Homesteading with Hyacynth: Simple Thanksgiving Swaps

Thanksgiving in Lake County

Welcome to Homesteading with Hyacynth! Homesteading with Hyacynth is a monthly look at ways to lead a healthy, greener, more sustainable life. My intent with Homesteading with Hyacynth is to offer genuine, practical experiences and humorous and helpful tips. Of course, I am not a medical professional so these are my tips and what worked for my family.

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I don’t know how it’s possible, my friends, but we’ve gotta talk Thanksgiving.

And we have to talk fast because if you’re cooking for the big day, you might want to know some really simple swaps that make Thanksgiving healthier and tastier before you go to the market.

So let’s jump right in, and take an “eat this, not that” type of approach, but instead of focusing just on calories, we’ll focus on overall health content, and equally important, the taste.

easy thanksgiving swaps

Easy Swaps for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Fats

Eat This

Butter or lard from pasture-raised animals or coconut oil.

Skip This

Margarine, vegetable oils, Crisco {ACK!}, any kinds of blended fake butter spreads or sprays.

Before butter and lard got a bad, unjustified rap, Great Grandma used these in her kitchen at every turn — especially when baking goodies for the holidays and covering sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie.

Here’s the thing about taste: butter, tallow, and lard (or coconut oil if you won’t do those) produces a flaky crust in pies, a satisfying spread over bread, and a wonderfully tasty bath in which veggies can bathe.

Here’s the thing about health: butter, tallow, and lard from pastured animals and coconut oil (along with pure olive oil) contain the proper amount of omega fatty acids to help your body stay rich in omega-3 fats. The vegetable oils and fake butter of the world are heavy in omega-6. Research has shown that most western diets are extremely heavy in omega-6 fats and deficient in omega-3 fats, which is why you hear all about supplementing with omega-3 fats. Instead, though, just eat less of the “junkier” oils and stick to the properly balanced fats like butter, tallow, and lard from pastured animals and unrefined coconut oil and pure olive oil.

That’s great, Hyacynth, but where do I get all of that?: Jewel and Whole Foods carry Organic Valley butter and unrefined Coconut Oil. The Meat Goat and Farmer Nick, both at the Saturday Grayslake Farmer’s Market in downtown Grayslake, can hook you up with pastured tallow and lard.

Dairy

Eat This

Whole-fat heavy whipping cream and whole fat dairy.

Skip That

Whipped Topping, Cool Whip, Low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat cream cheese.

Here’s the thing about taste: We probably don’t need convincing about taste, right? I mean, homemade whole fat whipped cream is the stuff dreams are made of. Never had it? You just need whole fat heavy whipping cream and a blender and sugar. Blend together. Add a little Great Lakes Gelatin if you’d like your cream to hold shape well.

Here’s the thing about health: All that stuff we talked about regarding fats above? That. Also, fat is what holds items together. Take the fat out, and you have to find a new binder, which often includes different gums that can often upset the digestive tract and, even worse, carrageenan, which has been linked to cancer and IBS. If gums don’t bother you, at least skip out on the carrageenan-containing products.

That’s great, but where do I get all of that?: Fresh Market and Whole Foods carry pastured whole fat milk like Kolona and Organic Valley, heavy whipping creams, cream cheeses, and cottage cheeses.

Soups, Bases and Broths

Eat This

Homemade broths, heavy creams, and a combination of the two to make creamy bases.

Skip This

Canned “cream of” soups and canned stocks.

Here’s the thing about taste: homemade broths and soup bases pack so much flavor that it’s almost unbelievable how much more flavorful dishes with these bases taste. I know you’re already sold on the beauty of whole fat creams, so we’ll go onto the health aspect.


Here’s the thing about health: canned broths often contain hidden msg in the form of “autolyzed yeast” and “natural flavorings.” Msg is really hard on the digestive tract and often produces nasty ailments like headaches, bloating, and digestive issues, to name a few. It’s even known to make joint pains worse. Canned “cream of” soups contain hydrogenated fats or trans fats. There are so many reasons you want to avoid these kinds of fats. The Mayo Clinic tells you about one here. Even the FDA is looking to ban trans fats (which I won’t even get into the whole banning foods thing here …). But they really are that bad. Really.

Want to make your own stock? Follow these easy directions.

Want to make your own cream base? Follow these directions.

That’s great, but where do I get all of that?: Fresh Market and Whole Foods carry pastured whole fat milks like Kolona and Organic Valley and heavy whipping creams. The Meat Goat and Farmer Nick, both at the Saturday Grayslake Farmer’s Market in downtown Grayslake, can hook you up with pastured bones for some super delicious broth.

So those little changes right there? They will not only make your Thanksgiving feast tastier, but they will also make it more nutrient-dense and healthier! Great Grandma would be so proud!

Which of these simple swaps are you most excited to make?


by Hyacynth Worth
Hyacynth Worth is a wife to John and a mother to three boys and three girls. She writes about motherhood, healthy living, and faith at Undercover Mother. She is a local writer and the author of Homesteading with Hyacynth. She promises to be candid, amusing, and only slightly neurotic. Most of the time.

Homesteading with Hyacynth: Simple Thanksgiving Swaps
About Hyacynth 31 Articles
Hyacynth Worth is wife to John and mother to two boys and two girls. She writes about motherhood, healthy living and faith at Undercover Mother. She is Little Lake County's managing editor and the author of Homesteading with Hyacynth. She promises to be candid, amusing and only slightly neurotic. Most of the time.

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