Thanksgiving Pie Combines Flavor with Health Benefits

By: Karen Dybis | November 20, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Hip Hop Bake Shop.

When it comes to holiday traditions, having a slice of pie after a hearty Thanksgiving meal may be among the best. Pie, whether it is sweet or savory, brings that finishing note to an overall day of football, family, conversation and a huge spread of good things to eat. Plus, some kinds of holiday pie actually have health benefits.

That is what Jaya Jaya Myra says, and this mind-body wellness expert said that certain kinds of Thanksgiving pies, when enjoyed in moderation, can help you feel good, provide a boost to your immune system and may keep your family from fighting so much over who gets to split the turkey wishbone. 

Myra is an author, former immunologist and a TEDx speaker who focuses on nutritional psychology on her podcast, Practical Wellness, and in a new book she has coming out in January. She used food and her understanding of how a body absorbs nutrients to heal herself, and now she is working diligently to share the message that food is the ideal way to take care of yourself during the holidays and what has been a stressful time overall. 

“What you eat is your first line of defense,” Myra said. “There’s so much science to back this up now. People should be thinking about food in terms of their psychological wellbeing and regulate your energy. Food does everything good or bad.” 

It may be common sense, but you are what you eat, Myra said. The ingredients commonly used to make Thanksgiving pie – sweet potatoes, pecans and pumpkin – have an array of mind-body benefits for all ages, she said. 

“Everything from weight loss or gain, stress relief, improved cognitive function, increased willpower and more joy can all be facilitated by what you eat,” Myra said. 

For example, Myra said pumpkin is an amazingly nutritious food that due to its nutrient density and low-calorie count. It’s also loaded with lots of vitamins to help boost immunity, and the vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin can improve eyesight. Eyesight, emotionally speaking is connected to clarity and focus, so consuming pumpkin can also help you regain focus on important matters and boost emotional health.

Pecans, meanwhile, are a great source of calcium, potassium and magnesium, all of which can help lower blood pressure. They may also help prevent stroke and coronary artery disease due to their ability to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels. They are also high in fiber, which promotes better elimination, regulates blood sugar, and is food for the gut microbiome, which as we know, is directly connected to mental health and wellbeing. 

Sweet potato in ayurveda is considered a rasayana, or rejuvenative food. It helps bolster energy and rejuvenate on a mind body and spirit level, filling in gaps wherever you have them. They are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber and have been linked with gut health and better mood (thank you microbiome food and the gut brain connection), stronger immune response, improved brain health and function, and so much more, including anti-cancer properties.

That is why What you’re eating at thanksgiving can make your holiday peaceful and go off without a hitch or you can end up with a lot of family fights. Check out these Metro Detroit bakeries and restaurants that specialize in pie to pick up a few for the holidays. 

Kitty’s Cheesecakes & More

Ferndale residents and visitors have grown to love LaDawn Morris-Daniels, whose bakery on East Eight Mile brings desserts to the “purrfect” level. Sorry – LaDawn’s family nickname of Kitty is the reason for the shop and its name. Her pies and cheesecakes come in dozens of flavors, but some favorites include Pineapple Upside Down, Raspberry Swirl, Red Velvet and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Hip Hop Bake Shop

Adela Bejo founded Hip Hop Bake Shop in 2017 to celebrate food and family. Since then, her baked goods have created more friends and, in turn, people who feel like family. Her bake shop offers a special Thanksgiving menu, which features Pumpkin Pie, Southern Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato Pie and Caramel Apple Cheesecake. 

Sweet Potato Sensations

Remember how good sweet potatoes are for you? Then you can eat everything or nearly everything at this bakery and get a healthy boost because they are experts on the sweet potato. There are lots of pies to select from this Thanksgiving, including a Sweet Potato Pecan Pie, Lemon Chess Pie and Sweet Potato Coconut Pie. 

Good Cakes and Bakes

There’s a reason why so many dignitaries and celebrities stop in to see Good Cakes and Bakes – April Anderson is a baker, a community activist and the real deal. Check out the array of baked goods here and see what kind of pies she is offering that will grace your Thanksgiving Day table. The Bourbon Pecan pie sounds like a winner this year. 

Love’s Custard Pie

Eastern Market fans know that Love’s is the word. This pie-focused baker has a great selection to choose from, including favorites such as Chess, Key Lime, Apple, Sweet Potato, Cherry and Peach. The Chess pie would be a great place to start.