Monday, November 16, 2009

Chill! Go on an Anti-Turkey Day Cooking Protest

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
"A full belly makes a dull brain." -- Benjamin Franklin

I'm watching Food Network. Turkey Day meals are on the go. And I've made the decision. No way am I cooking or eating the traditional Thanksgiving meal. After viewing all these holiday recipes it would be anti-climatic. Now I know some folks have big families and this "anti-turkey cooking protest" won't fly. But it does with me--and it can for you before or after the big day or perhaps on "the" day itself like me. So, this year I'm saving one bird. And, I'm talking giving my body and spirit a mini vacation without going anywhere. Think stress-free self indulgent fun without fattening food. Swimming, hot tubbing, dog walks, pampering my body (i.e., manicure/pedicure, facial) and chilling out for the thrill of it.
The Harvest may be waning, but these pantry staples can keep you on the road to detoxing your body. Personally, I don't want to pack on five pounds (that's the norm) during Turkey Day time. So I'm going to rebel and turn to a detox diet regime before, after-- even during the big day and forego cooking altogether. You know, give my body a feel-good mini-vacation to feel rejuvenated just for me. No guilt from overindulging and it can make you feel good from head to toe...
Not just for salad or a dash of flavor, items like nutrient-dense vinegars, olive oil, herbs and spices and autumn produce are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and other healing properties. Check out these healthful, slim-down foods--including The Healing Powers of Chocolate--to heal your body, mind and spirit...
Apple Cider Vinegar: In the era of the Romans and Egyptians, there were many potent vinegars onmeal tables. Today, we know apple cider vinegar, especially the natural and organic kind, is high infiber and rich in potassium, which can help detoxify the body. Apple cider vinegar can balance sodium and potassium levels, which can also aid in weight loss. Pairing its total ingredients, including boron, calcium and enzymes, with nutritious fall fruits and vegetables may help prevent cancer, and heart disease.
Fruit Vinegars: In Japan, vinegar drinks not unlike apple cider vinegar, are made from vitamin-rich fruit. A Korean delight, persimmon vinegar, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are also good for bolstering the immune system to fight off colds and flu in the fall. While it isn’t easily found in the United States, it may be found at Korean supermarkets. For a delightful kick, splash one or two tablespoons per serving on top of grapefruit and oranges.
Olive Oil
Like ancient vinegar, olive oil goes way back in time. The olive tree was first cultivated in the Mediterranean countries 6,000 years ago. Since then, olive oil has played a therapeutic role in the diet and provides amazing healing powers, from preventing diabetes to keeping off unwanted pounds, especially when combined with vinegars. Olive oil, which is 74 percent heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, contains plenty of healthful nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, along with phytoestrogens and sterols. Olive oil (extra virgin is recommended) is good for the digestive system, helps regularity, lowers cholesterol levels and guards against cancer. Light or regular EVOO can help fill you up not out as I discuss in The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. And don't forget the powers of other earthy eats...
Chamomile: For more than 2,000 years, chamomile, a daisy-like plant, has been considered amedicinal miracle. It was known as “ground apple” by the Greeks because of its fragrant scent. Chamomile tea (spiked with apple cider vinegar and cinnamon) can be calming and stave off holiday stress-related eating. (Hold the sugar and reach for raw honey.)
Garlic: For at least 3,000 years, garlic, dubbed “the stinking rose,” has been used medicinally. Thetherapeutic uses of garlic have been noted in more than 1,000 scientific studies. Garlic has been found to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and may ward off infections and cancer via the antioxidant mineral selenium. It also contains allicin, which is a strong antimicrobial, so eating garlic may help protect against colds, flu and bronchitis--and it provides flavor to veggies without the calories and fat of butter.
Rose Hips: An important staple in the diets of Native American tribes because of their incredible health benefits, rose hips are a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins C, E and beta carotene, which can help boost immunity and provide relief for cold and cough symptoms common during the fall months. And sipping a cup or two of hot rose hips tea can soothe holiday frazzled nerves and help to keep you from overeating high calorie and unhealthy junk food.

These versatile foods mix well with vinegars, oils, warming herbs, spices and tasty teas for healthful fall detox recipes.
*Apples: This fruit is a rich source of pectin, a water-soluble fiber that may help lower the risk of heart disease. A bonus: One medium apple has no fat and a mere 81 calories.
*Dark Chocolate: This superfood like apples has countless health perks. If you choose to give your body a vacation, quality chocolate can help you to detoxify it. By eating a small piece of dark chocolate (70% cacao) it can help to uplift your mood, beat stress and anxiety (woes during seasonal changes with colder and shorter, darker days), provide energy, and do so much more for your body.
*Pumpkin: Welcome to another good source of beta-carotene, potassium, vitamins A, C, and dietary fiber. Think pudding and/or a hearty bowl of hot soup. Pumpkin is filling and a small amount is satisfying during the holiday season. Read: Good for detoxifying, too.*Spinach: A single serving of cooked spinach provides beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies show that these carotenes protect the arteries from bad cholesterol and can heal your heart. It’s the perfect fall food for a filling salad with vinegar, olive oil, garlic and tomatoes.
*Tomatoes: Scoop up the end-of-season tomatoes while you can—these gems are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, and may lower the risk of developing cancers by preventing damage due to cancer-contributing molecules called free radicals. One cup of chopped tomatoes has just 35 calories.

So whether you choose to detox and pamper yourself before, during or after the upcoming foodfest, vinegars, olive oil, and even chocolate can help you to pare unwanted pre-winter pounds and cleanse your body and spirit, too. One more thing. Savoring dark chocolate (in moderation) drinking herbal tea or a cup of gourmet coffee, eating veggies and fruits doesn't seem like a serious starve yourself fast but a healthful mini-fast that can be done without hunger pangs and feeling left out of the big holiday. (Note: I'm repeating this blog post for those who missed my previous post on this topic.)


  1. We're not eating turkey either. Not because we think it's wrong, but because turkeys are so darn expensive here in Kuching! One frozen bird at the Cold Storage is over 200 Malaysian Ringgit!

  2. Good point you two. If I did the Turkey Day dance I'd go organic turkey and it's super pricey here at Lake Tahoe. Plus, I'm almost vegan (rarely eat poultry). One reason: It helps me to stay lean. I feel guilty though because I know my bird dogs love to have that big bird in the house. They scope out the fridge like it's a field!

  3. Hmmm. Now I'm starting to rethink this anti-turkey day protest. Craving certain fave Thanksgiving dishes: cornbread dressing; pumpkin pie; cranberry delights...maybe I'll cook one at a time and not celebrate a huge traditional unhealthy feast and go for a new,improved healthful foodfest, day by day.

  4. I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.