Thanksgiving is upon us. While we were dreaming of copious amounts of turkey, roasted Brussels sprouts, stuffing and pie, we wondered: what do really health-conscious people eat on Thanksgiving? We caught up with two naturopathic doctors and two nutritionists to find out. (Turns out, it’s basically the same thing we eat.)
On their favourite Thanksgiving meals:
Rachel Corradetti, naturopathic doctor: This is a hard one to answer because I love a traditional Thanksgiving spread. Since I have to choose, I'll say that I am a sucker for homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin spice cake.
Marsyska Taylor, naturopathic doctor: I am a big fan of traditional turkey at Thanksgiving also, but this year we are having goose! I'm looking forward to that alongside my favourite veggies like roasted squash and Brussels sprouts from my parents' garden.
Joy McCarthy, holistic nutritionist: I’ve never liked gravy for some reason, so I always put cranberry sauce on my turkey. And of course, I love dessert. At family gatherings over the years, I’ve always brought a dessert. I’m making a no-bake, dairy-free pumpkin cheesecake this year. The “cheese” part will be made with cashews. I will post some pics on Instagram @joyoushealth.
Joey Shulman, registered nutritionist: My favourite dish to eat at Thanksgiving is my whole-grain stuffing. It is high-fibre, healthy and sooooo delicious.
On their favourite Thanksgiving recipes:
RC: I love the delicious recipe Marsyska Taylor put together for pumpkin spice cake. It's awesome because it's full of all sorts of good stuff, like real pumpkin and ginger, and healthier alternatives, like coconut sugar and spelt flour — you still feel like you're indulging!
MT: I love anything pumpkin this time of year, but my all-time favourite indulgence is pumpkin cheesecake. This year I'm making a raw vegan version of my favourite treat. It's a much healthier version with no processed sugar. You get all the flavour and indulgence without the sugar hangover or the guilt!
JS: Harvest whole grain turkey stuffing!
On what to do when you have one (or, you know, three) too many slices of pie:
RC: First of all, it's a great idea to prepare for a possible overindulgence. I like to use 5-10 drops of Gentiana lutea tincture. This herb is what we call a bitter. It naturally increases the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, while also increasing peristalsis [contractions that move food through your digestive track] so that you can better digest your meal. If you're feeling bloated after your meal then I always recommended peppermint tea, which reduces gas and bloating.
MT: I try to avoid overindulging by slowing down and savouring my food. I like to practice mindfulness by being fully present and enjoying both the people I'm with and my meal. However, if overindulgence does happen then I like to go for a nice long walk after dinner to help ease any discomfort, dispel lethargy and to get my body moving. I find if I can go for a nice stroll after I've let my food settle then I feel so much better physically and mentally.
JM: Don’t feel guilty about it, just get back on track the very next day! Start your day off with freshly squeezed lemon and water, go for a brisk walk and enjoy a detoxifying green smoothie for breakfast. You’ll feel better in no time.
JS: It is very common and normal to overindulge at Thanksgiving. To get the needle on the scale back to where you want it to be, simply opt for two to three “light eating days” following the Thanksgiving meal. For example, drop your grain for a few days, eat proteins such as salmon, tuna, chicken, turkey and Greek yogurt and make vegetables and some fruits (apples and berries) a big part of your daily intake. Water and exercise will also help you flush away that “I overdid it” feeling that may be felt after too big of a meal.