reprinted with permission from brandpoint
Cheer and goodwill aren’t the only things Americans share during the holiday season. We also swap germs, overindulge in seasonal foods and spirits, and stew in stress, all of which can lead to digestive woes.
You already know you’ll have to work hard at self-control if you don’t want the numbers on the scale to climb by the end of the holiday season. But, did you know you can also take steps to minimize stomach upset, indigestion, bloating, reflux, and general intestinal distress during the holidays?
So Good, Yet So Bad
Holiday foods taste good because they’re often rich and high in fat and sugar—qualities that cause not only weight gain but also digestive discomfort. During this hectic time of year, most of us eat more, especially at celebrations.
Giving up holiday treats and favorite dishes would be like going through the season without a single cornucopia or twinkling decoration. Rather than suffering digestive distress through indulgence—or choosing to deprive yourself entirely—start with a plan for how you’ll deal with holiday digestive upset, and then take action.
Steps to Feel Better
Stay hydrated. The hectic pace of the holidays may make you forget to drink enough water. What’s more, overindulging in holiday libations like cocktails, wine, champagne, and beer can actually dehydrate your body. Non-alcoholic sugary beverages like mulled cider, hot chocolate, and pumpkin-flavored coffees can also throw off your body’s balance. Remember to drink plenty of water every day throughout the holidays.
Prioritize food choices. Sure, that slice of pumpkin pie looks great on the plate and tastes yummy going down, but will it be worth the heartburn and bloating you’ll experience later? Raw veggies are a healthful and fiber-filled alternative to fatty hors d’oeuvres, but be aware that raw vegetables can also cause bloating and gas. Pay attention to the foods that trigger discomfort, and decide how important they really are. You may be able to substitute something else that’s just as satisfying but less upsetting to your stomach.
Promote gut health. If your digestive tract is already in good shape, it will be better equipped to handle occasional holiday overindulgence. Taking a probiotic supplement, like Family Flora Daily Balance, can support the growth of good gut bacteria that aid in digestion. Family Flora’s Dual-Action formula helps populate the gut with healthy bacteria and also provides prebiotics, the “food” that helps probiotic bacteria thrive and multiply inside the body. The probiotic plus non-GMO prebiotic blend helps promote improved digestion, supports gut flora renewal and colon health, and maintains healthier gastrointestinal function.* The neutral-tasting powder can be mixed into any cold food or beverage.
Reduce portion sizes. Do you give yourself license to overindulge during the holidays, figuring you’ll pay for it later when you step on the scale? Large portions can also make you pay for them right away when you feel indigestion or reflux after finishing a big meal. Reducing portion sizes can help ease holiday strain on your stomach and digestive tract. One easy trick for controlling portion sizes: serve yourself on a dessert-size dish rather than a large dinner plate. Smaller portions will look like more on a smaller plate.
Limit variety. Whether a buffet or a sit-down dinner, holiday meals often feature multiple dishes that just look so good you want to try them all. Mixing too many different foods, however, can lead to stomach upset. Trying everything—even if it’s just a bite or two—can rack up the calories, fat, and sugar. Instead, choose just a few favorites to have at each meal. If you have a spoon of green bean casserole with your Thanksgiving turkey, pass on the yams and plan to have them with tomorrow’s leftovers.
Keep exercising. Along with all the other benefits exercise brings, it can also promote digestive health. In addition to its positive physical effects, exercise can also help relieve holiday stress—a big contributor to holiday stomach upset. Whether it’s an hour at the gym or 30 minutes on a yoga mat in your living room, it’s important to maintain an exercise regimen throughout the holidays.
The holidays are meant to be a time of enjoyment, and that includes eating foods you just don’t have around at other times of the year. With some proactive steps, you can help ensure your holidays stay bright and your stomach stays healthy throughout the season.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Visit www.familyflora.com to learn more.
reprinted with permission from brandpoint
reprinted with permission from brandpoint
What’s your idea of the perfect Thanksgiving meal? A big family buffet, or perhaps an intimate evening with a few close friends? Thanksgiving brings us together from near and far for all sorts of fun-filled traditions that are uniquely our own. And while those traditions may vary somewhat as families grow and our lives change over time, there’s one constant at the heart of Thanksgiving entertaining—the beloved turkey platter.
“Turkey platters really are the Christmas tree of Thanksgiving,” says Keith Winkler, product marketing manager at dinnerware giant Replacements, Ltd. “When you talk about Thanksgiving, I think most Americans picture that iconic Norman Rockwell painting with the mother serving the perfect turkey on a huge platter. Even though that image has been reinterpreted in so many ways as times have changed, the platter has always remained the centerpiece of the gathering, even for those who by-pass the bird to serve another main course for their Thanksgiving meal.”
Winkler notes that there’s also a strong sentimental attachment to this seasonal favorite. Turkey platters often become heirloom pieces, handed down in many families, making the platter even more special.
Turkey Dinnerware History 101
The history behind turkey patterns and ultimately the iconic platter is literally as old as the holiday itself.
When Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving official back in 1863, English potters seized the opportunity to target the growing American market by producing turkey-themed dinner plates and platters. These ingenious designers generally took an existing design and replaced the center with a turkey motif to create those first Thanksgiving patterns. Manufacturers such as Spode, Mason’s, and Wood & Sons used their colorful transfer ware patterns to start a new holiday tradition, which became an instant hit.
In fact, Replacements Ltd.’s most popular Thanksgiving pattern, His Majesty by Johnson Brothers, started as an accent plate in the company’s Friendly Village pattern. The English manufacturer received so much demand for this particular motif that the company turned the proud Tom Turkey-adorned plate into its own pattern.
The Great Platter Hunt
Designers say you don’t have to buy an entire set of turkey-themed dinnerware to find the perfect platter. Replacements Ltd.’s Julie Robbins notes you can find platters that blend well with any pattern, from the very old to the very new.
“Turkey platters aren’t necessarily bird-themed; you’ll find them in designs ranging from florals to even scenic vistas,” Robbins says. “Think who is going to be at your table, what you’re serving, and find a platter that speaks to you. If you’re serving turkey, it doesn’t matter whether you’re carving your bird in the kitchen or on the table, just make sure it’s large enough to accommodate your guests. So many people make the mistake of trying to put a large turkey on a 12-inch platter and, quite frankly, that is just too small and it’s not going to work. This is a special piece, not an everyday platter.”
Robbins adds that she’s seen people do wonderful things with a small turkey, such as placing vegetables around the bird to fill out the larger platter and complete the look. Turkey platters aren’t only fun, many are also functional. Lenox and several other manufacturers produce turkey-shaped platters and other autumn themed serving pieces in alternative metal serveware. This is a special alloy that when heated or chilled maintains temperature to keep foods warm or cold.
Gobble Up This Season’s Tabletop Trends
Many dinnerware companies are producing Thanksgiving or turkey-themed accent plates and platters to mix and match with everyday dinnerware in colors and motifs to fit all tastes and lifestyles, from the very traditional to a more modern aesthetic. And if Tom Turkey isn’t the right design element for your table, Robbins says you can still create a seasonal feel, minus the bird.
“You can use fall leaf or even woodland patterns to create a classic Thanksgiving table without going with a turkey motif. Even beautiful classic fruit patterns give your table that cornucopia or horn of plenty flair.”
Not sure where to start? Find a list of Replacements Ltd.’s most popular fall and Thanksgiving patterns on the company's website, replacements.com.
by Catherine Rabb
images courtesy Craig Distl
It’s impressive that Pat and Clyde Colwell of Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery have been able to achieve so much. Not only did they build a demanding business at an age when most consider retirement, the Colwells conquered the challenge of growing grapes organically and learned how to make wonderful wine. Not to mention, they helped create a winemaking community in the Yadkin Valley that encourages and supports each other.
When I express an admiration for their achievements, Pat laughs and says, “We tend to always look forward at what needs to be done, rather than looking back and seeing what we have done. We have been blessed in so many ways, and our desire to work at giving back is pervasive in what we do.”
The story of their journey is interesting. Both had previous careers, Pat with IBM and Clyde in education. In 2003, the year they met and married while living in the Raleigh area, Pat was 55 and Clyde 60. They were eligible for retirement, but had too much energy and a desire to create something they could do together with purpose.
Clyde, who grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York, had always wanted a vineyard and winery. Pat was hesitant at first, but warmed to the idea if they could do it organically without the use of chemicals. That quest began with the couple taking classes, talking to everyone they could, and eventually buying Yadkin Valley property in Surry County just outside of Elkin.
Everything was done by hand. They laid out rows, planted vines, and trained, tended, and pruned the vines. When Carolina Heritage opened in 2005, it was North Carolina’s first USDA certified organic vineyard and winery.
For the first five years, friends and children (his two, her three) helped with the harvest, until they “didn’t have any more friends and the kids were mysteriously busy,” Pat jokes. Today, they have a dozen acres under vine, planted with 14 grape varieties. They also grow organic blueberries and have recently planted apples and pears, as well as elderberries.
Carolina Heritage features a handsome, welcoming tasting room made of North Carolina pine. The tasting room is kid-friendly and pet-friendly, with a vibrant calendar featuring live music most Saturday nights. Clyde is renovating the 1928 farmhouse as a potential guest house, and in her “spare” time, Pat makes organic Kombucha. The Colwells are active in the community, environmental advocates, and ardent supporters of local musicians, artists, and cheesemakers.
Before the first wine was produced, the challenge was growing grapes organically. North Carolina can be a tough place because the humidity creates mildew issues.
“Everyone I talked to said organic grapes could not be grown in North Carolina,” Pat recalls. “And I’m the type of person who digs in my heels when I am told I can’t do something.”
One of the reasons they chose the Elkin area was its elevation. Their property sits at 1,100 feet, a good elevation for organic grapes. They also studied and researched, carefully selecting the organic vines to plant. After taking classes at Cornell and Surry Community College, they decided vitis vinifera, or grapevines of European descent, were not appropriate, as they tend to be susceptible to disease. They opted instead for hybrids, a cross between vitis vinifera and native American varieties, as well as native Muscadine grapes, which grow well in North Carolina. The Colwells experimented with several varietals before settling on 10 hybrids and four Muscadines.
Carolina Heritage is known for its rich, fruity flavorful Chambourcin red. Pat describes it as Merlot-like, with smooth, light tannins. Another popular red is the Cabernet Franc. Traminette, a hybrid from the European grape Gewürztraminer, is a dry, but fruity white, while Cayuga (a Sauvignon Blanc hybrid) is used for a dry, crisp citrus-y white.
And yes, all Carolina Heritage wines come from organic grapes. The organic certification is a national one and requires a deep commitment. The program has a specific set of rules. No chemicals can be used, there must be a 20-foot barrier around the vineyards, precise records must be kept and routine inspections are conducted.
A few years back, I took a viticulture course at Surry Community College to better my ability to teach on the subject of wine. The other students were potential growers, and most worked in the business. Pat and Clyde came for a guest lecture, and I still remember the reaction from the students in class, as if they were rock stars.
One of the most rewarding aspects for the Colwells is working through the entire process of making wine, then sharing it with visitors. “There are very few things in the modern world where you get to do the whole cycle and are able to complete every step in the process, and then share that,” Pat says.
Indeed, the Colwells quite enjoy sharing their labor of love with friends, family, and guests. Local is important to them, and their wines are as local as it gets.
I must admit, I’m a bit in awe of the Colwells’ accomplishments. They took a chance and, through dedication, vision, and hard work, created something special. Along the way, they supported neighbors and friends, while being excellent stewards of the environment.
When you visit, raise a glass to the vision of these good people. In today’s busy world, the gift they give of a handcrafted product, made with care and love, is special and worth celebrating.
Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery
170 Heritage Vines Way • Elkin, NC