Last evening our extended family met at my twin sister’s farmhouse out in Chatham County for our annual “Holiday Family Feast.” Each family brings their best dishes and we all converge on the huge dining room table which is laden with a variety of mouth-watering amazing dishes.
This year was different for me ~ since March I have not eaten meat so ham was definitely not going to be on my plate. I usually bring meatballs in a great sauce (my father’s recipe) and for years I only used beef. Last year we chose to offer beef as well as ground turkey. This year I chose to make the turkey meatballs, but no beef, but also brought something for myself ~ vegetarian meatballs ~ and they were amazing! I noticed that these, along with the turkey ones, disappeared quickly! (If you would like the vegetarian version recipe, let me know) ~ it came from a Meatball Shop Restaurant and apparently they sell faster than the meat ones!
The great thing about this year was that everyone thought to bring a salad ~ we had potato, green, Lebanese, bean, persian ~ they were all delicious. And Robyne’s Carrot Raisin Rice, as always, was delicious. So when the desserts arrived ~ Maia’s famous sugar cookies, Aunt Joyce’s fudge, Raelee’s Whoopie Pies, Jaleh’s Gingerbread Cake, etc. we indulged without guilt! (well, sort of)
I am sure there are many of you attending such holiday events. It is all part of the season. But what about all that rich holiday food and drink? Knowing that salt and alcohol can raise blood pressure, fatty foods can boost cholesterol, and even one rich meal can adversely affect blood vessels ~ perhaps those veggie meatballs and all those salads were a great choice! Although that rich holiday food and drink have not been linked to a rise in winter heart attacks, stress, according to Robert Kloner, a cardiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, plays a pretty major role. Heart attack deaths peak on three days of the year, and one of them is Christmas. The other two are the day after Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Perhaps creating a simpler holiday and facing the holiday with less expectations can help with that stress. We all know that flu and pneumonia can play a role in the winter so keeping our immune systems strong is important. One of the ways I practice prevention is by taking an immune support supplement. When used daily, it increases the production of my body’s natural interferon, a critical activator of the immune system. It works at the cellular level, by rapidly activating my immune system’s defenses.
A recent study published in Cell Metabolism showed that by taking a resveratrol supplement for 30 days significantly lowered multiple markers associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other chronic diseases. These include markers of inflammation, improved mitochondrial capacity, lowered blood pressure, and blood glucose. The study participants showed significant increases in markers of mitochondrial function (our body’s energy producers that tend to decrease in number and output as we age). I take a high potency resveratrol supplement daily for a longer and healthier life.
As we all enjoy the holiday season and “indulge” in those occasional feasts and parties, perhaps we can focus on making our holidays a little slower pace, lessening our expectations, and most importantly practicing prevention by providing our body with important immune and cell defense. Happy Holidays!