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The Healthy Way to Stuff Your Face at Thanksgiving

We at HABIT know just how exciting the Thanksgiving holiday can be.

It’s a time for friends and family, a well-deserved break, and generally just some down time to recharge those batteries. But above all, it’s a time for two things - shopping and eating. Don’t deny it ;)

Anyway, this post isn’t about shopping - there’s plenty of info out there on the interweb scouring the best deals and offering the best shopping strategies (shameless plug - we’ve got sales coming up too so be sure to check out our upcoming Black Friday/Cyber Monday promos!).

Instead, we’re gonna take a different turn and look after your health. Now before you roll your eyes and close this tab, hear me out. I’m not going to tell you to count calories. Screw that. This is Thanksgiving dammit, and you should eat whatever you want and at whatever quantity you want. But you also don’t want to kill yourself, right? Right. So being the responsible, health-conscious grown-up that you are, read on to discover our prep plan for a weekend of Thanksgiving eating.

Here’s the plan:

Step 1: Live healthy for a week

Step 2: Four-day Thanksgiving cheat weekend

Yea, it’s that simple - keep reading.

Countdown T-minus 7 days:

Continue doing these up until Thanksgiving Day (these should be permanent additions for a healthy lifestyle, but do your best to make changes to your lifestyle where you can):

Reduce/eliminate alcohol, cigarettes, processed foods.
This is standard for obvious reasons. Avoid at your own risk.

Reduce caffeine.
Again, before you start rioting in the streets, hear me out. Yes, there are claims of health benefits to coffee but have you ever been addicted to caffeine?? I speak from firsthand experience! Not only will you cease all mental functions without it, it also causes inflammation in the body, which will wreak all sorts of havoc.

Exercise more.
Do whatever you feel like - weightlifting, martial arts, yoga, calisthenics, running, hiking, walking - whatever will get your body moving. Aim for at least 30min/day, 3-4 days/week. The higher the intensity, the better.

Drink more water.
2L/68fl oz minimum per day. This sounds like a lot but it’s not too bad if you space it out throughout the day. A good way to start your day is to drink a mixture of lemon juice and water first thing in the morning - this will help detox your liver.

Eat more raw fruits and vegetables.
This is one of the single best things you can do for your body, period. Countless benefits. Smoothies and juices are good too, just don’t drink the pre-packaged stuff.

Eat more raw, fermented foods.
Kimchi, natto, sauerkraut, etc. - Google these if you don’t know what they are. Your gut bacteria will thank you for it.

Intermittent Fasting (optional, but highly recommended).
For those who are unfamiliar with this, it’s basically the practice of reducing the eating window in your daily schedule, which is generally described to be around 8 hrs per day (for example, you can eat your first meal at 11am and finish your last meal by 7pm). You still eat the same amount of food you normally eat, but you just adjust the timing. The thinking behind this is that digestion costs your body a lot of energy, (which is why you feel groggy in the office after lunch), and if you limit the eating window, you allow energy to be spent doing all the other functions of your body. There are a number of proven health benefits to intermittent fasting including increased mental clarity, more energy, increased growth hormone, increased fat loss, etc. We recommend eating later in the day, when you’ve finished work and gotten some exercise in. That way, you can just relax and let your body fully enter digestion mode.

T-Day (Thanksgiving Day):

By now you should have the body of a superhuman pro athlete with the six-pack to match, and any junk food you inhale should be incinerated in mere seconds. In theory, anyway.

Start the day with some water to hydrate the body and get the digestive system ready for the glorious feast that awaits. Do some light exercise - maybe some stretching, a short yoga session, or a relaxing walk.

Take it easy during the day - eat smaller meals so you don’t get too full by dinnertime. Indulge in some retail therapy at (#sorrynotsorry).

Hallelujah, you made it! This is where all your hard work pays off. Can I just dive in face-first into a pecan pie, you ask? Sure, why not. You’ve earned it. Or...

You can go a little further and use these additional tips at dinner to commence stuffing your face whilst avoiding a food coma.

Food Combining:
This is basically eating foods in the order in which they are digested from fastest to slowest. Why bother? Because if you eat a fast-digesting food, like melon, after a slow-digesting food, like chicken, the melon will sit on top of the chicken in your stomach and will have to wait in line before it gets digested. When this happens, the melon sugars will start to ferment, the chicken protein will start to putrefy, and acidity will take over your body, which can lead to all sorts of diseases. Basically, fruits and veg take the least amount of time to digest, so eat these first, then starches, then proteins, then sweets (yes, desserts are allowed). So your Thanksgiving dinner could look like this:

1) Fruits, cranberry sauce

2) salad, greens

3) corn, cornbread, biscuits, mashed potatoes, stuffing

4) turkey

5) pumpkin pie, pecan pie, candied yams

Take 10-15min or so between food combination feedings - this will allow some digestion to start and create some space for the next batch of food. Go watch some tv, add some items to your HABIT cart, or have an awkward conversation with that uncle who lives in the attic. 

Eat slowly - chew your food!

Don’t drink too much fluids while eating. In fact, avoid drinking while eating altogether. Not only will this prevent unnecessary fermentation in the gut, it also means you can save more stomach real estate for an extra helping of that mac-n-cheese you’ve been drooling over.

After T-Day:
Ok, 1 cheat day down, 3 to go. Ideally you would use these remaining days to ease back into your normal eating habits, but we really hope that you will consider implementing these strategies, or at least experiment with them further to see which ones your body responds to best.

Peace, HABIT.


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