Best Healthy Foods and Recipes for Holidays Surviving the Holidays without Over-indulging We all look forward to the holidays; visiting with friends and family, Christmas decorations, giving special gifts, and parties – especially the parties – good food, drinks, and fun with friends. Those of us who strive to live healthy lifestyles tend to look at the holiday season as a mine field: loaded with traps for the unwary reveler. However, the holiday feast is not as bad for you as you might think; the government and the mainstream medical community are decades behind on nutrition and how it affects your body. The Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables are, in fact, laden with foods that are good for you. The Healthy Menu for Christmas: Healthy Turkey Recipe Most of us celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with turkey. Everybody – the government, the mainstream medical community, and the holistic community – agrees turkey is good for you. Turkey is an excellent source of protein, and it’s high in L-tryptophan; the turkey is the reason for the post-dinner desire for a nap. What is L-tryptophan L-tryptophan is used in the alternative medical community to treat mood disorders and also to treat sleep disorders; l-tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, the neurotransmitter used for controlling pain. Depletion of serotonin leads to a clinical depression, so incorporating sources of l-tryptophan in your diet is a good practice, as it keeps your serotonin levels from dropping. The traditional way of preparing turkey is to oven-roast it; this is a healthy way of cooking turkey, but the other methods – smoking or frying – are equally healthy. Before you go off the deep end, properly fried food is not bad for you. Fried food is bad for you when the food absorbs too much oil as it cooks. Frying a turkey gives you a moist, flavorful bird, and when fried at a consistent temperature, a bird not drowning in oil. The Side Dishes for Your Holiday Table The side dishes on your holiday table depend on where you live, but some side dishes are staples in all areas of the country. Most of the regions include mashed potatoes, and many include green bean casserole. The other sides are up for grabs, but here in the South, sweet potato casserole is on most tables, or a carrot soufflé; cornbread dressing is the substitute for stuffing in the South, whereas bread stuffing is prominent in the North. We don’t stuff the bird in the South; it increases the cooking time for a roasted bird and usually results in a dry bird with stuffing barely making the safe temperature zone; we make dressing instead, and serve it on the side; much safer, as the dressing doesn’t risk getting contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Green bean casserole is also a staple on the holiday table. Made with canned soup and commercially fried onions, the casserole is high in sodium and preservatives. You can serve this casserole without worry if you make the components – including the onions – from scratch. A homemade mushroom sauce with oven-fried onions make this casserole something special, as well as cutting way down on the sodium levels, and eliminating the preservatives. It’s worth the work – trust me on this. The Hype The government and the mainstream medical community would have you believe eggs, cream, and butter are bad for you; in fact, the opposite is true. Fat, especially saturated fat has been the villain for the diet industry for decades but here is an inconvenient truth: FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. Here is another inconvenient truth: your cholesterol level is unaffected by your diet. By perpetuating the myths of fat and cholesterol, the mainstream community has spawned a billion-dollar diet and drug industry and wrecked the foods we eat. By eating fresh, whole foods, including butter, cream, and eggs, you will improve your health by eliminating the toxins in the processed junk passing for food. You can survive the holidays without guilt; exercise moderation at parties, especially with the alcoholic drinks, and prepare your holiday dinner with fresh, whole foods. Keep the moderation going with portion sizes, but don’t pass up a dish because you think it’s loaded with fat. Your body needs fat to be healthy, and you do far more damage to yourself by cutting out fat than you realize. Remember – everything in moderation means a happy holiday season!