Happy almost Thanksgiving Crew! I've been shit about blogging over the last several months, but no-one can be on all the time. While I was working on healing and recovering my gut post you know what, I gave myself permission to rest a little more and stress a little less. But I'm back and feeling amazing so I wanted to hop on here and share a few tips for a healthy, happy Thanksgiving and give you some of my favorite go to recipes. Some our mine and some are from other amazing plant-based cooks you're gonna be happy to meet.
I titled this A Plant-Based Thanksgiving...Well Kind Of, because like everything in life I want to remind you that it's about balance. You don't have to give up Turkey to have a healthy happy holiday if that's something you love and look forward to. But you might consider swapping some of your other animal products for plant-base options to bring more good stuff to the table and leave with less inflammation.
I mean, the goal is to enjoy yourself, not to walk a way feeling more stuffed than the turkey, right? So before we jump into the recipes...here are a few tips and reminders to help you enjoy the day.
The goal is to enjoy the day. All aspects of it. And because this holiday is so centered around food, of course you want to enjoy that too. To me, part of enjoying it fully is walking away having truly loved my meal. The foods, the flavors, the conversation, the wine...all of it. But here's the key for me. Without feeling like total shit! I've over indulged at the holiday table. And guess what. It kind of ruined the rest of the day for me. Not because I was shaming myself or mentally beating myself up for the choices. I mean, it's one meal. It's no going to make or break my health and my goals. But it ruined the rest of the day for me because I was uncomfortable. My stomach hurt. I felt tired, sluggish, bloated. And I ended up with a headache from all the sugar. I could have indulged a little less, still fully enjoyed the food and walked away from the table feeling satisfied, happy, even energized instead wobbling away to unbutton my jeans and rub DigestZen on my stomach. So choose your favorites, if it's all your favorite, take small portions. Try things then decide what you really want to have more of. But eat slow. Enjoy the conversation. Chew, Chew, Chew and stop before it starts getting uncomfortable to breathe.
2. Don't, I beg of you, starve yourself all day to save room for Thanksgiving Dinner. This is not going to help or make you feel better. You'll show up to dinner so hungry you won't be able to pace yourself and you'll mentally tell yourself you can eat as much as you want because you didn't eat all day and you'll probably end up eating more and feeling worse. Plus, again, your meant to enjoy the day. Starving yourself all day isn't enjoyable. So eat breakfast and lunch depending on what time your family eats their Thanksgiving meal and really load up on the veggies. They help you feel full and satisfied and will help with moving things along if you know what I mean so you don't end up stopped up from all the processed carbs, meats and sweets.
3. Move your body. It's likely going to be a very busy day. So plan ahead to move your body. You don't have to go crazy and kill yourself with extra long workout or do a double to "earn" your dinner. Just get up, make time for a quick 20-30 minute workout and start the day with something that helps you feel good. And because we all will likely eat more than we normally would, consider taking a walk after dinner. Again, not as a punishment for what you ate or to try to "work it off" but simply because it will help with digestion and you'll feel more comfortable after. If you don't have access to any structured workouts right now, here's a list of free 30 minute workouts you can try from my On Demand library I use every day at home. I've been turning to these workouts to grow and maintain my health and fitness for the last 4 years and I'm confident you can find something on this list that you'll enjoy doing! Need a recommendation...shoot me an email or DM me @coachcalie. I'm happy to help!
4. Hydrate. Make sure you're drinking water throughout the day. This will also help keep things moving. Two things I do to help with this. First, I keep my water bottle with me all day. This encourages me to drink water because otherwise I'll get caught up in all the cooking and connecting and forget. Second, I make a rule for myself to help curb my wine intake so I don't feel like crap the next day. After every glass of wine I drink a glass of water before I have another one. This helps keep me hydrated and slows down the wine intake.
5. Enjoy Yourself!!!! Again, it's one meal. So try not to overthink it and just enjoy it. If you're brining leftovers home, stick to the healthy stuff and make sure you're combining it with lots of veggies. Don't make so much food that you're eating pies and marshmallow topped sweet potatoes for the next four days. That's when you'll see the inflammation, bloat and cravings really kick back in and then it will be a struggle to get back to your healthier habits. November 26, get up and get back to your normal routine.
6. Whatever happens on Thanksgiving day...don't beat yourself up about it. The only thing worse than being disappointed in the choices you made and feeling crummy is creating a story around it that you carry into your life. One day, one meal doesn't define you and it says nothing about who you are or what you're capable of. The story you tell yourself about how you handled the day will determine a lot more about how you feel and what you do moving forward than the actual choices that you made. So choose your story wisely.
Ok, as promised, here are some healthy plant-based recipes to add to your meal plans. If you aren't in charge of the full meal, just pick 1 or 2 of your favorites to contribute to the family dinner. I always bring a plant-based main and dessert because they're are usually plenty of sides I can have. And it's a great opportunity for me to share and show others that plant-based food is just as delicious.
Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
Butternut Squash Blender Soup
Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad (pasta optional)
Pastry Wrapped Lentil Loaf
Butternut Squash Shephard’s Pie:
Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy:
Savory Mashed Rosemary Sweet Potatoes:
*I swap the sour cream and butter for vegan sour cream from Kite Hill and Earth’s Balance Butter
Rosemary Focaccia Bread:
Lentil “Sausage” Stuffed Cornbread Muffins:
Stuffing Muffins With Mashed Potatoes and Gravy:
Healthier Green Bean Casserole:
Maple Glazed Carrots w/Cashew Cream:
Pumpkin Pie with Caramelized Pecans:
Apple Cider Cake:
Pumpkin Pie Bites:
Roasted Vegan Thanksgiving Bowls:
Savory Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl:
If you're looking for more recipes, tips, guidance and support on your journey, I'd love to have you join or Holiday Hard(ish) Crew. This is my favorite group I run every year because people are really open to the idea of creating balance. Instead of coming in with an all or nothing mentality, they come in thinking, I just want to make some good choices and not go totally off the rails this holiday season...and guess what happens? They see really great results. They feel good. And they realize they can be living their life like this all the time! And that makes staying consistent so much more possible AND enjoyable.
Want to jump in with me? All the details are below. If you're in, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Holiday Hard(ish) and tell me what you're committing to from the list below!
"I'm all in for Holiday Hard(ish). I __________(have/need) access to Beachbody On Demand for my workouts and would like to add _______________(Superfood Shake/Gut Support Supplements) to help optimize my gut health and enhance my overall health and results. I commit to ___________".
Select from the list below...
In my VIP Holiday Test Group I will take you through the holiday season in a way that feels right for you! Here's what it includes...
Mindset Message Monday
Tasty Tuesday (holiday recipes, tips, swaps and more)
Workout Wednesday (fun challenges)
Thirsty Thursday (mocktail and cocktail recipes for the holiday season including some family friendly options)
Feel Good Friday (self-care and tips to help you feel good)
Shopping Saturday (grocery hauls and meals ideas)
SelfCare and SelfAssessent Sunday (rest, recover and reset for a new week)
In this group, you choose your hard to help you find balance and consistency through the holiday season so it can be fun but you don't trudge into the new year feeling heavy, tired, sluggish, and wrestling with sugar cravings.
You will choose your commitment level from the following list. Email them back to me with your choices from below so I can get you added to the group! And before you continue on, just know if you have questions you can DM or voice message on IG and I will get back to you and we can chat it out :) This That No drinking Limit drinks to 2xs a week 6 workouts/wk 4 workouts/wk 10 min meditation 10 things your grateful for 1 gal of water/day ½ your body weight water/day Daily Donation Weekly Donation All in on nutrition 80/20 Below are the details to get signed up! Categories Explained: Alcohol - it’s easy for this category to get out of control over the holidays. So you decide how you want to handle it, but it’s all about having a plan. Some of you don’t drink or would like to go through this challenge without alcohol. That’s HARD and we’re here to support you! But maybe you are just looking for a little more balance...in that case...drinks are limited to 2 times per week. That means you can still enjoy your holiday parties, but if you have 3 parties in a week you have to choose. If you have 1 party or no parties you can still have wine or your beverage of choice twice that week. Workouts - The holidays can be busy. Maybe committing to a program that’s 6 days a week just isn’t going to be doable. Instead of feeling like you’re failing or missing workouts, commit to a plan that is 4 days a week. You can choose LIIFT4, a hybrid calendar through BODi (I can help you customize it). If working out helps keep you sane and you know you need that daily movement, choose 6 days a week and opt for 9 Week Control Freak which has a built in travel calendar that requires no equipment other than your control track, Let’s Get Up (no equipment), Barre Blend (no equipment) or a BODi hybrid calendar that allows you to use equipment when you’re home and choose equipment free calorie torchers on the road. Personal Development: What we feed our minds is just as important as what we feed our bodies. Personal development is an important daily activity and non-negotiable that can completely transform the way you think and the way you see/interpret your life and circumstances if you open up to it. You will commit to either 10 pages of the personal development book of your choice (my favorites are posted in our accountability group) or 10 min of a personal development book on audible or a podcast. Water - We need to be fully hydrated to help curb our cravings, process our food and keep things moving in our digestive tract, keep our energy up, and our skin glowing. You can choose the minimum recommended daily water intake of ½ your body weight (if you weigh 120 you will drink 60 oz a day) or you can go for the extra hard challenge of 1 gallon of water a day. Only pure water counts...nothing added in. You will not count coffee, tea, sparkling water or energize. Meditation - This is where our mindset work comes in and it’s so important to managing stress and staying positive through this busy and often stressful time of year. Commit to meditate for 10 min a day (you can do 10 min all at once or 5 min in the morning and 5 min in the evening). If that’s too time consuming for you...opt to list 10 things you're grateful for every day. Either way, it’s a strong mindset commitment that will help you feel strong and empowered as we wrap up 2022 while also helping to move your body into rest and digest mode at least once a day. Daily Donation - It’s the season of giving. This is a way for you to take a moment each day to think of give back to others. And it’s a way for us as a collective to have a powerful impact. If you opt for daily donation you will either put one item from your house into a donation box each day (clothing, toys, blankets, coats, etc) to be donated at the end of the challenge for a total of 42 donated items OR you can opt to choose 1 item a week to set aside to donate for a total of 6 items donated at the end of the challenge. You will declutter your home and create space while contributing to those in need. A win win. Nutrition - We all know how we feel both physically and mentally really does come down to our nutrition. During the holidays it’s so easy to over indulge in sugar, take out, and processed foods, which ends up also crowding out space for the nutrient dense foods our bodies (and guts) really need to keep our energy and immune systems up and our inflammation levels down. We all want to enjoy our holiday favorites so we need a plan. Are you going all in on your nutrition following 2B Mindset or Ultimate Portion Fix (treats or built into these plans + tons of healthy holiday recipes that are Fix and 2B approved) or are you committing to 80/20. Which means staying on your plan of choice 80% of the time but allowing for 2 choices a week that are off plan. Not 2 days a week...2 meals a week. Choose your hard from each category and you will include it in your email to me and post it in our online accountability group. We will also have a daily social media check in card that you will post and tag me in every evening for accountability and so we can all celebrate our success together!