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MS-Friendly Holiday Foods and Treats

By Daryl H. Bryant (785 words)
Posted in Living with MS on January 2, 2015

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MS-Friendly Holiday Foods and Treats

The holidays are a time of celebration, but sometimes the partying can be hard when you suffer from severe illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis. Late nights, alcohol, and holiday feasts can often make symptoms worse, which can put a damper on holiday plans and festivities.

However, having MS does not mean you can’t enjoy the holidays. Rather, it just means that you have to plan ahead in order to avoid any discomfort. When it comes to the holiday dinner, you’ll have it covered. The following list of treats includes MS-Friendly holiday foods that will fill you up, satiate your sweet tooth, and stop your symptoms from flaring up so you can enjoy the holiday with your family and friends.

Scrumptious Bean Salads

Whether it’s a potluck holiday gathering or you’re hosting, bean salads are quick and easy appetizers and side dishes you can prepare without getting hot in the kitchen. Beans are rich in fiber and protein, making them great substitutes for meats, which can often exacerbate symptoms. This recipe for zucchini and white beans also makes for a perfect Christmas treat – add a splash of red bell pepper to give it a festive red-green-white spin!

Be sure to boil your beans before adding them to the salad. Boiling them will remove the lectins that can sometimes cause symptom outbreaks. After they’re boiled, combine your favorite beans with your favorite whole grains, like quinoa, and veggies to create a delectable salad that will leave guests fighting over the leftovers.

Festive Quinoa Pasta

Quinoa contains more fiber than other whole grains, and it’s rich in iron to help improve cognitive functioning and memory. If you suffer from bowel symptoms, quinoa can help with digestion. This fluffy, circular pasta cooks just like rice, making it a quick and easy holiday food that you can incorporate into any meal. Replace egg noodles with quinoa pasta and surprise your guests with a quirky take on their favorite casseroles, or try your hand at a new recipe. Quinoa and cranberries go together deliciously well and make for great holiday salads. You can also choose to use fresh cider in your recipe too to create a truly festive appetizer, like this quinoa and carrot recipe that uses cider as a soak for your veggies

Christmas Salmon

According to Dr. Swank, an MS specialist, red meats come with a lot of saturated fats that can clog the bloodstream, which weakens the blood-brain barrier and gives overactive immune cells the chance to wreak havoc. Some patients may not have this reaction to meats, but if you are among those who do, consider replacing the Christmas steak dinner with a salmon filet. Salmon is rich in omega-3s as well as B12 and potassium, all of which are beneficial for MS patients.

Sautee your fish, adding some quinoa pasta, to create a truly delicious side dish. Or, if you are aiming to make salmon the main course, there are plenty of recipes for great salmon steaks that are so delicious your guests won’t realize they’re eating a healthy meal. Try this MS-friendly recipe for seared wild salmon or this recipe for pecan salmon that’s ready in 35 minutes.

Coconut Ice Cream for Dessert

Because cow’s milk has been proven to target the immune cells in those suffering from MS, it’s best to replace the milks in creamy dessert recipes with almond or coconut milk. The benefit of coconut milk is that it is naturally sweeter than most non-milk dairy products, giving you the chance to enjoy all the sweetness of hot cocoa and ice cream without risking a symptom flare-up.

Coconut ice cream tastes great as a topper on any holiday pie, but you can also create a special sundae for yourself and your guests. Just be sure to check that no one on your guest list is allergic. Coconut allergies are common and reactions can vary from minimal to severe, depending on the person. You can also try this delicious MS-friendly flourless and sugar-free almond butter cookies and top it off with the coconut ice cream!

Enjoy the holiday season!

There’s no reason to be stressed about a holiday party if you prepare yourself beforehand and prep your menu with MS-friendly holiday foods. Try your hand at these recipes or request that your host make a dish specifically with your needs in mind so that you can relax and enjoy the holidays this year.  But don’t get too relaxed! Avoid alcoholic beverages if you can, or keep your drinks to a minimum. Alcohol consumptions always increases during the holidays when friends and families are together, but symptoms can also increase if you drink. So be safe, eat well, and enjoy the holidays.

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