Can you do Thanksgiving without ending up tired, bloated and unmotivated? The author of Super Human weighs in.

By Dave Asprey
November 26, 2019 02:19 PM
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Credit: Courtesy Dave Asprey

Dave Asprey is a biohacker, founder of Bulletproof Coffee and a man with a goal of living to 180. In his new book Super Human: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Longer, he shares his go-to practices for fending off aging and feeling your best. Here, the wellness expert weighs in on Thanksgiving, a day often associated with making people feel bloated or lethargic. Read on for Asprey’s tips for enjoying the holiday — without letting your health journey get too off track.

Picture this: In the months or even the whole year leading up to the holidays, you’ve overhauled your life. You’ve stopped doing what makes you weak, you’ve added in things that amp your performance, and you feel like you’re at least sometimes near the top of your game. You’ve stayed away from empty processed foods, and instead piled your plate with organic veggies and maybe some high-quality grass-fed meats. You’re thinking clearly, you plow through your to-do list, and for the first time in your life you have the energy of a thousand suns. Maybe you even grew abs.

You want to keep that going forever. The thing is, the holidays are around the corner and you may be wondering how to participate and enjoy Thanksgiving, a holiday centered around feasting.

Can you do Thanksgiving without spinning out and ending up tired and unmotivated? Without sprouting love handles?

With a little planning, you’ll enjoy a satisfying, delicious meal with people you love, you’ll make memories that will last the rest of your life, and you’ll come out of it just as strong and maybe even more energized.

If you’re not hosting, bring a few dishes to share.

It’s the gracious thing to do, and, you’ll know that you have something to eat. Win-win. Plus, you can show your friends and family that food that feeds you on a cellular level tastes amazing, and you’re not the least bit deprived. Roast up some butternut squash, whip up cauliflower mash with bacon, or even make your favorite low-carb dessert for the group. It turns out that — according to the research in my new book — you can actually live longer by swapping out the grains and cutting down on sugar.

The good news is that the right fats, including butter, eggs, coconut oil, olives, avocados, pastured meat, and the like are incredibly tasty and filling, so you won’t get the constant urge to eat that sugar brings. Sugar itself causes something called age formation, what happens when sugars bind to the proteins in your body to cause inflammation. Eat less sugar, age less quickly.

Most of your favorite recipes that call for sugar work very well with the safe sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, xylitol, and erythritol so consider making a switch. (Xylitol is poisonous to dogs though, so be careful.) Just steer clear of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which are worse than just eating sugar.

Let go of your expectations.

Even if people know about diet restrictions — like avoiding dairy, steering clear of gluten and most grains — don’t be surprised to see sweet potatoes drowned in syrup and marshmallows next to casseroles made with a canned soup.

It’s not reasonable to expect the host to adjust family recipes they’ve been making for generations to accommodate your lifestyle. It’s not personal.

Throw your rules out the window and enjoy the day.

If you want, you can go off the rails this Thanksgiving and eat everything your Nonna puts in front of you. Really! You don’t do this every day, and you’ll be just fine if you do it right.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pay attention to how crappy you feel after you’ve eaten the foods that you know make you weak. The next time you reach for a dinner roll, you’ll remember the fatigue and bloat, and skip it.
  • Support your digestion. Consider taking digestive enzymes to help your body break down foods that you don’t digest well. You can also take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar mixed in a little water before a meal to help with digestion.
  • If you’ve decided to just eat all the sugar you want and enjoy the day, add lots of cinnamon and consider taking extra chromium and vanadyl suflate, all three of which will help your body control high blood sugar. No spike, no crash. You may be the only one still walking an hour after dessert!
  • Detox. After a questionable meal, drink plenty of water at a minimum. I use coconut charcoal tablets to mop up all of the toxic compounds that come with low quality food. Taking liposomal glutathione when you drink alcohol can reduce the morning-after effects. You can also do a session in an infrared sauna to sweat out the ick and follow it with a cryotherapy session or cold shower.
  • Get right back on it. Send the leftovers home with someone else. Your next meal, get right back to your regularly scheduled programming.

If you’re making good choices most of the time, you’ll be more resilient than you used to be, and you’ll more easily bounce back from a day of indulgence. One meal isn’t your Achilles heel.

WATCH: Dietitian Keri Glassman Breaks Down the Healthiest Family Meal Swap Outs

Be thankful.

Use Thanksgiving to focus on gratitude. Make it a point to share what you’re thankful for with everyone you love, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. No need to wait around for the holidays to show gratitude. Listing your gratitudes every day literally rewires your brain and makes you more positive.

On that note, I’m grateful to share these hints taken from the science behind Super Human. It’s actually possible to eat the most amazing meal of your life with family, and feel great the next day!