Here we are—another day of turkey, gathering, gratitude and (maybe) questions. For some of us, our relatives stopped asking long ago. Or maybe we celebrate alone or with a smaller, more sympathetic crowd these days. Many of us, however, will find ourselves mixing with non-Primal eaters. We’ll likely even be the typical lone figure strategizing our choices among the high-carb spread. Bring on the turkey legs, the Brussels sprouts, the salad. The stuffing and sweets on the other hand—maybe not so much… And so the inquiry often begins. As I wish you all, kind readers, a Happy Thanksgiving from the U.S., I thought I’d offer some of my favorite responses (some serious, some not) to the common questions we field at the holiday dinner table. To all of our MDA community, I’m grateful for your valued following and your incredible contributions over the years. I hope you’ll add your own favorite personal retorts, strategic redirects and discussion starters for the dinner table today!
“You know, I’ve found I just feel better if I avoid certain foods. Bready-type foods are among them.”
It’s the perfect choice when you’re looking for a simple, no-nonsense response. And it’s all “I-statements” to boot! (Don’t you feel psychologically sensitive knowing that?) It’s harder to argue with people’s physical experiences. Feel free to get as detailed as the situation calls for.
“I’m just doing my bit this holiday to keep the national health care expenditure down. Have you read the latest diabetes figures? And I’m on a higher deductible insurance plan these days anyway.”
The fact is, most people will miss the real connection and latch onto what they know and want to complain about. For those who don’t mind opening the political can of worms or delving into personal finance, it’s a great way to divert the conversation toward something everyone can weigh in on. Sure, some perceptive (or just curious) member of your party might well bring the stuffing topic back around again, but then you can up the ante (or excuse yourself for an important faux phone call).
Oh, you’ll get a strange look, but most people will be stumped—or a little nervous to talk to you any further.
“You know, maybe I’ll try just a bit. We don’t have a dinner this big every day, now do we?”
For those of you who are bringing your 80/20 to the table, sampling all the annual fare may not be such a bad idea. If you can do this and not get sucked into a craving spiral the day after, I consider this a completely valid choice (and one I’ve made in the past).
“Oh, cripes, the stuffing…. Seriously, doesn’t that give you gas? I know I always pay for it afterward. Good luck with that!”
Let’s face it: you’ll either start a raucous bout of laughter and jokes among the guests, or you’ll stop that inquest straight up while the questioner slinks back in his chair and your mother begs you with her famous death stare to change the subject. Who knows? You might get to sit at the kids’ table after that, and we all know the conversation is better there anyway.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’ll look forward to reading your best T-Day (or any big dinner) replies. With gratitude and best wishes to you all this holiday…thanks for reading.
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Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.