Pass the Dish

With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, the holiday season is truly upon us! Of course this means the season of eating is also upon us!
Sharing a meal with family or friends during the holidays is what it’s really all about but for some of us, it can be tricky. The most important part of all these events is just being with those you love and the food is very much secondary.
However, these gatherings can be a source of stress for some and we need to be mindful of this. Someone might be trying hard to lose or maintain their weight. Someone else may have a food intolerance or allergy. Some may have emotional issues around food. Whatever the reason, just being thoughtful and aware can make all the difference. The last thing you want is conflict at the table during a holiday gathering. This is no time to force food on those who don’t want it, or to preach your way of eating to others. The holiday table is no place to get riled up or judge-y. Here are a few things to think about as you navigate the holiday eating season!

Be true to you!

If you have a particular way of eating for health or ethical reasons, you’re vegetarian or perhaps have a food intolerance or whatever it might be, don’t feel pressured to eat all the wrong things for you just to make others happy. You are the one who has to live with the consequences of this.

You’re not eating for someone else, you’re eating for yourself.

For example, I have a dairy intolerance. If I eat dairy I am not going to feel good later, not to mention that I know that eating food my body doesn’t tolerate has long-term health consequences, so why would I do it? Some people may not be familiar with food intolerances and allergies and so may push food not fully understanding how they work. They may think “oh it’s just one piece of pie with ice cream, what harm can it do”?

Kindly, but firmly pass!

Plan ahead.

To avoid confusion and stress, be upfront and let your host, family or friends know about your eating needs in advance and explain what you’re about. You don’t want to show up and throw your host into a tizzy wondering what they’ll feed you. Also, they may not know where to begin cooking for you, so offer to bring a dish or two, so you know there will be things you can enjoy. If you’re staying at the home of your host, arrive with ingredients in hand, or hit their local grocery store when you get to town. Make sure you have enough to share, and who knows, maybe you’ll introduce people to something new and delicious! Maybe you’ll even create a new tradition?!

Set your intention.

Thinking all this through before the event and setting your intention will help you stay on track. For example, what will you eat? How much you will eat? Seconds, or no seconds? Will you have dessert or not?

No, means NO!

Let’s say you’re working on maintaining or losing weight, you don’t want to derail all your efforts because you feel pressured or you’re not prepared. If you have a plan going in you are much more likely to be successful. Don’t make a big deal out of it either, just take what you want in the quantities you’re comfortable with and pass the dish to the next person. Also don’t be afraid to pass a dish without taking any. Most of the time people are so busy they’ll hardly notice this. If someone does bring it up, be ready with an answer, such as “I’m not eating {fill in the blank} at the moment” or “I’m saving room for more vegetables” or “I’m watching what I eat, but thank you”.

Stand up for yourself and your body!

Know yourself.

If will power is a problem for you, again, you need to plan for it. Let’s use dessert as an example. If you’re someone who can have one taste and stop, then do it. However, if you’re someone who has one taste and then before you know it, the whole slice is gone, then you need a diversion. At dessert time, plan to have a cup of tea or coffee and a small piece of dark chocolate. This way you’ll feel you’re still part of the celebration and won’t be sitting twiddling your thumbs while everyone else is on their 3rd slice of pie!

Beyond the event.

I think it’s so important to think past this dinner or event. Think about the next morning. If you stay true to you, you will wake up feeling fabulous, healthy and proud. You won’t wake up still feeling as stuffed as the turkey from the night before, sluggish and worst of all disappointed in yourself or guilty :(

Oops!

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, things go awry. DO NOT beat yourself up about this!! Be kind to yourself, look back at where things went off course and learn for the next time.

Love is fuel.

The MOST important thing is to savor the time with your loved ones. Fill yourself with joy and love and you won’t need to worry about filling yourself with food.
A “quick tip” if you are working on weight management ~ eat your veggies first. They’ll fill you up, nourish you wonderfully and you will be less likely to over indulge in the other higher calorie foods.
You know I’m all about vegetables, so I thought I’d include some fantastic recipes for the season.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Pecans, and Cranberries

This is a delicious and beautiful holiday dish from Julia at Julia’s Album www.juliasalbum.com. You’ll find lots of other fabulous recipes on her website, geared towards busy people who want to eat well without spending tons of time in the kitchen! http://juliasalbum.com/2015/10/roasted-brussels-sprouts-cinnamon-butternut-squash-pecans-and-cranberries/ brussels

No Bake Pumpkin Tarts (Vegan + Paleo)

These wee tarts could hardly be cuter! Thanks to Megan at Detoxinista www.detoxinista.com Megan is on a mission to make healthy living easier and more accessible. She shares quick and easy recipes made with only all-natural ingredients, to prove how delicious real foods can be. LOVE her mission!! http://detoxinista.com/2013/10/no-bake-pumpkin-tarts-vegan-paleo/ DSC02830

Quinoa Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pistachios

The peeps at BuzzFeed have compiled “24 Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes that are actually DELICIOUS”. One stop shopping! The Quinoa Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pistachios looks like an amazing alternative to the typical version. http://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/healthier-thanksgiving?sub=3515499_4274987#.mmwZ32A9Y enhanced-8740-1416250307-6 How will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share? Share below, we’d love to hear. Happy Thanksgiving! xo email_signoff1_name

Spinach: Popeye wasn’t Wrong!

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Spinach

Almost every vegetable contains a wide variety of phytonutrients, including flavonoids and carotenoids, but Spinach is a star for its particularly high phytonutrient content. These compounds function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. Spinach also provides powerful antioxidant protection. Not to mention its high folate and fiber content, which researchers think might also reduce cancer risk, plus folate helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. Repair away spinach!

Added Benefits

Vitamin K is essential for bone health, and it is hard to find a vegetable richer in Vitamin K, than spinach. It’s also an excellent source of other bone supporting nutrients like calcium and magnesium. The lutein in spinach is what’s thought to protect the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts.
Out of all the leafy greens, spinach is thought to be one of the most nutrient dense. So take a cue from Popeye (minus the can, of course) fresh is best!
Spinach is a must in my morning green smoothie, but you can also enjoy it in salads, steamed or sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil or another simple option is to stir it into soups just before serving. This is a great way to add a nutritious boost to any soup or stew.

Here are two of my spinach favorites!

“Clean Eating Garlic Spinach” from The Gracious Pantry www.graciouspantry.com Try this hearty “Lentil Spinach Soup” from The Garden Grazer www.gardengrazer.com Who was your favorite…Popeye or Olive? email_signoff1

Red Bell Peppers: The Bell of the Ball

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Red Bell Peppers

Always at the top of the dance card, and for good reason! Red bell peppers are a rich source of Vitamin C and the carotenoid, Lycopene.
Studies have shown that women with the highest levels of carotenoids in their blood have the lowest risk for breast cancer.
Bell peppers are chock full of other antioxidants like vitamins A, K, folic acid and B6 that absorb cancer causing free radicals. We’re always aiming to fight those free radicals!

Added Benefits

Bell Peppers are low in calories, just one cup has about 45 calories and provides you with MORE than your daily recommendation of Vitamins A and C. All that Vitamin C is a real boost for the immune system too, and we all know how important that is! I enjoy them raw in salads, but my absolute favorite is when they’re roasted. As if they weren’t sweet enough, this just makes them even tastier. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees with a little olive oil for 35 – 40 minutes. Now you can add them to salsa, soups, hummus, burgers or anything you fancy. Another great option is this delicious recipe from one of my favorite’s Joy McCarthy of “Joyous Health”. While you’re on her site, look around for lots more delicious and healthy recipes PLUS lots of other fun tips.

One of my favorite red bell pepper recipes from her...

“Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Peppers” There’s a vegetarian and chicken version.

Fall is here, and with that comes soup season!

“Roasted Red Pepper Soup” from My Whole Food Life www.mywholefoodlife.com What’s your favorite thing about fall? Share below. email_signoff1

Brussels Sprouts: Small but Mighty!

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Brussels Sprouts

This small member of the cruciferous vegetable family offers some mighty nutrients and cancer fighting qualities. No other group of vegetables has had more research into their effect on breast cancer prevention than the Brassica’s.
Eating these vegetables has been shown to reduce the levels of the troublesome estrogen in the body – particularly important in estrogen positive breast cancer. They’re also an ally in fighting inflammation and can protect against cell DNA damage.

Added Benefits

Brussels Sprouts are an excellent source of Vitamins C and K, not to mention other fabulous nutrients like folate, and manganese. They support the body in the detox process – always a good thing! Brussels Sprouts are an excellent source of Cysteine, one of the amino acids, which is a building block of proteins.  Oh, and you’ve got to love that they’re low in calories and high in fiber. Think you don’t like them? I understand! I didn’t eat Brussels Sprouts for years, because my memory of them was the yellow, soggy, boiled version I grew up being forced to eat. Thankfully, my dad would take a few off my plate when my mum wasn’t looking to help me out :) Now I can’t get enough of them. The key is to NOT overcook them, that is when they get smelly. Cut them into quarters and either steam them or roast them. They’re delicious roasted with some olive oil, red onions and balsamic vinegar. Here is a simple and delicious recipe for you to try, courtesy of my Nutritionist and friend, Lindsay Kluge, Ginger Tonic Botanicals. Lindsay is an expert in herbal medicine and nutrition. Check out her new tea line while you’re at it. Delicious! Quick and easy sautéed cauliflower and Brussels sprouts
  • ½ head of cauliflower
  • 1 dozen Brussels sprouts
  • Chop the cauliflower into thin slices and chop the sprouts in half.
  • In a large sauté pan, melt 2 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil) and 2 tbsp ghee. Once melted and hot, add the chopped vegetables and sauté on high heat until the cauliflower is browned and slightly crispy. Remove from heat and add a dash or pepper and salt and onion or garlic powder. Serve with a side of 1/2 cup brown rice.
Do you have a funny childhood story about eating Brussels Sprouts? Share below so we can all sympathize and have a chuckle! email_signoff1