As October gives way to November, I begin to anticipate the holiday season. After switching to a plant based lifestyle one of the most frequent questions I continue to get is “What about eating during the holidays?”
I happily, and healthily, eat plant based during the holidays, even during Thanksgiving and Christmas meals that are traditionally laden with the foods on my “no” list. I stick to seasonal produce and lots of veggies. One food that shows up in grocery stores this time of year becomes a staple during the holidays.
What are Cranberries?
Cranberries grow on low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 7 feet long and 2 to 8 feet in height. The plant’s dark pink flowers become berries that are a bit larger than the leaves of the plant. Initially light green, the berries turn red when ripe. They are edible with a tart taste that can overwhelm their sweetness. The majority of cranberries are harvested in the US, Canada and Chile.
Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey at Christmas dinners in the United Kingdom, and at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners in the United States and Canada.
Canned cranberry sauce was my introduction to this tart fruit. It has been a joy to create my own cranberry relish for the holidays, and find other uses for fresh cranberries.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
Most people know that cranberries have antiseptic properties that aid in healing urinary tract infections and yeast infections. That power comes from the cranberry’s ability to fight the streptococcus bacteria, which is most often the underlying cause of such infections.
These bright red berries offer so much more, health wise. Cranberries help with these conditions and ailments:
• Reverse gallbladder disease and dissolve gallstones.
• Cleanse the liver and aid the passing of kidney stones.
• Dislodge earwax and restore hearing.
• Due to antioxidant properties, they heal cardiovascular disease and arteriosclerosis.
• Destroy toxic hormones, easing premenopausal symptoms, and helping with weight loss.
• Draw radiation out of the body.
• Protect connective tissue, detoxify organs, halt the growth of bacteria and viruses, and provide stress assistance when needed.
• Help to prevent seasonal allergies.
(Info from Life Changing Foods by Anthony William)
Ways to Enjoy Cranberries
Add fresh or frozen cranberries to smoothies, smoothie bowls, juices, and gluten free oatmeal. Include them in stir fries or chop and sprinkle atop salads.
My two favorite ways to enjoy cranberries are in hot apple cider and raw cranberry relish. Both recipes are from Anthony William.
Get the recipe for the fragrant, health boosting cider HERE.
The cranberry relish is so easy to make and one of my all time favorite dishes.
Using a food processor, combine 1 cup of fresh cranberries, 2 cups of coarsely chopped apples, 1/2 cup of orange segments, 1/4 teaspoon of orange zest and 4 tablespoons of raw organic honey or coconut sugar. Pulse until roughly combined. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The relish can be garnished with chopped mint right before serving.
This relish makes a great accompaniment to any holiday meal or it’s perfect on its own.
Of all the foods on the table during holiday meals, cranberries are the most nutritious and beneficial. Even if it’s canned cranberry sauce, give these powerful berries a try! And for a real treat that ups the healing properties, create the relish or add cranberries to hot apple cider or a cup of hot herbal tea.
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