Thanksgiving is traditionally the start of Extreme Eating season in the US.
This period usually lasts until the day after New Year's Day (just to make sure all the holiday leftovers and goodies have been polished off in time for New Year's Resolution Week).
I call it Extreme Eating season because one of two eating extremes can be observed.
Extreme Eater #1This is the extreme eating style practiced by Aunt Bertha and your loud-mouthed brother-in-law, who resemble a pair of those robot vacuum cleaners gone wild, whirling around out of control.
They bounce from room to room, sucking up everything in sight as soon as they pull their coats off, even licking the whipped cream off the beater blades the moment Mom ejects them into the sink.
It doesn't matter that they're both on "special diets" - or that one looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the other, the Michelin Man. Each has diabetes and the cholesterol level of a Paris cheese shop. And your brother-in-law's blood pressure is high enough to fill the Goodyear blimp.
"It's the holidays," they yodel between mouthfuls. And you know it's going to be another long siege at the dinner table.
Extreme Eater #2Then there's Jean, your lactose-intolerant, gluten-sensitive, "total vegan" sister from LA.
She walks in and surveys all this food with eyes wide in horror, afraid that if she even gets near the turkey and dressing, the pumpkin pie with whipped cream and mashed potatoes and gravy, she'll gain back the 10 pounds she recently shed on her new raw food, semi-starvation diet.
Jean has Type 2 diabetes, too (it seems to run in the family). But her Pilates instructor told her she could reverse it if she abstained from grains, fat and animal products and only ate raw fruit, veggies and nuts. So she's been "experimenting" with that lately.
At dinner, Jean fills half her plate with salad (dressed with lemon juice) and waits patiently for someone to pass her the steamed broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Then she slowly picks over her plate, making sure she chews every bite 25 times, in between telling anyone who'll listen, just how "bad" all the foods on the table are for the family's health and blood sugar.
So to drown Jean out, you ask your boorish brother-in-law to re-tell his botched hernia story one more time.
The real reason holiday eating wrecks our waistlinesI recently read that Americans gain an average of 7 to 12 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Talk about extreme.
Most people think it's the overeating that packs on all these pounds, but it isn't.
The truth is: It's not how much we eat that gets us into trouble, but rather what we push into our pie holes.
You see, traditional holiday meals are typically carbohydrate blowouts. Aside from the turkey and a bowl of overcooked vegetables, these feasts are "carbo-paloozas."
Instead of mashing potatoes, try mashing cauliflower and celeriac …
Sitting next to the Big Bird are the plates of dressing, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, dinner rolls, corn on the cob, mac-and-cheese, the eggnog, the Cokes and Sprites, the chilled gallon box of Chardonnay, and on and on. And then there's an entire table just for the desserts.
Here's another extreme thing we do:
Since we know we're going to eat a lot at dinner ("it's the holidays," right?), we "make room" for all that food by not eating anything all day. Okay, maybe just a bowl of Cheerios in the morning.
This traditional chowing down continues through the meal ("seconds anyone?") and the dessert course.
Afterwards, everyone (except the cleanup crew) stumbles to the waiting recliners, couches and over-stuffed armchairs to snooze."It's the tryptophan in the turkey, someone comments knowingly. But he's mistaken.
Thanksgiving is a carb-bombIn reality, everyone is in a carb-stupor (sometimes called "carb stupid"). All those carbohydrate foods jacked up their insulin levels to remove the excess blood sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream and the brain. Result? Everybody is groggin'-out.
Meanwhile, insulin is busy transforming all that excess blood sugar into fat (triglycerides) and storing it away in the body's fat cells. And that's what's really responsible for those 7-12 extra holiday pounds.
But much worse than the extra weight is the damage that all that blood sugar and insulin is doing to the body. Both are highly inflammatory and burn the delicate linings of arteries and blood vessels, leading - slowly but surely - to heart disease.
In addition, because glucose makes the blood thick and sticky, the tiny capillaries of the eyes and the body's extremities (fingers and toes) get so gunked up that oxygen and nutrients can't reach them. So they die a little more with each indulgence.
Upping your dose of insulin or taking your diabetes meds doesn't protect against these nasty complications.
It's time to lose the binge mentality
I'm all for celebrating the holidays with family, friends and great food.
So it just doesn't make sense to sit down to a meal that can wreck our health.
That's why we've created our annual blood sugar-friendly Thanksgiving menus and recipes (below) to keep everyone happy and healthy.
Every dish is so yummy that your guests will never guess this meal is so good for them.
Good eatin' and good health from our kitchen to yours:Farmers Market Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Roast Turkey with Mushroom Gravy
Cauliflower and Celery Root Mash with Roasted Garlic
Roasted Fall Vegetables with Goat Cheese
Kale and Roasted Winter Squash with Pecans
Whole Grain Bread and Lentil Stuffing with Turkey Sausage and Sage
Mulled Green Tea and Cider
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Sweet Potato Chiffon Pie
Butternut Squash Cheesecake
We give thanks for you!Along with our health, all of us here at MyHealingKitchen.com, The30-DayDiabetesCure.com and JimHealthy.com give thanks for you .
Together, we're improving the health of our country and our entire planet. You are spreading the word by your inspiring "keep getting better" example.
Care to share your favorite recipes?
We'd love to taste some of the healthful Thanksgiving dishes that are favorites with your family. Please share them here so we can all give them a try.
That's because SLIMTEVIA has 90% fewer calories than table sugar -- and it won't spike your blood sugar or leave you feeling tired and lethargic the way that sugar can.
I've created a special holiday recipe collection called Jim Healthy's Good Goodies - and I'd love to send you a complimentary copy.
Click here to get your free recipe book and to learn more about SLIMTEVIA
We wish you and your entire family joy and nourishing togetherness this Thanksgiving - plus a long list of wonderful people and things for which you are grateful.
The happiest Thanksgiving to you and your family!