Hello Heart & Soil Tribe!
Thanksgiving is almost upon us. For those of us committed to an animal-based diet, it can be a challenging time. And without a plan, your health goals can quickly become derailed.
There’s no perfect approach to navigating Thanksgiving… and what works best for you will not work best for others.
Some people will continue to rigidly stick to their animal-based diet, even if it means bringing their own food to the family dinner table and refusing all other foods…
Other people will intentionally ‘go off the wagon’ in pursuit of maximum mouth pleasure, eating whatever they wish and dealing with the consequences later (even if that means never getting back on track until the New Year).
Then there are those who take the middle ground, choosing to balance enjoying food and company as much as possible while not compromising their health goals at the same time.
There’s no right or wrong decision here. The important thing is to make the best approach for you and enjoy the day without guilt, shame, or long-term health consequences.
Let’s dive in 👇
Option 1: The Relaxed Approach
Thanksgiving should be a time for gratitude, not obsessing over perfection. What truly matters is spending quality time and breaking bread (perhaps literally) with the people most important to you.
And counterintuitively, shifting your focus to enjoying quality time with your family instead of focusing on ingredients, or making ‘perfect’ food choices might actually be the best thing for your health in the long-term.
However, this approach isn’t suitable for everyone. If you’re trying to recover from years of metabolic damage and chronic disease, or you know that a bite of gluten or unpasteurized dairy is going to set you back weeks of progress, then you might be better served maintaining some food boundaries.
Or if you are tempted to choose this option in order to give yourself permission to maximize mouth pleasure, you might reconsider. Because for many people, this can quickly become a multi-week battle to get back on track, before eventually throwing in the towel and waiting until January 1st to start over.
Option 3: Strict Animal-Based Thanksgiving
Sticking to a strict animal-based diet can be challenging during Thanksgiving, but for many, it’s the only option if they want to avoid severe health consequences.
With this option, the best scenario is if you are responsible for preparing the Thanksgiving food, because it’s easier to control what goes into each dish.
And it’s relatively easy to swap out processed sugar for honey, source a corn & soy free turkey, and have some animal-based friendly options on hand:
But if you’re eating in a family member’s home, it can get a little trickier.
You might need to bring some of your own dishes, or prepare a response for when Aunt Jane insists you try her famous bread rolls:
Sorry Aunt Jane, your bread rolls smell delicious, but I think I am intolerant to wheat. Because any time I eat it, I have an upset tummy for an entire week.
Sorry Aunt Jane, I’m on an animal-based diet and your bread rolls aren’t part of that.
As always, sensitive communication is your secret weapon.
If you explain that you are avoiding certain foods due to a food sensitivity or intolerance, most people will understand and even relate.
Being this strict on Thanksgiving will not be an option that suits everyone. Don’t choose this option if it ends up doing more harm than good by causing feelings of deprivation or social isolation. And don’t choose this option out of a self-imposed pressure to be 100% flawless in your food choices.
Option 2: The Middle Ground
Now that we’ve covered both sides of the spectrum in Options 1 and 3, let’s look at Option 2: The middle ground.
Now most people in the animal-based community are already practicing this middle ground approach in their everyday lives, via some form of the 80/20 or 90/10 principle. And that’s a good thing, because perfection is neither realistic nor desirable for most of us.
This approach is all about striking a balance between complete denial and unrestricted indulgence, and maximizing our experience of the day without sacrificing our health in the process.
So it might mean starting the day with a nutrient-rich animal-based breakfast, avoiding the bread rolls at dinner, while intentionally choosing to eat mom’s pumpkin pie which has been a family tradition since 1993…
Or it might mean enjoying a bourbon and great conversation with your dad around the logfire, even though you’ve been deliberately not drinking all year.
Choose what’s most meaningful to you.
And consider where you are in your radical health journey. All choices exist on a spectrum. And you can choose a middle-ground that veers closer to the strict-side, or towards the relaxed side.
If you’re confident you can deviate from your animal-based habits and return to your animal-based lifestyle without issue, go for it. But if you struggle with consistency, or are worried about setbacks, then your version of the middle-ground might be best skewing to the right.
What we love about our animal-based community is the mutual respect and absence of judgment for each other’s choices, regardless of whether they’re right or wrong…
Whatever option you choose, the key is to own your decision. The choice itself is less important than the understanding and intent behind it. Make a well-informed, unapologetic decision, and enjoy yourself!
That’s all from us this weekend. We hope this weekend’s newsletter helps you enjoy a fantastic Thanksgiving! 👋
The Heart & Soil Team
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