Happy Holidays from McQuinn Naturopathic!


 The holiday party season is here, and even more than parties at other times, it tends to be a real carb-fest! Cookies, candy, desserts, and holiday breads are added to the usual array of crackers, chips, and rolls. Before you eat your way into a carb-induced stupor, take some time to think ahead to avoid overindulging.

Before you Go:

¨ Make a game plan, and try to be realistic. Think about how you will feel afterwards. Having a few bites of something off-plan won’t break the bank, but you don’t have to give in to “all or nothing thinking,” either. Eating a cookie doesn’t need to be the beginning of a long night of “carbing out.” On the other hand, you might decide that there is one special party where you’ll choose to indulge. The important thing is to see it as a planned deviation, and not slide into a frame of mind that says, “Oh, well, there’s always New Years.”

¨ Ask the hostess if you can bring something, and make sure it is yummy, as well as on your food plan. That way you know you’ll have something to fall back on.

¨ Don’t leave the house half-starved. That’s an open invitation to scarf down the first five things your eyes fall on. Eat a substantial snack with a good amount of protein before you go. With stable blood sugar, you’ll be more able to think clearly and make good decisions, too.

When you Get There:

¨ Case the joint –- check out the food scene, and form a plan. If you’ve planned a treat, figure out what it will be, but don’t grab it yet. Just know that later on, it will be yours. (If you’re worried it will be gone, see if you can find somewhere to stash it.)

¨ Continue to think “protein, fiber, fat.” Head for these things first, which will make it easier to limit your treats later. Good bets: veggies, cheese tray (there is no law saying you have to put the cheese on a cracker), sausage cubes, nuts. Put a small amount on your napkin and go find someone to talk to, away from the food.

¨ Get something to drink. Good choices are something calorie-free (water, stevia sweetened iced tea, or dry wine. Avoid sugary mixers. Hold the drink in your dominant hand (right hand if you’re right-handed) as long as you’re standing near food. (This trick works better than you’d think. It delays the “reaching instinct” long enough for your brain to engage.)

The Party Continues:

¨ Keep your focus on conversation and entertainment, preferably away from the food table. When you veer closer, stick to small amounts and veer away again. Think “nibble” rather than “bite.”

¨ After an alcoholic drink, make the next one or two glasses of water. This not only cuts down on carbs and calories, but helps keep your good judgment intact.

¨ If there is a buffet dinner, focus on the low-carb foods: salads, vegetables, meats, fruit. These usually are far more tasty than the potatoes and rice, anyway.

Sweet Endings:

¨ Now it’s time for your treat, if you’ve decided to have it. The rule is: Enjoy every bite. This requires focus. And be aware of the “Law of Diminishing Dessert Returns:” The first few bites are usually the best. If your enjoyment is lessening, why continue? You’ve had a great time celebrating, the evening is a success, and no regrets or “carb hangovers” the next day.

This holiday season you can still choose healthy foods such as:

MCT Roast Turkey

1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey

1 quart of chicken broth

¾ cup chopped mushrooms of choice

2 cups chopped onion and celery combined

1 tablespoon each MCT oil and extra virgin olive oil combined. Set aside for stuffing and rubbing on turkey

1 tablespoon salt or other seasoning you use as a salt substitute

2 ½ cups wheat bread, torn into ½ inch pieces

1 cup Melba toast

1 ½ cups unsweetened dried cherries and/or cranberries and raisins combined

½ cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon Butter Buds or Molly McButter: a no-fat or no-cholesterol granular butter substitute

2 teaspoons dried or chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon each of fresh thyme, sage and rosemary


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place turkey into deep, high sided bowl with stuffing end up.

In a large mixing bowl toss onion, celery and mushrooms with the oil and salt. Place the vegetables on a sheet and roast for 35 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, spread the cubed bread over the vegetables, return to the oven and continue cooking.

Heat the chicken broth in a large microwave proof bowl combine the roasted vegetables, bread, melba toast, chicken stock (use enough to moisten but not make soggy) cherries, cranberries, pecans, sage, thyme, rosemary, butter substitute, parsley and black pepper to taste. Stir well. Use your hands to combine if necessary. Heat the stuffing in the microwave on high power for 6 minutes.

While stuffing heats, rub turkey with MCT oil combo for skin crispness. You can add herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, etc) for extra flavor. Quickly place the stuffing into the cavity. Place the turkey into a roasting plan on a rack. Roast for 45 minutes checking the skin for color twice. If skin is getting too brown lightly foil over those areas. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Cook for another 60-70 minutes or until the bird reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.



I can’t believe its not mashed potatoes

Steam the cauliflower

Puree cauliflower until desired consistency

As a dressing:

Take MCT oil mixed with chopped sautéed onions, garlic, cilantro and butter buds (optional)

Fruit Salad with warm vanilla sauce

Chop honey dew melon, apple, oranges and dark berries

Vanilla sauce:

In a small saucepan over low heat on the stove, heat together:

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Powdered Stevia to taste

Let cool and pour over fruit salad and toss

Sparkling Virgin Apple Martini/Carmel Apple Martini

(45 calories)

1 apple, juiced (use pulp for Meatloaf or Apple Cookies)

6 ounces chilled sparkling mineral water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Vanilla or English Toffee liquid Stevia

Apple slice for garnish

Crushed ice (optional)

Combine Apple and lemon juices with flavored Stevia. Add sparling mineral water and ice if desired. Serve in a martini glass with a slice of curl of apple peel for garnish. Works great with tangy apples like granny smith or for a sweeter apple tini you can use red delicious or other sweet apple.


Hot Apple Cider

(75 calories)

1 apple, juiced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of allspice

Pinch of clove

Pinch of lemon zest

Stevia to taste


Heat the juice with spices and a little water in a small saucepan. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick.

Caramel Apple Pie

1 apple

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 packet powdered Stevia

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

1 tablespoon water

English toffee Stevia to taste

Slice apple into very thin slices. Arrange in layers in a round 3 inch crème brulee dish.  For each layer, sprinkle generously with cinnamon, nutmeg, and powdered and English toffee Stevia. Continue layering with spices until dish is full. Sprinkle lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and water over the apple slices. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until apples are cooked and top is slightly crispy. Drizzle with additional English Toffee Stevia if desired. Serve warm.  If you prefer a crust: Use MCT oil mixed with flax seed and press in the bottom of the pan.