Holistic Habits by Cheryl A. Mothes, Ph.D. Natural Health Nutrition Counselor (24)

Thanksgiving week is a great opportunity to teach children what the pilgrims ate 400 years ago – whole food with a plant slant, like squash, corn, and beans. Here’s a great vegan mushroom dressing for this marvelous Meatless Monday!

Mushroom Dressing
3 tbsp olive oil or oil of choice or vegan butter (use broth or water for an oi-free option)
1 large onion diced
3 celery stalks diced
16 ounces sliced mushrooms white button, Shiitake or Cremini
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 loaf day old bread (wheat, sourdough, or a combination)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
`1 – 1 1/2 cup(s) vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cut the loaf of bread into small cubes and add to a large mixing bowl.
Heat the olive oil or vegetable broth in a large skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add the diced onion and celery and sauté 7 to 8 minutes until tender and translucent, stirring occasionally.
Add the sliced mushrooms, thyme, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the cooked vegetables to the bowl of cubed bread and mix thoroughly.
Add 1 cup vegetable broth and mix again making sure the entire mixture gets moistened. If it looks too dry, add another ¼ to ½ cup of vegetable broth, but don’t make it too wet.
Add the parsley and mix well to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a rectangular baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 50 minutes.
Uncover the stuffing and bake another 10 minutes just until the edges get a bit crispy.

“All we really need to know about eating as a healthy nation was here when the pilgrims arrived 401 years ago,” says Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zones. If we were still eating like the native tribes, 90 percent of the chronic diseases we have would go away. When looking at the first Thanksgiving table, you’d see beans, corn, squash—a mainly whole food, plant-slant meal. These are the same foods you’d see at tables across the world today for those who are living past 100. As you prepare for Thanksgiving, consider making them healthier with less oil, salt, dairy and meat and ramp up the veggies, beans, and grains. Here’s an easy, healthy Maple Chili Butternut Squash dish!

Maple Chili Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash
1/2 tsp chili pepper
3 T of real maple syrup
grated fresh ginger

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel and cube the butternut squash and toss it in the maple syrup, chili pepper and ginger. place it in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through!
We’ve been sharing recipes all week that are healthier, and easy, for your Thanksgiving week! Dates are an excellent sugar-substitute. Yes, they have sugar grams but that’s counteracted in our bodies by the fiber that carries it, which slows it down and allows it to be absorbed and used most efficiently for energy. Here’s a great Southern Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole dish that’s SO FAST AND EASY! Go to the BlueZones.com to find more great recipes!
Southern Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole
4 small, sweet potatoes
8 dates
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsp cinnamon

Cook the sweet potatoes in the oven or microwave until soft throughout. Cut into cubes and place in a serving bowl. Dice the dates, mix with the pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the sweet potatoes and enjoy!

And here’s a bonus recipe!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 C quinoa
4 scallions
2 celery stalks
1⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup dried cranberries
4 dried apricots
½ teaspoon dried sage
½ blood orange
2 acorn squash
Salt & pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet. With a large knife, safely cut the squash in half lengthwise. It may help to cut the stem off first. Place the squash with the cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa. Add quinoa to a pot with a lid. You will need twice as much water as quinoa. Add water to the pan, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Check on the quinoa periodically, giving it a quick stir, to prevent any sticking or burning on the bottom. When done, remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and enjoy! Looking for a faster option? Cook your quinoa in a rice cooker or just use pre-cooked/frozen quinoa. Produce Prep- Rinse all the produce. Chop the scallions and celery. Warm the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the scallions and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, and sage. Cook, stirring constantly, until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the quinoa, pumpkin seeds, blood orange juice (about 2 tablespoons per acorn squash), salt, and pepper to taste. Continue cooking, stirring often, until hot, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside off the heat to keep warm. Transfer the cooked squash from the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Flip the squash over and transfer to a serving platter. Stuff the skillet mixture into the squash and serve.

An oldie but a goodie!

The American Heart Association concluded a 10-year study of 21,000 people who ate “southern” foods regularly – fried foods, added eggs, processed meats and sugar – and determined they have a 46% higher incidence of sudden cardiac death compared to those who emphasize vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans with little or no dairy and meat. More reason to make your marvelous Mondays meatless!

Yesterday we mentioned how deadly southern foods can be when it comes to cardiac death, so let’s talk about ways we can reduce the risk of heart disease:

  • Physical activity
  • Eating a wide VARIETY of fruits and vegetables
  • Choosing whole grains over refined grains
  • Choosing minimally processed foods like whole fruits and vegetables or almond butter over ultra-processed foods like chips, cookies, anything in a plastic wrapper
  • Minimizing sugar and salt intake and alcohol consumption.

So, power up your plantified plate with real foods and have a terrific Tuesday, everyone!

We all know that hugs feel great, and there are scientific reasons why – they elicit powerful shots of neurotransmitters like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which reduce stress, boost immunity, and help us sleep better! It not only strengthens our body’s defense systems but builds friendships as well. Amid a pandemic when we can all use more hugs, they have been risky, and some of us don’t have many people in our lives to hug. Good news! We don’t necessarily need another human to help us reap the benefits of hugs. Yes, tree hugging works the same way, as does hugging pets and even stuffed toys! Do you know someone who lives alone and has no pets? Consider giving them a stuffed, huggable, soft toy to live longer and live stronger, and have a wonderful Wednesday!

There’s lots of good reasons to drink green tea every day. Studies show that it improves our brain power – our reaction times are faster, and our memories are better. Additionally, green tea contains compounds called catechins that have significant ANTIVIRAL activity against the flu. In fact, it reduced the risk of flu by 48%! So, improve your health on the shelf this Thursday by purchasing some green tea!

When it comes to staying mentally sharp, eating foods high in flavonoids are the winners! They are antioxidants found in strawberries, oranges, peppers, apples, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries. In research it has been found that they reduced cognitive decline by 38%, which is the same as being 3 or 4 years younger! So slow that aging down with yellow and orange fruits, vegetables and berries and enjoy a wealth of health on this fantastic Friday!

Content is daily radio script from my KHIS radio spot – tune in at 6:15 (CST) every morning to Justin and Meredith’s morning show 89.9 FM.
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