I want to share with you some healthy tips and anecdotes to kick off the holiday season. It has been a tumultuous year for many however there is always something to give thanks for and our health is just one of those things.
Here are a few things that can keep us counting our blessings as well as a few treats to celebrate them!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying only as much as you need and choosing products that come in packaging that can be recycled. Carry reusable bags when you do your shopping, and use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again.
Be sure to recycle all paper and plastic, glass and aluminum containers. If you don't already have a compost bin, use your Thanksgiving fruit and vegetable trimmings to start one. The compost will enrich the soil in your garden next spring.
Buy & Eat Locally Grown Food
Locally grown food is good for your table, your health and the environment. Locally grown food tastes better than food that has to be grown and packaged for maximum shelf life, and it requires less fuel to reach store shelves.
Locally grown food also contributes more to your local economy, supporting local farmers as well as local merchants. Also, using only organic food for your feast is another good eco-friendly Thanksgiving strategy.
Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers; organic meat is produced without antibiotics and artificial hormones.
The result is food that is better for your health and good for the environment. Organic farming also produces higher yields, increases soil fertility, prevents erosion, and is more cost-effective for farmers.
If you must go over the river and through the woods, there are still ways to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving.
If you drive, use less fuel and lower your emissions by making sure your car is in good working order and your tires are properly inflated. If possible, carpool to reduce the number of cars on the road.
If you fly, consider purchasing carbon credits to offset your portion of the carbon dioxide emissions generated by your flight. A typical long-haul flight produces nearly four tons of carbon dioxide.
Plant a Tree
Trees absorb carbon dioxide. Planting one tree may not seem to matter much in the face of global climate change, but small things do matter. In one year, the average tree absorbs roughly 26 pounds of carbon dioxide and returns enough oxygen to supply a family of four.
Make it a Spiritual Day
The Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving fled religious persecution in Europe to seek a better life in America. The Thanksgiving holiday was established to provide a national day of thanksgiving for all Americans.
Even if you follow no particular religion, however, Thanksgiving is a good time to count your blessings, beginning with the many ways the natural environment sustains and enriches our lives.
As part of your eco-friendly Thanksgiving, make time for prayer, meditation, reflection, or perhaps just a walk in the woods to contemplate and give thanks for the wonders of nature.
Say Thank You
Whatever else you do on Thanksgiving, make it a time to say thank you to the people in your life who matter most and, if possible, to spend time in their company.
Life is short. It is the moments that count most -- and many of the best moments in life are those spent with friends and family. If distance or circumstances prevent you from spending Thanksgiving with some of the people you love, call, email or write them a letter (on recycled paper!!) to tell them why they mean so much to you and they make your world a better place.
And try some of these extra yummy dishes at your Thanksgiving feast:
Sage and Onion Cornbread Stuffing
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery and tops, chopped
3/4 lb. cornbread cubes
1 and 1/2 cup vegetarian broth
1/2 tsp. EACH of sage, thyme, savory and dried rosemary
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper (you won't need salt if the broth is salted)
Saute the onion and celery in a large lightly-oiled or non-stick frying pan in the oil until softened, adding a little broth if necessary to keep from sticking. Remove from heat and add the remaining stuffing ingredients. The bread should be moist. Mix well. Grease loaf or tube pans, or a casserole dish, with Asian sesame oil. Pack in the stuffing. Brush with more sesame oil. Cover with foil. Bake at 325-375 degrees for about 1 hour.
Sweet Potato Pie
3 large sweet potatoes
3 Tbsp oil or non-dairy margarine
1/2 cup hot soy milk
Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
1/2 cup fructose
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 unbaked vegan pie crust
Steam the sweet potatoes until tender, then peel and mash. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the oil in the hot soymilk, and add to the sweet potatoes. Beat until soft and creamy.
Add the beaten egg replacer, fructose, sea salt, vanilla, and nutmeg to the sweet potato mixture, and mix well. Pour the filling into the crust, and bake for 30 minutes.
Carolyn Scott is an avid traveler but found it quite difficult to find vegan friendly restaurants abroad. Realizing she could find and/or manipulate any menu to create a meal that satisfied her as well as her dining partners, she created the Healthy Voyager to show people that your dietary restrictions should not ruin your trip. Carolyn has studied holistic nutrition and dabbled in the culinary arts while keeping a log of every place she visited! The Healthy Voyager is the authority on all things vegan, healthy and green! You can check out her blog, web series, radio show, recipes and more at www.HealthyVoyager.com