A Low-Glycemic and Healthy Thanksgiving Meal
‘Tis the season to be jolly. Unfortunately, this time of year full or laughter and cheer, also tends to fill your belly, giving you a rather hefty resolution for the New Year. In preparation for the upcoming weeks of festive feasting, the FGN team has resolved to seek alternative and healthy ways to prevent the pound packing this year.
To begin, my colleague Chrissie Nims and I decided to attend a special low glycemic Thanksgiving-themed cooking class offered by the Nourished Health Center. This class offered a unique and healthy twist to nearly all of our favorite traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. Ranging from turkey stuffing to pumpkin pie. These recipes not only claimed to be low in sugar, but also egg-free, dairy-free and grain-free. But what is Aunt Edna’s bean casserole without the cream? Or Grandpa’s mashed taters without the butter? And a healthy pumpkin pie? Suspicious. Sounds like something we needed to see to believe.
Located in downtown Denver, the Nourished Health Center is in a beautiful Victorian home that has been revamped to accommodate a wide range of wellness practices. Upon entering the cozy home, we were welcomed with hot mugs of tea and a personal tour of the facility. There were rooms for therapy and massages, as well as a loft that was being used for a self-defense training seminar hosted by IMPACT. Toward the back of the house was a picturesque and spacious kitchen, where our class was held. With the warm terracotta tiles, an impressive center island, and shelves stocked with fresh spices, herbs and vegetables, this kitchen was just waiting to produce a mouth-watering meal.
We began the class introducing ourselves and each participant said a little bit about their expectations for the class. One woman mentioned that she was seeking healthy and easy ways to feed both her carnivorous son and vegetarian daughter. Others were looking for unique alternatives to traditional recipes. We soon learned that our friendly instructor, Katie Bauer, was more than just a stellar cook, but also an MA, CNE, CH, Holistic Nutrition Therapist, Clinical Herbalist and Healing Foods Chef. Coming to Colorado from the upper Northwest, Katie has brought her years of learning and experience to help people bring health into their homes, and more specifically, their kitchens.
Starting with the pumpkin pie with an almond flour crust, we continued cooking up a storm through our 3-hour course. We made a lean and veggie-filled turkey stuffing, a scrumptious sweet potato casserole, a killer butternut squash soup, a delectable bean casserole, the freshest of cranberry sauces and finished with an extraordinary potato-less mashed potato recipe, made from cauliflower!
As Katie walked us through each recipe, she thoroughly explained her methods and entrusted each of us with tasks to help with the production. As if that weren’t enough, she also wowed us with her knowledge about various ingredients like: coconut oil, salt, mushrooms and more. Katie then taught us important cooking methods and informed us of recipe alternatives for many other traditional dishes. She answered every question we could possibly conjure up, which is a tall order coming from a group of novices. It was amazing! Not only were we learning how to make each item on the menu, but also about important techniques that help retain flavor and nutrients in our food.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of the session was the end when we were able to feast on the foods that we all helped make. Notice I didn’t use the words “slaved over” because the entire process was unbelievably easy! Nearly an entire Thanksgiving dinner (minus the Turkey) in less than 5 hours - unheard of! Not to mention, every part of our meal was bursting with the real flavor of what freshness should taste like. The food left us happy and full, but without the post-Thanksgiving guilt or sugar comatose
So, there you have it, Katie made me a believer. It is possible to have a guilt-free, healthy and tasty Thanksgiving feast- even if you’re a diabetic or have a gluten allergy. This class provided us with a wealth of knowledge, recipes to take home to our own kitchens and inspired us to learn more about nutritious cooking. This was definitely an excellent bang for my buck and I would absolutely recommend giving it a whirl. Personally, I want to check out one her upcoming course offerings: an aphrodisiac meal for Valentine’s Day, or a Mexican menu for Cinco de Mayo! ¡Si, por favor!