Mediterranean ‘Delight’ for Thanksgiving

Now that I’ve been doing the Mediterranean Diet I’ve been recently thinking about what I am going to cook for Thanksgiving. I have skimmed pictures of what I made last year as well as viewed charts I received from my dietician of “heart healthy” meals. I have been studying, so I want to share a few ideas with you. I will copy some images, but right now I’d like to give you a brief description of some things you and your family can consume while enjoying Thanksgiving and maintaining your health. Let’s not overeat this holiday season and include some important food groups!

Of course we can’t leave out Turkey! A serving size is considered 3-4 oz. or something the size of a “deck of cards” with the Mediterranean Delight, so one piece of turkey (or turkey pieces) that equal that amount would be fine! Keep in mind you are allowed 2-3 servings of protein per day on this diet, so there would be no issue with going back for another “deck of cards” sized 3-4 oz. turkey piece later! You can’t leave out leftovers!

A vegetable I love to make and that I made last Thanksgiving was asparagus. I love to boil them and saute with salt and pepper. Just a table spoon of olive oil or butter added would account for 1 serving of a “fat/oil” for the day. So it would be totally find to add butter or oil. Since asparagus is considered a “leafy vegetable,” you can go crazy and even have a whole cup! Lol Some non-leafy vegetables only permit a 1/2 cup while on the Mediterranean Delight (diet). You can get in 2-4 servings of vegetables per day.

How about brown rice as an addition. On this diet, you are allowed rice and bread, but everything must be brown brown brown! Whole weat, whole grain, well, you get it! A personal sized loaf of wheat bread would usually run about 100 caloires. That is the amount of calories that is permitted for a serving of grains/breads on this diet. You are only allowed 2 grains/breads per day. At least that is what my customized plan says.:-)

So There you have it. I have added turkey (3-4 oz.). I estimate that will be about 160 calories. Then I added the cup of asparagus. I googled it and a cup of boiled asparagus is a whopping 27 calories! lol A cup of cooked brown rice is 150 calories. So much better than mashed potatoes! 😉 I also added a personal sized wheat loaf. We will guesstimate that is about 100 calories. Your total Thanksgiving Mediterranean Heart Healthy Meal is going to be: 437. I almost forgot the tablespoon of olive oil added to your veggies: that is around 100 calories. There is your whole dinner. A low 500-550 calories.

Instead of my all time favorite pumpkin pie for dessert I may even substitute with a handful of cashews. Then I can also get in my “nuts/seeds” food group and avoid some of the sugar! Let me know what you think about this meal plan/idea in the comments.

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the Best-selling book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. She’s been featured in numerous articles, guest posts, podcasts, websites, newsletters, and magazines. She’s been featured on ESPN’s ‘Solutions from the Huddle’ broadcast and on Grace and Truth Radio World. Zina’s written hundreds of articles and has taught thousands of students. Additionally she’s appeared in Christianity Today, the Suite T blog, and Southern Writers magazine among other places. She writes on faith, science, and overcoming adversity. She is also a major foodie and loves to help others. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Linked In, or Twitter.

A Moment of Thanks – An Excerpt from My Book

“All you need to know is that someone cares. A small detail, but it’s enough to turn your life around. Love changes things.” ~Zina

While in the hospital at sixteen I kept a journal, and each night at midnight—under my covers, with a flashlight in one hand and a pencil and pad in the other with music playing in the background—I would write. Here is one journal entry:

Dear God,

I believe You are with me—listening and answering my prayers. I feel lucky to have You. I’ve opened my heart, and I’m trying to more. I don’t know how I got so lucky because before the accident, I didn’t know how You worked. But now I have found myself, I know who I am, what I want, and where I’m going.

I was thankful God saved me, and because of the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, hospital staff, and even families of the other children– I felt worthy. I think love has the power to do that, take a broken teenager, and make them feel whole.

In moments of despair I can revisit this place, it will make anything I’m upset about small. Can you be thankful for a time in your life when things could’ve been worse? Focus on how God’s saving grace helped you. It is an act of THANKSGIVING!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages. Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest blogs, newsletters, medical journals, and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit:

7 Tips to Keep the Holiday Cheer!

Have you thought about your goals this holiday season? Any New Year’s resolutions? Have you thought about ways to stay healthy? Or keep the holiday cheer? Holidays are fun but can be a demanding, busy time as we try to meet the needs of our family and friends. There are gifts to be bought, turkeys to be cooked, and trees to be put up!

During this hectic period, it’s easy to feel a lot of stress. In giving, the giver feels just as rewarded as the receiver, if not more. However, we sometimes forget to give to ourselves. In your time of giving, don’t neglect your own needs. This will help to reduce anxiety, and keep you calm throughout the season.

Would you like to improve your finances? Volunteer? Do you want to feed the poor? Maybe you want to make some healthy lifestyle choices such as eating better, or losing weight? Whatever your goals, I wish you success!

Let’s prepare to stay merry. Here are some tips to keep you in the holiday spirit!

  1. Be thankful – Nurture a thankful heart. It’s hard to be unhappy when your heart is brimming with thanks! By changing your attitude, you can experience joy even when circumstances don’t change.
  2. Trust – Develop the trust that life will provide you with what you need. Serenity comes from contentment with what you have.
  3. Forgive – Let go of resentment and remorse which wastes energy on yesterday. Forgive and live today.
  4. Give to yourself – Give yourself compassion and understanding. Recognize your abilities and value.
  5. Savor life – Enjoy the taste of cranberry bread, the smell of Christmas cookies, the sight of sunrise.
  6. Do something for someone in need – Write a letter to a lonely friend, make a phone call to an ill relative, or bake a pumpkin pie to welcome your new neighbors.
  7. Love – Remember the deeper truth of life – you are loved. When you feel holiday stress, remember the voice of God who beckons, “Come to me when you are weary, and I will give you rest.”

May your holiday and New Year be filled with joy, happiness, and peace.

Happy Thanksgiving!

–  This holiday letter is reposted from a newsletter I edited for health care

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