vegetable oils such as soy, canola, or corn oil. Don’t use shortening either, instead, use either a natural plant based fat, like coconut oil, or use natural animal lard instead of processed vegetable shortening.
Make the filling from fresh or frozen organic fruit and instead of overly processed GMO sugar, use coconut sugar or palm sugar. You really won’t notice much a difference in the taste, but you will notice that you taste a whole lot more natural fruit and less of the sugary flavor.
You might even want to try a “raw” pumpkin pie. Cook the crust, and then add raw pumpkin puree. Serve this in a bowl because it tends to drip quite a bit, but you might be surprised at how good it tastes without the sugar, milk, and cooking. You can add some cinnamon and nutmeg to it, but try leaving the pumpkin just the way it is.
4. The Potatoes
As you probably don’t need to be told, instant mashed potatoes are less than ideal for your health.
They don’t taste anywhere near as good as home-made mashed potatoes. Yes, they take a bit longer, but they really aren’t any extra work. Buy some fresh, organic potatoes, any color you like, and slice them into cubes. (Leave that vitamin rich skin on!) The smaller you cut them the less time they take to cook. Boil them for about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size, then drain. Put them back in the pot and add some salt, pepper, and some natural butter (not margarine).
Use a potato masher and mash those puppies until they are smooth as silk. Completely natural and super easy to make!
5. The Stuffing
Store bought stuffing is usually full of excess salt, MSG, and has hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Again, this is another one that is super easy to make yourself, it just takes a little planning.
Buy some nice thick potato or French bread and cut it into small pieces. Leave it out to dry for a few days. After that it’s up to you! There are probably a thousand different ways to make stuffing. Look for a recipe that sounds good to you.
Most stuffing’s use nothing more than dried bread, some onions, celery, some spices, and a bit of water or turkey broth.
6. The Bread
Most Americans use rolls of some type for their holiday meals.
If you buy yours already cooked at the bakers, or if you like to buy those heat and serve rolls, you are more than likely getting a good dose of GMO hydrogenated oils, preservatives, sugar and salt. Find out more why you should never eat store bought bread.
If you can, learn to make bread, rolls, or biscuits by hand. You can control the ingredients and there is nothing better than fresh, hot, home-made bread right from the oven.
7. Veggie Dishes
Be sure to serve plenty of these but buy fresh, organic veggies and steam them or very gently cook them. Don’t let anyone boil the heck out of your broccoli or green beans! You can still make a green bean casserole with those luscious almond slivers by stir frying instead of boiling or baking it into a mush pile.
Now if you are going to someone else’s home for any of these holiday meals, chances are you don’t know what is in them or how they made them. Sometimes you can strike up a conversation and get a little info (Mary, I love this pie! Did you make it yourself? You must tell me what’s in the recipe, it’s so good!) But for the most part, if you simply can’t find out, no need to panic and no need to offend anyone by refusing to eat because the food doesn’t meet your standards. Nothing crashes a festive party faster than someone who comes off as a “food snob”. Serve yourself plenty of vegetables and have a taste of everything else. No one ever died because they had one meal that had a little too much sugar or salt. If you get a headache, it probably came from MSG, so keep a little pack of aspirin or lavender oil in your purse or pocket. It’s the holidays, so have fun and don’t feel deprived! A little home cooking and some smart food choices and you can make this the best holiday season ever!