Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
23 Nov

Thanksgiving Dinner: Vote for Your Plan of Attack

It’s time for the annual procession of all things carb: potatoes, rolls, cranberry molds, all manner of desserts. Thanksgiving, however, needn’t be a salivating stare down with the spuds. The subject du jour: how you plan to handle the holiday. Primal types seem to fall into two camps when it comes to these occasions. Some say every day is a Primal day, and they go about preparing their Thanksgiving feast the way they do every other meal. If they’re visiting for the holiday, they selectively forage and might even bring a Primal dish of their own (to share or relish alone). Others take a looser approach, balancing the value of family traditions with their Primal interests to forge a reasonable compromise for the day. There’s plenty of room under the Primal tent for both good, old-fashioned moderation and rock solid resoluteness, I’d say. Let’s take a closer look.

The “Taking 20” Approach

Yes, there’s the 80/20 Principle to consider here, and it plays out a little differently for everyone. Some folks stay pretty much fully Primal throughout the year but make their exceptions on special occasions like holidays and other celebrations. The thinking here is, “It’s only one day. I’ll have my stuffing and then go back to normal life the next day. No biggie.” Although I’m not advocating inhaling the Thanksgiving pie all by yourself, I understand the sense of making a moderate concession for the holiday. Every once in a while I’ll take that approach myself. Chalk it up to convenience or nostalgia, but Thanksgiving does only come once a year. Your family may have very meaningful traditions that you enjoy participating in, or you might just reserve a special place in your heart/stomach for a certain annual dish. Some folks will even consider the day a strategic carb-refeeding opportunity. My suggestion is to gauge where you’re at in your Primal journey. Beginners or those interested in weight loss might have a harder time traversing the route of moderation. After all, you don’t want a momentary compromise to derail your progress. However, if you feel you can enjoy it and then return to your Primal track the next day none the worse for the wear, go ahead and partake.

The “Stickin’ to Your Guns” Approach

Of all the days in the year, this can be the most difficult to navigate. Particularly if you’re spending the day with family or cooking with a non-Primal partner, your commitment can get some blowback even if it’s “tolerated” the rest of the year. Rest assured: you’re not a stick in the mud or a killjoy. It’s entirely your right to eat the way you want to on Thanksgiving just like it is every other day. You might choose to explain your reasoning (once again), or you might just try to lay low and avoid the subject for the day. (Comments/anecdotes, anyone?) In the interest of keeping peace and harmony, however, there are plenty of ways to politely turn down the un-Primal fare on the table.

The truth is, there are plenty of ways to make your holiday fully Primal – or any degree between. Whether you’re hosting or visiting, I invite you to look back at our most popular Thanksgiving recipes. They’ll truly an indulgent way to stay on track this holiday, and they’re proof once again that eating Primal doesn’t mean sacrificing taste.

Make It a Primal Thanksgiving!

Turkey Time: Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Heritage Turkey and Mashed Parsnips

Primal Pies: Fill ‘er Up

Primal Holiday Desserts

Share your delicacies and you might even win over some converts!

However you choose to approach the holiday this week, know that it’s ultimately about owning your choice. Gorging with the delusion that a carb binge won’t have any repercussions isn’t exactly taking responsibility, but neither is seething at the holiday spread while swearing off a mere shadow of a carbohydrate.

The decision itself doesn’t matter as much as the spirit and knowledge behind it. Make your own, fully informed, entirely unapologetic choice and relish the holiday for all its worth!

Now it’s your turn. Good readers, what say you? Will you be invoking the Primal compromise or planning a fully Primal holiday? Vote and comment below.

What's Your Approach to Thanksgiving?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I’m doing 80/20, with a pastured turkey, and the entire meal is gluten-free!

    Gail wrote on November 24th, 2010
  2. Honestly, I don’t miss non-primal foods one bit, and breads taste “blah” to me anymore. I have been ‘ruined’ forever! lol And, eating lots of sugary desserts has never been fun for me.

    However… our Turkey Day will be spent with my in-laws, who don’t read labels (or don’t care that the “maple flavored syrup” and the “ice cream flavored dessert” have all sorts of crap in them). So, I am contributing some stuff I know I will like – from MDA of course! The Bread-free Fruit and Nut Stuffing (made it today and yum-yum! – will warm in the oven tomorrow). The Endive-Arugula Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette. And I’m doing some snacky things before the big dinner – peel and eat shrimp with cocktail sauce (Primal 51 Ketchup mixed with my homemade horseradish and lemon juice), and an antipasto tray of good meat, olives, artichoke hearts, etc. The turkey will be on my plate as well – I volunteered the turkey I have in my freezer (organic, free-range) but my mother-in-law said “Oh I’ll just go buy the big turkey special for 6 bucks.” …*sigh*…Ya can’t win all the battles! =) I have found that the way to ‘weather’ a non-primal meal is to bring my own contributions to the table, and they are always very well received! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

    Dawn wrote on November 24th, 2010
  3. It’s at our house, so while we have to serve potatoes and stuffing, there will be enough vegetables that we won’t have to eat them. Cheese for dessert. My sister is bringing a pie, but we won’t have any. In fact, my sister is trying to go primal!! The family sees our resultsj they may think my husband and I are eccentric, but they’re impressed.

    Maryallene Otis wrote on November 24th, 2010
  4. 80/20 for me. I’m a little at the mercy of my MIL, but my husband is very supportive of this lifestyle. We’ll be making our own breadless stuffing, eating sweet dumpling squash instead of sweet potato casserole, and I whipped up a real fermented cranberry “chutney” to go with the turkey.

    I anticipate having a small slice of pie and whatever MIL makes that looks edible, mostly to keep the peace and make her happy! When in doubt, just eat more of the bird!

    Deanna wrote on November 24th, 2010
  5. I usually just binge on the meat, vegetables and gravy. I’ll eat until I can’t eat anymore of anything else. Not the best strategy, I like it.

    Jeff wrote on November 24th, 2010
  6. Actually, I am not primal/paleo but very close. I have been a low carber for 9 years…it’s official.I prefer to not venture far off track but I might have some potatoes this year.

    Low carb has been a blessing since I now do a lot more cooking. My husband and I try to make this day as enjoyable and low carbable as we can. I think my husband does it because it’s important to me…not so much to him. One food item I am particularly proud of this year is my stuffing. I made it with sausage,mushrooms,walnuts and almond flour. I added almond flour because I wanted my stuffing to taste more like corn bread stuffing. It was delicious. As a matter of fact, I has sauteed the flour in butter and it tasted just like grits. So now I have an idea for low carb grits and eggs or grits and shrimp. Anyway, I look forward to the thanksgiving food attack tomorrow.

    mary titus wrote on November 25th, 2010
  7. Turkey, lemon/garlic green beans, collards, nuts, and a small slice of pumpkin pie… Cant go wrong with that.

    kellet wrote on November 25th, 2010
  8. I ‘take 20′ for most of November, December and January every year.

    I also up my squat tonnage several thousand pounds a week…

    Jason Struck wrote on November 25th, 2010
  9. *groans in frustration*

    This post illustrates why I hope never to eat mashed cauliflower ever again, and why I don’t reserve stuffing myself with mashed potatoes to holidays.

    kait wrote on November 25th, 2010
  10. I think I had one million carbs today. But it is okay. I’ll just have a million less tomorrow.

    Monte Diaz wrote on November 25th, 2010
  11. Oh bugger the diet today! Two million carbs, stuffed to the gills and equally full of family and friends. I’m 20 lbs lighter, none of my clothes fit, I feel wonderful and tonight? Tonight I ATE. Pie? Yes please. Hit me baby one more time Tomorrow is another day.

    Griff wrote on November 25th, 2010
  12. I’m on my own plan. Primal for the most part, HF/LC. But holidays are special times with family. Because I’m on my own plan, I can eat whatever whenever. It’s just that I choose most of the time primal/HF/LC. I eat until I’m comfortably full, enjoying the variety of flavors, don’t over-indulge in any one item and I don’t feel guilty about enjoying myself, either.

    ronna wrote on November 26th, 2010
  13. Awesome Griff. I only had 500,000 carbs today, mostly from leftovers. Tomorrow should be better. No more than 100,000.

    Monte Diaz wrote on November 26th, 2010
  14. I will also likely be 90/10. I won’t be eating grains, but it will be hard to avoid SOME sugar. I do plan to take a few bites of pecan pie and sweet potato souffle! I fudged last night at my baby shower and drank some punch and took a bite of cake just to be polite…and I felt hungover this morning and ached all over. Needless to say, that is enough of a deterrent for me!

    Emily wrote on November 6th, 2011

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!