Thanksgiving doesn’t have to end with feeling stuffed, bloated or constipated. Here are some simple ways to keep it cleaner and feel good all weekend long:
1. Go Light on the Appetizers - One year, my sister-in-law decided not to serve appetizers before our holiday feast. What a relief! Chips and dips, candied nuts, breads and cheeses can be filling and cause bloating before the real eating has even started. Try this: an hour or so before the meal, serve a brothy soup to help with hunger and excite the tastebuds.
2. Skip the Rolls - You don’t need them. With mashed potatoes, stuffing and yams, the extra carbs from refined bread is too much. Wheat bread expands in the stomach (especially with beer) and is one of the most common causes for digestive upset.
3. Make a Wild Rice Stuffing - Unlike refined bread stuffings that are high in simple carbohydrates, wild rice is a whole grain complex carbohydrate that absorbs gently into the bloodstream. It’s high in fiber (your guests will thank you later!) and is a good source of B vitamins and minerals.
4. Use Real Butter - Margarine is not healthier than butter. It is a highly processed food that contains trans-fats, which are oils that have been structually altered and are known carcinogens. Skip the Crisco for pie crusts. Use real butter; your crust will be flaky and rich, and it won’t give you cancer.
5. Choose an Organic Turkey – Ask around at your local farmers’ market for small farms that raise holiday turkeys. Small and local farms are best: the birds are better cared for and the meat is that much fresher. Always choose a farm that doesn’t use antibiotics, hormones or preservatives on their turkeys.
6. Serve Sparkling Cider Instead of Soda - Kids love it! It’s a drink they don’t get to have everyday and is much healthier than commercial sodas. Add a little unsweetened pomegranate juice for a festive color and fruity taste. At the very least, buy natural sodas that use sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.
7. Try Maple Syrup Instead of Brown Sugar - Commercial brown sugar is refined white sugar with caramel color (molasses if your lucky) added back to it after refining. Although it is a simple sugar, maple syrup absorbs slower into the bloodstream than refined sugar. Use it for candying yams and pumpkin pie filling.
8. Make it Yourself - If you make it, you know exactly what’s in it. It’s also fresher. Skip the canned cranberries, candied yams and pumpkin puree; making them yourself with fresh ingredients is easy and the food will taste markedly better.
9. Drink Lots of Water - Staying hydrated is key. The digestive organs need additional water to process the extra amounts of carbohydrate and alcohol. Make a point to drink at least a half a cup of water every hour, and make sure your kids are drinking water throughout the day, too.
10. Stay Alkalized - To much dietary acid from meats, dairy products and sweets can throw the body’s delicate Ph balance out of whack. This causes stress, irritability and digestive problems. A couple times a day throughout the weekend, pound down this alkalizing formula: 12 ounces of water mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon liquid chloropyll (found in the supplements section).
Okay… one last tip (and a very important one, too…)
11. Find Some Alone Time - Holidays can be stressful, and family can sometimes add to the load. Throughout the weekend, make sure to take some time alone for a walk, to read, take a nap or just sit by yourself and breathe. Even 15 minutes by yourself can bring you back into a calm and balanced frame of mind.