Well, it's that time of year again! I can't quite fathom that a year can go so quickly. I can just imagine that you are tending to your final Christmas lists, buying your last few gifts and planning your scrumptious Christmas dinner. I certainly am! It is a lovely but sometimes stressful time of year. Most of the time, it is the wife and mother of the family that has to bear the heaviest load. It is our job to make sure all the presents are bought and wrapped. We are the ones that stay up until all hours of the night writing Christmas cards to distant friends and relatives. We plan the food, make the food and oversee the clean up! I'm sure you will agree that it can get overwhelming at times!
I have tried to be very organised this year and have done most things in advance. This does slightly reduce the my load and subsequent stress levels. However, there are certain things that can only be done at the last minute. This is when times can get a little tricky. There is always something that doesn't go according to plan! An important thing to remember is that if you are eating properly, you are far more likely to be able to handle those last minute mishaps. You will feel stronger, cleaner and more energetic! This is what I am aspiring to this Christmas. When you have delicious MS diet alternatives, there is no need to eat rich food that is just going to make your body slow down. That is what this post is all about, helping you to stick to what you know is best for you by planning to eat MS Diet food that is just as nice (if not nicer) as what everyone else is eating.
This year, we are having our main Christmas meal on the eve of the festive day. I can't wait to spend it with special friends and family. We usually attend a Christmas Eve service at 4pm and then come back home for mulled drinks, mince pies and canapés. We will then move onto the main meal at around 7pm. I have decided that the entire meal, bar the compulsory meat, is going to be MS diet friendly. This means loads of veggies, rice, roast potatoes (cooked without oil) and beautiful whole salmon. Don't forget the pudding! I am confident and adamant that nobody following the MS diet should feel, in any way, deprived at Christmas. Let's explore the various courses of the Christmas meal and some the MS diet alternatives. You can access the full recipes by clicking on the headings or finding them in the Recipes section.
Where To Start?
I plan to serve this to my guests as soon as they arrive. Just to clarify from the outset, this drink is completely alcohol free and only consists of apple juice, various spices and citrus rind. I completely adore a hot mulled drink at this time of year. The combination of the spices and fruit are just too good to resist. To use an expression my Mom always says, 'It warms the cockerels of your soul'. You honestly do feel nurtured and entirely happy when you are holding a mug of this steaming, fragrant juice. We know that apple juice is rich in antioxidants and is great for strengthening your immune system. Cinnamon, another dominant flavour, is rich in calcium and has a mild anti inflammatory effect on the body. This is a quick, great tasting alternative to “gluhwine”, or other cocktails.
Mini Rice Cake Canapés
These little cuties are so easy to make, yet look very impressive. If you haven't discovered them yet, rice cakes make great snacks and, in this instance, canapés. They are usually composed entirely of rice and maybe a little salt. So, they are completely MS diet legal. Scour your supermarket for round mini rice cakes. If you can only find square then these will be fine. Lay them out on a serving dish and then top them with any ingredients your heart desires. One idea is to start with a thin slice of avocado followed by a layer of artichoke and finished off with a spot of sun-dried tomato pesto. Or, how about spreading a thick layer of cashew mayonnaise on them followed by a thin slice of cucumber or tomato. I'm pretty sure you will be able to come up with many more creative ideas that will have your guests clambering for more. (Recipe and images coming soon)
I have to be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of parsnips. I will eat them but definitely without relish! They are kinda a strange mixture between potatoes and carrots. I can't quite work out how they are meant to taste! Parsnips have a sickly sweet, almost bitter taste that is definitely acquired, I have decided. However,in combination with the spices in this soup they are perfect and oh so Christmasy! Spicing them up with coriander and turmeric is definitely the right way to eat them. I will definitely be serving this anti-inflammatory concoction to my Christmas eve guests. They are about to discover the joys of parsnips.
The Main Event
There are so many different vegetables that can be used and countless ways to prepare them. Vegetables really are the heart of the Christmas meal. Without them, there wouldn't much left and the meal would die a sad meat filled death! Veggies add life and wholesomeness. We MS'ers know this fact! There are so many beautiful ways to cook and serve them and I know you all have your favourites. I am going to share mine with you, briefly. Broccoli and Cauliflower with Cashew Cream Sauce is definitely on the list! Raw cashew nuts are known for their rich nutrient content. They are packed with antioxidants and omega 6 essential fats. Cashews are also a rich source of vitamin K, magnesium and zinc. As for broccoli and cauliflower, these veggies are so super healthy for you, containing a host of nutrients. They contain large amounts of sulphur which is an essential mineral that aids the function of neurotransmitters, helps with detoxification and allows the mitochondria of the cells to function more effectively. Brocolli is also a good source of protein!
I am also going to be doing a medley of roast vegetables. These will include potatoes, carrots, butternut and zucchini. Chop them in wedges and leave the skin on the potatoes and zucchini. Often the 'roasted' effect is difficult to achieve without using oil. Luckily, I have found a way that makes them crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside with no oil required. The secret is to steam them for 8-10 minutes and then let them cool down and dry off for about half an hour. Place them on your baking tray, lined with baking paper and season them well with herb salt. Place them in an oven heated to 400F/200C until they start turning slightly golden. Take them out and at this point, you may drizzle cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil all over them. See, you still get the oil but it is now in a form that your body can use for good! (Images coming soon)
For me, salmon is the ultimate treat meal. Far superior to any other meat on the menu. When cooked properly it melts in your mouth and tastes truly divine. Instead of containing artery clogging saturated fat, it is packed with heart and nerve healthy omega 3's. One of the true super foods in my opinion. Last year, I posted a recipe for Salmon Steak with Cranberry Sauce. This year I am going BIG! I am going to do a whole salmon fillet. Yes, very adventurous of me! I am hoping that some of my guests will join me in my salmon feast. The cranberry sauce is still definitely on the cards. It is a beautiful accompaniment to the fish dish. Try and make sure your salmon is wild, not farmed. It should state this on the front of the pack. Wild salmon is far superior in terms of omega 3 content because the fish have lived off seaweed instead of the corn meal fed to farmed fish. So, source your salmon and take the decandent plunge!
Traditional Christmas pudding is not my favourite but I still feel it needs to be present as a pudding option. As a child, my grandmother used to coat and surround it in brandy and then light it so that it was literally on fire when it came to the table. She also used to fill it with small coins. I was only really in it for the money and used to pretend to eat it whilst discovering the hidden treasure. With such a lovely memory, it will always be included at my Christmas meal. I have managed to find a gluten and sugar free recipe that tastes just as Christmasy as the standard puddings. In my opinion, Christmas pudding definitely has a place in the MS diet seeing that it is filled with dried fruit and anti-inflammatory spices. Dig in ladies!
I’m sure you are very excited to see ice cream on the menu! It is completely dairy free and raw. It also contains anti-oxidant rich ingredients. When I’m eating this, I honestly feel like I’m enjoying the real thing! My kids are crazy about it and they know what real ice-cream tastes like. Serve it with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. I'm sure you will agree that it will go down famously in combination with the Christmas pudding.
Summing It all Up
I would like to end off by strongly urging you to remain focused on your heath and well being during this time. Eating well is going to help keep your energy levels high and this will, in turn, be a buffer against the inevitable stress that can often surround Christmas. Also make sure that you drink a large glass of water when you wake up in the morning and twice more throughout the day. This is just as important as the food you eat. If you are dehydrated you will feel slow, lethargic and not very happy. One more thing, allocate little jobs to your family beforehand so that the entire load is not on your shoulders. I hope you enjoy these recipes and are able to put your own creative spin on them. Your guests are going to enjoy the change from an oil and fat filled meal to a cleaner but still delicious feast.
I wish you a very happy and Christmas and an abundantly blessed year ahead!
If you need help and support to take the next step with your lifestyle, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
Love and nutrients,