Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Cream - Gluten Free, Paelo, Vegan November 22 2015 by Simone Denny

Hello there,

If I could adopt one North American holiday to celebrate every year it would have to be Thanksgiving. I just love the idea of taking one day to stop and show gratitude for the food we eat and the friends and family we have. Thanksgiving is a traditionally US and Canadian holiday that celebrates giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and for the preceding year. 

This Thursday the 26th of November marks this year's Thanksgiving celebration. Although in Southern Hemisphere it is difficult for us to celebrate the harvest at this time of year, we can definitely find things to give thanks for. Science is proving gratitude and small acts of gratefulness can actually improve our mental health, give us more energy and make us happier people (see more below).

My Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Cream (that's a mouthful of a title!)

During my time living in Canada and America I fondly remember being a guest (or an orphan family member) at many a Thanksgiving table. It was such an honour to be part of those family holidays, where people travel from all over to be with their loved ones to sit around a table to share food and give thanks. I remember feasting on Turkey (or Tofu Turkey called Tofurky....I'm not kidding I tried it) with stuffing and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet carrots and of course the unforgettable desserts of pecan pie and pumpkin pie (which I am recreating for you). 

This pumpkin pie has a delicious sweet spiced pumpkin flavour, and the filling has a custard consistency that turns a golden brown colour in the oven. The pastry I made is an excellent gluten free, paleo option and literally takes 5 minutes to make.

Thanksgiving and Gratitude 
What strikes me about this holiday is the meaning behind 'Thanksgiving'. It is a focus on giving gratitude and thanks for what one HAS rather than what one WANTS. Sadly much of what the Christmas holiday celebrations have become is such a commercial exercise focusing on what people want rather than rejoicing in what they have. Ironically many of the traditional holidays that are meant to be occasions to rejoice induce feelings of anxiety, sadness, depression and unease. So what can we do to help this...PRACTICE GRATITUDE. The science behind positive psychology is proving that our overall wellbeing and happiness can be enhanced through gratitude. 

By giving thanks, whether it is in our mind through affirmations, in a phone call, a letter to someone or in a gratitude diary, we are acknowledging what is positive in our lives and that we are connected to others and a greater good. Gratitude, like mediation, brings us back to the present moment and helps to stop grasping (as buddhists call it) for external sources of fulfilment. 

According to Psychology Today 's
tudies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy'. A study conducted by Dr Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania had 411 students personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who they hadn't thanked property for their kindness. The results showed an increase in happiness scores with benefits that lasted over a month.


In case you missed out last blog - here are 7 healthy gift ideas under $35



Have a lovely rest of your weekend!


Simone X


Harvard Health Plications

Harvey B. Simon, M.D.
Editor, Harvard Men’s Health Watch

Positive Psychology