By Amanda Nelson

Preparing for Thanksgiving is quite the task these days. What should the table décor look like? Who do we invite this year? What is the menu going to look like? Now more than ever people are asking, “How do I eat better for my health this holiday season?”. Have you ever noticed that at the end of the year, starting in October, our food choices change? October, we have Halloween which is a candy mecca. Then you have Thanksgiving, full of pie, stuffing, casseroles and more. Then Christmas, sugar cookies, cakes, pies and heavy dinners. The foods we eat during the end of year holidays play a huge role in the cold and flu season. Our bodies are already cold so they are working harder to keep warm. The air is crisp and dry so it makes it easier for germs and bacteria to get into our nose and cause us to get ill. Add the way we are eating and lacking nutrition, it’s impossible to keep our bodies strong from the inside and in return making it far easier to get and stay sick.

Although it seems eating well is hard, there are a few tweaks you can do this Thanksgiving to keep your body in good fighting condition, but still eat some amazingly delicious feasts. Below are some mouthwatering recipes you can use on your Thanksgiving menu that will have your friends and family ooohhh and ahhhh, and at the same time it will nourish their bodies. The best part, they will have no clue that they are eating something that is actually better for them. When choosing to eat well there are key items to omit that make a massive difference in your health. No sugar. Sugar feeds bad bacteria, feeds cancers, diseases and illnesses, and it breaks your body down. No processed foods. Technically once food is processed, it is no longer a food and adds little to no nutritional value to your health. No dairy. I know, I know, dairy is so good with all the butter and milk. But it wreaks havoc on your body without you even realizing the damage it is causing. Our stomach and intestines have to work harder to digest dairy. Studies show it does not help reduce bone fragility, in fact countries with the lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. Too much calcium has shown to increase your risk of cancer. Milk doesn’t provide enough vitamin D to make a difference, you are better off taking a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement. Lastly, about 75% of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products and most don’t even realize it. They have stomach bloating or pain, eczema or other health issues that are unknowingly caused by dairy intake. Is it ideal to omit dairy completely from your lifestyle, yes, but if you are not willing or ready to quit it, at least try to reduce it.

Let’s look at some Thanksgiving dishes that your friends, family and body will thank you for.

Health and Wellness Coach Amanda Nelson, a Tucson native, focuses her time and efforts studying how to heal using functional medicine. This way of life proactively focuses on nutrition, exercise, and balance to achieve optimal mental, physical, and emotional health.

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