15 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Healthier
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Good food, family, football, and lots of fun, I have come to relish this holiday throughout my life. I, however, like many of you have too often been guilty of overindulging in the bounties of the season.
Here are suggestions that I use personally to make the holidays healthier and more enjoyable. This allows me to have more energy, never get sick and spend a higher level of quality time with friends, family, & loved ones.
Much of this advice is nutrition and health related…but most importantly, I want you to be an individual that is happy and brings loving energy into the environment you are in. Nutrition and lifestyle play an important role in that…but your mindset is the most important factor! Be sure to get that right before you do any of the other suggestions!
Be Present Moment With Your Loved Ones
My wife and I attend 4 Thanksgiving feasts every year because she has a large extended family that live close by. I only eat a few of the items that they have but I make a point of boasting about how much I enjoy whatever I do choose to eat and try to be as present moment and loving with the family members as possible.
I don’t want the conversation to be about nutrition or how their food isn’t “good enough” for me. Instead, I make the conversation about how great everything looks, how enjoyable what I am eating is and how much I love having them in my life. Thanksgiving should be MORE ABOUT GRATITUDE and less about food anyways!!! Be grateful above all else!!!
Do an Intermittent Fast
One of the best things you can do on Thanksgiving morning is to fast from any solid foods. This will help give your digestive system a break and stimulate anti-inflammatory and fat burning hormones like human growth hormone.
Be sure to drink a lot of water in the morning and you can also do some healthy fats and coffee or tea if you like. Try out our turmeric fat burning coffee, coconut milk coffee or keto matcha green tea. See if you can go 16 or even 18 hours on just liquids from dinner on Wednesday until your Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. If you do this, as long as you stay hydrated, you should feel more energized and it will set you up for a fantastic day!
Eat Your Salad or Veggies First
Load up on your vegetables first, this way you get lots of nutrients, antioxidants and alkaline minerals into your system first. When you fill up on nutrient dense foods, you have less of an appetite for everything else.
I love green beans, which are a common Thanksgiving dish and will often bring my own grass-fed butter or ghee to put on them which makes them even more delicious!!!
Food Combine Properly:
Our digestive enzymes metabolize foods differently. Because of this, try to eat Thanksgiving meals in portions. Give yourself 2-4 hours between portions. Healthy combinations include:
a. Non-starchy vegetables, fats, and proteins (meat, oils, & veggies)
b. Non-starchy vegetables and starchy vegetables
c. Non-starchy vegetables and grains
d. Most fruits should be eaten alone or with small amounts of fat.
Use Digestive Enzymes:
Before any big meal, it is always a good idea to add digestive enzymes to help your body metabolize the food correctly. This is especially true when food combinations are less than optimal. The enzymes help ease the digestive burden, reduce toxic byproducts and acidic wastes from accumulating and improve energy & immune function for hours after the meal.
I love the Super D-Zyme product here and I always take 2 caps with each solid food meal I consume. Taking enzymes does not reduce your bodies ability to produce enzymes. It actually helps your body to produce all of its own digestive juices. This is because it takes stress off of the digestive tract and stress is the antagonist to healthy digestive juice production.
Using enzymes can be a life saver and make your period after meals so much more enjoyable and productive…rather than dealing with the belly bloat that so many go through.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar:
ACV contains a natural array of beneficial acids and enzymes that help enhance digestion and nutrient extraction. The acids are incredible at enhancing meat and protein digestion and radically improve symptoms of reflux.
Grains and legumes are also aided by the digestive acids found in this natural elixir. Apple cider vinegar is also loaded with powerful alkaline buffering minerals and improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. Use it as part of your salad dressing, marinates, etc.
The common protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, & kamut is highly allergenic, challenging to digest and harmful for up to 81% of the population by some reports. Many autoimmune conditions are initiated and/or promoted through gluten containing foods.
Many researchers and health care practitioners believe that everyone on the planet is better off removing gluten from their diets. When individuals remove gluten they notice significant improvements in brain function, energy levels, breathing, immunity, pain levels and skin health.
Reduce the Starch:
Traditional Thanksgiving meals are full of starch with mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. We often think that we have to eat these foods or it “won’t be the same.” I used to feel this way as well until I realized that the afternoon food coma I was giving myself and the inflammatory load I was putting myself through wasn’t worth it.
I try to stick to veggies and healthy fats and some protein if possible. We often will make our own Cauliflower Keto Mashed Potatoes and bring them with us. These are fantastic and very satiating so you won’t be as tempted to go for the starches and sweets. You can even put some turmeric or rosemary in these potatoes for more anti-inflammatory punch!!
Burst or Surge Train:
Be sure to make time Thanksgiving morning to get a great workout in. I recommend you either continue with your regular workout or a surge style of workout where you do high-intensity intervals.
You will feel so much better later and be in peak fat-burning mode when you indulge in the feast of the day. Be sure to do surge training again Friday morning as well to energize yourself and help blow through all the weight you gained from that glorious meal(s).
You can try an upper body workout on Thursday with exercises like pushups, pull-ups (or use a pull-down machine), bent-over rows, chair-dips, overhead presses and bent-over reverse fly’s. On Friday, do squats, lunges and abdominal crunches to work your legs and abs.
If family is in town, take everyone out for a run-walk or play football in the backyard or the park. Just get out and get some great activity in!
Give your gut a helping hand by stabilizing the little warriors who work so hard on your behalf. Optimal probiotic supplementation helps ward off bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections. It also enhances digestion, nutrient absorption and toxic elimination.
I take a probiotic every night before bed. This is especially important after a large meal. It is always best to take probiotic supplements away from food as stomach acid is the nemesis of bacteria…so you want to find a time away from meals to take your probiotic.
On my website you can find a variety of probiotics that I have found to be excellent through years of research. Any one of those will work great and it always a good idea to rotate your probiotic every 3-6 months so you get a diverse array of probiotic species.
Use Healthy Fats:
Cook in extra virgin coconut oil, the only oil that cannot be denatured under heat. Use extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, marinates, etc. Avocados, brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, flax seed make for great fats in different recipes as well.
Be sure to stay away from processed vegetable oils which are typically found in processed foods and most condiments. Look for condiments that only use olive oil or avocado oil. Get some grass-fed butter and use that generously as it is full of healthy nutrients, tastes great on virtually anything and will help you feel very satiated.
Put Herbs on Your Foods
There are so many great carminative herbs that enhance the flavor of food and support healthy digestive function. I am always sure to apply a lot of these on my foods. I especially enjoy cinnamon with anything sweet and basil, rosemary, oregano and thyme with more savory dishes. These smell good, are great for the body and improve the flavor…so it is a win win win!
Also, doing some ginger tea or a ginger marinade can be great. Ginger is one of the best herbs for stimulating healthy digestive juice production so look for ways you can use ginger this Thanksgiving!
Look For Organic Meat if Possible
It is always wise to look for sustainably raised, organic meat sources. The Omega 6:3 balance of grain-fed meat is between 20:1-40:1 (ideal is 2:1). This quickly creates an environment within your body that promotes rampant amounts of inflammation.
Many people are consistently eating hormone induced, GMO grain fed animals and the toxic burden these animals have on our health can be disastrous. If you have no other choice at Thanksgiving, just grab a little bit and be thankful and grateful that your body can eliminate these toxins and you can choose pasture-raised meats going forward.
Grass-fed meat has the ideal fatty acid ratio, the animals are happy and healthy throughout their life, and there is no hormones, antibiotics, and other junk pushed into their system. If you have had trouble finding the right places to get this, check out US Wellness Meats and Slankers which have pasture-raised turkey’s and everything else you can imagine.
The greatest thing you can do in your life is to be consistently grateful for every situation, event, and circumstance that comes about. Live with the realization that God created you, loves you unconditionally, and continually blesses everything in your life so that you can grow and be more like Him. My life changed when I stopped putting labels on things (good/bad) and began seeing everything as an opportunity to grow and have new experiences.
That perspective alone gives me incredible peace and fulfillment that my life has extraordinary meaning. The same is yours…so be grateful and express it in your words and interactions with others!
Lend A Helping Hand:
There is nothing like service to others to give your life meaning and fulfillment. This is one of nature’s greatest anti-depressants, serving those around you. While everyone gets caught up in the hoopla and commercialism of the season, the greatest gift you can give yourself is the non-tangible. The ability to serve another, to uplift someone in need, to help someone reach a goal, to make the world a better place.
My spirit constantly yearns to selflessly serve others and uplift their lives with my time, talents, skills, and persona. This gives me incredible joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment. As I am writing this, I am tearing up about the opportunities I have had in my short life so far to impact the lives of others. I pray that writing this helps someone find greater meaning & fulfillment in their lives.
“You never know how far reaching something you think, say, or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.” Dr. BJ Palmer