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Lift your winter spirits with a mid-year celebration

There are those of us who embrace the crispy chill in the air, those who find the smell of rain refreshing, those who find the drop in temperature invigorating, and those of us who find comfort and a sense of calm, reflection and inner peace in the warmth and nurturing glow of an open fire.  This is the beauty that the changing seasons can bring.

It brings about a time of change, a time of cycle and a time of rejuvenation.

Yes, Winter can also be a time when many feel despondent, flat and crave that social connection that we so embrace in our Australian culture in the warmer months.  The colder months are also a time when we are more likely to find  regular exercise a bit more challenging and our exposure to the sun  depleted,  dropping  our levels of vitamin D and other vital nutrients, such as our “feel good” brain chemicals,  dopamine, and serotonin.  This in turn influences our mood and in the more extreme states shows up as what some would know as Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD, ironically!) 

Incorporating some fun ways to boost these vital nutrients into our diet and lifestyle can lift those winter spirits immensely!

These are all the things we embrace during the festive season, but why should we leave all the fun to just once a year!  and what better way to re-ignite that social connection by celebrating a “Christmas in July” incorporating the fun and laughter of good company with good food bountiful in these vital nutrients while sticking to our mantra:

Eat Locally, Eat Seasonally, Stick to Real and Whole foods and Eat Organically, as much as possible.

Turkey meat is not only a great source of protein typically 70 per cent white meat and 30 per cent dark meat, with the white meat being lower in calories. It is low in cholesterol, is classed as a low-GI food and can help stabilize insulin levels.

Turkey meat has valuable sources of vitamin B6 and niacin, providing energy support,  is a source of iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus, has good levels of selenium essential for thyroid health, immune function and anti-oxidant activity.  Turkey meat is also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, a co-factor for serotonin production and plays an important role in strengthening the immune system.

Turkey meat, however, can be higher in sodium (higher in processed forms) and the skin in high in fat, so highly consider buying organic where possible.  And don’t be too surprised if you feel a little dozy, wanting to cosy up beside that open fire after your meal, this will be due to the tryptophan effect which in higher doses can promote sleepiness. 

Portions of 65-100gms, one serve per day are recommended by The Australian Guide To Healthy Eating. Refrigerated turkey will keep for about one or two days. If it is already cooked, it will keep for about four days.

Surround your supple turkey with delicious nutrient dense seasonal hot roast vegetables and your event is sure to be a hit!

Usually the turkey is a big piece of meat so what to do with the left overs?

Enjoy this delicious beautiful recipe and relive your lovely Christmas in July for a few days afterwards.

Christmas lunch in one easy bowl

Inspired by Jean Hailes Kitchen

This delicious recipe will serve about 6  is Gluten free (vegetarian if not adding turkey; vegan if not adding butter) 

Roasting these seasonal vegetables will intensify the flavour and add sweetness.

Salad:

  • 500g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into quarters in lengths of 5-6 cm (use more if you prefer more vegetables than grain), roasted and cooled
  • Bunch of baby carrots, peeled,  roasted and cooled
  • 2 bunches broccolini, cooked gently and not over cooked, then cooled 
  • Left-over turkey  (about 150-200g per person), cut into 2cm wide strips  
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup hulled millet or quinoa, cooked and slightly cooled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt  
  • 25g butter (optional)  
  • 1 large bunch fresh mint, chopped  
  • 1 cup (125g) pistachio kernels 
  • ½ cup cranberries sweetened with fruit juice (NOT craisins), plus extra ¼ cup for sprinkling on top 
  • 100g sunflower sprouts (or pea sprouts), washed and patted dry 
  • 1 avocado, cut into large cubes
  • ½ pomegranate, seeded for extra festive colour  

Dressing:

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime 
  • ¼ cup Australian extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, slightly crushed with back of knife to release flavour
  • I tablespoon of tamari
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 3 dessertspoons pomegranate vinegar (can substitute with red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar) 

Place all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake well and add just before serving. Enjoy your Christmas in July celebrations.

Pam Murphy

Naturopath and Remedial massage therapist

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