Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Here's To A Healthy Thanksgiving!

Having begun the 2011 Holiday Challenge of Dr. Joel Fuhrman this week, I am committed to making Thanksgiving as healthy as possible.  So here are a few things I'm doing for our feast.

Most important of all, I am alert and aware of all the things for which I am thankful, not being in a food coma already this week--I mean, to get in all the treats that are available for Thanksgiving, you really need a week!  Pumpkin rolls, egg nog, cute frosted cookies, pies of every sort, chocolate treats (though I associate chocolate with Christmas instead), an enormous turkey, creamed this and that, dips and cheese balls and punches and sauces . . . it's all too much!

First strategy: Avoidance - purchase or make less-tempting-to-me versions of favorites. For example, I purchased brown-and-serve rolls from the grocery instead of making the heavenly ice-box rolls that are a family tradition. Yes, we love them, but why not put off having them until maybe Christmas, when one missing family member will be here?  Also, I'm skipping making a pecan pie because that's my favorite. We'll have pumpkin and apple, and I'm going to find or dream up a date-and-pecan kind of treat that will keep me happy--I'm thinking a ball/truffle kind of thing.

Second strategy: Indulgence - purchase the nicest versions of fully nutritarian items, like unsweetened coconut, fresh pineapple, gorgeous pears, brussels sprouts on the stalk, and nuts and dried fruits for special treats.

Third strategy: Creativity - make dishes nutritarian-friendly to begin with or make my own versions to serve alongside the versions the family will have.  With that goal in mind, I share a few of the things I've made today . . . (no verdict yet on the ones I haven't tried beyond initial tasting)

Mashed Potatoes
2 cups boiled white potatoes
1/4 cup Amazing Creamy Garlic Dressing (see below)
2 tablespoons dried chives
pepper to taste

Mash the potatoes, mix in the other ingredients, and serve. I put mine in a small casserole dish to reheat for Thanksgiving and after.

Amazing Creamy Garlic Dressing
1 cup raw cashews
3 cloves garlic
juice of one lime
1/2 - 1 cup water

Whirl all in a high-powered blender until completely smooth, and store in a jar in the fridge.

Verdict: Excellent.  I have enjoyed this on salads this week, and when I put it on steamed collard greens last night the family was sure it was butter.

Simple Skinny Sweet Potatoes
1 cup baked sweet potato
1/3 cup minced fresh pineapple
dash each cloves, ginger, and cinnamon, with more cinnamon for the top
1 tablespoon chopped pecans

Mash sweet potato with the pineapple and mix in spices, then put into a non-stick-spray-coated custard cup and top with pecans and more cinnamon

Elegant Ambrosia
3 quarts Valencia or Navel oranges (make that about 6 pounds oranges, which yields 3 quarts of sections)
2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted or not, as you prefer
1/3 cup Cointreau (optional)

Peel and section the oranges, then tear each segment in two, to release the juice somewhat. If you're really OCD, remove all the membranes, but I think they include important nutrients. Add coconut and toss, then pour Cointreau on and toss again.  Refrigerate at least overnight to let the flavors meld, stirring occasionally.

Verdict: Excellent!  This is one of my all-time favorite holiday dishes (especially for Christmas), even without the Cointreau, though I've traditionally had it with sweetened coconut. I usually serve it at the table with the meal, but for Thanksgiving this year I'm serving it as a dessert, so I won't notice the pie I'm not eating!  It's better as the days go by, so that's why I make so much to begin with.

To be continued . . .


  1. Thanks for the dressing recipe....i'm trying to get the rest of the family on this plan..and fat is one of the hardest components of taste to 'fake' and the one they seem to miss the most. We'll try it soon...

  2. You're welcome! If your family likes garlic, this is a great one, and it certainly has the fat everyone craves, but in a healthier form with the nuts.

  3. For the creamy garlic dressing, 'amazing' wasn't an understatement!

    I've put it on green salads, even used it in place of the sherry in your peas and mushrooms recipe.

    Best of all, I used a big dollop of it on my black beans and rice recipe - amazing indeed!

    I'll be using this recipe often. Thanks!

    1. So glad you're enjoying it! Try variations when you feel comfortable with it. I think I have some on the blog elsewhere. Lemon is good, and I've added ginger sometimes and even made it with almonds instead, and I think I've swapped out a bit of the citrus juice for some balsamic vinegar.

  4. Hi Cindy,

    I hope you don't mind, but I included your recipe and your comment in the first post of my new blog -

    The blog is just a humble attempt to share my nutritarian recipes and my experiences - I'm still a newbie on this - only two months on the nutritarian diet.

    I hope you get back to blogging soon - you've got some fantastic ideas and recipes.

    Yours in nutrition.


  5. Excellent, Marquis! I just added your blog to my Google Reader and look forward to following your journey with you. I'm just getting back to "my regularly scheduled life" after a six-month major project. Sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. :-)


I'd love to know what you think of these or if you have suggestions for improvements!