Health: Thanksgiving: Back to Basics

With Essene’s great organic options, you don’t have to sacrifice the flavor of your favorite holiday foods

Sure, we’re all going to eat dessert. It’s Thanksgiving! But that doesn’t mean you have to send your pancreas into sugar-overload, racing to pump out enough insulin to deal with the cupful of sugar you just consumed between tasting this pie and that cookie and oh, yes, that one little taste of cheesecake. OK, two little tastes. OK, fine — four.


Sure, we’re all going to eat dessert. It’s Thanksgiving! But that doesn’t mean you have to send your pancreas into sugar-overload, racing to pump out enough insulin to deal with the cupful of sugar you just consumed between tasting this pie and that cookie and oh, yes, that one little taste of cheesecake. OK, two little tastes. OK, fine — four.

Although you won’t be saving scores of calories (Read: organic or no, Friday should be a gym day, people!), you can lessen the stress you put on your pancreas by opting for desserts that use organic sweeteners in place of the white devil (a.k.a. processed sugar).

“It’s just a matter of seeking out alternatives,” says Tim McFarlane, a manager at Essene Market & Cafe. The bakery carries freshly made organic and vegan apple, pumpkin and pecan pies. Sweetened with unrefined brown rice or maple syrup, these guiltless goodies are processed by the body more slowly because they still contain unaltered fibers the body must break down. White, processed sugar, on the other hand, is stripped of these fibers and hits your bloodstream like a shot of heroine, causing you to crash like a sugar-addicted junkie before coffee’s even served.

If pie is not your coveted confection, Essene also carries a variety of other organic and alternative-sugar tarts and cakes. For those with non-meat-eating friends or family, the market’s menu includes vegan-approved traditional side dishes, such as green bean casserole, stuffing, candied yams, and, of course, Tofurky.

“I think having a place like this to come to is rare,” says kitchen manager Eric Anderson. “A lot of the people that take advantage of Essene’s Thanksgiving food seem to really appreciate it — and thank us when New Year’s resolutions come around!”

Organic and vegan apple, pumpkin and pecan pies, $22-$24. Essene is accepting pie orders until Monday, the 19th, at noon. They will be open on Thanksgiving day. Essene Market & Café, 719 South Fourth Street, 215-922-1146.

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