Homesteading with Hyacynth: Simple Thanksgiving Swaps

Welcome to Homesteading with Hyacynth!

Homesteading with Hyacynth is a monthly look at ways to lead a healthy, greener, more sustainable life. My intent with Homesteading with Hyacynth is to offer genuine, practical experiences and humorous and helpful tips. Of course, I am not a medical professional so these are my tips and what worked for my family.

I don’t know how it’s possible, my friends, but we’ve gotta talk Thanksgiving.

And we’ve gotta talk fast because if you’re cooking for the big day, you might want to know some really simple swaps that actually make Thanksgiving healthier and tastier before you go the market.

So let’s jump right in, and take an “eat this, not that” type of approach; but instead of focusing just on calories, we’ll focus on overall health content, and equally important, the taste.

healthy Thanksgiving

Fats

Eat This: Butter or lard from pasture-raised animals or coconut oil
Skip This: margarine, vegetable oils, Crisco {ACK!}, any kinds of blended fake butter spreads or sprays

Before butter and lard got a bad, unjustified rap, Great Grandma used these in her kitchen at every turn — especially when baking goodies for the holidays and covering sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie.

Here’s the thing about taste: butter, tallow and lard (or coconut oil if you won’t do those) produces a flaky crust in pies, a satisfying spread over bread and a wonderfully tasty bath in which veggies can bathe.
Here’s the thing about health: butter, tallow and lard from pastured animals and coconut oil (along with pure olive oil) contain the proper amount of omega fatty acids to help your body stay rich in omega-3 fats. The vegetable oils and fake butters of the world are heavy in omega 6. Research has shown that most western diets are extremely heavy in omega 6 fats and deficient in omega 3 fats, which is why you hear all about supplementing with omega 3 fats. Instead, though, just eat less of the “junkier” oils and stick to the properly balanced fats like butter, tallow and lard from pastured animals and unrefined coconut oil and pure olive oil.

That’s great, Hyacynth, but where do I get all of that?: Jewel and Whole Foods carry Organic Valley butter and unrefined Coconut Oil. The Meat Goat and Farmer Nick, both at the Saturday Grayslake Farmer’s Market in downtown Grayslake, can hook you up with pastured tallow and lard.

Dairy

Eat This: Whole-fat heavy whipping cream and whole fat dairy
Skip That: Whipped Topping, Cool Whip, Low-fat cottage cheese, low fat cream cheese

Here’s the thing about taste: We probably don’t need convincing about taste, right? I mean, homemade whole fat whipped cream is the stuff dreams are made of. Never had it? You just need whole fat heavy whipping cream and a blender and sugar. Blend together. Add a little Great Lakes Gelatin if you’d your cream to hold shape well.
Here’s the thing about health: All that stuff we talked about regarding fats above? That. Also, fat is what holds things together. Take the fat out and you’ve gotta find a new binder, which often includes different gums that can often upset the digestive tract and even worse carageenan, which has been linked to cancer and IBS. If gums don’t bother you, at least skip out on the carageenan-containing products.

That’s great, but where do I get all of that?: Fresh Market and Whole Foods carry pastured whole fat milks like Kolona and Organic Valley, heavy whipping creams, cream cheeses and cottage cheeses.

Soups, Bases and Broths

Eat This: homemade broths, heavy creams and a combination of the two to make creamy bases
Skip This: canned “cream of” soups and canned stocks

Here’s the thing about taste: homemade broths and soup bases pack so much flavor that it’s almost unbelievable how much more flavorful dishes with these bases taste. I know you’re already sold on the beauty of whole fat creams, so we’ll go onto the health aspect.
Here’s the thing about health: canned broths often contain hidden msg in the form of “autolyzed yeast” and “natural flavorings. Msg is really hard on the digestive tract and often produces nasty ailments like headaches, bloating and digestive issues, to name a few. It’s even known to make joint pains worse. Canned “cream of” soups contain hydrogenated fats or trans fats. There are so many reasons you want to avoid these kinds of fats. The Mayo Clinic tells you about one here. Even the FDA is looking to ban trans fats (which I won’t even get into the whole banning foods thing here …). But they really are that bad. Really.

Want to make your own stock? Follow these easy directions.

Want to make your own cream base? Follow these directions.

That’s great, but where do I get all of that?: Fresh Market and Whole Foods carry pastured whole fat milks like Kolona and Organic Valley and heavy whipping creams. The Meat Goat and Farmer Nick, both at the Saturday Grayslake Farmer’s Market in downtown Grayslake, can hook you up with pastured bones for some super delicious broth.

So those little changes right there? They will not only make your Thanksgiving feast tastier, but they will also make it more nutrient dense and healthier! Great Grandma would be so proud!

Want one of my FAVORITE Homesteading recipes that’s quick, easy and perfect for Thanksgiving dinner? Stay tuned!

Which of these simple swaps are you most excited to make?

About Hyacynth 40 Articles
Hyacynth Worth is wife to John and mother to two boys and two girls. She writes about motherhood, healthy living and faith at Undercover Mother. She is Little Lake County's managing editor and the author of Homesteading with Hyacynth. She promises to be candid, amusing and only slightly neurotic. Most of the time.

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