FEASTING & FASTINGfasting

by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

As the Christmas holiday and the New Year approach, I have been thinking about our attitude to the bounty offered at those times, and the reasons why we may feel guilty about our Feasts. Fasting

The problem is not so much the occasional Holiday Feast days when indulgence is expected , it is the feasting we do thoughtlessly every day. Fasting

Absolutely the best way to enjoy the Holiday feasting without guilt is to modify one’s everyday eating habits: at all other times to eat moderately, and eat well.  Fasting

 “This is the first generation to take as a right the ability to wake up in the middle of the night and have immediately available the kind of snack only a Marie Antoinette could have commanded two centuries ago.”

I cannot even remember the source of this comment, I heard it so  many years ago: but because of its humor and relevance, it stuck with me. While our bodies can certainly cope 3 or 4 times a year with an overload of sugar and calories without taking permanent harm – and they could also probably adjust to an indulgence once a week or so if our habits at other times are moderate and sensible – it is unrealistic to think we can gorge on sugar and other unhealthy stuff every day, and still maintain health. Fasting

For example, one year instead of having the meal at my house, I arranged to share the “fun” with another family an hour or so away.  I was responsible for the turkey, a 20 pounder which I got from an Amish family.  I brined it  – Fasting

What (and Why) is BRINING?Many of the turkeys for sale in the markets nowadays have questionable ingredients injected into them to produce the effect that you can safely and inexpensively produce at home:  a juicy tender NATURAL bird. Fasting

I use our large ice chest for this.  12 hours before you need the bird, mix 1 cup salt per 1 gallon of water – you will need enough water to cover the bird.. no part of it should be above water.  Fasting

Add herbs – I use about a cup of chopped thyme, usually still green in my garden  at this time of year.   You can get an excellent brining mix here (http://www.turkeyperfect.com/brine.html.  Most commercial blends use sugar to offset the salt: I never have, but you might consider some stevia. Fasting

Place the bird in the chest – or whichever container is convenient for you to use (I have had people use the bath tub ….but XL freezer bags can work for a less than giant bird) cover with the flavored water, and leave overnight. Fasting

Since the weather here in Illinois is usually cool but not freezing, I simply put the whole shebang outside for the night: in warmer climates, you could add ice to the water.  Just be safe and logical! Fasting

After 12 hours,  remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and proceed as usual. Fasting

For extra tenderness, and to avoid the rush in the morning, I put my turkey in the oven for slow roasting at 10 pm Christmas Eve.  This is an excellent recipe, (http://www.recipecottage.com/poultry/roast-turkey25.html)  but I put my bird in at 500 for about 15 minutes, before turning to 225, to make sure any bacteria were taken care of.  It is not safe to stuff a bird cooked in this manner.  I roasted it on its side for 6 hours each , before turning it on its back for the last 1 1/2 hours.  The juices produced by this method make the best gravy I think I have ever tasted, augmented with stock from the gizzard, liver and neck. Fasting

For our Christmas at home, I make 2 different dressings, one involving chestnuts and the other sage and onions. Mashed potatoes (for this occasion I even peel them!) , sweet potatoes in garlic and rosemary, brussel sprouts and carrots make their appearance.  As you can see, it is a painstaking process involving real foods. Fasting

I mention this because this time I was surprised to be offered a dressing containing no identifiable ingredients, with a mushy consistency:  my guess is that it used white bread as a base. Fasting

Other offerings were candied sweet potatoes from a can, reconstituted mashed potatoes, and various other canned vegetables, to include creamed corn. Fasting

The cook in this instance was obviously not  awake to the importance of fresh, unprocessed foods – and perhaps had little time or inclination to cook. Fasting

So,  is there a way to combine health and convenience?  I think so.  There are many ways to make the Holiday table more healthy that do not
have to interfere with our enjoyment. Fasting

Festive vegetable recipe: BROCCOLI AND TOMATO WREATHConsider  some of the wonderful vegetable recipes at Veggie Venture (http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/)-  here are two of my favorites: Fasting

Broccoli & grape tomatoes formed into a wreath shape, topped with a lemon butter sauce. A perfect vegetable for Christmas dinners. Fasting

Here is the link (http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2007/12/broccoli-tomato-holiday-wreath.html) – you will enjoy the back story, too! Fasting

WINE-GLAZED BRUSSELS SPROUTSclose your eyes and imagine the goodness of red wine and soy sauce and honey cooked all syrupy. And think about that syrupy goodness soaking into tiny baby cabbages aka Brussels sprouts. Fasting

Here is the link – http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2006/03/day-341-wine-glazed-brussels-sprouts.html

How about a Holiday meal for 10 in 4 hours? “Delicious Living” magazine shows you how. 

http://www.deliciouslivingmag.com/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&issueID=65&articleID=1458
(Ignore the fact they say it is for Thanksgiving – Christmas is fine!) All real foods, all unprocessed, and very convenient, but still a feast.

Having real foods on the table mitigates a good deal of the guilt, but Holiday meals in particular involve horrendous amounts of sugar, from candied yams to marshmallows on top of Jell-O.  Obviously the best approach is to replace the offenders with  fresh foods,  since the fiber and enzymes they contain will modify the shock to our bodies. However, if you wish to indulge remember that there are supplements which help the body cope with sugar, among them. Fasting
Also peculiar to the Holidays is eating too much at a sitting. Fasting

I do advocate making sure you have your digestive enzymes on hand to cope with the overload: they can save you a great deal of distress, assuming your digestive system is say, over 30 years old, and no longer trustworthy. Fasting

 I have listed all the enzymes I recommend conveniently in one place, which you can access here: Enzymes

Providing yourself with a good digestive enzyme, and even taking some BEFORE you eat, can protect you, whether the consequences to you of a heavy meal involve heartburn, bloating, gas, belching, or anything else along these lines.  They will also encourage the absorption of the good nutrition in the excellent meal you sit down to enjoy.  You can read more about enzymes and Digestion here. Fasting

Lastly, do not forget the post-prandial stroll, a time to walk off the heaviness and restore the body’s equilibrium – as well as burning some of the extra calories. Fasting

After the Holidays, consider a period of fasting and cleansing to undo some of the possible effects of over-indulgence.  Fasting

Many experts are convinced that such chronic conditions as arthritis, sinus, psoriasis, and acne, together with lowered immune function and the more serious conditions that follow that, are all connected to high toxin levels in the body, & they will not proceed with diagnosis and treatment until the patient has been thoroughly detoxified since only then can the underlying cause of the symptoms be determined. Interesting research suggests that fasting just one day a month positively affects cardiovascular health, possibly through reduced exposure to glucose.  Researchers theorize that this one day without food gives the organs time to rest and work more efficiently.  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/88030.php As Dr. Elson M. Haas, M.D. (founder and medical director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin and author of several popular health books) says “through my 25 years in medical practice and health care, I have come to believe that the cleansing/detoxification process is the missing link in Western nutrition and one of the keys to real healing. I have seen hundreds of patients over the years transform regular or persistent illness into health and greatly improved vitality.” Fasting

We all know that the engine that runs well for years is the one that has undergone regular maintenance, and so I recommend a gentle cleansing fast, combined with the use of herbal detoxifiers, followed by a week of supportive digestive enzymes while limiting your diet to mostly raw foods with no animal products. You will find a detailed article on Cleansing and Fasting here. Fasting

Surely no one in charge of their own or their family’s health could fail to change their habits, if they were totally convinced of the connection between their diet and their health: Fasting

So Remember:The World Health Organization  warned in 2004 of the connection between processed foods and degenerative health problems  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2814253.stm Fasting

The Journal of the American medical Association published an article acknowledging the connection in 2002  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/410677?src=search

What changes should you make? Fasting

Consider increasing raw foods in your diet to offset the damaging effect of a diet that consists mostly of cooked foods. Enzymes are the difference between raw and cooked foods. Enzymes are powerful biochemical catalysts. They speed burning or building reactions in the body according to need, but enzymes are destroyed by temperatures as low as 105 degrees, the equivalent of light steaming. While our body can manufacture enzymes, according to Dr. Edward Howell in his book Enzyme Nutrition: “the more you use your enzyme potential, the faster it is going to run out.” Only raw food has functional “live” enzymes, so plan to add more raw foods to your diet, particularly in the warmer months of the year.

Here is my list of super-foods, some of which should be on the menu every day:
yogurt or kefir
broccoli
blueberries
beans and lentils
tomatoes
parsley
oats
spinach
carrots
salmon
turkey
onions
pears or apples
walnuts
green tea
eggs (free range)
garlic
olive oil/macadamia oil
  • Generous amounts of olive oil are allowed, while saturated fats from animal sources and trans fats are eliminated .
  •  This change needs to be accompanied by consistent healthful exercise, such as brisk walking.
  • Protein should be supplied liberally from plant sources, such as beans, nuts and soy, with poultry, eggs, fish and meat a few times a week, and red meat a few times a month.
  • Cheese and yogurt may be consumed on a daily basis, but in small amounts.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be consumed in variety on a daily basis.
  • Walnuts and almonds are encouraged as snacks.  I like almond butter in celery sticks, and walnuts in my yoghurt and salads, with blue cheese.
  • A glass of wine per day if desired (moderation rules – see RESOURCES for alcohol and Dementia) is an acceptable addition,
  • but your  main drink should be pure water.
  •  Green tea is encouraged. One cup of coffee a day is accepted.

EAT SLOWLY – fullness is a sensation that takes a little time to develop. if you eat quickly, you run the risk of eating more than you need. Consider the research on the connection between calorie restriction and longevity!  http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/31/news/story4.html

RELAX while you eat:  stress affects the production of stomach acid needed for digestion.

CHEW WELL – some of the preliminary enzyme activity takes place in the mouth.

JUST EAT – doing something else at the same time can make you eat too much.

And when the time comes for Holiday feasting – enjoy, with no guilt feelings!

Find the recommended supplements here

 

 

QUICK LINKS

The Empty Bowl Project – http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=wv5tuhcab.0.0.ljzj8vn6.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.emptybowls.net%2F

Department of Nostalgia – Old fashioned Holiday Screen Savers – free – http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=wv5tuhcab.0.0.ljzj8vn6.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.freewaresite.com%2Fscreensavers%2Foldfashionedchristmas_pv.html

The REAL Santa Claus – http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=wv5tuhcab.0.0.ljzj8vn6.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.joyfulheart.com%2Fchristmas%2Fst-nick.htm

Veggie Venture – wonderful vegetable recipes! – http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=wv5tuhcab.0.0.ljzj8vn6.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Fkitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com%2F

Christmas Spiders – http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=wv5tuhcab.0.0.ljzj8vn6.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Fchristmas.howstuffworks.com%2Finspirational-christmas-stories9.htm

Keep your Pets Safe – http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=wv5tuhcab.0.0.ljzj8vn6.0&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ddfl.org%2Fbehavior%2Fholiday-tips.pdf

Exercise for Stress relief – http://www.stress-relief-exercises.com/

Stress & Anxiety Relief  through Mind Control – http://www.hypnosisnetwork.com/hypnosis/stress_anxiety.php

Stress Balls – http://www.officeplayground.com/balls.html

Stress symptoms: Effects on your body, feelings and behavior – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-symptoms/SR00008_D

Stress Management Tools – http://www.mindtools.com/smpage.html

Stress Support Groups – http://www.dmoz.org/Health/Mental_Health/Stress/Support_Groups/

How to brine a turkey – http://bbq.about.com/cs/turkey/a/aa110103a.htm

Brining mix for the Turkey – http://www.turkeyperfect.com/brine.html

How to slow roast a turkey  – http://www.recipecottage.com/poultry/roast-turkey25.html

Healthy Holiday meal for 10 in 4 hours – http://www.deliciouslivingmag.com/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&issueID=65&articleID=1458

Delectable healthy desserts, low in sugar and salt – http://www.deliciouslivingmag.com/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&issueID=77&articleID=1766

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