Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll admit I love Thanksgiving. I love the ritual of coming together as a family – often with close friends adding to good company. I enjoy spending the day cooking and sharing food with the most important people in my life. I appreciate the modest but meaningful dimensions of the tradition – a time fully set aside for enjoying loved ones, for feasting, and for reflecting on the blessings of the year. Thanksgiving in this way offers a quiet, sacrosanct day for truly unplugging and being present in the simple ritual of the day.

On a recent trip to the bookstore, I stumbled upon and burned a good hour engrossed in Margaret Visser’s The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude. She wrote something that made me think differently still about the holiday and appreciate its emphasis even more: “Memory links the present to the past, and the deliberate recall and recounting of past benefits is itself a form of gratitude. Civilization, and culture generally require memory and tradition. The latter (literally, from the Latin, ‘a handing on’) means a kind of gift, from what has been learned through experience, from the past to the present. The society that now accepts the gift is therefore ‘grateful’ to the past.” Call me crazy, but there’s something oddly Primal about this concept.

The deeper I go in my Primal journey, the more I’m grateful for what I understand about our human story. I love feeling healthy and being out in the sun for the sheer joy of it, but I also appreciate the deep-seated connection to a kind of ancestral legacy and the personal grounding it offers. The fact is, living Primally has been a wellspring for me in ways I’d never anticipated. It’s become much more than a formula or a metaphor but a model I can continually examine my life and choices against, a reminder of what is genuinely essential and life-giving. I’m thankful for a past – and memory – deeper than my own.

For those of you in the U.S. (or for Americans abroad), enjoy your holiday and all that your celebration includes today. To everyone, I hope you have much to be thankful for this year. Let me express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you for your continuing support, your involvement, and your insights that make the MDA community what it is. Best wishes to you and yours!

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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32 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving!”

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  1. Nice post, Mark. It would be great if we could all take more time to reflect and be thankful for what we have. On the one hand, it’s a shame that we need a public holiday to be able to do it properly, but when it comes around, it’s great that we can use the time to really understand what we have.

  2. Mark, your guidance has been instrumental for me and my family. I’ve dropped 30 pounds in the last year and can see my abs for the first time in my life, including when I was a teenager. My wife’s dropped ten pounds and is back in clothes she was wearing when we first met 14 years ago. It’s unbelievable. Got my blood work results last week and they were shocking…shockingly good. 3 years ago my HDL was only 29. Today it’s 83 and my triglicerides are only 67. My LDL is 115. I never would have believed any of this was possible. Oh yeah, my plantar fasciatus and shin splints are gone too thanks to my vibrams so I’m playing soccer again!

    So thanks for getting the word out, Mark. And you’re right – going primal is beyond just what you eat. It’s also about connecting to our families and neighbors and communities. Don’t just retreat to your cave and your TV/computer. Get out and get involved with something. You’re not the clothes you wear or the car you drive. You are what you create and what you do.

  3. Started off the day with a neighborhood
    3 mile fun run/walk…it was alot of fun and the couple sponsering it provided organization, food, and coffee…It also told me that I had lost
    nothing(as far as running shape) since March when I last ran that far…I was the oldest top finisheer @ age 59…

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to you Americans! Up here in the Great White North we’re long over our Turkey Day celebrations, and well into thinking about Christmas. I don’t know how you can handle keeping your holidays so close together ^_^

    1. I was thinking that too! (being a fellow Canadian). 😉

      All the best for the coming season too.

  5. Today I am thankful for my children, my granddaughter my father and my siblings. I am thankful for my in-laws with whom I will be feasting tonight. I am deeply thankful for my mother, who passed 2-1/2 years ago and who I miss terribly. She died from diabetes complications and was my motivation to change my health practices. And I am thankful for you, Mark Sisson and all of you in the Primal/Paleo camp who keep me educated and always pushing towards a better life.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I’m thankful that I’m healthy(ier) now these past couple months, I’m thankful my body loves eating Primal, I’m thankful all pains and aches and depression has lifted since I started going for walks practically everyday. I’m thankful I can afford healthy food so that my body can get healthier everyday. I’m thankful I can afford a Naturopathic Doctor, so I get proper healthcare.

  7. Thank you Mark, this Thanksgiving I’m grateful that I found you and MDA this year, and for the healthy changes you’ve inspired in me and consequently, in my family.

  8. That was a wonderfully uplifting post, Mark. I just found this site this week. I read The Paleo Diet several years ago, so am familiar with the concept, but I love your approach as it is much more encompassing and well rounded. I had no idea this community existed, and am excited to begin the Primal lifestyle this coming Sunday (as soon as Thanksgiving feasting is done!) Thanks again! The success stories on here are nothing short of amazing! Soon I will be writing my own.

  9. Thank you Mark for making this website. It really inspired me and so many others. I will be going to a great thanksgiving feast and know that eating primally is more important than tasting sugar.

  10. Mark, worker bees and family, a great big thank you for the amazing work you do with this site. Happy thanksgiving to all the Americans celebrating the lovely tradition that is thanksgiving. I’m thankful for the wonderful supportive family, friends and colleagues I have, I’m thankful for my home and all that’s in it and those who with me make it such a wonderful home. I’m thankful for good health (which has improved in leaps and bounds since I found MDA). I’m also thankful for the wonderful opportunities I have ahead of me for the next year. All the best everyone!

  11. Thank you for all you do Mark. I am so very grateful for discovering this way of living.

  12. Thanks for all you do, Mark an Worker Bees!! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  13. mark, and every kindred. thank you so very much for this perspective….life is good here!

  14. Thank you, Mark, everyone on the MDA staff, and the entire MDA online community. I found you all several months ago, and I have come to rely on a daily visit for up-to-date information, really good writing, and a spirit of light-hearted cheer and good will that is much needed these days.

  15. Thank you Mark and team. Last Thanksgiving I was fat and sick. This Thanksgiving I am lean and healthy. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have my life back.

  16. We don’t do Thanksgiving here in Australia but I love the idea of it. A happy one to you all x