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Keep Your Christmas Table Healthy

Authors, Trim Healthy Table Cookbook, (Harmony Books, 2017)

Sisters

Founders of the Trim Healthy Mama Movement (THM)

Pearl: Married to Charlie
Children: Meadow, Bowen, Rock, Noble, and Autumn

Serene: Married to Samuel
Children: Arden, Cherish, Chalice, Cedar, Engedi, Vision, Shepherd, Breeze, Haven, & Remnant (they also have three older children Selah married to Sam; Jaban married to Christiana; and Isaiah plus eight grandchildren)

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TRIM HEALTHY MAMAS (THM)
Pearl and Serene are sisters and stay-at-home moms -- both with large families. They were born in New Zealand and raised in Australia.  Growing up, their mom instilled a passion in them for healthy eating and introduced them to whole foods. As preacher’s kids, they were taken to prayer meetings and revivals on a regular basis. When they became young adults, they moved to the U.S. and became successful recording artists with a Christian music label traveling extensively.  Eventually, they gave up their touring careers to embrace a life at home with children, dinners, dishes, and diapers. Through the years, they tried every diet out there – vegetarian, vegan, raw food, low fat, high fat, low carb, high carb -- when they decided to take matters into their own hands. They wanted a plan that was effective, sustainable and fun, and focused not on cutting out food groups, but on celebrating food. Together they created the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) movement.

The lifestyle they promote is about finding healthy eating habits that can fit into busy schedules. The Mamas’ motto is “keep it simple, keep it sane,” and they believe in food freedom. Purists (like Serene) rarely veer from using only pure foods. Drive Thru Sue’s (like Pearl) use some slightly imperfect store-bought items now and then to make life easier.  They say, “Becoming a slave to the kitchen in order to achieve a healthy waistline and nourish a family is not possible for most of us. Trim Healthy Mama is applying nutritional common sense in a doable manner.”

They never had any idea of how far reaching their message would go and as it continues to expand, it is so satisfying for them to watch lives change and how those lives changed impact others. It is like a domino effect.... people tell others because of how great they are feeling. Their blood sugars go down, they fit back into their clothes from years back, their inflammation goes down, they find their energy again for themselves and for their families and they just can't keep this to themselves! But this goes beyond just physical. So many women had quietly breathed desperate prayers to God to show them a way to eat and be healthy. They are so filled with joy and gratitude to Him to find a doable way to eat without miserably counting calories that leaves them trim and healthy at the same time. Better health makes them feel like they are able to give more of themselves to their families and to be better able to serve God in the way He leads them and have a greater impact for His kingdom! “How could we not love this???? The best feeling in the world is to hear back with testimonies like this everyday. We are so grateful for God's blessing on this plan. For without Him and His word, none of this would have happened,” they say.

TRIM HEALTHY TABLE COOKBOOK
In 2013, the sisters launched their first self-published cookbook, Trim Healthy Mama, which became a New York Times bestseller. They used no advertising or marketing. The book’s success came only by word of mouth and a strong Facebook presence. Publishers began contacting Pearl and Serene in 2015 to take their cookbook globally. Trim Healthy Table has a simple start guide so it is great for those just wanting an easy way to start the plan. “This is all new and helps anyone who feels frustrated or overwhelmed with too much information,” they say. There are many easy recipes that are fast and family-friendly to get started. The book focuses on recipes that don't require any special ingredients. If a recipe calls for special ingredients they list substitutes which can be found at any grocery store because they want this plan doable for anyone, regardless of budget or time. Staples such as casseroles, soups, crockpot meals and skillet meals that make this Trim Healthy Lifestyle far easier for busy families make up the bulk of the book. The cookbook focuses the too-busy family who needs yummy, filling, “get er done meals” in a hurry. There are also sweets included in the book because the sisters say, “Who doesn't love chocolate cake for breakfast sometimes!”

With their plan, there is no counting of calories. Pearl and Serene teach you how to juggle food fuels in what they call “free styling.” The S (Satisfying), E (Energizing), and FP (Fuel Pull) recipes in this cookbook will begin to make sense as you practice this free styling by eating both fats and carbs (always anchored by protein), but not always in the same meals.

CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS TOGETHER
Pearl and Serene have a large family gathering for their Christmas meal. In fact, it looks huge with about 80 family members all getting together. “We are two sisters of a large family who have all gone on to have large families so when we all get together at Christmas, there are children everywhere, food everywhere, babies everywhere. It is loud and crazy and absolutely wonderful,” shares Pearl and Serene.

The sisters grew up in New Zealand.  The traditional Christmas is roast lamb since New Zealand is a land of 60 million sheep but only a few million people. Pearl and Serene say, “Along with roast turkey (all the various families bring different types of meats), we always have lamb to give a nod to our down-under heritage. Our kids would not think it was Christmas if we didn't have roast lamb since they have all grown up with us doing this!” Their Christmas is a hybrid of both American and New Zealand traditions. They have plum pudding (a staple in New Zealand), but also always have healthy pumpkin pie as part of their American tastes. Before the meal, their father (who is a pastor) reads the Christmas story from the scriptures, and they all sing carols then give thanks for the food. After the meal, they all share what God has done in their lives during the year. “It is a fabulous time of thanks to God and excitement for the future,” share Pearl and Serene.

CHRISTMAS SHOW DEMO
During the holidays these sisters say, “Celebrate the season with good foods that are yummy and good for your immune system.”  You can still give your family and friends the flavors they crave while keeping your family healthy and trim with dishes and desserts such as the these:

  1. Teriyaki beef and broccoli (p. 82) S, E, or FP – do something different and easy this holiday season by preparing this dish the whole family will love.
  2. Creamy Verde Chicken (Turkey) Chili (Sub the chicken with turkey) (p.78) S - here’s what you can do with your turkey leftovers. This recipe uses a salsa verde, a green salsa that can be found in almost any grocery store and is an excellent sauce to enjoy on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, as it has only one net carb per serving.
  3. Peppermint Cream Chocolate Trimtastic Cake (p. 390) S -  a holiday dessert that can be taken to parties, etc. You can use zucchini or canned pumpkin. Zucchini is the lower carb option.
  4. Hangry Pockets (p. 320) S, E, or FP  - these oven steamed pockets are easy to make. They are one dish meals with protein, veggies, and a grain.

If you are going to a holiday party where you know you’ll probably be eating foods that are not as healthy, be sure to keep yourself “full” of protein so you will eat less of the unhealthy food choices available. 

Guest Name / Person Interviewed or Featured in Article or Video: 
Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett
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