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Health November 2017

Eat Right Now

Favorite Holiday Foods? You Can Make Them So Much Better

By Wendell Fowler

Need to thicken a soup or sauce? Try blending in mashed sweet potato, bean or pumpkin puree. And for goodness sakes, drop the can of nutritionally bogus, sugar-filled jellied cranberry crapola. Pull out the food processor and make your own fresh.

When the festively adorned Thanksgiving or any holiday buffet table creaks and moans from the abundance of family warhorse dishes, Americans put on the feed bag and commence a-gobbling. Aunt Tiffany's canned sweet potato casserole oozing with bubbly marshmallow and butter, Cuz Hazel’s Cherry Delight with Cool Whip, Anna Faye's artery-detonating potato casserole with sour cream, and grandma's green beans cooked for 12 hours in lip-smackin' bacon grease.

I'm not suggesting abandoning tradition. Heck no! What I'm proposing, under the specter of proliferating epidemics of chronic disease, is for you to substitute certain risky ingredients for sane, healthier versions. It's easier than ever to do it. That's why I'm here to assist you if you are willing.

In place of a salty hunk o' ham or bacon for the green beans, substitute turkey or Canadian bacon, or none at all, and use liquid smoke to impart the familiar flavor. Mashed potatoes? Substitute whole milk with evaporated skim milk, almond milk, plain yogurt or de-fatted turkey stock. When a recipe calls for bread crumbs, try rolled oats or crushed bran cereal for a fiber bonanza. Use fibrous whole wheat in place of processed AP flour.

Instead of wimpy iceberg lettuce, weak in nutrients, be a good Pilgrim and use a blend of arugula, spinach, watercress or baby kale, and toss with low-fat dressing and cranberries. Switch out white rice for brown rice or fibrous quinoa. Using canned pumpkin or cherries? Opt for what's fresh and seasonal. Canned food is DOA, plus the tins leach BPA, proven to cause breast cancer. Instead of table salt that has dextrose in it (read the label) offer mineral-rich pink Himalayan salt.

Need to thicken a soup or sauce? Try blending in mashed sweet potato, bean or pumpkin puree. And for goodness sakes, drop the can of nutritionally bogus, sugar-filled jellied cranberry crapola. Pull out the food processor and make your own fresh. Cranberries are incredibly healthy.

Creamy, cheesy broccoli casserole was one of my favorites, but the canned, salty, cream of mushroom soup was the deal breaker. Plus the cheese added to many fat calories. Then I discovered boxed low-salt versions and Daiya “cheese” on the grocery shelves. Just go lightly on the fried onion topping.

And, finally, if you use Cool Whip, a delicious blend of sugar, wax, and condom lube, rather than real whipped cream on the pumpkin or pecan pie – stop!  "Cruel Whip" topping is an insanely gross, disgusting chemical crap storm of ill health. It's far better whipping up your own and then bragging about it.

On my weekly TV segment, every time a bell rings, I urge viewers to put ground flax or chia seed on everything you eat to reduce the time dinner loiters in your colon. Add 3-4 tablespoons to your stuffing, for example.

And by all means, before you strap on the fat pants, prepare a decent selection of lightly cooked vegetables with a little crunch left in them. No need to asphyxiate them in cheese sauce. Heat kills, so undercooking will preserve their heavenly vitamins.

There is however, no substitute for the delicious love shared over a family dinner. The recipe for love should never, ever be altered. Happy holidays!

 

Chef Wendell hosts Eat Right Now on WISH TV 8 CBS Indianapolis. He can be reached at 317-372-2592 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .Visit his website at Chefwendell.com.

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