Have a Natural Thanksgiving

savannahash.jpgThanksgiving is only days away. If you want to have a “Natural Thanksgiving” now is the time to think about it. A natural Thanksgiving sounds easy enough, but it takes some forethought.

For the last 30 years, our Thanksgivings have been as natural (chemical free) as possible. Most Thanksgiving dinners are loaded with ingredients the Pilgrims never heard of: High Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, artificial colors and flavors, polysorbate 60, sodium caseinate, and transfat. These ingredients are so commonplace today, that for many Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving with them.

I was motivated all those years ago to eliminate chemicals from our Thanksgiving feast, because our four-year-old daughter, Jenny, reacted to the additives and sugars in processed foods. Today, there are over 3,000 additives in our food supply, we have Genetically Modified Foods (GMO), and sugar is paramount. In fact, we now have a new sugar: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Savannah and Ashlyn are determined to help their mom make their Thanksgiving healthy and yummy.

According to a USDA’ report, about one-quarter of the calories consumed by the average American is in the form of added sugars; the majority comes from high fructose corn syrup. Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar.

Making your Thanksgiving healthier really isn’t as difficult as you might first think. Purchase a turkey with the nutrition label listing only one ingredient: turkey. Save money and make your own stuffing with leftover whole wheat bread. Instead of soda pop, containing HFCS, for the kids, offer sparkling apple juice. Don’t use box mixes or canned vegetables, like sweet potatoes.

I’d like to know who came up with “candied sweet potatoes.” Aren’t sweet potatoes, well, sweet, without marshmallows? Did you know that marshmallows are really sugar-mallows, because they no longer contain any marshmallow root. Marshmallows are made from sugar, primarily corn syrup, water and gelatin.

I suggest regulating sugar in all its forms to dessert. Delete it from the main course. And, totally eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup from your Thanksgiving meal altogether.

Many of the dishes we serve during the Thanksgiving meal are loaded with sugar. Why aren’t they considered dessert? This is beyond me! Jello “salad” is one that stands out. Jello is made with only five ingredients: water, gelatin, sugar, and artificial colors and flavors. This doesn’t sound much like a “salad” to me.

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving perennial. They say there is always an exception to the rule. This is my exception for sugar during Thanksgiving dinner. Cranberries by their very nature are tart. I always purchase cranberries in the produce department and cook them with less sugar than is suggested in the directions. Some make their cranberry sauce with apple juice instead of sugar, but I haven’t been able to find the right combination that suits our family.

Pre-made, whipped toppings, like Cool Whip, are primarily air, sugar and transfat. Make your own whipped topping with real whipping cream. Not only will it taste better, it’s better for you. Cool Whip is made of water, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut (this is the transfat) and palm kernel oil (CPKO), sodium caseinate, vanilla extract, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60 (glycosperse), and beta carotene.

A natural Thanksgiving begins with having yummy, healthy recipes and then purchasing whole foods. Now’s the time to do a little planning. Read labels and find products free from sugar and artificial ingredients. Take a close look at the ingredients in your favorite recipes and make healthy substitutions. Finally, keep sugar regulated to dessert.

For my alternative to the jello fruit mold, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, CLICK HERE.


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