Should Thanksgiving be a bummer?

Was your turkey raised like this? Happy and free of fake hormones?

I started eating strict Paleo just about 35 days ago when I started my Whole 30 program. That was completed about a week ago and since I have had four beers (I had to attend happy hour after my Whole 30 was completed) and frozen yogurt, but stayed pretty darn strict Paleo otherwise.

Most of my family knows that I have been on this Whole 30 program because I have been spamming the ever living beejeesus out of Facebook with pictures of food and while I only lost about seven pounds during my month I think I do look different. Thinner. They don’t totally understand it and that is totally understandable. I had no idea what I was getting into even after reading It Starts with Food but after a month of reading packages, searching for acceptable recipes and, honestly, trying to find any loophole to feel like you are cheating without cheating sort of makes you a pseudo-expert on the subject. I know I have infinitely more to learn (I was still trying to find out of peanuts were Paleo-OK just this past weekend and was disappointed to find the answer…).

I sent out an email a few weeks ago to my sisters, mother and wife saying I would happily go in halvsies on a turkey if it was free range and grass fed/finished, I didn’t get any response. I wasn’t going to make a big deal of it. I realized that I could just eat the turkey on Thanksgiving that was purchased by whomever and eat it and enjoy it regardless of if it was stuffed with GMO’s or not. It’s Thanksgiving, after all. Just be happy with your family! But then I got a call last night from my dad and my sister not only bought one free range turkey from Whole Foods, but two!! What a great sis!! …but her husband likes to fry them in peanut oil. He started doing so a few years ago and is really starting to get good at it. But we all know that no matter what is put into the turkey doesn’t matter if it is fried in peanut oil or any other grain or soy based oil.

…or like this? If you are what you eat, don’t you want to eat “happy”? And not eat fake?

Which should I eat? The grass fed fried turkey or the turkey stuffed with all kinds of GMO’s but it is baked…with butter, probably?

That wasn’t the dilemma at hand; my dad was calling because I guess someone assumed I wouldn’t help my sister pay for the grass fed turkey(s). Of course I will! I would much rather they don’t fry one but I will still help with money. However; after talking to my dad I was told my mom bought two turkeys herself**. Well, why not switch the two of the turkeys so one of the grass fed could be baked?

Deal. And I’ll pay for the entire turkey that is baked. Thanks to my sister that made such a great effort. I sort of wish I didn’t beat her up so much when we were younger. Sort of.

Am I being a bummer for Thanksgiving? Am I bringing others down by being so picky? I know at a restaurant you can be picky and you should be picky about your food; you are the customer (read this, great article by the Hartwigs), but for Thanksgiving is it being too much of a PITA? (Google “PITA” if you are a newbie text messager.)

My sweet potato pie. Yummy.

I am making a Paleo sweet potato casserole that is amazingly good for my dish for the day and I figured that is how I will share the Paleo experience with my family. I don’t want to impede on everyone’s taste buds by making them prepare anything else a “special” way. I would be shot if I even suggested that there shouldn’t be any rolls on the table!

Today at work they brought in caterers for a turkey meal and it was free. I figured I could at least check it out and see what I might be able to eat. I didn’t know about it so I had packed my lunch so if I can’t eat any of the turkey I have eggs and guac waiting in the fridge.

As I walked through the line asking if the turkey was baked or if the ham has sugar on it I started to feel somewhat like an idiot or a jerk. When I asked the lady making the salads to skip the croutons and dressing on mine …and… can I get extra tomatoes? I really started to feel like it isn’t worth my time.

I probably shouldn’t have even tried to eat today at work. We all know that a service like this is going to use butter, sugar and put marshmallows on their sweet potatoes (what a sin!). I should have just stuck with my lunch but I am such a cheap-ass that if I can get something for free, I am doing it.

I had some of the turkey and ham even though I am sure it had sugar and was factory farmed and my salad was definitely safe, but I am still hungry anyway since I didn’t have any of the fillers and no pie.

This brings me back to what I should do this Thursday. Should I stay good (or pretty darn close to good) and stay Paleo or should I just say “F it”, it’s Thanksgiving?

My family will be there, I will have run the Turkey Trot that morning as my workout and excuse to overeat a bit, should I just go off diet for one day? And not even one day, one meal! Instead of sucking the fun out of the day for me, and possibly others, by critiquing food and depriving myself and possibly making others feel bad because they are eating the “junk” I wouldn’t touch with an oven mitt, should I just go off diet?

I think so.

Now, I am not going to crush four rolls and purge on white potatoes and gravy, but damnit, I am having a piece of apple pie. It would be un-American to not have ice cream and apple pie at Thanksgiving! I will eat the turkey and certainly take some leftovers home for lean protein for the next week and I will eat my sweet potatoes and focus on vegetables (but not those green beans tainted with fried onions and a fat, carb-infused cream sauce).

I will have fun and keep my comments to myself.

The hard part will be that once I have that first off-plan food (some sort of Chex Mix more than likely) can I stay at least close enough to the tracks that I can see them or do I wonder so far off that I can’t find my way back to the tracks.

…I might lose the tracks for one day but I will have a good time and I hope everyone else does, too.

**This is a time to be thankful. We are blessed. I live in a place in which we not only will have four turkeys to eat, but I am getting picky of which turkey I want to eat. I am blessed to have a family in which 20 people want – need – to get together with each other on the holidays and enjoy each other but are also fortunate enough to provide for ourselves like this, too. I need to volunteer more…

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6 comments on “Should Thanksgiving be a bummer?

  1. wartica says:

    That is the cool thing about my mother because she gets me a salmon alternative,and it never fails of hitting the spot ! With whatever you choose on eating, enjoy the time with the fam:))

  2. flabtofitmom says:

    I will shortly be beginning my Whole30. I am really nervous about a lot of the issues you discuss, especially when it comes to meals with family when they aren’t on the plan as well. I think that it might be okay to step off for a short moment, since your 30 is complete, as long as you are determined to go back. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • traviseses says:

      You will do great. Best advice I can give: plan ahead. Spend Sunday making food you can eat all week and can warm up easily. The less parties and family meals the better, at least for me, as those are typically the places I munch and graze…on bad things.

  3. RunToInspire says:

    I just did a 30 day paleo challenge too – AND I’m going to stay on it (less Thanksgiving Day!)
    Enjoy the apple pie!

    • traviseses says:

      I will get back on that horse on Friday morning. That 200lb barrier is too close to give up now! At the gym this morning I was talking with one of the coaches and a few other folks and everyone plans on blowing up their diet on Thursday (and some are taking it through the weekend, lol).

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