Many health websites talk about how to prepare Thanksgiving meals completely gluten free, dairy free, vegan, raw, or paleo, but for the less experienced nutrition conscious people, these meals may be too intimidating.  This article goes through some simple, quick changes that make a big difference on your health.

  1. Thanksgiving Tip: Buy a Certified Organic, Free Range Turkey.

USDA Organic livestock are not allowed to use hormones, must obey the welfare standards for the animals including allowing the animals outside, and are prohibited from using growth hormones.   In addition, the animals cannot be fed GMO crops(USDA).  This increases the health and wellness of the turkey which will nourish your body.  The Organic & Non-GMO Report interviewed several farmers who stated that deaths of their cattle due to digestive problems or pneumonia have decreased by half from 1.2% to 0.6% of the heard.

  1. Thanksgiving Tip: Buy all vegetables and fruit organic.  If due to availability or financial reasons purchasing organic is not possible, try to purchase the following fruits and vegetables.
  • According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), the dirty dozen includes: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, collard greens, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, kale, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, snap peas, spinach, strawberries, and sweet bell peppers.

USDA Certified Organic products must adhere to strict guidelines and undergo yearly inspections by the government.  The requirements for the produce include no irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used on any of the produce or seeds (USDA).

  1. Thanksgiving Tips:
  • For a spinach casserole- Use organic creamy mushroom soup. I prefer such brands as Pacific or Amy’s Organics.
  • If you are buying cranberry sauce, buy Pacific Organic Whole Cranberry, Grown Right Cranberry Sauce, or 365 Cranberry Sauce.

Packaged food or multi-ingredient food must have at least 95% of the ingredients be certified organic to have the USDA organic seal on the label (USDA).

  1. Thanksgiving Tip: For rolls or bread look for a local bakery that have organic gluten free options. If you do not have a local bakery, natural grocery stores will carry Ezekiel, Udi’s, or Rudi’s breads.

Have you ever noticed that when you buy bread at a bakery it tends to mold faster than bread found in the supermarket?  Although every bakery had the right to make its own decision and recipes (organic and gluten free bakeries must adhere to the USDA standards), bakeries tend to have a lower amount of preservatives added to their bread.

  1. Thanksgiving Tip: Now for the all-important dessert.  Making fresh pumpkin is quick and simple.  Just buy an organic pie pumpkin.  Cut in half and de-seed.  Place it in the oven with a water bath and cook at 350°F for 30 minutes.  Allow the pumpkin to cool and take the flesh out.  Smooth out the pumpkin by placing it in the blender or food processor.  Use this instead of canned pumpkin.

Canned foods are lined with BPA (Bisphenol-A) to protect the food from coming in contact with the metal.  This estrogen mimicking hormone has been known to leak into food.  Although the FDA claims that low levels of BPA are safe for human consumption, some studies reveal that this chemical is an endocrine disruptor.  The NTP (National Toxicology Program) studies have shown it may have effects on the health of our nervous system, brain, pregnant women, and their fetuses(NIEHS).

By following these tips for your special thanksgiving dinner, you will decrease the amount of toxins in your home-made thanksgiving meal.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Works Cited.

The Environmental Working Group. “EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™” EWG The Environmental Working Group. Environmental Working Group. April 2014. Web. 22 November 2014. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/index.php

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.  “Bisphenol A (BPA).”  National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Your Environment, Your Health. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. 28 August 2014. Web. 22 November 2014. http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/

Roseboro, Ken. “Farmers report better animal health with non-GMO feed” The Organic & Non-GMO Report.  The Organic & Non-GMO Report. May 2014. Web. 22 November 2014.  http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/may2014/farmers-report-better-animal-health-non-gmo-feed.php

United States Department of Agricultural. “National Organic Program.” USDA United States Department of Agricultural: Agricultural Marketing Service. United States Department of Agriculture. 4 April 2013. Web. 22 November 2014. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPOrganicStandards