Thanksgiving is a time for the whole family to get together, express gratitude and simply enjoy each others’ company, which can be rare in this busy age.
It’s also a time to enjoy delicious food, of course, but there’s just one little problem: a lot of the items served at Thanksgiving meals can put you straight into a “food coma” and lead to feelings of heaviness, bloating, gas, fatigue, and general discomfort. That’s not how you want to spend your day off with loved ones, is it?
The good news is, this post will help you make it through Thanksgiving healthy, happy, and still flexible enough to have a wonderful time. I have three major tips for you:
Tip #1: Make Beauty Detox Friendly Dishes and
Have Them Available
Below are some great recipes to make at the your Thanksgiving meal.
But even if most of the cooking is up to your mom, your aunt, or your grandma and you’re not hosting the gathering on your own turf, that’s not to say you can’t contribute a few dishes of your own. Don’t worry, they won’t stand out as “weird health food” or anything when you add them to the spread.
This is one reason why I’ve also created some delicious brand new recipes for you, too, just in time for Thanksgiving! Here they are:
Gratitude Tahini Broccoli & Mushroom
- 3 Tbs. tahini (raw if you can find it!)
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp coconut nectar
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ tsp sea salt, or more to taste
- 2 Tbs. tamari
- ¼ chopped purple onion
- ¾ cups of cubed mushrooms
- 5 cups of broccoli florets
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix the ingredients of the sauce together and place in a bowl. Set to the side.
- Meanwhile, in a pot, add the tamari and reduce until the tamari becomes a little thicker, using medium-high heat and watching it carefully. Add the purple onion and sauté for a few moments by adding a little water. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more moments. Lastly, add the broccoli florets, and cook for a few minutes, but keep somewhat crisp.
- Turn off the heat, add the sauce and mix thoroughly. Place in a serving bowl and enjoy.
Thanksgiving Lentil Stuffing topped on Braised Cabbage
- 1 Tbs coconut oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup purple onion, chopped
- 1 cup of celery, chopped
- 1 cup of leek root, chopped
- 1½ cups of carrots, diced
- 1½ cups of brown mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 Tbs. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 Tbs. fresh sage, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 cup of red lentils, soaked overnight and rinsed
- 4 cups of low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth
- Sea salt, to taste
- White pepper, to taste
- Braised cabbage:
- 1 head of purple cabbage, cored and leaves carefully separated
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 2 cloves of diced garlic
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 shredded purple cabbage
- 1½ cups of low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth
- 3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- Heat the coconut oil to a pot and add the garlic, cooking for a few moments. Add the purple onion next, and cook for a few more moments, then add the rest of the veggies and continue cooking. Throw in the herbs. Add a bit more water as needed, to keep everything cooking. Add the cup of lentils and four cups of vegetable broth, and cook on a slightly lower heat until the lentils are soft (40-45 minutes). Add salt and white pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, while the lentils are cooking, in another pot start to work on the braised cabbage. Add the coconut oil and cook the garlic. Add the yellow onion, and keep cooking. Add a little water or coconut oil if you need. Add the rosemary. Add the cabbage leaves, then add the vegetable broth and apple cider vinegar and cook until the purple cabbage has softened.
- Place the braised cabbage on a plate (at least 2-3 leaves) and add a generous serving of the lentil and veggie mixture on top. Enjoy!
Gluten-free & Vegan Iced Pumpkin Muffins
- ⅓ cup organic sorghum flour*
- 1¼ cup organic brown rice flour*
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 2 Tbs. organic arrowroot powder
- 2 Tbs. organic tapioca powder
- 1½ Tbs. baking powder
- 1 Tbs. stevia (the NuNaturals brand is non-bitter)
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup coconut nectar
- 1 cup organic pumpkin puree (you can find in a carton vs a can in health stores now)
- 1 Tbs. Ener-G brand egg replacer,* mixed with ¼ cup of hot water
- Coconut oil, for greasing muffin tray
- * Look for these items in the baking section of health stores. If you can’t find the sorghum flour, just replace with more brown rice flour, which you should be able to find.
- 3 Tbs. of coconut nectar
- 3 Tbs. of coconut oil
- 2 Tbs. of organic pumpkin puree
- 1¼ cup of powdered erythritol**
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ** Powdered works better than granulated erythritol, if you can source it. This is a sugar alcohol that is low glycemic and close to 0 calories.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- In a mixer, mix all the dry ingredients together (up to sea salt on ingredient list). Add the wet ingredients to the mixture and mix thoroughly. Grease a muffin tray, and spoon the mixture in. Bake for around 40 minutes (a little more or less, depending on your oven), or until lightly browned but cooked through.
- Melt the coconut oil with the coconut nectar in a saucepan or in the microwave. Mix in the pumpkin, then erythritol and sea salt. Whisk until fluffy or use a hand mixer. Add to the top of the COMPLETELY COOL muffins and serve.
- Note: This icing will be grainier if you can only find granulated erythritol and not powdered. You can spread it on with a knife, as it is not as thick as regular icing. But it’s yummy, and far better for you!
- Also, as you can see in our combining of a protein foods, such as almonds or tahini, with grains--we are not being as strict with food combining as normal. But that's okay, given that it's a holiday. If you're normally strict with food combining, great! But for today, feel free to just relax enjoy it now and then resume after this special day.
You Can Also Prepare Some “Classic” Beauty Detox Recipes That Go Really Well On Thanksgiving!
First, the Shepherd’s Pie recipe from my book, The Beauty Detox Foods, is an excellent choice. Sure, it can be an entrée on its own, but you could also set it up as a side option if the other guests are planning on consuming the more standard Turkey Day fare. You could also take the Delish Squash Bisque or Rainbow Stuffed Peppers. For even more ideas, check out my Thanksgiving Dinner Makeover post as well.
You could also try the stuffing from the Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe made with gluten-free bread crumbs in The Beauty Detox Foods — which is as follows:
- ½ Tbs. vegetable broth
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. minced fresh sage
- 1 tsp. minced fresh oregano
- 1.5 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (keep reading for the recipe for those!)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bread crumbs:
- 8-12 slices gluten-free and/or sprouted bread (for millet bread, go with about 8 slices; for brown rice bread, stick with 12)
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- High-quality sea salt, to taste
- Pinch of dried oregano
- Heat the vegetable broth in a sauté pan, then add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they become translucent. Add the garlic and then cook for another minute, then add the celery and carrots in. Sauté until they’re soft, add the herbs, then the raw apple cider vinegar.
- Add the bread crumbs and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in sea salt and black pepper, and adjust seasonings to taste. Remove the mixture from the heat.
- For the bread crumbs:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and bake the bread on a baking sheet for 5-6 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake it for another 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Cut the slices into quarters and add them to the food processor with the garlic powder, sea salt, and oregano until you have fairly fine crumbs.
Tip #2: Enjoy the Family Meal, But
Avoid The Most Problematic Foods
You don’t want to spend your holiday obsessing over what’s in each one of the dishes on the table, but you can minimize your discomfort by staying away from a few things:
- Dairy. It’s probably not the first offender you think of when you imagine the Thanksgiving spread, but there could be cheese-smothered vegetables, milk in the mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, or even dairy in the green bean casserole. Be diligent and try to avoid the options made with milk and cheese.
- Baked goods. These present a triple-threat because they’re often high-fat, high-sugar, and loaded with gluten. That means you should try to avoid those rolls everyone likes to eat with dinner (especially with butter!) as well as most dessert dishes. But if there is a sweet potato or squash dish, that would be a yummy and satisfying starchy veg option to have instead!
- Heavy meat. If you enjoy eating some animal protein in your diet, still treat it as a side or a condiment, though, and not the major part of the meal. In America, Australia, the UK and many parts of the world, meals are often built around whatever slab of meat’s on the plate, with vegetables as an afterthought to round it all out. Try reversing that and focus on the veggies!
- Stuffing/dressing. There’s usually sneaky old gluten hiding here in the mix. Depending on the recipe, there may also be more meat involved, dried fruit, and oil.
- Desserts. These, just like the other baked goods, often contain a lot of fat, sugar, and gluten and they’ll steal your Beauty Energy, leaving you exhausted. Sometimes they contain fruit, too, which you know to steer clear of after a meal for the best digestion. You can offer to take a dessert, like the Raw Pecan Love Pie or the Iced Pumpkin Muffins above so you have something to munch on when everybody else is slicing into the cakes and apple pie.
Tip #3: If You Can’t Bring a Dish, Focus On These Foods
You can navigate a Thanksgiving party or family gathering quite easily since there’s usually so much to choose from. Instead of focusing on the turkey, the stuffing, and the pies, shoot for filling your plate (and your body) with these:
- Veggies (if there’s a raw veggie platter, dig into that first, then move on to the cooked foods!)
If you fill your plate with these things, you’ll still be participating in the party without making a big deal out of trying to stick to a clean diet. I doubt anyone will look at you funny if you have a full plate, regardless of what’s on it. They will be busy chomping away on their own food anyway!
Enjoying Thanksgiving with your loved ones doesn’t mean you’re destined to gain weight or put your health in jeopardy. Remember, it’s just one day (don’t take the leftovers and eat them all weekend!).
Your food pairing won’t be perfect, but that’s okay! As I mentioned earlier, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll be mixing starches and proteins in some way for Thanksgiving, which is not the best Beauty Food Pairing, but it’s okay for this occasion (it is after all, a holiday).
Just make the best choices you can, keep the bad food pairings to a minimum, take your digestive enzymes…and, most importantly, enjoy yourself! This is a time to connect with loved ones and give thanks for all the amazing blessings you have in your life. Remember, that “attitude of gratitude” will just as much for your health and wellness as anything you put into your body.
So relax! No need to perfect on this day, or any day, and keep in mind that you can get right back on track again on Friday.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Sending you love and blessings.