Low carb Thanksgiving traditions

Oct 6, 2009 at 9:29 p.m. ET

Health and beauty guru Kat James shares some advice and low-carb Thanksgiving recipes for cranberry sauces and stuffing.

Pumpkin Custard

Low carb doesn't have to mean deprivation

"Too many people immediately think having a healthier holiday means depriving themselves and 'being good.' The real joy of holidays -- when you have all of your strategies in place -- comes from learning we don't have to give up decadence. We need only to tweak our favorite indulgences," says Kat James. This holistic health and beauty guru, who has made a splash with her book The Truth About Beauty, is an advocate of a low-carb diet and while holidays are about tradition, for those of us who are struggling with how to hold onto tradition without losing sight of our eating lifestyle, James has some ideas.

"We can indulge in our favorite traditions by smartly tweaking them to work for beauty, health and energy. You may think this requires special sauces, but everyone will enjoy these healthy treats and they will become the new family tradition," she says.

Make sure to avoid blood-sugar spikes

If you decide to sip some wine, buffer the impact of the first sip by eating a few ounces of cheese first or a handful of nuts. Or wait until eating dinner, before sipping wine. This might not avoid a blood sugar spike totally but this buffering technique of adding protein in conjunction with wine creates less of a drop in blood sugar, making it easier to get back on track in the days following the holidays, she says.

Experiment with recipes

Try a pumpkin pie-less, which is served without the pie shell, in custard cups. There is no reason to give up cranberry sauce, so try sugar substitutes such as stevia in your cranberry recipes instead.

"Digestive systems can become sluggish for low carbers who are not careful about eating enough fruits, vegetables and fiber as well as drinking enough water," James says. After dinner beverages can be part of the remedy. "The tasty Tuscan tisane (herbal teas) can help support the liver and kidney functions," she adds.

If you are avoiding caffeine, there are a variety of coffee alternatives on the market but James suggests Teeccino, an herbal, alkalizing beverage, which both relaxes and energizes, she says.

As you cook or contribute to a Thanksgiving meal, keep in mind; tradition is not fixed and finite. You can experiment and be part of creating a new, healthy tradition.

Next: Low-carb cranberry sauce and turkey dressing

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