How To Get Through Thanksgiving (Without Stress or Weight-Gain)

It’s that time of year again, Turkey day! For paleo and primal enthusiast out there, it is an opportunity to express your culinary advancements and experiments to eager, and interested family members! Or, if you are a college student like Josh and I, you are probably headed home for that delicious home cooked meal. Whatever your situation might be, you probably want a little bit of guidance if you are going to get through this Thursday night gorging without packing on un-wanted belly flab.

It is very hard to see all of that delicious, non-dining hall food laying out on the table and not want to absolutely stuff your face. We might not even think it’s such a bad thing for you to stuff your face! In fact, you might even be surprised by what I am thinking about trying this thanksgiving day.

If you run through an average thanksgiving feast menu, you find a number of nutritious delicacies. For example, the guest of honor for the night, a beautifully roasted turkey. Filled with protein, saturated fats, cholesterol and all those goodies that paleo-types love and myplate loves to hate. Then, you might have some sweet potato casserole, or something of the like, also a perfectly paleo side dish. Along with these sorts of things, you probably also have a number of cooked seasonal vegetables such as: squash, green beans, leafy greens, etc. Nothing so far seems too un-paleo friendly! Then there is dessert. pumpkin, apple, pecan, you name it, we got it pie. And, I mean, come on, who doesn’t like pie? I know I do!  But, it might be the one biggest problem that I have with thanksgiving dinner!

So, what do I suggest that you do to avoid the wave of thanksgiving pie apocalypse?

“Paleo Pumpkin Pie” from Marks Daily Apple

Offer to bring dessert! There are PLENTY of paleo-friendly recipe’s out there for making really delicious desserts. For example, last year, I made this pumpkin pie recipe from and it was a real hit at our thanksgiving dinner. Such a hit, that I had to go print out extra copies of the recipe to hand out to relatives, and we are still making the pie to this day! Plus, if you are like me, you love whipped cream and what goes better with whipped cream than pumpkin pie? (Also, if you have any whipped cream/whipped coconut cream left over, melt some extra dark chocolate and mix it in with the whipped cream, put it in the freezer overnight and you have ice cream in the morning. It’s delicious.)

But even if you bring a deliciously paleo dessert with you to your thanksgiving dinner, you still run the risk of adding on some pounds.

So what is a primal brother or sister to do? Well, I think it would be quite prudent for you to consider trying out a thanksgiving day intermittent fast. Think about it, not only will this almost guarantee no net gain in pounds on turkey day, but it will also make that turkey seem tastier and those sweet potatoes seem sweeter. An intermittent fast would be beneficial here for several reasons:

  1. You are probably going to be busy cooking all day and wouldn’t want to take a break for lunch anyways. Instead, take a nice walking break and explore your surroundings!
  2. This gives you a chance to sleep in a little bit more, and we know that every college student wants to get more sleep over their break.
  3. Intermittent fasting is difficult to do on a college meal plan because of the structure of time slots that the dining hall is open, but when it comes to thanksgiving day feasts, you know when the food is coming and you have a pretty good idea of what it will be.
  4. You might be traveling on thanksgiving day, like I am, and you don’t really want to have to eat any crap that comes from a fast food chain on the side of the road.
  5. Intermittent fasting is a chance for your system to reboot. Studies have shown that “IF” improves anti-aging properties, aids in weight loss, fights cancer, and a whole host of other health benefits.

So, How Can I Implement IF Into My Thanksgiving Day?

My family and I climbing a tree last year

Usually, a good time period to reap the full benefits of IFing is about 16-24 hours. So, depending on your scheduled turkey day extravaganza, start your IF at some point the day before. It is usually easiest for most people to fast overnight, so go to bed with some food in your stomach and tell yourself that this will be the last time that you eat before your feast. If you are traveling on thanksgiving day, try to bring some board games, books, movies, etc. Also if you want to have a lot of fun you can play online games in! to take your mind off of things. If you are already at your destination, go out with your family, who have been missing you while you were away ;), and spend some time on a long walk, playing some football, frisbee  or just climbing a tree! Thanksgiving day is a great time to catch up with your family.

However you want to enjoy your Thanksgiving, just remember to be grateful for everything this world gives to you. Take advantage of opportunities presented to you, appreciate and sustain your surroundings, and love your friends and family.

Be thankful for the grass that feeds the cows, that produces pat, which feeds the bugs, which are eaten by the chickens, which produce eggs for us to eat.

And, of course, be thankful for bacon.

Oh, and leave a comment!


About The Author


Max is a passionate pursuer of integrative health. He has been drafted by a professional baseball team, worked in publishing scientific laboratories and spoken to groups of students on health and well-being. He is currently a biology major and philosophy minor at Denison University. Max spends his time reading, weightlifting, traveling and learning. Email Max at

4 Responses

  1. Johnny
    Johnny November 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm | | Reply

    This is one of your best posts yet, at least for foodies like us! What you recommend is altogether doable, and the best way to go on what is otherwise a day of just getting sluggish and eventually comatose from overeating.

    1. Josh Singer
      Josh Singer November 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm | | Reply

      We’re always trying to get information out there that’s easy to understand and totally doable for anyone! Props to Max on this one.

  2. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    GiGi Eats Celebrities November 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm | | Reply

    TOTALLY THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING!! Stoked to shove some turk down my trap! LOL! Oh and roasted butternut squash = nature’s dessert, and I will be chowing down on that until my stomach looks 18 months pregnant… LOL!

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