Saturday night was all about considering healthy substitutes for foods and beverages that aren’t so healthy. The guiding principle was – The more whole plant foods you eat the healthier you are. Well, maybe it wasn’t all about substitutes as it was about a team and their family getting together for a beautiful night together. I am so happy I have this incredible circle of friends. Here I’ll share my experience and high level tips that were discussed Saturday evening at a Team Total Fitness event facilitated by the Healthy Giraffe (who is this guy?).
My great friend and Team Total Fitness leader, Celia Dubey, hosted the event with husband, Joel. I arrived to their beautiful home early and we set up food stations and my TV connection (for laptop). Once all our guests arrived I shared the agenda:
- Why are we here? What is this all about?
- Consider healthy substitutes
- Let’s cook! …and eat…
Starting with number one, I shared why and what we were going to do at a high level. I love to ask the question – “Why are you here?” as it always entertains a few funny responses as well as ones that are more serious. Gotta laugh even when it’s at my expense and boy they took it to me.
The theme of the night was how we can identify healthy substitutes for foods and drinks that aren’t healthy. This is a common question Celia and I receive so we thought it would be a great topic for the group. I started by showing the unhealthy food, then we discussed a healthier option and finally the healthiest of options. The guiding principle came into play often.
Ex. Cheese is so bad for us with the enormous amount of saturated fat, sodium, and cancer producing chemicals via the cow. A healthier option would be to use a plant-based cheese (non-dairy) and a more healthy option would be to use some sore of nut-based option. In an example of using cheese on a pizza, we could skip the dairy and non-dairy cheese all together and top the pizza with your favorite veggies.
The unhealthy foods came from animals. The next version was not derived from an animal but could be heavily processed so even though it’s healthier than the animal version it still may not be really healthy containing high levels of sodium, sugar, oils and things we can’t pronounce… The healthiest of options is when you incorporate real whole plant foods. The great part about going through a transition is once you get the heavy amounts of salt, oil, sugar and fats out of what you are eating your taste buds adapt to tasting the whole foods in a way that is spectacular. I often say, “you can actually taste the food.”
We then moved to the cooking and eating portion of the agenda. I made the main dish Friday night, Chole Coscarelli’s Holiday Cashew Nut Roast with Country Gravy. This recipe is in her Chloe Flavor Cookbook. All we needed to do was bake the roast and warm up the gravy. Then we had three teams make the sides:
- The Healthy Giraffe Mac and Cheese
- The Minimalist Baker’s Best Damn Vegan Mashed Potatoes
- Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen’s Easy Vegan Stuffing
Celia made an incredible veggie spread we enjoyed prior and everyone brought a dessert so we had all our bases covered. It was an amazing feast with incredible healthy food and fantastic company. The typical party gathering continued throughout the event. I couldn’t have been more happy with the evening I was able to spend with this group.
My three easy tips as take-aways:
- Eliminate animal foods (entirely for the healthiest pursuit)
- Reduce intake of processed foods
- Eat as many whole plant foods as you can (diversity is important too)
I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season. We proved you can have a great time enjoying healthy food that is outstanding!
– Add Health to Your Life
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