Holly Davis On Having A Healthy, Happy Turkey Day

As we gear up for tomorrow’s day-o-feasting, our wellness contributor, Holly Pellham Davis, shares her tips for having a healthy, meaningful, and less guilt-inducing turkey day and reminds us that the big day is about more than just the food… Enjoy!



By Holly Pellham Davis

It feels like we barely had the fake cobwebs out of the entry to our house from Halloween before seeing Christmas lights around town and hearing Christmas music on the radio! Are we on fast forward or what?

What about Thanksgiving? I know I am not the only one asking. I hear people talking about it everywhere I go. The push to get it all done, get it all right, get it all before its all gone… It’s enough to make you sit back, close your eyes and hope for Linus to show up and make sense of it all.

The only blips on the radar screen concerning Thanksgiving seem to be black Friday sales and people talking about how miserable they plan on being after eating their Thanksgiving feast, as if they are planning their own demise. Not much to be thankful for in that!

Let’s do a little Thanksgiving Holiday Detox and see if we can’t still enjoy, celebrate and even indulge a little bit, but without the bulge and misery. Here are some tips for having a healthy happy day…

  • Plan your largest, main Thanksgiving meal to be at lunch.
  • As always, use all organic ingredients.
  • Begin the meal with a large green salad, use dark green greens and add lots of colorful veggies. Serve a dressing on the side with goat cheese crumbles or feta cheese.
  • Pace yourself through the meal for a marathon, not a sprint! Make note of your starting time and do not have dessert for at least two hours after you begin your meal.
  • Make substitutions for “bad foods” like skip the gravy and reach for a small amount of cranberry sauce instead. Skip white potatoes for sweet potatoes or yams, eat green beans with carrot shavings, a little olive oil, salt, and pepper instead of green bean casserole.
  • “Veg out” your table and add sautéed garlic and kale to the menu along with roasted brussel sprouts, carrots & turnips. I can’t live with out roasted beets and they are a fantastic addition to a salad. Cook squash, okra or asparagus dishes to round out your selection. All easy to cook and good for you! Skip the corn and other starchy carbs.
  • Pick a lean meat, such as organic turkey breast, and get your fill before even daring to daydream at the dessert choices.
  • If diabetic, focus on your lean protein choices after your salad. The protein will help you keep your insulin levels stable. Skip all breads and processed white flours and sugar.
  • If drinking wine or alcoholic beverage with your meal, take the sugar content into consideration. Each glass of wine has about 150 calories. Decide, wine or dessert? If you want to indulge in both, have a few bites of your favorite dessert later with a cup of coffee (no sugar). Skip toppings on desserts.
  • Refrain from drinking a lot of liquids while eating. It dilutes digestive juices. Remember, don’t drink your calories. Small sips of water is best.
  • Keep conversation light and joyful so there is no family drama and stress. It has a terrible effect on digestion. Save it for a ”friendly” game of flag football later on.
  • Skip the recipes or substitute ingredients if they call for canned goods. Make all ingredients fresh or frozen.
  • If dressing is a Thanksgiving tradition on your table, skip all other bread servings.
  • Control your portions by using only the inner most part of the plate and by not letting your foods touch one another.
  • Make a good, delayed release Probiotic part of your daily supplements to keep a healthy gut and aid in digestion.
  • Cook everything in stainless steel, cast iron or ceramic bakers. Do not use non-stick baking sheets, pans or skillets. Also, skip all plastic cooking utensils. Make your kitchen a no plastic zone for left overs. Opt for glass storage containers.
  • Please think again before doing one of the advertised “cleanses” after indulging in a heavy meal. It truly will only make matters worse. It can be much like binging and purging your body.
  • Get moving! Take the dog for a walk, play some football, charades… many gyms have a special post turkey spin or work out classes.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. Go around the table and have each person say what they are most thankful for. That’s what Thanksgiving’s all about right?

So, this Thanksgiving, as I think about what I am most thankful for… my health is definitely high on the list. I will practice all of the tips above and ensure my family does the same. But it’s not all about the food is it? It’s about coming around the table together with loved ones to give thanks for the multitude of blessings we enjoy everyday. For many of us, we count those sitting next to us as our greatest blessings, but there are also those “empty chairs” once filled by people we love.

For me, one of those “empty chairs” belongs to my sweet, precious grandmother. I can see her table full of garden fresh food prepared by the most loving hands in the world… While I definitely miss her hand-made biscuits, fried chicken, and peas from her garden, it’s the love I felt in her kitchen, around her table that I am most thankful for… That transcending love is what I will be serving at my Thanksgiving table this year and hopefully many years to come.


Holly Pellham Davis is the founder of Clean Fresh Living, Inc., a service focused on educating consumers and families on the importance of healthy, organic, sustainable living for life and generations to come. You can hear more from Holly on her Clean Fresh Living blog, twitter, and Facebook.