Surviving The Holidays With Healthy Food

by Brenda Cobb (written in Feb, 2001)

That time of year is here again. The holidays mean parties, family gatherings, and social occasions that most probably revolve all around food. The food and drink is abundant and very rich, and that plays havoc with everything from our digestion to our weight. How in the world can we enjoy the holidays without feeling deprived and still eat healthy?

I’ve been eating raw food now for almost two years. Last year was my first raw holiday season, and I survived it just fine, but I will say that I was a little concerned about what I’d be able to eat. My husband and I had parties and class reunions to attend and a two-week cruise to Greece and Turkey. I knew there would be plenty of opportunities to feast on food, so I decided to plan ahead and then just take one day at the time.

Since becoming a raw and living foodist I have experimented with some of my favorite cooked recipes and have turned them into delicious raw dishes. This way I don’t feel deprived, and besides that, when I take food to parties, my dishes are always licked clean. This proves that everyone loves delicious food whether cooked or raw. If you give them the opportunity and choice to eat raw and living food dishes you might be very surprised at how receptive people can be.

Too many times we pre-judge people, and we decide just what they will like or dislike. We think that our family and friends would never eat something that was different or unusual and especially raw and good for them. That isn’t at all what I’ve found to be true. When food looks pretty and tastes good people don’t really care how it was prepared. They just want to dive in and "scarf" it up.

When planning for your own holiday festivities include an easy veggie tray made with organic fresh vegetables and a dip made from almond cream and herbs. Almond cream is a rich cream made from almonds and rejuvelac. It tastes like sour cream, but it is non-dairy. You can add any herbs that you like and create a special and delicious dip. One of my favorites is to add garlic and dill to the almond cream for a refreshing Garlic Dill Dip.

Cheese is always a favorite with most everyone, but dairy isn’t good for us and the soy and other cheese substitutes are a poor excuse for the real cheesy flavor that we love (and they’re cooked). I like to make a cheese out of macadamia nuts and rejuvelac. I can then add whatever I like to spice it up. My Ricotta flavor cheese has lemon, garlic, tahini, miso, and nutritional yeast in it. I can’t tell you how rich this yummy "cheese" is. I use it plain as a spread for crackers, to stuff celery sticks, and in dishes like my famous raw lasagna. All the while that you’re feasting on these foods you’re really doing something good for your body. All these dishes are completely raw, so all the enzymes and nutritional value is preserved. These are the foods that nourish you at a cellular level and rebuild your body. Instead of getting the usual mucous overload with sinus drainage and stuffy nose when you eat cheese, you’ll get all of the flavor and none of the problems.

Crackers and cookies are eaten by the millions during the holidays; so as long as you’re going to be eating them, make them healthy. Dehydrate your crackers and cookies at ninety degrees and you’ll preserve all the enzymes, vitamins, and nourishment to satisfy your body’s requirements. My favorite cracker is the "Fiesto" made with almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and an array of Mexican spices, vegetables, and herbs. There are never any crumbs left when I serve these tasty treats. People are begging for more and never expecting that they’re raw and good for you. A quick and easy cookie combines sprouted soft wheat berries, dates, raisins, and spices. You can dehydrate these to be soft and chewy or crisp and crunchy. Children and adults alike can’t stop eating these wonderful cookies. Leave some on a plate for Santa with a glass of homemade almond milk and you’re sure to get lots of great presents.

Desserts never fail to wow even the most skeptics among us. Yam pie with macadamia whipped cream is almost sinful it’s so good. People beg for seconds and thirds. This raw pie will rival any of Grandma’s best! Just think, you won’t have to heat up the oven to make any of these raw dishes. You’ll save on time and electricity, and clean up will be a snap, another big plus for us busy folks. For chocolate lovers try a carob silk pie that will give any chocolate cream pie a run for the money. Use avocados, raw carob, and dates to make a delicious, creamy filling. A great piecrust can be made with almonds and dates. Always remember to soak your nuts and dates before you use them. Soaking releases enzyme inhibitors in the nuts and re-hydrates and softens the dates.

You won’t have to miss any of the toasts if you have Rejuvelac Champagne on hand. It’s a living food that’s made from sprouted soft wheat berries, honey, and a beet. It’s pink, it’s bubbly, and it’s fabulous! While you’re toasting the New Year you’ll be drinking something that’s really good for you and tastes good too.

When you go to other people’s parties, look for the raw dishes and eat them first. Many a buffet will have raw veggies, dip and fresh fruit. Start with the fruit and then wait thirty minutes before you eat more food. This will give the fruit time to digest and get out of the stomach. If you eat other food with fruit it will ferment in your stomach causing gas, bloating, and digestive problems like heartburn and indigestion. Next, eat the veggies. These raw foods will still have their enzymes so they’ll help you to digest the rest of your meal. Beware of the rich dips made with dairy products. Instead, create your own dips with ground up nuts, herbs, and spices. If you eat cooked food, select the vegetables that have been steamed, rice, and baked potatoes. Don’t eat fried foods. They’re very unhealthy and they make you fat!! Meat is always bad because it’s full of hormones, antibiotics, and it doesn’t digest well, and not to mention that we don’t want to eat our animal friends.

Last, don’t overeat! Whether raw or cooked, if you eat too much food you will feel tired and bloated. Moderation is the key when it comes to food. We all have our food addictions. These are the foods that we know are bad for us, but we eat them anyway. Let’s begin to choose the food we eat to nourish and heal our bodies and not just for the taste. Substitute as much raw and living food as you can for cooked food. Start wherever you are and do the best you can. Any raw and living food that you add into your diet will benefit you. If you do eat something that you know isn’t good for you, don’t beat up on yourself too much, and just get right back on track the next day. Most of all enjoy the holidays and enjoy your healthy food! You’ll be so glad you made wise food choices when after the holidays are over you don’t have five or ten pounds extra to get rid of. Raw and living foods won’t make you fat; they’ll fill you up, nourish you, and make you feel satisfied and healthy. Make this holiday season a healthy one!

Brenda Cobb is the Director of the Living Foods Institute.
1700 Commerce Drive, Suite 100 Atlanta, GA 30318
You can reach her by calling 404-524-4488 or if you live outside the Atlanta area, call toll free: 1-800-844-9876.
Contact the Living Foods Institute today to learn more about healing your body from the inside out.