11 November, 2015

Menu: Gout-friendly Thanksgiving 2015 (Discussion Draft)

If you didn't kick-off with Halloween parties, Thanksgiving is often the start of a four to five (4 - 5) week period (or 10+ weeks with Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras!) where many folks tend to indulge in foods and drink they do not normally consume at other times, or in the same same quantities.

With advance planning, strategic choices, and yes, some discipline, I think it's possible to balance holiday fun, enjoying a few splurges, and staying on track with healthy eating goals. As part of its 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series, ChooseMyPlate.gov (operated by the USDA) has a great resource, "Make Healthier Holiday Choices: 10 Tips for a Healthier Holiday" (PDF file).

You'll need free Adobe® Acrobat Reader® DC software to display and download PDF files. Download it directly from the Adobe® web site here.

None of the contributors at My Friends Are Good Cooks are dietitians (or nutritionists). To find a registered dietitian in your area, you may start the search here (click).

After being diagnosed with an acute gout attack (NIH defines gout here) for the first time during last year's holiday season, however, I continue to learn about and adopt healthy lifestyle habits as a key part of an effective gout treatment plan (click for the Arthritis Foundation summary).
Unlike most types of arthritis, which are chronic, gout is typically episodic, characterized by painful flares lasting days or weeks followed by long periods without symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Are you having an acute gout attack? Click here for the Arthritis Foundation recommendations. Other resources are listed at the bottom of this page.

Part One: Parade Breakfast


Why? High in antioxidants and fiber. Could also help ward off gout. Simplifies--one menu for early birds and late-sleepers. Easy prep and clean up. Self serve.

Low-fat or Greek yogurt
Why? Low-fat dairy may lower gout risk. Family favorite. Easy prep and clean up. Self serve. 

 [Untried recipe.] 
Why? Fruit, especially citrus, may lower gout risk. Can prepare ahead.

Freshly-squeezed citrus juice(s)
Why? Staying well-hydrated, especially with water and unsweetened, natural fruit juices, is essential to managing gout (and chronic pain). Resist temptation to add champagne because, like beer, it is known for causing gout attacks. Whether for gout or chronic pain management, eliminate coffee and all other caffeine sources from the diet.

Brisk walk
Why? (Seriously?) A healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Royalty free

Part Two: Movie Marathon


Fresh Fruit Salad
Why? Fresh fruits are low-purine foods. This recipe uses 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Make ahead and refrigerate. May serve in disposable bowls or cups for easier clean up.

Cranberry, Pecan & White Cheddar Cheese Ball with Crackers via Sissy's Recipes

Eggplant Caviar via Simply Recipes or
David Lebovitz
 [Untried recipes.]
Crudités and Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips
Why? Tradition, but serve vegetable as appetizer instead of side. Eggplants are low-purine. Make ahead and refrigerate.

Honey Buffalo Meatballs (Crock-pot) via The Recipe Critic
[Latter is untried recipe.]
Why? Tradition, but use lean beef. If you plan to eat, do not substitute turkey because it is high-purine. Pass on this dish in favor of dinner entree; otherwise, limit proteins from lean meat to 3-ozs. as lunch--as per Mayo Clinic and UPMC.

Why? Favorite tradition, but control portion of high-purine shrimp as an occasional splurge. Substitute Low fat dairy. With crudités, choose carrots which are among the foods with lowest purines.

"Spa water"
Why? Drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily to flush uric acid from the system and prevent urate crystal deposition. Avoid beverages with caffeine or high fructose corn syrup.

Part Three: Dinner


Chef Troy Thompson's Waldorf Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
 [Untried recipe.]
Why? Lightens a traditional side. Fresh fruit, lettuce, and nuts are low-purine. Apples and grapes contain malic acid, which may counter gout-promoting uric acid.

Why? Chicken has less purines than red meat, pork, and turkey, and you can still have stuffing (or dressing). Avoid organ meat by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Limit daily proteins from lean meat, fish and poultry to 4-6-ozs. as per Mayo Clinic.

Liz's Cornbread Dressing (Crock-pot)
Why? Tradition, but use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Pass on gravy.

 [Untried recipe.]
Why? Favorite food. Potatoes are low-purine and rich in uric-acid-reducing vitamin C.

or Cranberry Salad
Why? Tradition, but ... . Gelatin is among the foods with lowest purines.

Three Cheese Macaroni
Why? Favorite tradition, but use whole-grain pasta, 2% low-fat milk, and reduced-fat cheeses. Complex carbs, such as whole-grain pasta, may lower risk of gout. Low-fat dairy helps uric acid to be removed by the kidneys, thus lowering gout risk

Why? Tradition. Family favorite. Easy prep.

"Spa water"
Why? Drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water daily to flush uric acid from the system and prevent urate crystal deposition. Avoid beverages with caffeine or high fructose corn syrup.

Red wine, in moderation
Why? Drinking alcohol increases purine production, leading to higher uric acid levels, and promotes dehydration, either of which can increase gout attack risk. Tip: Drink a glass of water after each serving of wine.

Part Four: Dessert


Best Apple Pie
Why? Favorite tradition, but control portion. This is a splurge.

 Cranberry Apple Salad via Sissy's Recipes
Why? Tradition, but serve as dessert, not side (dinner menu includes Waldorf Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette). Gelatin is among the foods with lowest purines.

Mel's Cherry Cobbler (Crock-pot) with Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
 [Untried recipe.]
Why? Cherries are a favorite. There is some evidence eating cherries is associated with reduced gout attack risk. Serve warm without competing for oven space.

[Still considering untried recipe.]
Why? Tradition (or try something new). Pumpkins are low in calories, but are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Should you dare change sacred pumpkin pie traditions, lighten by using Evaporated Lowfat 2% or Fat Free Milk, or Libby's Whole-Grain Pie Crust recipe (we haven't tried).

 [Untried recipe.]
Why? Chai-flavor is a favorite. Low saturated fat. Low sodium. 184-calories per slice is less than traditional Pumpkin Pie. Make day ahead and wrap. Easy to take away in "To-Go" boxes.

Herbal Tea

Disclaimer:  As always, consult your physician before beginning any fitness or nutrition program. The information provided on this site is not meant to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any illness or disease. The information provided is for general and educational purposes only and includes the opinions and views of the author and should not be substituted for medical advice given by your physician.


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - find a registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Arthritis Foundation recommendations for Acute Gout Attack

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "Gout basics"


DrWeil.com "Gout Condition Care Guide"

Entertaining: How Much to Serve at a Cocktail Party via The Kitchn

Gout & Uric Acid Education Society "Treating Gout"

Gout Diet: What's allowed, what's not via Mayo Clinic

Gout Foot Pain: Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid via Family Foot & Ankle Clinic

Gout+ Personal Reminders

Healthy Eating and Menu Planning

Healthy Eating and Menu Planning: Gout diet changes

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center ("UPMC") "Low-Purine Diet"


Page last modified 20 December 2015

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