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50+ Primal Thoughts, Tips and Recipes for Your Thanksgiving

The 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 [1]) 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 [2]

What It Means to Be Thankful for Your Health [3]

The Benefits of Benevolence [2]

The Power of Food Rituals [4]

The Benefits of Giving Thanks [5]

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? [6]

The 10-Week Countdown to 2018 [7]

The 80/20 Rule [8]

The Importance of Non-Negotiable, “No Matter What” Rules [9]

Gateway Foods: The Slippery Slope of “Just a Bite” [10]

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 [11]

How to Recover from Holiday Overindulgence [12]

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 [13]

Simmered Cranberry Sauce and Spicy Cranberry Relish [14]

Braised Turkey Legs with Fennel and Artichoke Hearts [15]

Heritage Turkey and Mashed Parsnips [16]

Crock Pot Turkey and Primal Stuffing [17]

Cornish Game Hens With Egg and Sausage Stuffing [18]

Crispy Roast Duck with Holiday Seasonings and Sauces [19]

Breadless Cauliflower and Mushroom Stuffing [20]

Ultimate Walnut Pie Crust with Pumpkin Filling [21]

Homemade Turkey Stock [22]

How to Make Turkey Jerky [23]

And for those of you who can never get enough ideas (for this year or next), here’s yet a whole set of menus [24] 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.