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.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

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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175 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Dinner: Vote for Your Plan of Attack”

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  1. I love turkey. The way I see it, any part of my plate not covered in turkey and green beans and butter is plate space wasted.

    1. Haha, awesome. Same here – I’ve got turkey, green bean casserole, & roasted brussels sprouts coming my way on Thursday. Personally, I think Thanksgiving is one of the few times it’s super easy to be primal around family!

    2. 20% here. I’ll skip the rolls and possibly stuffing. But I will have some spuds and a serving of my 16yo daughter’s incredible Tiramisu. The rest of the meal is meat n veggies. Oh and red wine…but that’s primal isn’t it? 😛

      1. Oh Just remembered…I’ll do the mashed cauliflower instead of the spuds. I’ll save the spuds for the following weekend and my husband’s Chanukah latkes

    3. Me too: Turkey, green beans and a tablespoon or two of Mom’s cranberry relish.

  2. I’ll take the 20, but there are things that I highly minimize.

    I load up on turkey, ham, veggies, etc. I eat pumpkin pie, but I may skip the crust.

    I skip the bread, rolls, and stuffing, but have mashed potatoes and butter.

    Gluten and the worst offending grains are the things that I tend to avoid, even in my 20%.

      1. Roland, eating the crust for some of us means spending the next day with terrible stomach cramps or worse. When you’re not used to grains they can be really hard on your guts.

        +1 for loading up on turkey and veg. Good stuff!

        Hope y’all have a great holiday!

      2. Love the “What. The. Hell.” HAHA! I need to use that one. LOL! 🙂

    1. I’m doing what you’re doing. And since I’m the chief cook, my pumpkin pie comes crust-free. I guess that makes it more like a pudding?

      Turkey, veggies, salad, two kinds of potatoes, gravy (thickened with Xanthan gum), two different (crust-free) pies for dessert. No bread, no rolls.

      One attendee is bringing corn bread dressing, but I can easily skip that.

      1. You can easily make a “crust” from ground nuts (ie, almond flour), butter, and spices (no need to sweeten because the pie will be sweet). No one will know there aren’t any grains in it. It won’t be much different in texture from a grain crust and will add a lovely depth of flavour.

        Recipe from source:

        1 cup almond flour
        1 egg
        1 cap Pure Vanilla Extract
        1 tbsp butter
        1/2 tsp cinnamon
        pinch of salt
        (creator adds a little honey to taste but there is no need, although a little bit would still be a primal treat- but adds a few carbs)

        1. Mix all ingredients together until they form a ball. The ball should have a little moisture to it, but not be liquidy.

        2. You can taste it to make sure there is some sweetness and hint of cinnamon and butter if you’re adding honey.

        3. Press pieces of dough into pie tin with fingers until the crust is made.

        4. If making pudding/cream pies, bake crust first at about 325 F until just turning a slight golden brown.

        Just because we don’t eat grains doesn’t mean our pies can’t have a lovely crust.



      2. On the subject of Xanthan Gum…

        An alternative and 100% natural way to thicken things is to use Agar Agar, a whole seaweed that the Japanese use all the time. It dissolves in water, making it thick. I use it all the time to thicken soups, stews, and gravies. It really works.

        Just a heads-up: Do not buy Agar Agar powder, as this is highly processed (high heat/chemicals). Agar Agar flakes or whole chunks of Agar Agar are what you should buy, and have not had anything done to them (except for being broken up in the case of the flakes).

        It is a very forgiving ingredient to use. If you accidentally add too much agar during cooking and the liquid becomes too thick, simply add a little more water or animal juices/fat. It is flavourless, odourless, and colourless; it will set when cooled the same way gelatin does.

        Anyway, just thought I’d pass that along.

    2. Amen, brother. To me, sticking to my guns is not a sacrifice. I feel terrible when I eat wheat/gluten, so really it’s not about depriving myself of anything other than bloating, no energy and bitchy mood swings.

    3. I now make crusts with gluten free midel gingersnap cookies put through the food-processor (crumb-ified). Add melted pastured butter to the cookie crumbs and press into the pan – magic! bake for 5 minutes, and fill with pumpkin goodness!

  3. We do not have thanksgiving in Denmark, but obviously I’m thinking ahead to Christmas. I’ll compromise and have a lot of the bird and a little of everything else. No biggie. Live a little 😀

  4. I’m Canadian so our thanksgiving was over a month ago. But I guess my family traditions (both my family and my husband’s) aren’t as carbalicious as those I hear about from down south… growing up we had a wild goose, with wild rice & wild mushroom stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry (actually lingonberry) sauce with minimal sugar, and three or four different veggie dishes. The POINT to thanksgiving was that it was, as much as possible, grown or harvested by us. I think the sweet potatoes and the wild rice were the only things that came from afar – the rest was shot, picked or grown by us.

    1. yes, the way it should be! It started out being thankful for the harvest, now it seems to be too many loading carts with processed food in sterile, fluorescent-lit grocery stores! Keep up the good work! I admire you!!

  5. My parents are coming to our home for Thanksgiving this year and bringing the turkey. I am making everything else and all recipes are from this site! I am so excited to see how tasty they think everything is (as they aren’t primal eaters). I told them they could bring any other food items they felt they would miss (rolls, etc) but so far, the only thing they have mentioned is green bean casserole!

  6. Seriously, what could be better than lots of turkey and roasted brussel sprouts? I would not miss the potatoes and starch at all. Pumpkin pie, on the other hand…. My favorite breakfast. And easily made paleo/primal. Can’t wait!

  7. I’ve been strict about primal since I started the day after Labor Day, 25 pounds ago.

    I’ll eat some of the forbidden goodies and will hopefully not feel too guilty or to physically ill for doing so.

  8. We always have Thanksgiving dinner at my home, and I’ve decided to make it all Primal fare; if my guests want something different they can bring it themselves. I’ve been Primal since the end of July. I don’t know if it’s normal or not, but whenever I do eat something that is not Primal (i.e., soy sauce, bread, dairy–even butter, etc.) I feel utterly sick for the next two days. So, instead of having a carb fest, which I know would make me suffer, I’m eating clean. I’m actually looking forward to it–Nut & Fruit Stuffing, Bacon & Water Chestnuts, Primal Pumpkin Pie, and let’s not forget the Turkey. Who knows, I might be surprised and everyone will like it, too. (But, I’m not holding my breath. I’m the only Primal in my entire extended family.)

  9. This will be my first Thanksgiving since going primal, but I navigated Easter successfully, and I plan on repeating that: I’m going to fast up until dinner, work out during the day, then load up the plate with turkey and vegetables, and maaayyybbbeee a little bit of mashed potatoes. Then have a little bit of dessert (so maybe a little bit of 20) and call it a day.

    1. Hey, That’s my plan too! We are having primal green bean cassarole with the cream of mushroom from scratch and some organic mashed potatoes loaded with pastured raw butter, bacon and green onions!

      We’re making some low sugar cranberry sauce from scratch too. I’ve been seriously low-carbing for a week to be about to afford this insulin spike… since it will be my only meal after a fasting day I think I’ll be just fine.

  10. I think it’s easier to be primal on T-day than at, say, family spaghetti night at Uncle Dominico’s. Then again, I’ve never liked either pumpkin pie or stuffing, even as a kid, and I think gravy is just kind of “meh.” Although I like mashed potatoes, my family’s “traditional” yam, cranberry, and apple side dish is much more interesting. Add some greens and a plate full of pasture-raised turkey, and it’s a primal holiday.

  11. Turkey (with some of that yummy cauliflower dressing!) cranberry/pink grapefruit walnut relish, mashed turnip & parnip (loads of butter), green bean casserole, pumpkin pie (filling made with coconut milk; nut crust). I’m also making for everyone else (I’m the only “primal”, but have some GF guests. convenient for me!): mashed potatoes, “traditional” pumpkin pie (with eggnog for the milk part), bread dressing, gravy (thickened with arrowroot)
    There will be plenty of heavy cream, whipped cream, & butter for all.

    1. ack! parnip? parsnip…
      oh ya, and roasted sweet potato wedges with balsamic drizzle…

    2. I like the exercising before idea too!! Might go out for a bit of xc skiing with the dog while the bird’s in the oven…

  12. I’m really excited about cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, though I know it will be very unconventional. This morning I butchered 2 of our young roosters, though as I’m concerned their won’t be enough meat on them, I’m also going to be cooking a venison roast. I’m making a sausage stuffing (made with local, well-raised, whey-fed pork). Lots of brussel sprouts, extra buttery butternut squash, and probably some root vegetables. Dessert will be my version of pumpkin pie and a dark chocolate/chestnut mousse…

    Yeah- I’m excited.

  13. i stick to my guns. in fact, i’m hosting this year and i posted my menu in the forum. it’s 100% paleo, i invited my guests to bring dinner rolls if they wanted them and dessert. i just refuse to provide my guests with something i firmly believe provides the body with anti-nutrients.

  14. As I wasn’t brought up with Thanksgiving traditions, I don’t have any nostalgia associated with it and I’m not crazy about the food so I will take a ‘stick to your guns’ approach and forage for what I can eat.

    If I were in my homeland in December, however, it would be a very different matter.

  15. I will gorge on all the neolithic agents of disease. As long as I abstain from sucrose, wheat, and vegetable oils 350 days/ year I’m fine. And I doubt the other two weeks do any serious harm.

  16. We’re going down to an extended family feast in Palo Alto, and taking deviled eggs, and butternut squash/beets/onions with agave/balsamic reduction. I’ll forego the potatoes, rolls, and stuffing (it helps when the stuffing recipe made doesn’t taste that good), but have to have a slice of pumpkin pie, and a taste pf black-bottom banana pie!

  17. I voted that I’m taking the 20, but in reality its going to be much more primal than not. We’ll have a small batch of the beloved dinner rolls like grandma used to make, and the pie crusts will be made from flour (my attempts at primal pie crust were a massive failure). Beyond that, we are cutting a lot of the carb-heavy things that were made just for traditions sake, and that no one much cared for anyway. So yeah, it’ll be my 20%, but it won’t be a grain and carb overload extravaganza.

  18. I love the Holiday’s and I still hold to the approach of isolation. I eat those foods on the day of the Holiday only and thoroughly enjoy them – it’s only once a year! I may have some discomfort after but it’s worth it to me. However, I will say that I’ve never had trouble getting back to Primal the next day. I have my indulgence, sigh deeply, and I’m back at Primal eating again the next day (almost relieved, to be honest). If you have trouble “getting back on track” then I would definitely recommend treading carefully. Anyway, Thanksgiving (and Christmas) food here I come!

  19. I, too, am taking the 20 approach, but by and large it won’t be that bad. I’m making my grandmother’s rolls, cornbread dressing and pumpkin pie (all using sprouted whole grain flours) because it simply wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them. Other than that, the menu isn’t that bad – heck, I’m even making the green bean casserole from scratch.

  20. I am prety partial to having a nibble of some cheat if it’s really worth it…but there will be enough turkey, veggies and a dessert I am making to get my by without even raising any eyebrows!


    I don’t explain what I do anymore, and also I am not perfect and I like it just like that!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. The worst part about these kinds of situations, for me, is the obvious glee that non-primal friends and relatives take in me indulging. It’s almost like the way smokers love to see their reformed brethren fall off the wagon. It seems to reassure to them that what you’re doing is “too hard” and makes them comfortable with their inertia.

    On the one hand, I hate having to be the messiah of low-carb for them at all times just to validate it as a lifestyle choice, and a supremely healthy one at that. I’m extremely fit and healthy, with no metabolic issues, so it’s really not a big deal for me, physically, to carb up now and then.

    On the other, though, I believe so strongly in paleo/primal, I feel like I’m missing the opportunity to help others learn about it. Also, my competitive streak wants to just say “I’ll show them!” and be ultra-strict instead.

    Ultimately, I usually just smile and take their barbs and do what I feel like doing (eat or not). But it still is a sour note to the proceedings.

    1. “The messiah of low-carb” — great line. That’s how I feel too.

  22. I was planning, I assume like others, to try my hand at the Cauliflower stuffing and see how it goes at the family get together. I am sticking to my guns and devouring the veggie tray, and turkey. I plan on combining my WOW – Grok throwdown and turkey day into one!

  23. I will be bringing my copy of The Primal Blueprint for any who ask how I lost all the weight or where I get all my energy from and they will be more than welcome to thumb through it.

    I’ll be sticking to my guns thanks… gotta set the example for the nasty wheat-bellies out there!

  24. Not going to lie. I can’t wait to exploit the 80/20 principle and eat some stuffing.

  25. I am sticking to my guns this Thanksgiving. I managed to grab a pastured heritage breed turkey this year, so I am especially excited about eating this year. I just want to make this the first year I can remember I do not walk away bloated and miserable.

  26. Maybe it’s just me, but we live a healthy lifestyle to, well, enjoy life. Let’s not get so caught up in wrenching TG into a primal mode that we put our lifestyle over enjoying life. Enjoy the day without worrying about your “lifestyle” or what a scoop of dressing will do to your coveted insulin count. Let’s not let a dogmatic attitude turn us into iconoclasts.

  27. Thanksgiving shouldn’t be a humongous problem. Tons of turkey, and my sis is bringing 2 green veggie sides! :9 Bread is pretty easy to skip, and anything else I can just have a taste of and be done. If there are multiple pies that could be a problem; my stepmother makes her own crust and it is yummy!!!
    We’ll just be extra vigilant the rest of the week. Christmas will be a much bigger problem; my bro will be here for a week, and it’ll take some doing to dodge lox & bagels AND blt’s on really good bread AND stepmother’s waffles AND whatever else they come up with!!!

  28. It is easy to never eat off plan. You just never eat off plan. No holiday, no pleasing 100 year old grammy, no tasting. Why would I want to eat off Zero Carb when I can just eat as much turkey as I want? If you eat off plan, you just agree that these poison foods actually have value and are a treat. They are not.

    Just my opinion. I cannot understand fetishizing junk that way.

    1. I totally agree! It’s called all sorts of good thing but it’s not a treat to eat grains on TG for the same reason you lay off grains any other day. I can’t bring myself to consciously eating grain based products.

      “Fetishizing junk”… good choice of words.

      Someone method making rolls and said, “it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it”. Technically we could use that reasoning to justify grain eating and sugar binging any meal of our life.

  29. I voted for 80/20, but it’s probably more like 90/10. I don’t really even feel like eating the rolls or mashed potatoes anymore and I never liked stuffing to begin with. So that makes it pretty easy. The 10% will come with the pumpkin pie, but I already make that from scratch with raw goat’s milk, eggs from our chickens, and much lower sugar than the usual recipe. Also, I make maple-mustard-balsamic green beans, and pecan-coconut yams that have some maple for sweetener. I’m not sweating that stuff, just enjoying the holiday with my family.

    My family got used to my crazy food choices back when I was a vegetarian who brought my own Tofurkey, so now that I actually eat the main dish, they probably won’t care if I pass on the rolls.

  30. Count me as one of those who’ll be sticking with a primal diet this Thanksgiving.

    Last year I enjoyed all the trimmings at dinner. Then I brought home leftovers. Then I though, what the heck? I’ll buy some of my old favorite holiday candies during my next grocery visit. Then I pigged out during Christmas dinner and beyond. I didn’t get back on the primal track until mid-January.

    Talk about one poor choice leading to another! I guess it’s either all or nothing with me.

  31. I’ll have a bit of taters and stuffing, but I’m seriously looking forward to tons and tons of turkey. The day after Thanksgiving I’ll be going out to buy another turkey!

  32. Gotta say, I really appreciate this post.

    I’ve been lurking around here for about 6 months, and, considering the wealth of information on this site has pretty much changed my life, I felt I really needed to pop in and say thanks to mark and all the people here who make this such an awesome, vibrant place.

    Grok on, and happy thanksgiving one and all.

  33. While I voted for the 80/20, I also love cooking and experimenting with new dishes. I took this opportunity to try some new things. I still like sweets but I am replacing my old refined sugar with better choices like honey and maple syrup. I am even making what I expect to be an awesome sausage and mushroom stuffing using coconut flour herb biscuits in place of the traditional bread component…here’s hoping!
    one thing I committed to not changing for the non-primal spouse was the mashed taters…especially since he said I could pry his potatoes and gravy from his cold dead hands…I didn’t think I had much choice!
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone

  34. I feel like it’s always the sweets. if you can master the sweets, you can do the rest of it. That’s my 2 cents at least 🙂 and what I’ve seen from experience with my clients. And myself.

  35. There are plenty of healthy food choices to gorge on during these holiday gatherings that there is no need to default to the 20% or tempt your self control.

    For me, the 20% is reserved for situations beyond my control.

    Everyone interprets their own 20% in their own way. So long as you enjoy yourself without feeling bad (physically or mentally), then do it.

    Much ado about nothing IMO.

  36. I’m afraid I have to stick to my guns because my health is on the line. Due to celiac, wheat is out “irregardless”, as Dave Barry would say. When you exclude wheat, 90% of the side dishes are out. My plate will be filled with turkey, turkey and more turkey, with small samples of mashed cooked sweet potatoes and “safe” (as in made without wheat flour) gravy. Green beans and butter will essentially be my dessert.

    1. Same here, WICKED gluten intolerance and Celiac… I just fervently hope I don’t get cross-contaminated as usually happens when we don’t prepare the food ourselves. I’ll bring my own dessert so I won’t have sweets-envy but I draw the line at bringing my own turkey to someone else’s dinner.

  37. As my first Primal Thanksgiving approaches I am very excited to try all the new recipes. What a great opportunity to try anything and prove to my family that I’m not neglecting them, even though my kids continuously ask my why I keep “forgetting” to buy breakfast cereal! My husband has adjusted well to no more toast for breakfast, I hope he will enjoy the cauliflower mushroom stuffing! I was ready to change my life after being diagnosed with Celiac and lactose-intolerance. After finding MDA, I now understand that the Primal lifestyle is important not only for me but for the whole family. I love them enough to take the time to cook and research a healthy lifestyle. In the end, I’m saving my 5-10% for a beautiful bottle of wine!

  38. You only live once. Although looking after your health is important, you have to know when to let loose a bit. I have a feeling that some mashed potatoes and a piece of pie is not going to kill anyone here. Especially if you already reached your goal as far as weight, screw it and have fun. And even if you still have weight to loose, splurging on Thanksgiving might even shake up your system and kick up your weight loss.

    1. I think it depends on whether you’re sensitive to flour etc. If it makes you feel like crap you won’t enjoy it. If it doesn’t affect you, go for it!

  39. Totally sticking to my guns, and luckily, have the full support of my family. The most off plan food I’ll have is my Paleo version of cranberry relish, and it’s only slightly off plan because of the walnuts–there’s no added sugar.

  40. The main Thanksgiving meal itself is easy; there’s plenty of meat and veg to be had, and you can take or leave the rest. The hard part is the rest of the meals for the entire weekend when you’re visiting family (as many of us do for the holiday weekend).

  41. for me, thanksgiving was always rather rough. i don’t like those starchy foods, i always felt aweful on thanksgiving.

    when i married, i had my IL’s version, which was even more starch-heavy than my own family.

    and, i was vegetarian at the time, so you can imagine that thanksgiving was NOT an exciting meal for me.

    but, then i decided that *i* would host it. It always got rave reviews (even though there was always grumbling about it not being “real”) and here was my “primal” menu, even though we were not primal:

    First Course: Creamy Broccoli soup–no potato, and actually, no cream. it was just this amazing, pureed soup i grabbed from Martha Stewart. *fantastic*

    Second Course: Salad — i got creative each year with all kinds of fun ingredients. i love fennel in a salad– nice and crunchy.

    Main Course: Turkey, roasted beats (two kinds), and crispy kale and mustard greens. I made home made gravy and a cream/cheese sauce so that people could choose. I also served a cranberry relish–home made–so it was cranberries, oranges, and green apples, in a food mill, then just soaking in their juices overnight. fantastic. bit of honey if needed to cut the tart! sometimes, soaking some cloves in there was pretty awesome too!

    Dessert course: I would make all fruit, no sugar sorbet and serve with chocolate shavings, or make pumpkin pudding with chocolate shavings. *great stuff*.

    as a vegetarian, i got my fill without the turkey. Primal, it’s an all win (perhaps for some all of the fruit would be in the 20, but still!).

  42. My fiance and I aren’t doing the a big Thanksgiving meal. We’re enjoying his day off, having bacon & eggs and for dinner, a steak & some sweet potatoes. 😀

  43. What’s great is that there is no one way that is right for everybody. We all have our own reasons for what we do and what we eat. I am convinced that eliminating grains (wheat in particular) has made a profound difference in my health. Whether it’s drastic or not, I look at it like poison and it becomes unappetizing. My carb intake is very low on a daily basis but I am not gonna sweat some extra sweet potatoes one day. I tend to stay steady with these kinds of things and have never viewed food as a reward — especially since I do not feel like I am depriving myself on a daily basis. We’ll be modifying the big offenders of stuffing with a no-flour version and we like mashed cauliflower more than mashed potatoes as well as thickening gravy with arrowroot. The rest is Turkey and veggies. The pumpkin pie will have a nut crust and be topped with a lot of home-made cinnamon whipped cream. Around my house we celebrate food every day. It’s just that this year I am even more thankful that I have found a lifestyle that satisfies both my body and soul. So, on this Thanksgiving I will be especially grateful for Mark, this website, and all the supportive folks who’s stories continually inspire me. THANK YOU ALL!

  44. I have a great relationship with my (non-Primal) family, but I’ve elected to not mention being Primal since getting back into it a year ago. It’s turned been great – no stress. There are no jibes or awkwardness, and people are so wrapped up in eating and having a good time, that no one has ever noticed. I’ve thrown entire Primal dinner parties with no comment from anyone.

    Since I have been voluntold to host Thanksgiving this year, there will be stuffing to retain some semblance of tradition and to satisfy the masses, but I have no intention of consuming it.

    I will also be offering MDA’s own Sausage Squash Casserole, and a roasted root veggie medley as sides. Who knows, maybe the family will like it and make it on their own, being a little bit more Primal in their own way.

  45. My Plan of attack (does require advanced preperation):

    Convert your mother & sister who in turn convert your father and brother in law who in turn convert their friends. Have Thanksgiving together. Believe it or not I first became Primal this Sept. 1st. It took less than 3 months to orchastrate this. Mwa ha ha ha.

  46. 20%, gotta have the cranberry sauce with the turkey.

    Having pumpkin cheesecake instead of pie, going to eat about 750 calories worth of that sucker.

  47. Thanksgiving Day is definitely a 20 day for me. I love stuffing and pumpkin pie, so I will eat them without hesitation. I’m not crazy about mashed potatoes, so I can easily avoid them. This year we are having a close-to-primal sweet potato recipe, so there won’t be the buttery-sweet candied sweets to contend with. Overall, an aberration but a fun one.

  48. A mix of both.. I’m hosting Thanksgiving at my place this year, so I have almost full control over the entire menu (Free Range, Organic, Local Turkey, Buttercup Squash (no sugar, extra butter), primalized gravy and cranberry sauce, etc). However, I’m baking standard (white flour) pies with ice cream, stuffing in the bird and more for the others.

    I’m looking to stay around 90% primal to whole way through. Wish me luck because buttered rolls are amazing!

  49. i’ll be going about 90/10–i will definitely have a bit of mashed potatoes and maybe one delicious cheesey bicuit that i’m making from scratch. My fam is curious about the primal stuffing i’m making, so maybe i’ll get some converts! 🙂

  50. Primal all the way. I’ve got it easier since I’m having Thanksgiving with a bunch of friends and we have no real tradition of it.

  51. We don’t have Thanks Giving in Australia but at Christmas I will likely try to ‘stick to my guns’. I don’t have to worry about offending anyone as my family live so far apart that we usually do not even see each other at Christmas. None of us are financial enough to be able to afford the travel.
    I have to agree with Helen, that eating grains etc, even once a year, would be upsetting for my health. I would rather enjoy the holiday in good health with plenty of energy rather than try the 80/20. I have also converted my immediately family to almost primal, so it is fairly easy to stay primal.

  52. I think some folks just tend to stretch the truth a little.
    80/20? A couple of holidays a year to make it 70/30? No problem for me.

  53. Full body workout in the Am, Eating EVERYTHING with family and friends, then Black Friday Tradition with friends. Pumped!

  54. Nothing wrong with piling a heaping helping of turkey with all the skin I can pick out (or steal from the young children), and a heaping pile of salad. My family is not so judgmental that they are checking my plate to make sure that I have my ration of mashed potatoes and gravy.

    The only thing I feel like I’m missing out on, is the bloated gaseous feeling that everyone else has when they say “Oh dear god, I ate so much I think I’m going to explode!” I’ll be happy and satisfied, but in no danger of explosions…I’m okay with that.

  55. I am just starting this and I love how good I feel! Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been my “20” I just look at it as a few times a year I get to indulge in some delicious treats! In the last few years I have been more selective in where I really indulge – foregoing most sweets and rolls for mashed potatoes – my very favorite!!!

  56. 80/20 for me! No way am I missing my grandma’s pecan pie and fluffy homemade biscuits!! They’re only once a year!

  57. After much deliberation, I decided to take my 20% with some mashed potatoes and a slice of gluten-free spice cake with cream cheese frosting.

  58. iIt’s easy to make a wheat, gluten and sugar free pumpkin pie. I made on this weekend. The crust was ground flax seed with a little rice flour, butter, cream cheese and agave and maple syrup. The filling had pumpkin, 3 eggs, no cream, a little milk, a little protein powder, seasonings, and it was YUMMERS!!!

  59. My family is French Canadian ancestry and for generations holidays included French meat pie (Tourtiere) That is my biggest concession. Turkey, meat pie, lots of veggies. Cauliflower for mashed potatoes, roasted pumpkin casserole will sub for the sweet potato casserole, gravy made with home made broth. I made a low carb bread for the stuffing and will have a little of that. Pumpkin cheesecake with nut crust for desert. Guess that’s about 80/20.

  60. PS – Primal cranberry relish is easy too. In a grinder, grind up whole cranberries, and an orange or two, with the peel, and then add honey to taste, and let it sit overnight and WOW is that good!! You’ll never by canned again. This is an old family recipe.

  61. Mark, it is from this time of year through to the New Year that I anticipate your posts even more eagerly.
    I do think it is possible to stay primal on T-day. After all, there are plenty of veggie sides as well as the turkey itself, to fill one up without adding potatoes and stuffing (and I love love love stuffing). I can do without them. I will be enjoying some red wine though 🙂
    I am running a marathon Thanksgiving morning so I will enjoy the turkey as the fruits of my ‘hunt.’

  62. When I’ve stuck to my guns at past Thanksgivings & Christmasses, I’ve noticed that I’m the only one in the gathering not miserable after dinner. Works for me!

  63. This year my fourteen year old daughter is in charge of cooking the meal for the first time so she chose the menu, though her mother and I did have input. Lots of turkey and green beans and salad for me, as well as the squash soup and mashed yams. I think I’m going to pass up the bread stuffing, mashed potatoes (okay maybe a little bit), and the grasshopper pie (which somehow has become a holiday tradition in the house that I do not understand). The apple pie may be harder to pass up.

    I do know one thing though, since going primal the quality of the food around here has really improved so the quality of this meal will be fabulous.

  64. I say go all-out on Thanksgiving if that’s what you want to do. If you’re worried about what one day will do to your health/physique, you’re not doing all the other days of the year correctly.

  65. I’ve already planned ahead and had a talk with my mom a few weeks about about my desire to change my eating/lifestyle habits. I asked her to cook the vegetables in olive oil instead of butter (as I’m going the dairy-free route as well) and to bake a sweet potato for me on the side that I can add some cinnamon/spices to. Appetizer-wise, we will be having peel and eat shrimp and a tray of cut-up veggies, so I’ll be good to go. While I do like apple and pumpkin pies, they are not something I’m that tempted by or feel I can’t live without tasting. Instead, I will be enjoying some fresh fruit. Lastly, I will just stick to drinknig water instead of wine or beer. Since I’m fairly new to eating primally, I feel that I have to stick to my guns and be ultra-strict until I start truly feeling the positive effects from eating primally. I’ll be sure to get a work-out in that day too, so I can fully enjoy that sweet potato as my post-workout meal 🙂 For once, I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving without being stressed out about what I’ll be consuming.

  66. I voted for “Taking 20,” but choosing to indulge on a holiday that is full of traditions in my family doesn’t mean that those traditions can’t progress and be made somewhat healthier.
    One of my cousins discovered he’s gluten-intolerant a few years back, so we started making pies with gluten-free crusts. We’ve added a fall-themed salad (think red pears, nuts, etc) to our Thanksgiving dinner. The past couple of years, we’ve bought free-range, locally-raised, organic turkeys.

  67. Give me lots of turkey, green been caserole, stuffing, tons of the veggie dishes and a little bit of whatever else is made. Thank you 20%

    Oh, and yes I will have a dessert. Thanks again 20.

  68. I’m having a potluck Thanksgiving at a friend’s house who happens to be gluten-free. So, Hubby is making the bird and I’m making cranberries (I’ll probably cut the sugar and sub in a little stevia to reduce the carb overload), cripsy garlic haricots, fennel-apple slaw, a gf- apple-pear tart and possible a Primal pumpkin pie (with almond flour crust).
    My friend is making the sweet potatoes (I wish I was- her’s are going to be too sweet!) and my mom is doing gf stuffing, mashed potatoes and gf gravy. I will probably go very easy on the starchy stuff and leave my carb allotment for the pie!

  69. I appreciate all of the advice for Thanksgiving. I’ve been a little disappointed in myself lately. I lost a quick 20 lbs since Labor day. However, it has really slowed to a snail’s pace if not stopped. I’m not sure what to do to kick start my loss again and Thanksgiving and a family wedding on the weekend really scare me a bit. Any thoughts?

  70. I guess I am going 80/20, but it’s definitely going to be more primal than in years past. I will have some potatoes and perhaps a slice of dessert, but other than that I plan on eating the rest primally. Well, OK, maybe a smidge of stuffing… but really, thanksgiving can be a great meal to have lots of meat and vegetables so I want to take advantage of that for leftovers.

  71. I wish I was attending Elana Amsterdam’s Thanksgiving feast (of elana’s pantry, yum!) – was just looking at her website & every single recipe sounded awesome! We’re doing potluck style, so I’ll be bringing her grain-free cranberry apple stuffing and almond flour biscuits, mashed squash, almond butter pumpkin bread, and will feast on the local free range turkey my family ordered. Yay!

    1. Elana has excellent taste. I make her cilantro, green chile turkey burgers that she adapted from Mark, here.

  72. Grok did celebrate social occasions with a feast and I argue that the abdication from the festivities is more stress to the self than Grok would have ever felt in his life.

  73. It’s cheating day for me BUT with Brussel sprouts roasted with bacon and apples.

  74. I will be taking the day off with some caveats. I plan on sticking to my regular eating habits except for the dinner and dessert. Also, I may just have one good bite of stuffing, etc. If it doesn’t taste incredible, I don’t feel it’s worth the trouble I will have the next day trying to get back on track.

  75. 20/80
    Organic veggies and butter for me,
    asparagus braised – not organic
    Standard turkey – not organic
    yam pie (personal for me) organic
    yam pie for the others – non organic
    twice baked tater organic for me
    apple cobbler with organic apples and sugars
    Pumpkin pies off the Libby’s can.
    bread crumb and gizzard stuffing will grain fed chicken eggs
    Blackforest Pie
    Honey Baked Ham (for everyone else)

  76. I just started going primal about 2 weeks ago and have never felt better! That said, I have a feeling temptation will take hold this Turkey Day. Such is the cost of having so many great cooks with delicious holiday recipes in the family. But hey, I still plan skip the rolls ;D

  77. It must be nice to be able to *choose*.

    No, it’s not that I’m doing it wrong the rest of the year. I’m DIABETIC. I also have genetic intolerance to gluten and I’m allergic to nightshades.

    My strategy this year is to completely avoid all food-based celebrations. I can’t quite summon up the courage to sit and smell everyone else’s wonderful food that I can’t/won’t eat.

    It’s NOT good enough to sit there with a plate of naked turkey while everyone else moans with satisfaction about how wonderful the stuffing is, and how perfect the gravy is.

    I’m sad that I’m reading these comments looking for helpful strategies (of which there are some, thank you to those folks), and reading some real judgmental junk.

    1. LaughSing,
      I am mourning the loss of so many foods this year, even though I have made it through several years of holidays without. I too have diabetes(insulin deficient and managing without meds or insulin-maybe a misdx L.A.D.A.) and need to be GF and have a dairy allergy as well as numerous other food allergies(including many of the nightshades). So, I’m sending some support out to you 🙂

      I’m hosting T-giving this year and everything on the table will be VLC or similar version of it for me-turkey, mashed califlower “faux”tatoes with “butter”, cranberry sauce with stevia and erythritol, steamed green beans. I’ve been able to tolerate some goat’s milk lately so made baked custards with stevia. Will have them separately-4 hrs. after my meal. I have brought my own meal in a container to many holiday dinners. Not fun but better than high blood sugar, etc. I am also opting out of some celebrations that center around food this year.

      I easily feel as if I have “no choice” but we have to remind ourselves that we could be chosing the ADA way and high or poorly managed blood sugars. Have to remind ourselves to be thankful that we know about low-carb as many do not, and for all the benefit that we get from it. At times like these we have to nuture and take care of ourselves extra good in other ways to fill that void that we would like to with food. I hope that doesn’t sound preachy. I’m there with you in this little corner of the world 😉 You’re not alone.

  78. A piece of pie, little bit sweet potatoes, maaaaybe some gluten free gravy, %85 chocolate, HELLA turkey!
    The next day; turkey and eggs, turkey sandwhich on spinach bread…low carb…
    The day after that; IF

  79. I like to stick to my guns and I will form my Thanksgiving plans ;however, my brother had an early get together with the family and fixed the traditional holiday favorites. I have bad reactions to corn and all be it very difficult to find stuff without corn, my brother made everything fresh and made sure nothing contained any corn derivatives. I am not a proponent of grains by far, yet I would strongly advise those anyone who does not stick to his or her guns to strictly avoid corn and its derivatives.
    Happy Thanksgiving y’all

  80. We don’t have Thanksgiving in Germany, but with Christmas around the corner I take the 20%.
    Waffles with Vanilla cream. They are only available on the christmas market and I’m planning to eat myself silly on them.
    For the rest of the day I’m primal to the point.
    Glad I can choose.

  81. I’m still trying to migrate from the standard American diet to a primal diet. Since Thanksgiving will be at my house with just my immediate family this year, I’m going to try and be smart about it. Oh I’ll have some butter laden mashed potatoes, but everything will be gluten free, and my focus will definitely be on the turkey and steamed veggies. No dinner rolls, white flour gravy, or sugary pies will be served.

    1. That sound wonderful! It can be tough getting away from the SAD to a primal one but it is worth it. Stick to your guns and happy holidays.

  82. I’m still in weight loss mode and I plan on sticking to strict primal but if, I falter it will most likely be for the pumkin pie icecream that my cousin makes every year. Last year for the work party I brought a bunch of fruit that was a big hit. I usually make a plate of food eat the primal stuff reload it and tell people I am saving it for later and then I give it to someone who doesn’t have thanksgiving dinner. This way it is never wassted and someone who really needed it will enjoy it.
    I also really watch my carbs comming up to the holidays and new year. However, it is only once or twice a year that falling of the primal diet is even a problem. I really enjoy this lifestyle, food, and the weight loss I’ve lost 30 pounds thus far!!! I like how I feel more that the carbs.

  83. Garbanzo bean flour makes an excellent gravy and doesn’t take that long to thicken. To replace the rolls we make con bread. lol no that wasn’t a misspelling I use coconut flour, eggs, coconut oil and or butter with a little backing soda and the bread comes out similar to corn bread. It has that mealy texture of corn bread, not to mention all the nutritional benefits of coconut flour.

  84. Let’s see. A two hour urban hike before the day starts for most. A large portion of salad. A large portion of steamed greens with olive oil, balsamic vineger, and grated romano. A portion of beets. All the turkey and prime rib I can eat. A small yam slathered in butter and topped with cinnamon. A bowl of blueberries and cream. Red wine. Yeah, I think I can stick to my guns, no problem at all.

  85. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and it only comes once a year. So, I’m going to enjoy myself and eat/drink whatever I want. There’s lots of time afterward to get back on the Primal wagon.

  86. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to remain Primal. Meat and veggies….Greek yogurt with berries for desert. Easy. It’s birthday parties and baby showers, etc. that are tough for me because they revolve around cake, not turkey. I hold my own at those events though – a lifetime of health will taste MUCH better than 5 minutes of cake.

  87. Happy Thanksgiving to you Americans. In Canada Thanksgiving is well past (today it is -25C and very snowy). I had my Thanksgiving dinner and stuck to my Primal guns while hosting my extended family–which was easy to do when seeing that my sisters are now 40 or 50lb heavier than I am. One sister called me later to ask about Primal eating! Grok on!

  88. This is my first Primal Thanksgiving, and my first without ANY of my family, which makes it easy in the food category, but a bit lonely otherwise. HOWEVER, I am working on thanksgiving day, but since my “job” is to play the piano while the members of a yacht club eat and enjoy conversation, I have A LOT to be grateful for. Getting lost in my piano playing for 4 hours is the most primal thing I do, and I LOVE IT. Then, when I’m done, I will grab a plate, and scour the buffet for meat and veggies! Sticking to my (more-defined) guns!

    If I do splurge, (a few tastes of yumminess here and there) I’ll make sure I ENJOY IT.

    I’ll be thinking of all of you while I a play some Charlie Brown..(too bad “peanuts” are legumes)

    Happy Thanksgiving, Grokstars!

  89. Well, I will be bringing baked sweet potatoes mashed with roasted garlic. And will have veggies and turkey. Never really cared for the Thanksgiving menu anyway. It’s the most boring meal I eat all year.

  90. I believe that there must have been times (of abundance) when Grok would find a huge selection of food, and that Grok would try these foods that were not part of his everyday diet.
    This is how Grok learned if a food was good or should be avoided.

  91. I will stick with the primal plan for Thanksgiving. Dinner is at my home so I just won’t make any of the typical high carb stuff. We are having prime rib instead of turkey. What I like about lo-carb is when everyone else is groaning about their overstuffed bellies, I feel just fine.

    The guests may bring something sweet made with gluten – can’t eat that because of gluten sensitivity.

    I find it more difficult to stay away from the carbs when my gluten free support group has potlucks. I will take a few bites then.

  92. The thought of another year of my family’s carb, sugar & beer fest was so unappealing, I simply invited my Paleo pals over for a truly wonderful meal minus the carbs & sugar. We’ll probably splurge on a beer or some wine with dinner. Dinner will be pastured turkey, roasted fall veggies and some sort of mashed veg such as parsnips or cauliflower. I’ve learned that my diet is MY choice.

  93. I’d like to propose a middle road. I can say that I will be eating a few things that aren’t perfectly paleo, like mashed potatoes. (Even those are going to lightened up a bit with mixing some roasted winter squash in with them.) But I will be making most of the fixings primal. Primal stuffing, turkey, lots of veggies and for the Pièce de résistance a pumpkin flan with whip cream that I have created. It is so good that I don’t even miss the pie part. I have it on my blog at
    Happy Thanksgiving all!

  94. My dinner isn’t too bad: Turkey w/ gravy, sweet potatoes (baked and unsweetened), and green beans.

    However, I’m totally okay with the un-Grokish beer I’ll drink before dinner and the slice of pumpkin pie I’ll have for dessert!

  95. thanksgiving has always been my favorite meal of the year and i make an exception every year for this meal. so i just won’t think about eating the drugged up turkey (antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, etc), potatoes (they will be organic because i’m making them), bread stuffing, pumpkin pie, pecan pie (my fave, and whatever else they have.

  96. Stickin to my guns. It’s Christmas and New Years that get tricky… three mixers a week, sweets everywhere you turn for 6 weeks, and not enough time to work out. Thanksgiving is almost a vacation in comparison…

  97. I am pre-diabetic and have to make some adjustments, too. I am contributing an appetizer, veg dish (brussel sprouts seem to be popular here!)and a dessert – pumpkin cheesecake w/almond crust. Yup, had to use some artificial sweetener (shhhh!) I guess that is my 20!I know I can at least eat what I brought and plenty of turkey. Happy Thanksgiving Mark – and to everyone contributing here – great stories.

  98. Let’s see my menu is as thus:
    -Goose (with yummy goose fat)
    -soaked cornmeal dressing with some goose fat (soaked in kefir to deal with anti-nutrients in the corn)
    -roasted veggies (in goose fat)
    -deviled pasture raised eggs
    -homemade cranberry sauce (with fresh stevia as a sweetener and thickened with diatomaceous earth instead of flour/starch)
    -goose gibblet and fat gravy with diatomaceous earth as a thickener instead of flour
    -and if the liver looks good… i may make some patte afterwards with some of the fat
    – Red wine to pair with Goose
    – homemade raw cheese-cheese cake with soaked almond bottom

    so while this sounds heavy on the non meats…. it is how much of each you put on your plate that matters. I pile the meat and proteins first (allows less room for other things)… then grab some of the veggies and dressing. also if you make smaller amounts of the sides you influence others to eat more of the meat because there is less of the sides to go around. heheheheh….

    I am sticking to my guns…. i have sourced all my foods, i am making certain they are eaten in the healthiest of ways by removing anti-nutrients and adding fats to high carb/sugar dishes and replacing unnecessary ingredients with healthy ones. I even offer a pre dinner digestive….homemade beet kvass.

  99. I’ve been gluten-free for several years, so my and my partner’s well meaning families were all excited to whip up gluten-free stuffing, bread, pie, and even waffles for me this Thanksgiving. I’m planning to stick to my guns though, at least as far as grains and sugar are concerned.

    I emailed everyone coming to dinner a couple of weeks ago to explain that I’ve been trying to control my blood sugar / insulin levels and that as much as I appreciate everyone’s offers of gluten-free dishes, I will be sticking to turkey and veggies this year. Complete conviction mixed with a healthy dose of humor seems to have done the trick. As far as I can tell, no one has taken offense and I’m anticipating things will go smoothly on Thursday.

    Of course, it probably helps that I’m already known as the girl with the weird food needs due to many years of veganism and the more recent gluten issues…

  100. so happy to NOT be cooking a bunch of stuff that i can’t eat anyhow without getting sick! 1st time in like 20+ years! just gonna graze at a friend’s house

  101. I read something great on the forums I while back that has become my mantra: You can cheat, but “Don’t cheat with wheat.”

    1. Ah @September. That is more or less what works for me. I voted primal all the way, but I was counting the mashed potatoes with butter that I’m bringing as primal…oops or not. Guess wine puts me over too. Those are things I enjoy on occasion so I don’t consider them out of my normal range. Maybe I voted wrong! I’m forgoing the stuffing for sure. I have Turkey gravy prepared by me to bring along, though haven’t decided whether I need to avoid the small amt of gluten in the gravy that is sure to be there. Made a pumpkin pie this week with a little maple syrup and coconut milk, so I’m pre-empting the need to indulge in one that won’t treat me well.

  102. Tomorrow I will have been Primal for exactly 10 days. This presented an obvious dilemna for me. We’re going to my partner’s sister’s house and it is a huge carb fest with 2 stuffings and at least 4 pie selections. Wham! However, this week alone I have survived 3 frontal attacts from cake pushers (“just have a small piece, then”) with nary a bite so I have hope for tomorrow’s buffet.

    Though not Primal, my partner is roasting brussel sprouts, parsnips and carrots so I’ll have an alternative to the mashed potatoes and gravy; I’ll be OK with a small serving of her sister’s homemade cranberry chutney and as-large-as-I-wanna-have portions of turkey.

    Grok on and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  103. Definitley 20. When you do this long enough you miss nothing!.Roast Turkey, sauteed brussel sprouts with onions and bacon,fresh cranberry relish,stuffing substituting a combo of diced butternut squash and eggplant for bread crumbs. mashed cauliflower with scallions and a bit of cheddar,oven roasted sweet pototoes topped with cinnamon and coconut oil and a touch of maple syrup. Paleo pumpkin pie in pecan crust. I mean do you see deprivation anywhere? yummm and the whole family is gonna eat it.. So much to be Thankful for… Thanksgiving is NOT Thanksgorging> Blessings to you all

  104. Stick to your guns! It should be easy enough if you offer to bring a side dish and make roasted asparagus or brussel sprouts. You can have a very fulfilling thanksgiving meal on turkey, a sweet potato and your green side dish. And for dessert, offer to make this:

    Great pumpkin ice cream from our friends at Eat Primal. Happy Thanksgiving and GROK ON!!



  106. I’m definitely a 90/10 guy.
    I won’t go balls out and carb down everything in sight, but I’ll do a little stuffing, some of the sweet potatoes with the marshmellow topping, and a little dessert.

  107. I raced ironman 3 days ago so am still in recovery mode…bring on the thanksgiving feast, pie and all! will restart primal on friday 🙂

  108. I voted for the 80/20. I am just trying to get started being primal. Bread and sweets have been very difficult for me to get away from. Thankfully I don’t really like pumpkin pie and there’s never any other sweet item offered at my aunt and uncle’s Thanksgiving.

    I will have some mashed potatoes, but just a small amount – no more huge volcano mounds. I will also allow myself ONE small roll instead of eating between 3 and 5 rolls.

    Most everything else that is served is primal – turkey and veggies.

    Baby steps are going to be key for me – I tried going all out and I fell off the wagon after about 5 days 🙁

    A lot of bread makes me feel horrible within 20 minutes of eating it, but one roll won’t cause me any discomfort, so I’ll allow myself to enjoy it 🙂

    For me, Christmastime is much more difficult – sweets everywhere you turn, Christmas parties, potlucks…I will just have to say no!

  109. Sticking to my guns this Thanks-taking.

    I went Primal in large part due to seeking digestive harmony. I wanted to stop breaking wind all the time and feeling like my gut was brewing something toxic.

    So, I don’t eat the things that make me feel like crap after. Simple.

    Turkey, veggies and football for me.

  110. ..take 1 tablespoon..liberally spoon ghee or cocunny or mixture or orgasmic lard on the non-shite foods…enjoy this and if you use 3-4 tabs of the stuff i can almost guarantee(i seldom say this about anything) you you will not be tempted by the shite-foodies.
    Here endeth the lesson..or be a contemp paleo version of a 70’s Studio 54 crowd and hang a tableppin measuring implement around ones neck…tres fecking chique (le freak..says Chic ?!)

  111. I’d answer this question very differently at Christmas! As a UK transplant in the US, Thanksgiving it not a tradition. We’ve shaped our own odd tradition for the day, which works beautifully…we each get to pick our favorite foods and eat those. So I’ll be eating my favorite primal stuff tomorrow, the kids will mostly be eating sugar.

    At Christmas, I’ll definitely be doing the 20%. I am looking forward to Christmas pudding with brandy sauce and a slice of Christmas cake. Just the one day though!

  112. I don’t let custom dictate anything else that I do. No reason to start because someone made this day a ‘holiday’ and declared the foods we should eat according to the grocery flyer.

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

  114. 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!

  115. 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.

  116. 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!

  117. 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.

  118. 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.

  119. Turkey, lemon/garlic green beans, collards, nuts, and a small slice of pumpkin pie… Cant go wrong with that.

  120. I ‘take 20’ for most of November, December and January every year.

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

  121. *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.

  122. I think I had one million carbs today. But it is okay. I’ll just have a million less tomorrow.

  123. 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.

  124. 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.

  125. Awesome Griff. I only had 500,000 carbs today, mostly from leftovers. Tomorrow should be better. No more than 100,000.

  126. 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!