50+ Primal Thoughts, Tips and Recipes for Your Thanksgiving

Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey on rustic wooden tableThe team and I are hustling today, getting everything in place before the holiday weekend, and all of us are already thinking about the festivities (not to mention feasts) to come. So, you’ll forgive me if I indulge the holiday spirit and even wax a bit sentimental—just a little. (Thanksgiving IS my favorite, I’ll admit….) And, on a more practical note, let me share some “best of MDA” tips and recipes for making the holiday weekend healthier and happier.

By now most of us have the “stuff” that typically goes into the meal itself: the food, the napkins, the centerpiece, etc. We’ve unearthed the ginormous serving tray from the basement and dug out the carving set. We’ve taken down the box that holds the heirloom gravy boat. And we’ve likely ironed out the logistics of the occasion: when guests will arrive, when the turkey will go in the oven, and who will bring what. We’ve straightened the house, cajoled the kids to make their bedrooms presentable. Maybe the more ambitious and organized among us have even made a dish or two ahead of time.

Some of us tomorrow will be hosting large gatherings or perhaps celebrating with just immediate family, a partner, or a friend. A few of us will eat alone. Others of us will be guests in friends’ or families’ homes or part of larger groups hosted by religious or neighborhood communities.

It’s true that there’s something about a holiday meal itself—the variety, the rich flavors, the calm (and flurry) of annual preparation rituals, the deep-seated emotional associations and memories. Nonetheless, the day has the potential to feed us in ways the best turkey or family recipe can’t.

Our culture and even individual responsibilities sometimes encourage us to get so caught up in the practical operation of the holiday that we find ourselves shuffling through the motions, hitting all the obligatory dishes and events, but never really touching down emotionally or interpersonally. It’s likely that some of us have previously taken the lesson and pared down or honed in on what we deem the most essential (and enjoyable) aspects of the holiday. (The gathering, the gratitude, the giving of time….)

In this hectic part of year, the suggestion bears repeating. Carpe Diem. Enjoy the moment—the company, the conversation, the chance to connect and tell stories new and old. Start some fresh traditions or revive some old ones (a pre-dinner family game of touch football, an after-dinner walk, an evening around the board games or family albums, a morning of volunteering).

Whether you’re alone or with a whole horde, here’s to making the most of the day in such a way that we’ll all go to bed that night fulfilled (not just full), inspired, at peace, nostalgic, and grateful for the day instead of just relieved the dishes are done or glad we made it through.

Whatever you’ll be doing, wherever you’ll be celebrating, whatever you’ll be looking back on (or looking forward to) in the spirit of thankfulness, everyone here wishes you the best for your holiday.

Thoughts On the Spirit of the Holiday

No matter how we’re observing the day, celebration and gratitude offer significant benefits as well as meaningful reflection.

15 Primal Ways to Savor the Holiday Season

What It Means to Be Thankful for Your Health

The Benefits of Benevolence

The Power of Food Rituals

The Benefits of Giving Thanks

Applying Primal Motivation To the Meal

The big feast doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing event. Where does your health commitment best intersect with your enjoyment of the meal? That’s your sweet spot for approaching the holiday.

A Primal Take On the Holidays: Surviving or Thriving?

The 10-Week Countdown to 2018

The 80/20 Rule

The Importance of Non-Negotiable, “No Matter What” Rules

Gateway Foods: The Slippery Slope of “Just a Bite”

Post-Holiday Triage (For Anyone Who Needs It)

No judgment… We Primal types don’t deal in regret after all. We do, however, pride ourselves in being informed.

Burning Off Holiday Sugar

How to Recover from Holiday Overindulgence

Last (But Certainly Not Least), the Recipes…

Over the years, we’ve put together a small cookbook’s worth of delicious holiday recipes. (It’s hard to pick favorites, but I might have to go with the turkey legs.)

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Simmered Cranberry Sauce and Spicy Cranberry Relish

Braised Turkey Legs with Fennel and Artichoke Hearts

Heritage Turkey and Mashed Parsnips

Crock Pot Turkey and Primal Stuffing

Cornish Game Hens With Egg and Sausage Stuffing

Crispy Roast Duck with Holiday Seasonings and Sauces

Breadless Cauliflower and Mushroom Stuffing

Ultimate Walnut Pie Crust with Pumpkin Filling

Homemade Turkey Stock

How to Make Turkey Jerky

And for those of you who can never get enough ideas (for this year or next), here’s yet a whole set of menus to choose from.

Have a great holiday week and weekend, everyone. What’s on your mind—and on your menu—this week? I’d love to hear in the comment board. thanks for reading.

TAGS:  mental health

About the Author

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.

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