Muppet-hating freaks and viral-load peaks, be damned! As long as we HIVers have made it to another Thanksgiving, we've got reason to be grateful...and to celebrate! Try these four tips for serving up a healthy spread.
1. Flip 'em the bird. Turkey's not only traditional for TG, said Peter Metrelexis, head chef at New York City's God's Love We Deliver, which wheels hot meals to homebound PWAs. It's also low in fat and high in protein and selenium, a key HIVer nutrient. Which kind of bird to buy? "The less that's been done to it, the better off you are," said Metrelexis, who is keen on organics but not-so on self-basters. And for a tasty low-fat gravy, he prefers vegetable or chicken stock thickened with cornstarch or arrowroot.
2. Stuff 'em with veggies. Contrary to holiday myth, the tryptophan in turkey isn't why you pass out after you pig out -- it's from OD'ing on all the carbs in that stuffing. Plus, Metrelexis said, carb intake is linked to diabetes -- an increasingly common HIVer complaint. Replace some of the mashed and whipped with a medley of broccoli, pearl onions, peeled chestnuts and carrots packed with vitamin C and fiber. So are yummy tart cranberries -- but skip the canned for your own simple version. Just boil 'em and add sugar to taste -- it's ready when those berries pop! A sprinkle of Brazil nuts adds selenium and vitamin E.
3. Give 'em their just dessert. God's Love clients get pumpkin pie on TG, Metrelexis said, because "we emotionally need holiday fare." Pumpkin meat means serious beta-carotene, a precursor for immune-boosting vitamin A. Carb cautious? Skip the pie crust and serve it seasoned as a puddin'. Or throw together a simple fruit cobbler: Mix fruit, cinnamon and nutmeg in a Pyrex dish, top with a granola-coconut-nuts-dried fruit combo, and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes till there's a bubbly, brown crust. Then serve up steaming.
4. Hand 'em the harvest, hold out a hand. Fill baskets with seasonal bounty like squash, grapes, pomegranates, persimmons, lady apples and prickly pears. "I like to invite people who don't have families to go home to," he says. Now that's the key ingredient to a Thanksgiving that keeps on giving.