Thanksgiving has, for me, always involved a little overindulgence. A little too much fat, a little too much sugar, probably several too many simple carbohydrates. Even as a holistic nutritionist, sometimes it’s hard to forgo the mashed potatoes or gravy and risk the look of disappointment (and the ensuing guilt trip) on Aunt Millie’s face after she “slaved for hours” over a hot stove. As if I really wanted to forgo those delicious dishes that bring back so many good memories. That’s the nice thing about living life in balance though. You don’t really have to martyr yourself with a bowl full of brussel sprouts while everyone is eating pumpkin pie if you REALLY want that pumpkin pie. It’s not about what you do some of the time, it’s what you do most of the time that counts.
Having said that, it never ceases to amaze me how, even though I know how the food will affect my body, bloated and heavy I feel for the next several days. This year I made sure we had a free range turkey (actually it was wild so that made it better) we made our pumpkin sage soup for a starter, I passed on the potatoes, made one heck of a cranberry relish with sucanat, orange and spices, and roasted my brussel sprouts with pistachios. We had lots of raw salads and crudities and I began my day with a pomegranate power smoothie and my Moringa Leaf powder and Greens Powder blended in. For dessert I had Vegan Pumpkin Pie but I ate a LOT of all of it. We ate over about a 7 hour time frame and I grazed. A little like a big pregnant cow grazes. A little here, a little there, a little more….. Bottom line, even after yesterday, where I made a Corsican Quinoa Salad and grazed on that because I couldn’t look at another piece of turkey, I am still feeling a little like the snake that swallowed the rat.
When you overindulge, you put a strain on your entire metabolism. The liver can only metabolize so much fat, sugar, and starch so fast and this causes the gall bladder to back up. (It’s also how gall stones are formed.) It packs on pounds, partly of fat, partly of fluid, but nevertheless everything will fit a bit tighter. Even in healthy people, edema is a slight problem. If you overindulge, you might notice your rings fit a bit tighter or your shoes pinch. Blood gets sluggish. Chronic inflammation increases and may even become acute. Much of what is in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is acid forming in the body so your alkaline/acid balance is thrown even more out of alignment.
There is a delicious remedy for overindulgence that comes in the form of the simple apple. With all the soluble fiber and enzymes (good for cleaning and repopulating the flora of the gut), Vitamins A and C (immune boosting powerhouses), citric acid, and pectin (which helps keep you feeling full and lowers LDL) not to mention the flushing effects of its citric acid which helps, in combination with its rich antioxidant content, to lower C-reactive proteins (the little buggers responsible for inflammation), it’s a wonder to me why the apple is often passed by in the rush for the flashier superfruits such as acai and goji berries. The fact is that people who are affected by autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, fibromyalgia, and even MS should be incorporating the lowly apple into their day to day diets to manage pain better than many NSAIDs.
While I loathe bottled apple juice simply because its life giving enymes are destroyed through pasteurization and it is overly filtered making it pretty much like drinking the sugar bowl, fresh apple juice is a permanent fixture our home and is drank diluted with water throughout the day. I have even been known to spike it with a little raw apple cider vinegar to give it a little tang and absorb all of the health benefits of raw vinegar. (Don’t worry, a post is coming.)
One of my favorite ways of getting all the benefits of the apple without going overboard on fructose consumption is a tisane called Apple Tea, which I fell madly in love with while travelling in Turkey. There are many versions of this tea and it’s even sold dried in tea bags and in powder form by the famous Hazer Baba (known for their Turkish Delight). Personally, I find the homemade version much more palatable as the powder has an enormous amount of sugar in it and the dried tea never gets as “apple-y” as I would like. I also have been known to play around with the additions to the tea. The mineral salts (from cooking down the apples and oranges) cleanses the blood and urinary tract (great for people prone to cystitis), quickly reduce swelling acting as a gentle diuretic, and calm inflammation in a snap.
For the tea::
2 red apples, do not peel and do not remove the seeds, cut in 4 or 6 ( organic is best)
1 orange, do not peel, cut in 4 or 6 (organic and make sure the wax is thoroughly scurbbed)
1 stick cinnamon
2 whole cloves
4 cup water
Black tea (this is very often done in Turkey but I don’t see a need for it as it turns it into more of a tea than a healthy tisane.)
Rose petals (use organic ones or wash them in a little vinegar and a lot of water before use) are high in Vitamins A,C,D,and E and also several B Vitamins. They are a mood enhancer, antidepressant, a mild diuretic and are a great detoxing agent. They have compounds that are known to manage pain. Adding a few rose petals to the tea also gives the tea a mysterious flavor in the background.
Hibiscus flowers are rich in antioxidants, good for people with mild to moderate hypertension, and aids in weight loss. It imparts a tart, slightly acidic or sour note much like cranberry juice and lifts the flavor of the apples nicely. This is my favorite addition to the tea though I do alternate between the rose petals depending on the day.
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer about 30 minutes until fruit is tender. Strain over a colander or with cheesecloth into a bowl, pushing gently with the back of the spoon to remove all the liquid. Pour into the tea glasses.
If you like a slightly sweet tea you may sweeten with raw honey or a little liquid stevia.
Wishing you peace and balance,