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Paleo during Thanksgiving (Surviving the Holidays with Your Health Intact-Part 3)

holiday pumpkin and leaves

Happy Paleo Thanksgiving!

We’ve officially made it through the first of the “big three” and hopefully everyone survived Halloween with their sanity and insulin sensitivity intact!  It’s time to take down the ghosts, witches, spider webs and jack-o-lanterns and replace them with the refined splendor of fall leaves, winter gourds and turkey, turkey, turkey!  But is it possible to stay Paleo during Thanksgiving?

As we start getting the menu ready for the big day, or thinking about our packing list for the big trip to see the family, it’s important to remember that Thanksgiving does not have to be a food coma.  Hint, it’s NOT the tryptophan making you fall asleep on the couch during the big game!  All those potatoes, dinner rolls, stuffing, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, ice cream/whipped cream, and wine/beer/cocktails add up to a LOT of sugar that causes huge surge of insulin as your body desperately tries to get all that sugar out of circulation. On top of that, sugar and alcohol both convert serotonin to melatonin (your body puts you to sleep before you can kill yourself with all those toxins) causing you to sleep it off.  Rest and digest is important, but snoring on the couch while your body works frantically to stuff all that food into fat cells is no way to nourish your body!

I know what you’re thinking.  How do you tell grandma that you can’t eat the pie she baked with all that love?  Or tell your mom where she should stuff her famous stuffing?  How do you tell your kids and spouse there will be no pie this year?  We aren’t talking about sitting around eating tofurkey (see HERE for my thoughts on soy products) and steamed broccoli.  We’re talking about including rich, delicious nourishing foods to create a divine feast for your family.  If you’re preparing the meal, there are a TON of great recipes out there so nobody even needs to know the tasty food they are eating is also nourishing.   (I’ve got links to all the recipes I’ll be using at our feast below).

But I’m going to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving, am I screwed? 

Of course not!   If you’re headed out for Thanksgiving there’s a way to handle it with grace and tact.  First off, offer to bring a side dish so your gracious hosts don’t have to work so hard.  Putting together a Thanksgiving dinner usually involves a lot of physical set-up to accommodate all those people, so it’s very likely that your host will appreciate one less thing to worry about having to stick in the oven.  If you can work that in, you know you’ll have at least one healthy dish you can take pleasure in with all that great company you’ll be enjoying.  If your offer to bring food is declined, use the same common sense you would use if you were trying to eat nourishing foods at a restaurant.  Avoid the obvious no-nos like bread, too much alcohol, fried and breaded foods, gluten, and industrial oils.  See HERE for some basic concepts to stick to.

But my mom/grandma’s [fill in the blank] is the best I’ve ever had, I get it once a year and it brings me right back to my childhood.  I have to give that up too?!?!

Again, of course not!  If you have a special cherished food, by all means, enjoy the heck out of it!  But have ONE piece, eat it slowly and really savor every bite.  Then push your chair back, act like you’re so stuffed with lovingly prepared food you’ll never be able to walk again, and declare you are DONE and the meal was a complete success.  A good hostess does not want to stuff her guests so full they’re in pain, she wants them completely satisfied and totally comfortable.  When you signal you’ve arrived, you won’t have to worry about them eyeing your plate to see if you’ve eaten all the stuffing or not.

If you’re in need of suggestions, here is what’s on the menu at the Nourished and Grounded household:

What will you be serving for Thanksgiving?  What are your tips and tricks to surviving the big day?  Let us know!

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