With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it would be a great opportunity to offer some helpful advice to maximize the joy factor of holidays, without the guilt or regret of old patterns and behaviours that often come to sit uninvited to the table.
Many of us ‘know’ what is healthy and what is not, but lets face it, when it comes to holidays our brain says “Woohoo! It’s time to break free from the routine and take a walk down memory lane.” We feel a rush of pleasure providing endorphins run through our veins at the very thought of gravy drenched stuffing topped with a mound of cranberry turkey. Our eyes roll back as we envision pecan pie; pumpkin pie and mounds of whip cream dancing on our tongue. However what we tend to forget during this moment of bliss…is the overindulgence hangover that leaves us comatose, bloated, headachy, and remorseful for days.
Festive holidays are often a time of indulgence. They are the perfect storm of conscious and subconscious desires, behaviours and patterns enmeshed with a gamut of fond memories, family dynamics, and habitual coping mechanisms. Often holidays are an opportunity to take a “holiday” from our confines and schedules to find comfort, even if it is just temporary, in the familiar.
For some holidays can be a difficult time to navigate the multiple emotions of loss of a loved one, or a change from the familiar comfort of traditions of years passed. These emotions are enough to have us running for the hills, finding comfort in the embrace of our bed or in a double chocolate soufflé. When life gets busy, complicated and overwhelming the one constant comfort that we can count on over the holidays is food, especially the one’s that are childhood favourites or Grandma’s best kept secret. These foods trigger a pleasure response that keeps us coming back for more, and deprivation only leads to suppressed desire that will eventually rear it’s ugly head, often three days later on the tub of ice cream in the freezer. So what is the solution?
Stop, breathe, and reflect.
Ask yourself: Does the particular food trigger an emotion that I want to suppress, thus ‘stuff’ down the emotion with food? Does this food bring up memories that I want to relive as pleasure? If yes, how can you acknowledge or express these feelings in a way that honors the memory or reframes it in a way to bring gratitude to the remembered experience. Perhaps reflect on how the experience contributed in shaping you into the person you are today. Literally the trigger food can become “Food for thought?”
Perhaps a reframe of indulgence can be focused on the experiences of the heart instead of just stomach alone. The focus of indulgence could be the time with family and loved ones, partaking in traditions and rituals, engaging in community events, offering time or resources to a charity or taking the opportunity to create a new delicious recipe…or enjoy your timeless favourites.
A wonderful tradition that I use at Thanksgiving, in fact many holidays and gatherings, is giving thanks and what better time than Thanksgiving! I have everyone express one thing they are grateful for. It can just be one word if this seems too daunting, or for those who are really shy can sit quietly and internalize their gratitude.
I also find it transformational to think of three new things to be grateful daily and one being something about yourself. Magic will happen in the most subtle and profound ways. You may notice that you begin to make choices that nurture and nourish you not only physically but on a soul level too. Daily appreciation is an expression of self love, an act that invites behaviour that is more in alignment with your life intentions and true hearts desires. Deepening the relationship with ourselves is the first step to healing emotional eating and old patterns.
These are all soul enriching and delectable experiences that may want you coming back for more…a second helping so to speak. Pass the love please!
Tips that will leave your body thankful!
Consider going to the local market to buy your ingredients, perhaps as a family. Get to know your growers, producers and farmers. Experience the journey of your food from farm to table. Acknowledging the journey of your food brings a whole new layer of nutrition. Appreciate all of the love and energy that went into nourishing you.
Some healthful and helpful tips to optimize health and avoid overeating:
• Drink lemon water throughout the day to hydrate and create more alkalizing benefits possibly to counter some of the foods that may be enjoyed during your feast.
• Consider sipping a shot of bitters or apple cider vinegar right before your meal to set up digestion. Sometimes people experience heartburn or acid reflux, which is often due to a lack of digestive stomach acids. Many are lead to believe these symptoms mean too much acid and take antacids or medication. This exasperates the problem even further by neutralizing what stomach acids is present and completely shuts down digestion, often for many more hours. This compromises our gut health, which is intimately connected to our immune system, as well as hormone and brain function.
• Take the time to chew your food. Breathe while you are eating and be present with all of the taste sensations. If you find you are eating to fast or having a hard time slowing down consider putting your fork down between bites.
• Never substitute with artificial sweeteners, which can cause further sugar cravings and create a toxic load on organ systems.
• If you have inflammatory issues and/or are looking to drop weight, consider gluten free options (potentially dairy free if you have sensitivities). Food sensitivities often trigger imbalances in the body that result in pain, bloating and weight gain, along with other inflammatory diseases. Choose more natural foods, even ‘gluten free or dairy free’ packaged food from your health food store is still processed. Often hidden sugars, preservatives and flavour enhancers are used to add flavour. If you are healthy and don’t have sensitivities consider artisan bread from your local baker and dairy products that are as clean as you can find.
• Consider purchasing a "Happy" Turkey. Look for a farmer who pasture raises their turkeys without any antibiotics or feed that has been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.
• Eat lots of colourful veggies and greens. Use quality food instead of quantity. Everyone has different budgets so if you feel organic is too much of a leap for you, consider purchasing the one’s listed on the EWG’s dirty dozen or clean fifteen. (Google them or contact me for the list) Remember, if it’s flavourful and nutrient dense…you will feel more full on less, plus your taste buds will feel satiated and content with the array of flavour sensations.
• Use sea salts, not iodized salt. Sea salts are full of minerals that aid in bone health and many other system functions in the body.
• Use the left over bones of the turkey to make a gut-rebuilding staple. Simply place the bones in enough water to completely cover and add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (helps to draw all of the minerals from the bones) and let sit for 15 minutes.
Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and fresh herbs and bring to a boil. Skim the foam that comes to the surface periodically and simmer or 12-16 hours. This long simmer allows for all of the cartilage to infuse into the broth and provide a healing layer for the gut wall. Remove the bones and strain out the veggies and herbs. Let cool. Add salt, pepper and seasoning when you use the broth for soup or when adding it to recipes.
Here are a few recipes to add to your repertoire. Implementing change can sometimes bring on feelings of overwhelm. Change can take time and baby steps may be all that is required to empower you on a new wellness journey. Consider adding just one new recipe each holiday.
Here are a few:
Melt in your mouth Roast Turkey
A little-known health benefit of turkey is that it contains trace minerals thought to aid in cancer prevention. Turkey contains selenium, which is essential for the healthy function of the thyroid and immune system. Selenium also has an essential role to play in your antioxidant defence system.
Turkey is considered a good source of vitamins B3 and B6, rated because of the density of these vitamins in the meat. A serving of turkey meat has 36 percent of the daily allowance of B3 and 27 percent of your recommended intake of B6.
Organic or pasture raised turkey is best not only because it is hormone free, the feed that the bird consumes also contributes to the amount of anti-inflammatory Omega3 in your meat.
• 1 organic turkey (I like to brine mine in salt water for 12-24 hours before hand)
• 8 strips natural smoke bacon (organic or naturally raised)
• 1 onion
• 6-10 cloves garlic
• 1 lemon cut into 6-8 pieces
• 1/2 cup organic salted butter
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh poultry seasoning
• 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
• 1 tsp. sea salt
• 2 cups broth or water
1. An hour before roasting, pull the turkey out of the refrigerator.
2. Remove the packaging and the bag of giblets from inside and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
4. Chop onion in large chunks, and course chop the garlic.
5. Melt the butter and add chopped poultry seasoning along with the sea salt and pepper. Mix in the lemon zest.
6. Reserve 2 tbsp. of the butter to mix with the onion, lemon and garlic mixture and rub the remainder of the butter mixture under the skin of the bird over the breasts and all over the top of the skin of the bird.
7. Stuff the onion/garlic mixture in the turkey.
8. Place strips of bacon across the top of the bird and set on the roasting rack inside your roaster.
9. Pour broth or water into base of baking dish.
10. Put turkey in the oven, uncovered, and lower the heat to 350°F.
11. Rule of thumb is to plan cooking for 13-minutes-per-pound and every 45 minutes baste the turkey by scooping the juices with a spoon and drizzling the juices all over the bird. Watch each time you baste the turkey to see if you'll need to cover the legs, wings and top with foil so it doesn't burn. I covered mine in the second to last round of basting.
12. To make sure the turkey is fully cooked, check the breast, outer and inner thigh and make sure that in each location the meat is at least 165°F.
13. Transfer the turkey to a serving tray and let it rest 30 minutes before carving and serving.
14. Remove the onion and garlic stuffing and serve side by side with your carved turkey.
(Discard the lemon)
15. Make the gravy by whisking in organic flour or gluten free arrowroot into the left over liquid and drippings of the turkey until desired thickness. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
SASSY CRANBERRY SAUCE
Cranberry sauce is one of the easiest ways to sass up any Holiday Turkey! Many store bought versions are loaded with sugar and some are even blood sugar bullies full of high fructose corn syrup.
Cranberries are loaded with Vitamin C and have infection fighting properties (good for fighting UTI's- Urinary Tract Infections) Add cinnamon for blood sugar support. I also like to add cherries and candied ginger for depth of flavour. Creating your own cranberry sauce allows you to monitor the amount of sugar.
This recipe calls for honey, however you could use coconut sugar or stevia if you prefer. Adding fresh citrus like lemon, orange or grapefruit including their zest creates a beautiful tang with a punch of antioxidants.
• 1 lb. fresh or frozen organic cranberries
• 1 freshly squeezed orange
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
• 2 Tbsp. raw honey
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
• 1-2 Tbsp. chopped candied ginger.
1. Place cranberries in a saucepan under medium heat and add the juice of fresh orange. Stir for about 5 minutes until the cranberries begin to burst.
2. Add raw honey, cinnamon, orange zest . Stir until well mixed and add the candied ginger.
3. The sauce is ready when all cranberries have popped and the texture is jam like.
4. Let sauce cool in refrigerator and serve with turkey.
Grain-Free Thanksgiving Stuffing
Danielle Walker - AgainstAllGrain.com
For the bread:
• 2-1/2 cups almond flour (2 & 1/2 cups)
• 8 ounces farmers cheese (
• 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 3 eggs
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, parsley, or thyme)
For the stuffing:
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
• 2 celery stalks (leaves included), chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 sprigs parsley, chopped
• 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
• 2 sprigs thyme, chopped
• 2 sage leaves, chopped
• 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
• 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage (SCD legal)
• 1 medium Fuji apple, chopped with skin on
• 6 cups bread cubes
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/4 cup dry vermouth
• 1-1/4 cups turkey stock (or SCD legal chicken broth)
• 2 teaspoons sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 7 tablespoons salted butter
1. Combine all bread ingredients (except for the flour and water) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the flour and water and pulse until dough is combined. Dough will be a very sticky consistency.
2. Grease a 9 inch pan and put a rectangular piece of parchment paper at the bottom. This will help the loaf come out easily. Spread a little more oil on top of the parchment piece.
3. Fold the dough into pan and even it out with a spatula.
4. Bake at 325° for about 35 minutes. Careful to not let the top burn.
5. While the bread is baking, sauté the celery, onions, garlic, sausage, apples, herbs and mushrooms in 1 tablespoon olive oil for about 15 minutes. Add the vermouth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat while you wait for the loaf to bake and cool.
6. Once the bread has cooled, slice it in half lengthwise to make two thin loaves. Next, slice it into 1/2 inch strips and then across those cuts to make small cubes.
7. Coat with 5 tbsp. melted butter. Place on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 30 minutes on 300° turning occasionally. The bread should come out golden brown and slightly dry.
8. Toss the breadcrumbs with the sautéed mixture, eggs, salt and pepper, and turkey stock.
9. Transfer stuffing to a well-buttered baking dish and sprinkle the additional 2 tablespoons of butter on top. Cover with foil, and bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes until top is golden.
10. Consider using Coconut oil, which is anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial. It is a medium chain triglyceride fat that prefers to be burned as fuel rather than stored, that means it speeds up your metabolism. Bonus! It is supportive to your Thyroid. It can be cooked at high heat so it doesn’t denature and become a trans fat. It improves utilization of blood glucose and supports the immune system. It is also great for skin and hair and promotes healing & tissue repair. All the while improving digestion and nutrient absorption. What more could you ask for...plus it smells like the beach!
Tip : make the bread and toast it a couple of days before and store the toasted cubes in a zip lock. You can also sauté the mixture the night before Thanksgiving and then put it all together right before baking.
CORNicopia of Stuffing- the best cornbread stuffing
Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing
Whole cornmeal is a whole grain, which is great, because whole grains, no matter what type, are linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Plus whole grains have more fiber than refined grains (such as white bread) and help to control blood sugar and insulin levels, preventing spikes and crashes. The only catch: You have to make sure that the cornmeal is non-degerminated (check the package). That means that the germ part of the grain, where a lot of the nutrients are, is left intact.
I like using organic chicken sausage. To boost nutrient value, she recommends mixing in dried apricots or figs.
If wanting to go gluten free, consider using almond or coconut flours to substitute wheat flours in cornbread recipes.
• 4 cups of your favourite baked cornbread, cubed
• 3 Tbsp. grass-fed organic butter, ghee or coconut oil
• 1/2 cup caramelized onion
• 3 stalks celery, diced
• 1/2 cup chopped fennel
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1. cup chicken broth
• Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
• 1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
• . tsp. dried thyme
• 1/4 cup chopped figs
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 lb. organic chicken sausage (maple honey or chorizo)
• 1/4 cup candied pecans (roast in a pan with 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon and cayenne)
• Optional- 1/4 cup fresh chestnuts roasted and chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place cubed cornbread on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes until they're lightly toasted and golden. Remove and set aside. Keep oven temperature.
2. In the meantime, while the bread is toasting, sauté your veggies (onions to garlic cloves) with the butter, ghee or coconut oil in a large skillet. Sauté until veggies are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Then stir in all the herbs and chicken stock. Let simmer while you cook the sausage in a separate skillet.
3. Brown the sausage in a separate skillet. Drain and add to the veggie mixture and turn off the heat.
4. Add your toasted bread to a large bowl and carefully pour the chicken stock mixture over the bread. Add the caramelized onions. Using a spatula, gently toss the mixture until all is incorporated and not much liquid remain.
5. Pour the contents of the bowl into a large casserole dish. I used a 2. quart oval casserole dish.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, until lightly brown on top.
7. Remove and serve!
8. If you have leftovers, place in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
CocoNUTS for Roasted Veggies
Choose an array of vegetables. Squash, asparagus, zucchini, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, mushrooms, carrots, peppers, plus whatever your taste buds fancy. Cut and prepare them. Place in a bowl with enough coconut oil to coat. You may need to pre melt the coconut oil if it is solid. Add salt, pepper and any of your favourite seasonings.
Place in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes. Place the rack on the top 2/3 of the oven. Be sure to check on them around every 10 minutes and mix them around. If they are getting to brown cover with tin foil and during the last 5 minutes take the foil off to finish.
Take out of the oven and keep covered until ready to serve.
Parsnipity and Fennel in love
Parsnip and Fennel Puree
• 2 large parsnips (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• 1 small fennel bulb (sometimes called anise), stalks trimmed flush with bulb and bulb chopped (about 1 cup)
• 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
In a saucepan cover parsnips and fennel with salted water and boil, covered, 15 to 20 minutes, or until very tender. Drain vegetables well in a large sieve.
In a food processor purée hot vegetables with butter and salt and pepper to taste.
Grain-free and Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin is rich in beta carotene and is fibre rich. Your eyes will thank you and not just because of how delish this dish looks! Pumpkin pie spices are loaded with immune boosting properties. Ginger is great for digestion, cinnamon is fabulous for regulating blood sugar, and cloves are one of the highest anti-oxidant spices out there.
AUTHOR: Danielle Walker - AgainstAllGrain.com
For the crust
• 1 1/2 cup almond flour
• 3/4 cup whole pecans
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 egg
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
For the filling
• 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (or about 2 cups fresh)
• 1/2 cup almond milk
• 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
1. Add the pecans to a food processor and process until they have turned into a coarse flour.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for 15 seconds, until a dough forms.
3. Press the dough into an 8 or 9-inch pie plate (or spring form pan for easy release), spreading it up the sides and covering the bottom. Fill with pie weights or prick a few shallow holes in the crust with a fork to keep it from bubbling during baking.
4. Bake the crust at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool for 10 minutes, then place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
5. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
6. Pour the filling into a frozen pie crust.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the custard has set but is still slightly jiggly in the center. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, you can cover the edges with foil and continue baking.
8. Turn off the oven and leave it cracked open for 30 minutes while the pie cools. This will help it from cracking on the top.
9. Refrigerate until chilled, then serve with coconut whipped cream on top.
I AM SO GRATEFUL TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE MY
PASSION OF HEALTH WITH YOU! Katharina Kunz