By Melisa Wells from Suburban Scrawl
I’ve been a group fitness instructor for nearly eight years now, and until recently it’s never been difficult for me to “find the time” to exercise. I get paid to teach classes on a schedule and although every class I teach doesn’t provide the best workout for me personally, it’s still scheduled time for me to move. A couple of years ago, I was up to teaching nine classes each week and I felt really great. Gradually though, due to the economy and changes in club scheduling, I started losing classes and now teach only one—a cycling class—each week.
Suddenly it became necessary for me to “find the time” to exercise. I have been taking Zumba classes and recently restarted Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred at home. I’m starting to feel good again, but Thanksgiving looms.
I have nothing against the holiday, really. Thanksgiving is full of family togetherness. Unfortunately, it’s also full of food, which seems to go without saying, but when you’re the type of person who is trying to get back into fighting shape, the thought of a food-focused holiday is a little stressful.
It’s okay though: I have a plan.
Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday of the year. I mean, as a food person, how can I not love Thanksgiving, as the holiday’s primary focus is a huge meal chock full of tasty dishes.
When I say a huge meal, I mean huge. Even if the dinner itself turns out to be small, my family gobbles up all of those pre-Thanksgiving grocery store sales and cooks up mountains of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. However, cooking up so much food for Thanksgiving inevitably leaves us with lots of leftovers.
While reheated turkey leftovers are great, sometimes you need to be a little creative in order to use up all of those turkey leftovers. Here are my top 6 ideas for cooking with leftovers.
This is definitely a classic in my house, as nothing beats a good bowl of soup on a cold day. Simply dice up some leftover roast turkey and add it in instead of chicken in your favorite soups. Here are two great leftover turkey recipes for soup:
By J.J. Kunkle from The Fit Life
The Thanksgiving my husband and I share is a bit different than most. We love our families, but because Thanksgiving tends to focus on food and eating, it’s the one holiday we typically reserve for just the two of us.
Aside from the occasional fish dish, we eat a vegetarian diet. In addition to eating vegetarian, we also eat very health consciously—avoiding processed foods, preservatives and salt as much as possible. So, since we’ve been together, on Thanksgiving we take off for the Smokey Mountains. We rent a nice, little one bedroom cabin and together, cook a nice vegetarian meal for Thanksgiving. Then we spend the long weekend hiking in the mountains. Last year we made quinoa stuffed red peppers.
Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday to navigate on a diet but not if you’re a contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. This year, cooking expert Aida Mollenkamp will prepare a healthy Thanksgiving feast for the trainers and past season contestants on The Biggest Loser: Where Are They Now?
Mollenkamp, a chef, television personality and food writer, has a holistic approach to cooking delicious dishes for her friends and family. Following graduation from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, she moved to Europe, where she trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Since then, Mollenkamp has worked at several restaurants and hotels in the United States, from the California Pizza Kitchen to Hotel Bel-Air, in Los Angeles, California.
In addition to her experience in the hospitality industry, Mollenkamp has been an editor for CHOW Magazine, a host on Food Network and Cooking Channel and is writing a cookbook due out in Fall 2012. No matter what she is doing though, one thing is for sure: she’s usually thinking about food. On the Cooking Channel’s foodCrafters, Mollenkamp leaves the kitchen to discover the best handmade foods from around the nation.
Whether she’s cooking a feast for national television or an intimate dinner for friends and family, Mollenkamp has a holistic approach to cooking wholesome, healthy foods with fresh, sustainable ingredients. (more…)
Wendy Gregory Kaho blogs about the care and feeding of a gluten-free family at Celiacs in the House.
As the holiday season approaches, those new to the gluten-free diet, and even those with years of experience, can feel a sense of dread with all the opportunities for gluten in holiday gatherings and foods. How do we share the spirit of the season without the effects of an accidental “glutening?” I’ve gathered tips to make this a safe, joyous, and gluten-free holiday.
Communication is key to staying safe and gluten-free during the holidays. Linda Etherton, the Gluten-Free Homemaker, shares tips for staying safe and gluten free when eating those holiday meals. Not only do we need to educate our guests and hosts to keep us safe, but it is also an opportunity to lovingly hint to our relatives that they may need to be tested for celiac disease or gluten issues, since this is genetic.
Planning is critical. Whether it is planning a safe dish to take to a potluck or party to planning an entire gluten-free meal. (more…)
Thanksgiving is full of traditions. The turkey, the pie, the stuffing, and the stuffing of bellies are all synonymous with Thanksgiving. Thankfully a growing tradition of Thanksgiving Day foot races is sweeping the country. More and more feasters are burning those calories before the tryptophan takes over and they become overfed couch dwellers for the afternoon.
Here are some of the best turkey day races the nation has to offer. Start a new tradition with your family and get a run in before you gobble.
1. 116th Annual YMCA Turkey Trot Buffalo, NY
Be a part of American history with this race. This is the oldest continually running footrace in North America, it’s even older than the Boston Marathon.
The 8K race brings more than 14,000 runners out in the brisk morning air. Each runner is asked to bring 2 cans of non-perishable food, making it a huge charity opportunity as well. What a way to celebrate the holiday!
2. Manchester Road Race. Manchester, Connecticut
The Manchester Road Race began in 1927 with just twelve runners. Today the 4.748 mile race welcomes over 15,000 runners and walkers. This race is celebrating its 75th anniversary and continues to see elite runners, professionals, and Olympians every year. The race also welcomes amateurs all the way down to their “mall walker” category. This long standing race is accustom to seeing running superstars like nine-time champ Amby Burfoot toe the line. The historic course and the supportive crowds are what have kept this race in business for so many years.
At age 40, Holly Mosier felt like she had hit a wall. “[It was] hard to come out of my bedroom at times. I was a wife, mother, stepmother, trial lawyer… trying to blend a family and maintain some semblance of peace, joy, health and vitality, and I was failing miserably,” says Holly. She sought solutions everywhere she could think of to find tools that she could work in to her life despite being a very busy professional and mother.
Despite searching in books, seminars, classes, medical studies, experts, and television shows, as she looked for practical, efficient solutions, and Holly never found the answers she was looking for, she was able to develop her own set of tools to create a “lifestyle that balances the needs of the mind, body, and spirit in a practical, efficient way.” After working these techniques into her own life and seeing the result, Holly put them together in her book Stress Less, Weigh Less. Holly has now expanded her techniques to create the following tips for handling holiday stress.
While Thanksgiving can be a challenging day of the year for all dieters, it’s especially difficult for vegetarians and vegans who abstain from eating turkey. There is no shortage of vegetable dishes at most Thanksgiving tables, but the meal often revolves around turkey as a main course.
While the vegetarian diet is diverse and exciting, there are certain parts of the Thanksgiving meal that can be challenging to navigate on a meat-free diet.
Meat-Free Main Dishes
This year, whether you are eating a vegetarian diet, vegan diet or simply want to cut down your consumption of animal products, you can easily swap the turkey out of your Thanksgiving dinner without sacrificing tradition. While offering meat substitute like “Tofurkey” is one option, many home cooks prefer to take advantage of fresh seasonal produce and hearty grain salads.
More than 250 million turkeys are slaughtered in the industrial system each year in the United States, and about 46 million of those are for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful, warm holiday, full of family time, great traditions and good food. Unfortunately, there are many not-so-good things about the Thanksgiving turkeys most grocery stores offer to their customers.
The status quo for raising turkeys and other meat birds is the industrial, factory farming system. The conditions in which factory farmed turkeys are raised is horrendous. It’s cramped, with each bird given about 3 feet of space to live its life. So that these cramped and stressed turkeys won’t turn to pecking at each other, prior to confinement their beaks and the tips of their toes are cut off (processes some liken to having the tips of a child’s fingers and toes chopped off). These turkeys, raised in gigantic warehouses, are denied their natural instincts and can’t eat their natural diet of seeds, vegetation and insects. They’re also bred to grow so rapidly that it puts an incredible strain on their bodies. Some researchers estimate that factory farmed turkeys spend at least a third of their lives in chronic pain.
I love Thanksgiving. It’s my very favorite holiday ever. Lots of friends, lots of food, no gifts to buy – it’s just about the perfect holiday, in my mind. There’s just one small problem – the food and the festivities tend to make one a bit, shall we say, sluggish. After filling your belly with a week’s worth of calories, you feel like taking a 3 hour nap. Instead of doing that, why not try some of these fantastic, family friendly options that will help you not only enjoy the day but end it feeling as if you’ve done something good for you?
Start the day off right. This year, all of my kids are finally old enough to participate in a Turkey Trot and I hope to make this an annual tradition. Even just running a mile, first thing in the morning, gets the blood flowing and gets everyone off on the right foot. Knowing you’ve done even a tiny bit of exercise makes it less likely that you’ll fall, face first, into the pecan pie.