THANKSGIVING IS UPON US. The time to break bread with our families, watch football and sit on the couch with that top button unfastened. Yes tradition, yes we love it..and dread it. But why does this abundant holiday have to conjure images of gluttony, overeating and the inevitable cycle of shame? The answer: it doesn’t. We’ve outlined five guidelines for Turkey Day that can help you keep on track while still indulging on your favorite foods. They help keep us in check without spiraling out of control. We hope they resonate with you too.

Eat a salad.
As our nutritional guru Gil Jacobs always says, think of a salad as your bulletproof vest when indulging in a heavy meal. The enzymes in raw leafy greens act as little worker bees in digesting the heavier food to come, which means it will exit the body faster–less time to fester and ferment in your colon. Also, raw vegetables are water-containing and alkaline, which will help decrease inflammation and the dreaded bloat. Tip: load up on the leafy greens (romaine, kale, baby spinach, watercress), add some crunch (cucumber, celery, carrots, cabbage) with a zesty dressing like lemon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and dijon mustard and voila! You have your armor for the night.

Properly food combine.
We’ve talked about food combining before but essentially, at every meal, the idea is to either eat carbs OR protein–not both. So yes, that means you have to choose between stuffing and turkey or a baked ham and mashed potatoes. The fact is, our bodies digest animal proteins and starches at different speeds, so if you load up on plate of baked yams and a turkey leg, that’s a perfect equation for food coma central. But if you choose your lane (IE: turkey and sauteed spinach), you can indulge with pleasure! See below for what a starch or protein Thanksgiving looks like:

A) Starch-Based Meal
-Green Salad
-Slice of Sourdough or Whole Grain Bread
-Mashed potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Stuffing (without meat), Quinoa Salad, Roasted Potatoes, Any Roasted Vegetables, Any Leafy Greens

B) Protein-Based Meal
-Green Salad (You Could Add Goat Cheese Here)
-Roasted Turkey, Brussels Sprouts, Any Leafy Greens, (Sauteed Spinach or Kale) Any Non-Starch Vegetable (Roasted Carrots, Parsnip Puree, Green Beans, Cauliflower)

Don’t Finish With Fruit.
The most common “healthy” mistake is having fruit for dessert. It’s actually the worst thing you could do. Fruit digests in our bodies with lightening speed. They are quick-exit foods, super alkaline and super easy to digest, which make them the perfect food. Here’s the catch: they’re not so perfect after three helpings of mashed potatoes, turkey and a charcuterie platter. Any cooked foods, whether they are starches or proteins, digest incredibly slow in our system. So throw fruit on top of turkey and you’re in for a gaseous disaster. Not to mention bloating, cramps and eventually food fermenting in your body, leading to weight gain, breakouts and other dis-eases. The moral? Eat fruit alone or leave it alone. You’re much better off eating a few squares of dark chocolate for dessert. Yes, chocolate over fruit. Need we say more?

Down A Digestive Enzyme And Probiotics
When eating a heavy meal, we could all use a little help, so why not call for reinforcements. Healthforce Natural enzymes get everything moving along so you don’t feel weighed down, so to speak, in the morning while Dr. Ohira’s probiotics will also keep you regular and your digestive system working in top form.

Tomorrow, Back On The Wagon!
Even if you fudge on a few of the tips above, the best thing you can do the next day? Get back on the wagon. So, warm water with lemon in the morning. A green juice or smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch and a heaping pile of steamed veggies with brown rice or quinoa for dinner. Your body will thank you and you can give those leftovers for someone else…aka your hungry doorman. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!!