It is a choice we all make around the holidays, and it starts with cute kids walking around dressed like zombies, cheerleaders, and various characters from Frozen and ends on New Years Day when you look in the mirror and either say, "I am headed into this year with a great head start, or, holy crap, what the hell just happened here?" We all have a choice. We can nibble on Halloween candy for weeks or GET RID OF IT. We can plan a Thanksgiving dinner revolving around a dead bird, or revolve it around beautiful veggie dishes. We will head to parties and outings and eat drink and be merry, and this doesn't have to involve cheese, creamy dips and puffed pastry. Instead, we can get creative with vibrant meals that will nourish us, and give us the energy to get through the holidays happier and healthier this year. There is no need to feel deprived, you just have to make new discoveries in food that you haven't tried before. Start planning your plant based Thanksgiving dinner now and get excited about it!
The temptations will all be there again this year. If you have recently embarked on your plant based journey it may be especially hard, because if you give in to cheese or meat just a few times, it will be harder to go back to eating clean. Your brain chemistry responds very quickly to calorie dense food, cravings kick in, and you are off to the races. I know this and I am staying away. I am fooled every year when I think some indulgence in Halloween candy won't start the process. If you haven't seen Dr Doug Lisle's talk called The Pleasure Trap yet, definitely check it out.
If you gave into Halloween candy, evaluate how it made you feel and ask yourself if it was worth it? I'm guessing not. The holidays make us all feel like we need a treat, and granted we all do once in a while. There are lots of treats that aren't processed and don't involve butter, gravy, cream or a big hunk of meat. I have had so many people tell me that that they would love to go plant based, but they "just couldn't deprive themselves like that." I NEVER feel deprived. I did before when I was watching the calories in everything that I ate and gaining weight anyway. I don't anymore! Learning new recipes or changing my old ones is a fun challenge.
Summer is over, so it's time to dive into satisfying soups and stews. We are kind of salad-ed out since we had SO many this summer so we are welcoming some warmth. All of my soups and stews were meat based before, so I need to find new ones that are still yummy and satisfying. One of my family's faves was turkey chili. I recently had been adding more and more veggies to it and decreasing the amount of turkey, but 2 of my guys do not like beans so no go there. No meat or beans in there ends up weird, and it is no longer chili, so I needed to try something new. The other day I tried using just 2 oz ground turkey in big batch with a bag of the Beyond Meat fiesta flavor. They LOVED it! I made it with carrots, yellow, red and orange peppers, onions, a jar of chopped tomatoes (better than canned due to BPA lining in canned tomatoes), lots of cumin and chili powder, and I cooked it all down for a while. Next, I heated my Beyond Meat up in 1 t olive oil and threw it in the chili right when it was done. It held the meat-like consistency and it was a huge hit. I also crunched up some organic corn chips in there. For myself and Dunc, I did all the veggies and added a bunch of cooked beans (pinto and black). SO GOOD!!! Next time I will use just Beyond Meat and take the turkey out completely. No one felt cheated and everyone was satisfied and there was so little turkey in there that I don't think they will miss it. I am excited to experiment with lots of different kinds of squash this week. Will post some recipes and pics as I do.
Play with your recipes and don't underestimate your kids. I have so many parents tell me that their kids would NEVER eat kale and they come over my house and scarf down a kale salad. Cook with them, and shop with them. Let them pick a new type of vegetable out and have fun with it. Get them invested in the process. Have them help plan the meals and help cook them too. I definitely feel like a short order cook a lot of the time, but it is getting easier and I am getting better at breaking it down and making something for everyone without losing my mind.
Holidays are busy times and there is nothing wrong with keeping meals very simple. Some dinners consist of a bunch of cut up veggies on a platter in the middle of the table, with sides of rice, beans, peas, and/or quinoa. Other nights, I will saute or roast lots of veggies and tofu and serve them over a bowl of quinoa or brown rice, or serve them with corn tortillas so everyone can make their own "tacos." These simple meals have more nutrition in them than anything I could buy at the market, take out of a package or dump out of a can, so I take the 1/2 hour it takes to prepare them while the kids do their homework. It would take me longer to get takeout!
Do treat yourself this holiday season! Try baking a some pears sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg and a sprinkle of maple crystals or syrup, at 350 degrees for 30 mins, or until they are tender and drizzle a little cashew cream on them. So good, so easy, and such a treat! Indulge in good health and breeze through the holidays this year. It will feel so much better than packing the Holiday 10 on, then trying to squeeze into those jeans in January. Enjoy your plant based meals and enjoy the energy to get through the holiday season energized.
I am Chrissy Roth, a mom, wife, Physical Therapist, Spin Instructor, and Wellness Coach with a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition. I've had a passion for health and nutrition my whole life and have always been drawn towards prevention. Why wait until your fat or sick or both to do something about your health? I'm looking to be the healthiest me NOW and am always sharing what I know. I love a challenge... 2 boys who think they are cavemen and a husband who wants to go veggie but hates beans, tofu, legumes, and most nuts.... I WILL make this happen cause that's how I roll (whole grain of course)...