By Guest Author Kim Lyons
Every Thanksgiving, my inbox is flooded with all kinds of healthy recipes and tips from food experts, trainers, and dieticians. We’ve all heard them; skip the mashed potatoes, swap the green bean casserole for steamed veggies, save calories here and save calories there, oh, and don’t forget to run a marathon the morning you cook for a houseful of guests! All great advice, but I’m going to mix it up a bit.
This Thanksgiving might be a little different for many of us, as will my professional advice. Gatherings will be smaller this year, allowing us to focus on quality over quantity as we give thanks for our current and future health.
Most of the recipes we all love so much have passed down from generation to generation. Our grandparents didn’t use fake butter, low-fat dairy, processed or chemically enhanced foods, much less anything loaded with preservatives. They used real ingredients.
This is a perfect time to focus on food quality, as the gatherings will be smaller and more intimate. Forget the low-calorie swaps, the low-fat fads, and store-bought pies with ingredients that no one can pronounce. You aren’t going to gain 5 pounds in a day! Relax and enjoy food the way it is meant to be. You may be surprised by the results!
Here are 6 suggestions to get you started:
- Use Grass-Fed Butter. Forget the fake stuff and cook and serve grass-fed butter. It is higher in proportion of healthy, unsaturated fats and CLA than regular butter. It is also a great source of vitamin A (beta carotene) and provides vitamin K2, which plays an important part in your bone and heart health.
- Splurge on a Pasture-Raised or Organic Turkey. The nutrition content of meat is directly related to the animal’s diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae. As the turkeys run around eating grass, they are storing those “good fats” in their muscle meat. You benefit from eating a diet rich in omega-3 fats. These healthy fats support healthy brain and heart function, as well as reduces inflammation in the body. Splurge a bit on your bird or meat of choice.
- Go Organic. It matters for both your individual health and the health of our beautiful planet. Although the debate continues on the nutrition side, there is no arguing that organic food has substantially lower levels of heavy metals and chemicals due to the lack of pesticide use. Go organic with your veggie and fruit (for the homemade pie, of course!).
- Move More. Not only on Thanksgiving, but every day leading up to the holiday and every day after. It’s not just a game of calories. It’s about feeling good, improving digestion, getting the oxygen circulating within your body, and boosting those feel-good hormones. Move more, feel better!
- Beat the Bloat with Potassium. Avoid the “little extra sodium bloat” with added potassium. With the aid of the kidneys, potassium helps remove extra sodium from your body through your urine. Have a glass of grapefruit juice with breakfast, lentil soup for lunch, and cucumber water all day.
*If you have kidney disease and your doctor hasn’t already told you what your potassium limit is, ask about it.
- Make a “Skype” Pie. Make a pie with a friend or family member via Skype or Facetime. Reach out to those who cannot join and share the love while learning or teaching someone how to make your favorite recipe. Make it a friends-giving group event! This will be the first Thanksgiving, that I can remember, without my parents in town due to COVID. We will make the most of it by gathering our ingredients and making a pie together on Facetime!
Of course, mind your portion sizes, limit the sugar and alcohol, load up on veggies, don’t skip breakfast, perhaps skip the rolls, and stick to one piece of pie, but you already knew that!
In a world of chaos, take time to make others smile and find thanks in the small things that are often taken for granted. Cheers to kicking off the holidays with love and light!