The holidays have arrived! We’re two weeks away from Thanksgiving and all the expectations that come with this time of year.
The message we receive is, “There’s so much to do: shopping for presents, shopping for food, cooking the food, arranging to see lots of friends and family, spending time with friends and family, attending office parties, and more!” And through there is the additional message that you “should” smile and be happy.
Yet reality can fall far short of expectations. A woman in my office this week spoke about how she didn’t have the energy to cook the Thanksgiving meal as she always did and how badly she felt that she was letting her family down.
This is the hidden side of illness that is not talked about and so often misunderstood –the lack of energy that accompanies treatment.
If you’ve been in treatment for breast cancer, or if you’ve been struggling with a chronic disease such as fibromyalgia, PCOS, depression or anxiety, messages of holiday cheer may not resonate within you. And not being able to share in the festivities can trigger feelings of guilt, isolation, and depression.
I have some suggestions that I’ve seen work with the people in my practice, and I’d like to share them with you.
Fatigue is invisible. Even if you are in the middle of treatment, many people don’t have an internal frame of reference to understand what you’re going through. Being open and honest about your limitations will help others have realistic expectations and no one will feel upset when you have to turn down invitations or pass on turkey duty.
If you are the person who has always hosted Thanksgiving or other holiday events, this is the perfect time to accept an invitation to go to someone else’s house. All you need to do is show.
If attending dinner at someone else’s house isn’t an option, do much less and make it a potluck. Ask people to bring their favorite dish. Another option is to provide them with a recipe and ask them to make a dish of your choosing. It’s always a surprise to see how a dish tastes when someone else cooks it.
Ask friends or relatives to help you and organize a list of who can do what – everything from setting the table to cleaning up – so when the celebration is over, your home is back to its pre-event state.
Although the advertising companies would have us think otherwise, the joy of the holidays doesn’t depend on presents. Maybe you weren’t able to shop for and wrap piles of presents or decorate your home to the hilt or cook a gourmet meal for 20 – regardless of what commercials would have you believe, joy does exist in the holidays without any of that.During this dark time of year, we bring light into our homes and gather to spend time with family and loved ones. This is what’s important and feeds our souls. Focus on this to feel connected inside and to your world.
The holidays are soon upon us, and Thanksgiving menus are already being planned.
This is a time for eating more than usual and often indulging in special foods that are part of the holiday tradition. For example, you may not usually eat gluten or sugar, but may decide to eat some of your favorite pie or dessert.
But for today’s recipe, I’ve chosen something very simple, gluten and sugar free, that also provides your body with soluble fiber -applesauce.
Modified Citrus Pectin, or MCP, is found in the peel and pulp of citrus fruits as well as in the skin of apples. As you cook the apples, the temperature releases the active ingredient, a complex water-soluble indigestible polysaccharide. When the skin of the apples takes on a shiny quality, that indicates the MCP has been released.
Nutrigenomics is an emerging science which studies the interaction of genes with nutrition and lifestyle variables,
explains how food affects your genes and how genetic variations affect the way we react to the nutrients in foods. And there is no better example of this than what we find in MCP.
MCP affects several steps in cancer metastasis and does this through impacting a carbohydrate-binding protein known as Galectin-3. Galectin-3 is shed by tumor cells and this suppresses killer T-cell ability. Left unchecked, Galectin-3 contributes to tumor cell survival, growth of new blood vessels or angiogenesis, and metastasis.
Eating applesauce inhibits Galectin-3 and works to increase cell death or apoptotic response of tumor cells to chemotherapy.
Please use organic apples.
- Cut apples into quarters, remove seeds and place into pot.The pectin is in the skin, so leave skin on.
- Depending on how many apples you’ve used, add several cinnamon sticks or powder and enough water to provide liquid as the apples cook.
- Simmer on top of stove until the skin of the apples becomes shiny and the apples become soft. Turn heat off and leave pot, covered, on top of stove until cool. If you prefer a less chunky apple sauce, you can use a potato masher to break up the chunks.
- Place into glass jars and refrigerate.