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Healthy Holiday Meals to Feel Good About

Posted Dec 21, 2017 | Blog Post

Season’s greetings!! It’s the holiday season and for the last Turning a New Leaf post of 2017, we’re going to have a look at some tasty holiday recipes to get you feeling all warm, cozy and much less guilty about those holiday cookies. So, eat up, enjoy, and happy holidays from all of us at TruLeaf to you and your loved ones!

 

It’s the holiday season and with all the festivities and new year around the corner, it means a lot of music, bright lights, and if you’re like my family… lots and lots of sweets and carbs! Although the holidays are a time to sit back, relax and spend time with your loved ones, it is also the season for increased heart attacks and cardiovascular-related deaths.

 

We are all too familiar with the long-standing urban tale that with holidays comes many more accidents and death, but how true is this legend? Well, a study by Josh Knight from the University of Melbourne found that when controlling for external variables linked to increased deaths around the holiday season, such as the flu and cold-weather, cardiovascular-related deaths increased independently by 4 percent around Christmas and New Years. Multiple factors can account for this increase in heart attack rates. First, holidays are stressful! Friends, family, financial obligations, that uncle that never leaves… there are a lot stressors that multiply and can lead to high blood pressure rates, stress eating, and heart attacks. As well, increased consumption of rich foods such as meats, sweets and alcohol from Thanksgiving to the New Year all play into effect by increasing blood pressure, and subsequent heart attack risk. Specifically, over-eating is a big issue with the holiday season!

 

Overeating, specifically for long periods of time is one of the biggest holiday sins. One study found that for almost 2000 heart attack patients, those who had overate the day of their attack had quadruple the risk of having a heart attack as compared to those who ate a normal portion size. The authors cited this increased risk due to a two-fold effect. First, triglycerides (a type of fat found in the body that is already elevated in individuals with coronary heart disease), tends to significantly spike after a fatty meal, which can trigger a cardiovascular inflammatory response in the body and a subsequent heart attack. Secondly, large amounts of food trigger adrenaline spikes to help with digestion, which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and if you have pre-existing heart conditions, a slew of cardiac-related risks.

 

Lastly, before we get to some delicious healthy holiday recipes to balance some of those oh-so-delectable holiday cookies, it not just those with cardiovascular risks that should be concerned about overeating around the holidays. A study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that on average, individuals tend to gain 1 or 2 pounds during the national holidays, however in general, it takes on average 5 months to burn off those very same calories. So instead of making a New Year’s resolution to diet and exercise after you have indulged over the holidays, it may be wiser to choose some healthier options this holiday season starting from this post and the recipes listed below! Happy Holidays everyone and see you in the New Year!!

 

Kale and Squash Galette with Olive Oil Crust

Throw some microgreens on top to add some extra colour and nutrition on a cold day! Great party appetizer or dinner-for-one!

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Pecorino Cheese

Mix and match your favourite stemmed vegetables and sautéed greens to customize it to your favourite taste buds!

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach

Try the vegan version for a healthier, greener and environmentally-cleaner option

 

Author: Bojana Radan 

Photo Credit: Marco Verch, Creative Commons