Welcome to my Blog about Food and Well-being!

I am often asked to share my knowledge of food and recipes. After changing my diet four years ago from a typical "Western" diet to a mostly whole-foods and plant-based diet, I have seen incredible changes in my health and well-being. I have spent countless hours researching and love helping those who are ready to feel better. The underlying theme? YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Read on to find out more.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Holiday Parties and Menus - How to Get Through It the Healthy Way

The holidays are so close, you can almost smell it - pumpkin pie, apple cider, peppermint bark. If you've been reading my blogs and trying to eat healthier, you may be anxious about the all of the traditional holiday fare that will throw you off of your game. DON'T BE! Here's how you can enjoy yourself and still feel great.

1. Moderation - you know this concept, but it's hard to follow it when you're faced with such wonderful holiday foods. It's easy to tell yourself, "It's the holidays! Let's eat!" If you know you're going to a party with food, plan ahead!

  • Eat healthy, whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible leading up to your event
  • Drink a green smoothie (see Recipe) before you go. Not only does this have veggies in it, but it's slightly sweet to curb your sweet tooth
  • When at the party, notice all of the food being served. Choose the least offensive (and I mean that in the best way) foods as your primary source and then a few bites of the things you want to indulge in. Example: load up on fresh veggies/fruit with hummus, sliced turkey,  and nuts; go easy on cheeses, breads/crackers/chips; and maybe just a bite or two of desserts
  • If you over-indulge on sweets, make a cup of miso soup (see Recipe) when you get home. It will alkalize your blood stream and reverse some of the ill-effects of sugar.
2. Have fun - that's what get-togethers are all about, not the food. Enjoy yourself and others. Don't worry about the food and don't gorge yourself. 

3. If you're throwing the party - you've likely told your friends and family about how you're trying to eat healthier, so why would you then feed them boring junk? Find some great, nutritious recipes and show your friends how great whole foods can taste.
  • Offer lots of veggies, raw and cooked, unconventional and expected. Examples: roasted brussel sprouts with cranberry chutney dipping sauce; lightly sauteed sugar snap peas with lemon; roasted sweet potato cubes with maple glaze; mushrooms stuffed with caramelized onions and thyme. 
  • Instead of a typical cheese tray, offer a tray of various goat cheeses. They come in many varieties, including soft, semi-soft and hard, and are much easier to digest than cow dairy
  • Serve nuts - nuts fill you up and you can flavor them a dozen ways. Buy your own, choose lots of varieties, and have fun with them. Sweet, salty, spicy - or all three!
  • Make sushi - most people gravitate to sushi. It's pretty and it's so easy to make. All you have to do is make sushi rice (sold in any store), buy nori paper (sold in most stores), spread a thin layer of rice on 3/4 of the  nori paper, fill with whatever sounds good and roll! Example: cucumber, carrot, avocado, cooked or smoked salmon and a wasabi "mayo"; or lightly steamed asparagus, good proscuttio and melon. Get creative! 
  • If you're going to serve meat, make sure it's organic and preferably lean. Stuff a chicken breast with goat cheese and spinach; coat the outside of a pork roast with grated horseradish and bake until done and serve with chutney; grill salmon or other fish 
  • Make your desserts with unprocessed sugars, like maple syrup, molasses, or unrefined sugar. Experiment with using less butter and add coconut oil or even apple sauce. Use fresh or frozen fruits for fruit desserts instead of canned. Substitute 1 tsp of baking powder for every egg or 1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water for each egg.
  • Offer a fun cocktail. Everyone loves house drinks - they're festive and much more interesting than just wine/beer. Blend 100% pomegranate juice with fresh lime, agave, vodka, mint and ice in a blender. Or make cranberry martinis and float a fresh cranberry and sprig of peppermint in the glass.
If you have any specific questions about menu ideas or concerns about a party you'll be attending, make a comment! I promise to answer. I hope all of you have a fun, healthful holiday season!

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