Thanksgiving Day involves a lot of delicious and lovingly cooked food. It also offers a lot of temptation to gorge yourself until you feel sick. Balancing the desire to eat as much of the tasty fare as possible with being sensitive to your limits is a case of mindful eating. Here are some suggestions to help you out.

Accept that this is a day of indulgence. While you may be on a diet or watching your food intake, bringing any sense of deprivation into the day may cause you to overeat out of sheer rebelliousness against “missing out”. Cut yourself a little slack and let yourself enjoy more food than usual on this special day. After all, the next day things can go back to normal.

Be sure to eat properly prior to the meal. Don’t skip any of the meals during the day – eat breakfast and lunch. The only difference is that you may want to eat more lightly than usual. However, skipping eating normally will just tempt you to overeat at the Thanksgiving meal.

Take small amounts when serving yourself. Take one small piece or scoop of everything that you enjoy to begin with. Remind yourself that you can always take seconds! This approach is considerate of the need to avoid waste.

Honor the food. Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks for the food that is on the table. Think about the contents of your plate and how it was once alive and is now about to provide you with energy and nutrition. Think about all the people whose efforts brought the food to the table, from the farmer to the cook.

Pause. Before you begin to eat, notice everything about the food on your plate. What are its colors, textures, aromas and anything else of note?

Take small bites and chew everything well. This relates back to the previous step––as you bite, savor the things that you noticed about the food when you took time to assess, such as texture and taste. Also, small bites and slow chewing aids digestion, as enzymes in the mouth begin to break down the food for you.

Chat with others. You’re more likely to realize that you’re full before you feel sick if you talk, rather than shovel food into your mouth non-stop! During the meal, make an effort to engage others in conversation in between bites. This shouldn’t be too hard if family members you haven’t seen for awhile turn up with news of the events in their lives.

Avoid wolfing down your food. Eat slowly and savor the food you’re consuming. If you finish everything on your plate, wait a minute. You can tell a story to everyone else, or just sit back and relax.

Take seconds only if you’re still hungry. Repeat the eat-wait-take more cycle until you feel satisfied, but not stuffed. Aim for feeling good, not feeling so stuffed that you can’t eat another thing or feel ill.

Get away from the table. Go for a walk, play football, entertain a child, play with a pet or help clean up! Head out to volunteer for those less fortunate on Thanksgiving. This will keep you from munching just because there’s food in sight.

Congratulate yourself on a job well done. And laugh at everyone who feels so full they can’t move! In fact, you might take a moment to share the secret of enjoying a Thanksgiving meal mindfully with them––just don’t be preachy.

Mac and Peas

1. Cook 1 cup dry pasta in a pot according to package.
2. Melt 2 spoonfuls of margarine in a pan.
3. Add ½ cup water and a can of drained peas.
4. Mix in a handful of nutritional yeast and 2 handfuls of flour.
5. Mix in a spoonful of mustard and a spoonful of chili sauce.
6. Mix cooked pasta into sauce.

Tofu Tacos

1. Mix 2 spoonfuls of vegan sour cream with a spoonful of chili sauce in a bowl.
2. Heat 5 small tortillas and spread sour cream mixture on top.
3. Layer a handful of cabbage strips onto tacos.
4. Slice ½ block of tofu into rectangles.
5. Coat tofu in soy sauce, then panko crumbs.
6. Coat a pan with oil, fry tofu on both sides, and layer onto tacos.
7. Munch.

Animal Cookies

1. Microwave a spoonful of margarine till melted.
2. Mix melted margarine with ½ cup powdered sugar, 2 spoonfuls of soy creamer, and a splash of vanilla.
3. Mix in 2 more spoonfuls of powdered sugar.
4. Dip crackers in mixture and lay on a nonstick baking sheet.
5. Top with sprinkles and place in freezer till solid.
6. Munch.

*Note: most of these are acceptable for ALL diet programs/detoxes. Please refer to specific ingredients in your plan if unsure. All in all, these are balancing, clean, and alkalizing (vs. acidic), and promote health and wellness.

Bon Appetit!

Butternut Squash over Arugala with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Recipes for Healthy Holiday Eating
1 (1.5 lb) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4 in diced
good olive oil
1 tbs pure maple syrup
salt/pepper (kosher/sea)
3 tbs dried cranberries
3/4 c apple cider or apple juice
2 tbs cider vinegar
2 tbs minced shallots
2 tsp dijon mustard
4 oz baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 c walnut halves, toasted
3/4 c fresh parm cheese

Preheat oven to 400.
Place squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tbs olive oil, the syrup, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss. Roast squash for 15-20 min., turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.. Cook for 6-8 min, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 c olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the squash mixture, the walnuts and grated parm. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. Sprinkle w/ salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Roasted Broccoli and Green Beans

Fresh broccoli florets (chopped from stems)
Fresh green beans (cut/trimmed)
Garlic (fresh cloves or minced from a jar)–to taste
Lemon juice (to taste)
Sea Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Fresh basil
Pine nuts
Grapeseed oil (about 2-3 TBS)

Place veggies on cookie sheet. Heat oven to 400. Drizzle oil all over veggies. “Sprinkle”/douse garlic all over veggies (depending on how much you like garlic!). Squeeze lemon juice all over veggies. Salt and pepper freely. Place cookie sheet in middle of oven and cook for about 25-35 minutes or until veggies begin to crisp/brown.

Remove, toss in pine nuts and fresh basil, serving immediately. YUM. (by the way, feel free to use only broccoli, or green beans, or add asparagus, etc…. tomatoes too…)

Whipped Skin-On Sweet Potatoes…

that rival traditional fattening mashed potatoes:

1/2 – 1 Sweet Potato per person you are serving (4 may serve 6….)
Good extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
1/4 garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pepper

No need to preheat. Heat oven to 425. Place sweet potatoes directly into middle rack of oven (make sure you have foil @ the bottom of your oven–they will ooze.)
Bake for up to an hour and a half depending on size and doneness.

Using a Kitchen Aid mixer or something similar, place warm potatoes (skin on) in the mixing bowl. Begin to mix slowly on low. Begin to add olive oil–slowly–just enough to moisten. Then add spices, and mix on higher speed, until nice and whipped smooth. You’ll have to use judgement on how much oil, depending on how thick/thin you want them, so be careful not to use too much. Sweet potatoes are much more “mushy” than white potatoes, so they don’t need all the cream, etc. (For a kick, add red pepper or even curry)

Peppermint Chocolate Frothy Shake

Chocolate Herbalogica shake mix, 2 scoops, with cold water (12 oz.) and ice: add a tiny capful (or less) of real organic peppermint extract. Blend til thick. ENJOY!

Pumpkin Pie (ish) Shake

Vanilla Herbalogica shake mix, 2 scoops with cold water (12 oz.) and ice: add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, even cloves (go easy–these are potent!). Blend til thick. ENJOY!

Cran Cocktail

8 oz. sparkling water
100% cranberry juice (no sugar added)- only about 2 splashes
1 whole lime, squeezed

combine all over crushed ice and stir and sip with straw. Cheers!

Spiced Nuts Appetizer

Mixed RAW, whole nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)
Red pepper

Dash spices onto nuts and toss. Deliver to a saute pan and toast on low- med-low until the oil from the cinnamon and nuts starts to heat and brown the nuts.

Enjoy–but watch portion (1/4 cup is good) HINT: great on top of a salad, or even mixed in with rice.