Thanksgiving! Blessing or Bloating?

While searching through the many fun blogs available in the web, I found a fun article about how to navigate holiday eating. The following is an article written by a local Crossfit gym in Atlanta. . . BTB. While I do attempt to follow some of the famous and fun workouts that Crossfit puts out for free on the web, I find they are in direct alignment with me personally with regards to nutrition! So, I am honored to post a fun article written by a nutrition guru employed by Jeff Hayes at BTB!

Side dish mania for the holidays!

Thanksgiving really is one of my favorite holidays of the year. The “giving of thanks” for those in our lives, the time with family and friends, and the food. Oh yes, the food. Mashed potatoes…stuffing…gravy…mmmmm. YES, I will be cheating on Thanksgiving. And my stomach will get a little upset, I’ll feel a little puffy, but that’s okay. I’m willing to make the sacrifice. HOWEVER, I’ve planned out to make sure I fill up on some really tasty GOOD carb side dishes, so that my non-Paleo intake is severely reduced.

If you are in control of your Thanksgiving menu, or you’re being asked to bring a side-dish, why not make it something delicious AND nutritious? I’ve got a few ideas for you – I’ll be adding recipes over the next few weeks to give you some suggestions.

Before I go there, here are some tips to keep your eating a bit the wiser for the holidays, should you want to be cheating, but not so full bore that you want to puke for 4 days straight.

Skip the bread. Thanksgiving is one time of year when you have things like stuffing/dressing, casseroles that only come out once a year, etc. Why waste the time and calories on slices of bread, when you can eat that any old time of year?
Get your fill of protein. Someone didn’t slave over that turkey for nothing, right?
Variety is key. If you HAVE to have some of that macaroni and cheese – take just a little bit, and save room to try something new this year instead (like some of the other side dishes I’ll suggest).
If you’re like me, wine is synonymous with Thanksgiving (or most days ending in y). Remember that you’re getting calories and carbs through beverages, so be certain to also be getting some protein and fat in there. A carb-o-copia – for anyone whose been doing Paleo/Zone stuff for a while – won’t exactly make you feel like a million bucks the next day.
Keep desserts or other sugary dishes (candied sweet potatoes) to really small bites or two, if you can.
Most of all, acknowledge and SAVOR the fact that yes, Thanksgiving is a celebration, and a day for you to not worry about most other things in life. However, if you’ve found that you’re really sensitive to some food items, use some of these tips to keep the cheat a bit in check. Your tummy may thank you!
What are your plans for Thanksgiving? What is the one dish you can’t wait to eat? How will you be handling cheats and what not?

Now, for the recipe time:

This is a variation on a side dish we had at Muss & Turner’s the other night. As a child I though Brussels sprouts were vile…now I can’t get enough of them!

Brussels Sprouts Slaw
1 cup large pecan halves – toasted
½ pound thick-cut bacon, cut into small pieces
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 green onions, sliced thin


Preheat oven to 325°F. Place pecans on small rimmed baking sheet. Bake nuts until toasted – about 5-10 minutes (be careful not to burn!).

Meanwhile, in a large saute’ pan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Drain onto paper towels, and discard the extra bacon fat (or save for future use!).

Whisk mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and honey in small bowl; whisk in oil. Season with pepper.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add Brussels sprouts. Cook until crisp-tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. Cool on paper towels. Using processor fitted with 1/8- to 1/4-inch slicing disk, slice Brussels sprouts. Transfer to large bowl. DO AHEAD: Dressing and Brussels sprouts can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.

Toss Brussels sprouts with enough dressing to coat. Let marinate 30 to 60 minutes. Mix in some pecans and bacon and green onions. Place slaw in serving bowl. Top with remaining pecans.

Variations: you can try some chopped up or shredded granny smith apples in this, or you could serve the slaw warm. To serve warm, instead of cooking sprouts in boiling water, shred first, then saute’ in large pan using remaining bacon grease (work in batches), until bright green but cooked through – about 8 minutes. Transfer sprouts to large bowl, toss with dressing, add onions and bacon and pecans, and serve.
Julie Sullivan