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By Ruchel Louis Coetzee
Posted On Nov 10, 2021

by Ruchel Louis Coetzee


It’s Thanksgiving and thoughts immediately turn to how to avoid blood sugar mutiny at the dinner table. For people who have diabetes, or who simply want to reduce their sugar intake, culprits like candied sweet potato bake, pecan pie, or pumpkin pie can render us weak at the knees. The aroma alone activates that slippery slope downhill.

But don’t despair. If you think the Atkins diet or very low-carb diets are the only solution, you are mistaken.  A 2012 Harvard study found that a low glycemic index diet had “similar metabolic benefits to the very low-carb diet without the negative effects of stress and inflammation as seen by participants consuming the very low-carb diet.” What is the glycemic index (GI) you may ask?  It is a scale from 1-100 that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood glucose levels with 100 being a high GI score. A low-glycemic index diet revolves around choosing low carbohydrate foods and lean meat that raise blood sugar at a steady rate while maintaining energy so that you feel full longer.

The American Diabetes Association shows that 100% stone ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, for example, has a low GI score of 55 or less compared to white bread or a bagel that has a high GI score of 70 or more. Other carbohydrate-containing foods with a low GI score include foods such as pastas, oats, barley, dried beans, fruit, all non-starchy vegetables, and some starchy vegetables like sweet potato and converted (parboiled) rice. White rice, rice pasta, and rice cakes have a high GI score.

The health benefits of eating foods that are lower on the GI scale are numerous.  Low-glycemic index carbohydrates improve blood glucose levels and insulin levels after a meal, have a slower rate of digestion and absorption, and may help to improve blood cholesterol levels, which is important for preventing heart disease

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving tradition and the Pilgrims of 1621 who received root vegetables from the Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth County for “The First Thanksgiving,” we have devised delicious and healthy low-glycemic recipes to accompany your Turkey. Included are sautéed green beans with roasted almonds and crispy shallots, sugar-free cranberry sauce, Janette’s turkey stuffing, baked sweet potato with roasted walnuts, gluten-free butternut cranberry bread (this recipe can be found at www.newyou/wellness/nutrition/vitamin-natural-way),  cauliflower puree, and  pears with clotted cream. Happy guilt-free Thanksgiving!


Sauteed Green Beans with Roasted Almonds and Crispy Shallots374x316_green-beans-square


1/3 cup avocado oil

4- 5 shallots peeled and sliced thinly

2 pounds green beans trimmed

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup slivered almonds

In a 12-inch skillet heat oil over a medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, fry shallots until crisp and dark golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

Set oven to 350F/180C and bake almonds on a cookie sheet until golden brown. Set aside.

In another pot, cook beans in boiling water for about 7 minutes until they are crisp-tender. Drain and then submerge them in a bowl of ice water so that the beans retain their color. Drain again.

Use same 12-inch skillet and heat butter and oil mixture over a medium-high heat. Cook for about 7 minutes stirring frequently, until beans are heated through. Season with salt and pepper and then transfer beans to a shallow serving dish. Top with crispy shallots first and then roasted almonds. Makes about 8 servings.



Sugar-free Cranberry Sauce


2 cups fresh cranberries

6 oz natural apple juice

1 tablespoon grated orange rind

5 tablespoons chopped dates

Simmer all ingredients in a medium pot until the cranberries are all popped.  Can be served either warm or chilled.


Janette’s Turkey Stuffing


2 loaves of multi-grain Italian bread (about 10 oz. each) torn into bite-size pieces (it is best to dry out the bread cubes by doing this the day before)

3 tablespoons butter

4 celery stalks, cut finely

4 shallots, minced

4 – 6 garlic cloves, minced finely

Coarse salt and ground pepper

½ cup parsley leaves, chopped

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

2 ½ cans reduced-sodium chicken broth


Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Arrange bread in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets and bake until crisp, but not browned, for about 10 minutes.

Melt butter in a large saucepan and fry celery, shallots, and garlic with salt and pepper for about 6 minutes or until soft. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add bread, parsley, sage, and eggs to the vegetables in the bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir in half of the broth until mixed. Continue to add broth to stuffing until it is completely moist and all the liquid is absorbed.

Before roasting the turkey, fill it with at least 3½ cups stuffing. The rest of the stuffing can be put into another baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerated until turkey is cooked. Bake the extra stuffing in the oven until warmed through for about 20 minutes, uncover foil and bake until golden for another 12 minutes.


Baked Sweet Potato with Roasted Walnuts


8 small sweet potatoes

one stick of butter

2 cups walnuts chopped



Set oven at 350F/180C and roast sweet potatoes on baking sheet until soft. Peel skins and slice them in rings.

On another baking sheet roast walnuts until golden (can be done at the same time as sweet potatoes except this will take only a few minutes).

Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with butter and cinnamon. Bake at 350F/180C for about 10 minutes. Top with walnuts


Cauliflower Puree


One head of cauliflower

2 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sour cream

Salt and pepper

Dash of nutmeg


Strip the outer leaves, core the stem, and cut the cauliflower into florets. Steam the cauliflower slowly in a covered saucepan with a small amount of water and the garlic until tender. Mash it with butter and sour cream until it is a somewhat creamy consistency. Add more butter and sour cream if necessary. Season to taste.



Poached Pears with Clotted Cream


750ml sweet white wine (Riesling)

1 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

4 firm Bartlett or Bosc pears (peeled but leaving the stalk intact – also core the pears from the bottom)

clotted cream


Place the wine, water, and cinnamon stick in a medium sized saucepan and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer (medium to low) and place pears upright in saucepan. Cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until pears are slightly soft but not falling apart. Remove pears and cinnamon stick. Increase heat in saucepan and reduce liquid until half the amount. Pour over pears and serve warm with clotted cream.