Practicing Mindfulness on Thanksgiving

Practicing Mindfulness on Thanksgiving

By Nikole Randolph, MS, CISSN posted November 21, 2018

As Thanksgiving Day quickly approaches, so begins the ‘Holiday Season.’ Traditionally, family and friends gather to commemorate the blessings of the harvest, expressing gratitude and thanks. But let’s not forget the turkey!

Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most beloved meals by Americans. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, yams covered with marshmallows, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are the heart of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Because this feast only comes one time each year, many of us overindulge and consume more calories in a single meal than what’s recommended for an entire day!

It’s been estimated that the average American consumes anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. No wonder we want to pass out and sleep for two days after the holiday.

What if we could experience the same enjoyment that comes from a traditional Thanksgiving celebration but do it in a slightly healthier way? I’m not just talking about switching things up in the kitchen but also really embracing the spirit of gratitude and time spent with family and friends. In other words, practicing mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a modern-day buzzword that most of us have heard but might not know how to put into practice. Simply put, practicing mindfulness is bringing awareness and intention into every moment. For example, listening to your body’s cues while eating can be a mindful practice. It can go something like this:

  1. Chew, swallow, and breathe deeply between bites.
  2. Savor the smell, texture, and taste of your food
  3. Tune into signals of hunger and satiety

These few small techniques can instill a deep sense of joy, pleasure, and satisfaction from food which is profoundly different than gulping down food without ever tasting a bite.

Now, let’s talk about the kitchen. We associate certain foods with Thanksgiving, and our sense of smell drives much of what we experience. So try incorporating more aromatic foods, herbs, and spices into your food preparation. Onion, garlic, carrots, celery, lemon, rosemary, cumin, and turmeric are a few examples.

Instead of green bean casserole, try freshly steamed green beans tossed with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, and minced garlic or garlic powder.

As another delicious side dish, try roasting Brussel sprouts drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, then toss them in a balsamic reduction and add a few chopped pecans and dried cranberries.

For your turkey, try this insanely good Rosemary and Garlic Rub.

  • 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 8 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients and rub/press into your clean turkey before baking or try roasting your favorite veggies after tossing them in this mixture.

There might be some traditional dishes you’re unwilling to change or part with, like mashed potatoes. That’s ok! Enjoy the food you love, do it mindfully and choose to pass on the foods you can live without.

Intentionally enjoy each moment this Thanksgiving, and you may find that food becomes less important than enjoying the company and time spent with friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Boulder Karate!

Nikole Randolph, MS, CISSN

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