TEN more sleeps until the big day! My kids are already overexcited and I'm very happy to say that I have completed the vast majority of my Christmas shopping. I've tried to do most things in advance this year to avoid the inevitable stress and 'overwhelm' that seems to be part and parcel of the festive season. But, however much prepared I am, there is always something I have left off the list or forgotten and so I end up braving the crowds on Christmas eve anyway! These are the moments that I need to seek out a quiet closet in the house, sit inside with the door firmly closed and practise being 'Mindful'. Creating opportunities for the 'Relaxation Response' to kick in during such a busy time is important in order to stay on top of your game and avoid tiredness.
Ok, let's get down to the business of the Christmas main meal. This will be my fourth MS diet Christmas and have to say that I don't miss eating meat at Christmas at all. This is strange because it used to be my absolute favourite part of Christmas dinner. You could always catch me sneakily eating the leftover roast lamb in the kitchen long after the Christmas meal had ended. How greedy! That was a lifetime ago and I now have a new favourite main meal at Christmas. It's scrumptious, melts in your mouth and leaves you feeling clean and full of energy! Any guesses?
Drum roll please ... it's the The Salmon Fillet!
Yes, the large, dressed up salmon fillet is my Christmas main of choice. It's the perfect meal for those following the MS diet and anyone else who doesn't want to be left with the heavy, lethargic feeling that eating meat often leaves you with. Salmon is a pretty special food to eat at Christmas time and here are some very good reasons to include it.
Five Reasons To Make Salmon Your Main At Christmas
- It is a versatile fish and combines well with a variety of toppings and sides. Many of you will remember my very first Christmas post (2 years ago now!) in which I posted a cranberry sauce recipe. This is a great sauce to have on the side because it just adds that extra special Christmasy taste to the salmon. It's sweet and tangy - I will definitely be whipping up a batch this Christmas!
- Salmon cooks quickly which helps when you're doing a few other meat dishes and oven space is limited! If I'm baking a small fillet, I always do it at the last minute because I know it will be ready in around 7 minutes. However, a large fillet will take 15-20 minutes. I like it just cooked! It loses its 'melt in the mouth' texture when overcooked so you need to watch it.
- It is an amazing source of protein and will keep your tummy feeling full for ages. Protein also stabilises blood sugar levels which helps you to feel calmer, happier and less stressed (we all know that Christmas can be stressful).
- Salmon is a rich source of vitamin B12 which is an exceptionally important nutrient for those with MS. A B12 deficiency can actually result in MS like symptoms such as numbness. So, because we are not eating red meat, which is a plentiful source of B12, we need to make sure we are getting a healthy dose of salmon every week. A B12 supplement such as methylcobalamin is also important.
- It is full of omega 3 fatty acids which, as we all know by now, are essential for the health of our nerves and calming inflammation.
Roasted Salmon with Pecan Pesto Crust
Now for the exciting bit! This is my salmon recipe of choice this year. The addition of the pecan pesto crust turns the salmon fillet into a truly special treat. It contains so much flavour that you will want to have a sneaky snack of the left overs afterwards! I know I will! Here is the recipe:
1 salmon fillet (wild salmon is preferable)
1 1/2 cup pecan nuts
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup basil leaves
3 Tbsp coconut oil (great for cooking)
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
Prepare the salmon fillet by checking for bones, then place on a foil lined baking tray.
Combine the garlic, pecans, basil, coconut oil, sea salt and ground black pepper in a food processor until a it resembles breadcrumb texture. Spoon over the top of the salmon. Bake for around 15 - 20 minutes depending on the size of your fillet. It should be just done but not raw.
Just a quick note about the pecan crust, I usually don't like to heat my nuts because high temperatures can cause the good fat in them to change structure, making it difficult for the body to absorb. However because the dish will only be in the oven for a short time, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Just make sure it's only in the oven for as long as it needs to be. This may even be ten minutes for some fast cooking ovens.
Summing it Up
I hope this post gives you some ideas of what you would like to do for your main meal this year. On the MS diet, we needn't feel deprived or left out at this gastronomic time of the year. It's a great opportunity to show your friends and family that the MS diet way of eating can be just as delicious, if not more yummy than the food they are eating. Go out and get yourself the hugest most juicy salmon fillet you can find and enjoy every morsel at your Christmas meal.
Stay tuned for the last of the MS diet Christmas posts next week. I will be focusing on MS diet desserts and treats!
I would love to hear your ideas for dressing up salmon so drop me a line, in between your Christmas shopping!