I first met Joan and her husband at our meet up in Grayslake IL last summer. It was a lovely outdoor pot luck dinner and Joan brought the fruit basket that she is pictured with here. She and her husband had recently returned from Dr. Esselstyn’s workshop and are following the dietary guidelines for preventing and reversing heart disease. I was struck by her enthusiasm, her willingness to learn more and her creativity with recipes. She continues to be a public advocate for plant based no-oil nutrition and recently wrote her account of facing their first holidays as plant based eaters and I thought I would share her story (below) and her ideas with each of you. Enjoy, and thank you Joan!
My husband and I are facing our first holidays as plant-based eaters and I’ve got plans! “What?” skeptics might ask, “planning to forgo all the seasonal treats and feel sorry for yourself?”
Considering typical American holiday over-eating, that response might seem appropriate. However, instead of focusing on deprivation this year, I’m discovering how we can celebrate with abundance—an abundance of good health and healthy eating, sharing good times and good nutrition with friends and family.
You may not find turkey with gravy or pecan pie with whipped cream on our plates, but there are tons of old favorites (slimmed down and veganized) and several new recipes we’ll be indulging in.
My contributions to family holiday meals will include butternut squash soup, sugar-free cranberry relish, a quinoa-stuffed acorn squash and a low-fat pumpkin mousse, all acquired when my husband and I took a 4-hour Vegan Thanksgiving cooking class. We ended up having a feast that was whole food, plant based and delicious and you can similarly indulge. If you need ideas, just look for vegan, sugar-fat free choices. You’d be surprised how many scrumptious recipes are available on the internet.
Of course we all recognize the holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, but too often the food becomes the focus. This year I’m not letting the magic moments be nudged out by regrets or guilt over too rich or too much foods. No cookie exchange or cocktail party indulgence is worth that. It seems the holidays serve as a good excuse for friends and family to bring on the temptations.
This year why not be kind to yourself and others? Instead of digging out recipes loaded with sugar, fat grams and animal products, get creative adapting those old standards or finding some new gems. Just don’t be surprised if guests dig into your healthy offering, appreciating the opportunity to indulge without guilt.
Many recipes can be healthfully adjusted without changing taste Try whole wheat four for refined white, applesauce for shortening maple syrup (minimal) for sugar, vegetable broth for oil for sautéing.
Besides adjusting ingredients, you can make your holidays healthier by:
• not allowing temptation into your house (Let someone else take home the leftover pie or extra cookies
• filling up on healthy foods before you face temptation so you’re less likely to succumb
• making sure that healthy snacks and drinks are at hand (for example, carrots and holiday tea) so you can focus on the conversation not the calorie-laden treats.