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This Thanksgiving, Forget the Food Coma

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for family and friends, as everyone gathers to pig out on junk food, and then pass out in front of the television, only to wake up hours later from your tryptophan-induced coma to eat (more), drink (more), and be merry (ish).

Sound familiar? I thought so.

This year, rather than kick into auto pilot during the holiday season and allow others to decide what you are going to eat, take ownership of your health, just like you do every other day of the year. Show your loved ones the responsible, informed eater that you are, and inspire them to make changes in their lives too. 

Because I know it’s not easy to go it alone, here are some tips to make your Thanksgiving meal one your body will actually thank you for this year:

• Don’t make everything from scratch. Tofurky, which can be purchased at almost any grocery store, is made with tofu and other natural ingredients, but you can add your own touch by glazing it with organic olive oil; fresh rosemary; garlic; orange juice; and raw, low-sodium shoyu sauce. Then, slice up several organic yellow onions, carrots and celery stalks and toss them into the pot for the last 15 minutes of baking. Voila! Tofurky done right. Also, deliciously.

• Rather than starve yourself in anticipation of gorging on the big meal, enjoy little bites throughout the day. Not only will it keep your metabolism working, it’ll prevent you from feeling overly full, and eventually nauseous, following dinner. Graze on a handful of nuts, ideally an organic, raw mixture that includes almonds, walnuts, pecans, goji berries, green pistachios, and dried cranberries.

• Try to keep your blood sugar level stable throughout the day. Don’t overdo it on the carbs or underdo it by not eating all day. This way, you won’t freak out on your relatives when one (or two) if them inevitably says something that make you want to hurl a Tofurky roast at their head.

• Choose organic ingredients. Then, cook and prepare them with love. Some Imus family favorites include:
- Stuffing made from quinoa, millet, wild rice, rosemary & sage
- Vegan mushroom gravy
- Poached cranberry and apple dumplings
- Haricot verts (string beans) sautéed with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, with a splash of lemon juice and grated lemon zest
- Steamed brussel sprouts tossed with olive oil, sea salt, walnuts, dried cranberries, and a dash of cinnamon
- Warm, fluffy dinner rolls
- Cranberry-pomegranate relish

OK, no one is perfect…I need that darned canned cranberry sauce, too. Make sure the can you buy is organic and BPA-free. 

For dessert, my favorites are mini vegan pecan pies made from scratch, served with vanilla coconut milk ice cream and accompanied by a steaming cup of hot chocolate, with shaved dark chocolate bits on top
Finally, if you’re hosting the event, make sure to take time to sit and enjoy the feast you’ve prepared. 

All too often we become preoccupied with perfecting a party, running around while everyone else relaxes. The point of the holiday is not turkey or stuffing, as pop culture would have us believe, but reconnecting with family and friends. Turkey or Tofurky, this is one piece of advice I hope you’ll truly abide. Happy Thanksgiving!

Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™ at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder/Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a frequent contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com, Fox Business Channel and Fox News Channel. Check out her website at dienviro.com.

Deirdre Imus, Founder of the site devoted to environmental health, www.ImusEnvironmentalHealth.org, is President and Founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a frequent contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com, and Fox Business Channel. Check out her website at www.ImusEnvironmentalHealth.org  and 'Like' her Facebook page here.