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Create a Holiday Feast Your Guests Will Remember

by Barbara Minton
See all TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton

(The Best Years in Life) What could be better than feasting with friends and family during the holidays? You can make sure everyone stays at their best and enjoys the day to the fullest by following these four tips when planning the feast. Each provides a way to increase positive energy flow and feelings of peace and goodwill.

  • Choose unprocessed foods

  • Serve red wine with the food

  • Prepare foods in non-toxic cookware

  • Get the guests up and moving when the meal is finished

Minimizing toxins and pollutants at the holiday feast

Holiday foods are notorious for having chemicals and other additives used in their processing. Maybe this is because so much food has to be made available for so many people at one time. Whatever the reason, avoiding pesticides, synthetic hormones and other additives in the food you prepare will have a big effect on how you and your guests feel after the meal is finished. Foods prepared with clean ingredients (components with minimal or no toxicity), will leave your diners feeling well fed and content, but without the dragged down, drugged, fuzzy headed feeling traditionally associated with holiday meals. This means they will be in a good mood and able to relax, have conversation and enjoy each other's company - not fighting the urge to take a nap. To significantly lower the toxicity level of the meal:

*Serve fresh organic whole foods whenever possible. Organic food may contain some pesticide residues, but pesticides allowed to be used in organic farming are nothing compared to those used by conventional growers. Animals whose meats are sold as organic have been raised humanely and fed a diet that respects their natures. Organic meats do not contain added hormones, antibiotics, or growth stimulates such as Paylean. Organic dairy products come from pastured animals that have had something of the life for which they were intended.

*Use the Clean 15 list published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to determine which conventionally grown produce items can be safely eaten. Get their Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

*It may be tempting and probably easier and cheaper to cook with processed or canned ingredients, but try to avoid this temptation. Produce that is peeled or sliced and bagged may be a convenience, but will have lost most of its vitamin C and will probably have a high bacteria count.  Food from cans is contaminated by the chemicals that leach from their plastic liners, particularly bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic hormone that disrupts endocrine function.

Prepared gravies and sauces, and prepared stuffing mixes will be laced with excitotoxins such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) or yeast extract that kills brains cells and will really leave your guests in an after dinner stupor.

*Don't take anything for granted - read the label. It used to be that whipping cream in a bottle or carton contained only cream. Now most has added carageenan, a toxic thickening agent. Animal studies have revealed evidence that carageenan causes ulcerations of the gastro intestinal tract and gastro intestinal cancer. Even something as simple as a bag of grated cheddar you might want to use with baked potatoes will probably contain toxic mold inhibitor and preservatives unless it is organic. And those potatoes that come ready to use in a bag contain at least three chemicals used as preservatives: disodium pyrophosphate, potassium sorbate, and sodium bisulfite. Better to prepare your own organic potatoes and preserve everyone's holiday cheer instead.


Serve red wine with the meal

Red wine has magical properties that will leave you and your guests more alert after eating a big meal, and will keep all that food from turning into extra pounds. Red wine owes its powers to the synergistic grape polyphenol group of nutrients that are more highly bioavailable in wine than those that come directly from grapes. The grape polyphenol group speeds up metabolism, helping everyone to stay brighter after dinner, and it speeds up fat burning too. And when you serve red wine with dinner, its amazingly high antioxidant content will be available to mop after any free radicals produced, helping to sustain the good feelings of your guests. Learn more about the amazing fat burning powers of red wine.

Invest in quality cookware

What you cook with has an effect on how your guests feel after the meal. Non-stick cookware has come a long way from the Teflon of several years ago that flaked off in the food, but it should not be used. Today's non-stick cookware is still coated with chemicals that when heated release toxic gases into the food and into the air you are breathing in your home. Manufacturers of non-stick products are not required to release their safety (or lack of safety) data to the public. Cooking in aluminum pans may be hazardous too.  Aluminum has a negative effect on the human nervous system and has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.  Cooking highly acid foods in metal cookware is a never good idea because of leaching. If you must cook with metal cookware, move the food to a safe storage container as soon as it is done.

For safer friendlier cooking, rely on oven-safe glass, ceramic and cast iron. If you want to buy a new cast iron pan, purchase it through Amazon and a portion of your purchase price will go to support the work of EWG. If you have to use non-stick, minimize exposure by not heating pans when they are empty, not cooking or heating at high temperatures, and use your exhaust fan to remove gases from the air.

Don't use plastic spoons or spatulas to stir hot food as it cooks, and never leave a plastic utensil sitting in hot food. Be sure hot food is served in glass, ceramic or metal, not in plastic bowls.

Get the guests moving

After a long session at the table, the inclination is to move to another chair for coffee or after dinner drinks. This is usually where the festivities start to go downhill. To avoid the traditional after dinner slump, create a reason to get the guests moving. A nice easy going walk around the block is probably the best idea. If motivation for that is lacking, give them a house tour, try a game of musical chairs or get everyone standing and singing by the piano. You'll have to be creative with this one.

The point is that after a heavy meal, one of two messages will be sent to the body. Message one says you are going to move to another chair, sit down and get sleepy. This message tells your body to go ahead and put the energy from this meal in storage because you won't be needing it. Message two says you are being active. This message tells the body you will need to use the energy from the food you have just eaten so it shouldn't be stored. It only takes a few minutes of activity after eating to send the message you want. Once it's sent, everyone can sit down and enjoy the evening.

See also:

The Best Years in Life's Healthy Holiday Meals Collection

About the Author:

Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.

See other articles by the Barbara Minton here:

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