The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 23, 2010

T-day table Strategies

How to avoid being done in by dinner

By Erin Thompson
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — Af ter Thanksgiving dinner is cleared and dishes are taken to the sink, Christina Major’s family doesn’t “lay around” or fall asleep on the floor — and they feel better for it.

As the owner of Crystal Holistic Health Consulting, of Sunbury, Major’s job is to help others understand what they’re eating and has applied these techniques to her family life.

The key to staying energetic after a big meal, she said, is to take a 20-minute walk after you eat.

This will aid in digestion and give you more energy after dinner and throughout the day to spend time with the family and give thanks.

But there are a number of other things to remember when it comes to holiday eating.

Watch what you eat

 “We’re eating entirely too much processed food — stuffing, canned cranberry jelly, green bean casserole, prepackaged mashed potatoes...” she said. “These foods all have a lot of sugar and preservatives in them.”

When preservatives are added to a natural product, nutrients most nutrients are destroyed and sugar is added.

Major recommends making as much of the food from scratch as possible.

In many cases, she said, it’s just as easy and expensive to make the item from scratch “and it also tastes better.”

Green bean casserole is a perfect example.

“It takes no more effort to buy fresh green beans then it does to open a can,” she said, and the cost is about the same and be more nutritious.

“Homemade mashed potatoes are also healthier, tastier and you’re saving money,” she added.

Depending on the recipe, stuffing could be more or less expensive.

When it comes to cranberry sauce, “most people buy it in a can,” said Major. “But there are a lot of simple recipes out there.”

The recipe she uses requires one pound of cranberries, one cup of orange juice, onequarter cup Stevia and is to be stirred, boiled, strained and served.

Then, when it comes to the staple of every Thanksgiving meal, the turkey is fine as is, said Major. “White meat is low in fat and outside of game meat, is the healthiest protein you can get.”

Otherwise, they’re not injected with growth hormones or preservatives.

And with Pennsylvania being one of the top five producers of turkey in the United States, it shouldn’t be difficult to buy locally.

Major’s family “used to get our turkey from a local turkey farm” and said “they make fabulous turkey sandwiches for lunches after Thanksgiving.”

Another ingredient that can be healthier when bought locally is the pumpkin pie filling because local farmers don’t use a lot of sugar in their filling..

Stay hydrated

Whether you’re traveling this holiday, or staying home, it’s important to remember to drinking plenty of water.

“Dehydration will increase stress and cause muscles to slow, joints to ache, headaches and mood swings,” said Major.

Soda and coffee could make symptoms worse.

When drinking alcohol, be aware that it dehydrates the body.

“I usually recommend alternating sips of water with sips of alcohol.” This will slow, if not prevent hangovers and help fill the stomach so you’re not tempted to eat or drink so much.”

Most importantly, Major encourages talk around the dinner table saying it slows you down and can make meals more enjoyable.

“When you have to stop every couple of seconds to answer a question, you’re not likely to eat so fast,” she said.

— E-mail comments to ethompson@dailyitem.com