Over the following three weeks, I will be focusing on getting you ready for the trickiest time of the year in terms of sticking to your MS diet. At Christmas time, it's wonderful to get caught up in the whirlwind of fun festivities. My favourites are - putting up the tree, marvelling at the lights, visiting Christmas markets and, of course, spending precious time with family and friends. Unfortunately, these events often involve a lot of food on our 'Avoid' list. Food is a big part of the celebrations at this time of year and usually consist of an oversupply of sugar, gluten and fat filled goodies - everything we desperately don't want to put in our bodies. What is scary is that it can be easy to convince ourselves that we deserve a treat at Christmas and that we will be fine if we eat 'just a little' here and there. However, it always ends up being more than you planned on. Like it or not, you start heading in a direction you don't really want to go in.
I have certainly been guilty of this in the past and the Christmas season has left me feeling exhausted, depressed and heading towards a relapse. Yes, I have learnt the hard way that delving into the seemingly never-ending world of Christmas food is just not worth it. The fantastic thing is that there are many tasty alternatives to the 'traditional' and rather unhealthy Christmas food. Yes, they might take a little more effort to produce but this is small in comparison to the energy you'll expend getting yourself back on track after indulging in the wrong foods.
So, we need to make a solid commitment to ourselves, not to indulge in foods that will leave us feeling lack lustre at at time when we want to be sparkling with health! I hope some of my suggestions will help you to stay on track this Christmas.
The Sweet Potato
In this post I want to praise the humble sweet potato for it's festive season-MS diet potential. In my books, sweet potato is one of the most perfect foods to eat at Christmas. It is a healthy and delicious alternative to roast potatoes and, believe it or not, can be used to make delicious treats and desserts. It combines brilliantly with the Christmas spices, is sweet and just melts in your mouth. It also has a host of other benefits which make it a Christmas superfood:
- Full of antioxidants especially beta-carotene.
- Contains anti-inflammatory compounds - reduced inflammation following sweet potato consumption has been shown in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body.
- Keeps blood sugar levels stable - important for consistent energy levels and symptom control.
- Contains a whole host of other nutrients such as Vitamin D, B6, C, iron and magnesium.
The first recipe I'm going to share with you is a little fiddly but looks and tastes pretty amazing. Cranberry and Apple Sweet Potatoes is a lovely and unique way to serve sweet potatoes at your Christmas meal. The sweet potato is actually sliced halfway through and then stuffed with a delicious cranberry, apple and walnut mix. So they could also be called 'Stuffed Sweet Potatoes' They can be put together in advance and then warmed just before they are needed. Here is the recipe:
Cranberry & Apple Sweet Potatoes
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup apple, peeled and finely diced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Thinly slice the sweet potatoes 3/4 of the way through. Place into a baking dish and drizzle the coconut oil over them.
In a bowl mix together the maple syrup, walnuts, cranberries, apple and cinnamon.
Push some of the mixture between the slices, then pour the remaining mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes and cover the dish with foil.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Sweet Potato Brownies
I got this recipe from Deliciously Ella and it is to die for! These little beauties actually taste like normal brownies but won't put you on a sugar high. They will leave you feeling perfectly content, happy and brimming with energy. I have added some brazil nuts to the mix which bring a little texture and crunch. I also think they balance out the richness and sweetness. I highly recommend these brownies! They're great for taking to parties where you know you might be tempted to eat what you shouldn't. However you can also just keep them in your cupboard for whenever you are feeling peckish. Here is the recipe:
2 medium to large sweet potatoes (600g)
2/3 of a cup of ground almonds (80g)
1/2 a cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour (100g)
14 medjool dates
4 tablespoons of raw cacao
3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1 handful chopped brazil nuts (Kim's addition)
a pinch of salt
Start by pre-heating the oven to 350F/180C, then peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and place into a steamer for about twenty minutes, until they become really soft.
Once they are perfectly soft and beginning to fall apart remove them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates.
Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato date combination. Stir well.
Place into a lined baking dish and cook for about twenty minutes, until you can pierce the brownie cake with a fork bringing it out dry. Remove the tray and allow it to cool for about ten minutes – this is really important as it needs this time to stick together.
Remove the brownies from the tray, leaving it another few minutes before cutting them into squares. Go ahead and indulge!
Thank you Ella!
Summing it up
Sweet potatoes are so versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways. I just love steaming or baking them and then topping them with extra virgin olive oil and herb salt. What a great MS diet meal! I often add them to my salad as well to make a more substantial meal. So, I ask you again, why would you want to fill your body with food that will harm you when there are these amazingly tasty alternatives? I hope you enjoy these two MS diet recipes and that they help you to keep walking in the right direction with your eating. Stay tuned for next week's yummy Christmas recipe!
Blessings to you!