Putting a Heart-Healthy Spin on Tradition

The arrival of the holidays usually means one thing: food, glorious food.

However you and your loved ones celebrate, extended family dinners, rich dishes and favourite recipes are typically all part of the festivities—in most cases, baked or cooked at home. It’s all too good to pass up and, for many of us, all too much.

Traditions have a way of uniting our collective spirits but, with nutritional know-how forever evolving, it’s also easy for guilt to creep in around our holiday eating habits. Sticking to a healthy plan for all but two weeks out of the year starts to feel like one step forward and two steps back, especially come January 1 when the weight of our resolutions (and whatever the bathroom scale is reporting) fully sink in.

Luckily, there are healthy alternatives you can easily swap in for the usual vegetable oil, shortening or lard typically found in many crowd-pleasing family recipes. Namely, coconut oil and ghee.

Coconut Oil
Derived from the “meat” of mature ripe coconuts, coconut oil is a nutritious, clear and aromatic oil with a mild, delicate flavour. Besides great taste, though, it has many important health benefits:

  • It’s lower in calories than most other oils
  • It promotes weight loss by increasing your energy levels and stimulating your metabolism
  • It’s more easily and quickly digested than other fats
  • It improves your ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and amino acids for stronger, healthier bones, teeth and organs

For more on coconut oil, read 3 Things You Need to Know About Coconut Oil.

Ghee
Originating in ancient India, ghee is made by removing all water and milk solids from unsalted butter. The remains are a nutrient-rich, clarified butter that provides all of the health benefits of regular butter without the impurities, so even those with dairy sensitivities can enjoy it. Among the many health benefits of ghee:

  • It contains energy-boosting saturated fats and beneficial fatty acids
  • It reduces inflammation and betters digestive health by reducing stomach acid and protecting/restoring stomach lining
  • It improves your ability to absorb vitamins