Why Not A Healthy Thanksgiving?

So here we are, fast approaching eating season. It always starts off with a Thanksgiving bang, followed by a rather long nap. We roll through the holidays and find ourselves indulging on chocolates at Valentine's Day with a promise that we'll get our act together.  We throw our year-round dietary habits out the window and think, "What's the use in having any willpower at all, when all these temptations are around." or "Five pounds doesn't really make that much difference."

Well I'm here to tell you five pounds does make a difference. Why? Because chances are you only lose half to none of that weight and it ends up getting added on each year. Then you wake up when your in your 50's and wonder why you can't lose just 15 pounds. Sorry if this sounds harsh or doesn't sit well with you but sometimes the truth is just what we need to pull ourselves together. We're very connected to what we eat and Thanksgiving, after all, is all about tradition.

What if we work to not change the traditions but change the type of ingredients that go into them? What if we work to put more healthy options on our tables year around so when special holidays come, that's just naturally the type of food we serve our friends and families? What if we strive to see our children's and other family member's health as equal as we see our own? (Yes, I see it all the time. Parents that would feed their kids fast "food" but wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole OR it's the opposite. They a very concerned what's in their baby's food but are still eating subpar themselves.) What if we tweaked our grandmother's famous green bean casserole to include fresh green beans instead of canned?

I suggest taking it one ingredient at a time until you have it just the way you like it. This year, make it the green beans and real butter instead of that heart-clogging tub stuff. Maybe next, you decide to go all out and make the cream of mushroom soup from scratch, which isn't really that hard you know, and ensure all the veggies are fresh. Me? I go for the sweets. Probably because I have a tremendous demon living inside that craves sugar and I'd prefer not to feed it the refined stuff because it makes me crazier. I don't want to be tempted with the demonizing sweets so I usually bring one or two of my own. Also, I typically eat at my in-laws and you just can't request an entire meal the be centered around your ethics. I do bring what I know she doesn't want to fuss with. This year, it's fresh cranberry sauce, homemade bread and butter, no refined sugar pecan pie and the same type of fresh pumpkin pie. 

Fresh Pumpkin Pie with Nut Crust

Nut Crust

 (Adapted from Elana's Pantry)

  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon unrefined salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter (Elena calls for coconut oil.)
  • 1 egg

Heat oven to 350. In a food processor, pulse flour and salt in a food processor, add remaining ingredients and pulse until it turns into a ball. Press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 350 for 8-12 minutes. Set aside to cool until your pie filling is ready and turn oven up to 425 degrees.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

 (Adapted from Suzanne's Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie at Simply Recipes)

  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree from a sugar pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup coconut or unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of unrefined salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (preferably raw)
  • 2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg (preferably pastured)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (fresh if possible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon

You can do this by hand but since my food processor is already dirty, I use it. Mix the first three ingredients with the spices. Stir in the cream. Add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Pour all into the prepared pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 and bake 40-45 minutes, until the center is set. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Fresh Whipped Cream

Using a food processor or mixer, mix 1/2-3/4 cup of heavy cream until it has stiff peaks. Stir 1-2 tablespoons of honey into it. I accidentally mixed my cream a little thicker so it's a mix of butter and cream. DELICIOUS mistake!