Cris LaBossiere

Cris LaBossiere
Strength training and mountain biking. My two favorites

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Healthy Thanksgiving

Do you look forward to holiday dinners but at the same time have misgivings about the overeating aftermath?

One of the most common strategies to allow for overeating at holiday meals is skipping breakfast or lunch (or both) to allow for a major chow down later on.

Why do it though?  You know you're going to feel crappy about it afterwards.  It takes some doing, but the long term success strategy is to adapt to being satisfied with eating less, or to be more accurate, eating what we need.

at 2000-3000 calories for the average thanksgiving dinner, we're way over the mark.  One plate of piled on turkey, potatoes, gravy, etc is around 1200 -1500 calories, about double what we need for a meal.

Enjoy the meal and the company of friends and family, that's what it's all about.

Include physical activity before and after the T-Day meal.  A side effect of consuming a high fat high calorie meal is "endothelial dysfunction", your arteries stiffen up for about 4 hours or so.  This is thought to be, along with a spike in fats in your blood, part of the cause of the heart attack on plate, where a person has a heart attack shortly after a large meal.

The artery stiffening happens with everyone, even thin, fit, healthy people.  The post meal heart attack risk only occurs in persons in a high risk category, those with existing heart and or cardiovascular disease. 

Still, why eat so much that is causes arteries to stiffen?  Seems a little counter productive.

The best way to avoid this is not to eat the amount of food that causes this response, which is about 1000 calories of a high fat, high sodium meal.

If you do imbibe gargantuan proportions, exercise after the meal (like walking) has been shown to reduce the artery stiffening effect.

Including some kind of family physical activity with holiday meals is a great tradition that can help keep families healthy.  After all the healthier we are the better chance we have of being around to enjoy more family dinners.

I used to pack down two or three plates of food at holiday meals.  Can't do it anymore.  I got tired of the bloated feeling and the regrets of eating too much.  

I'm really looking forward to having thanksgiving dinner with the family; enjoying their company and catching up on things will be great, and so will the meal.  Not overdoing it allows us to enjoy the meal and company without the overeating aftermath so the entire experience is a good one.

Enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving meal, and we can be thankful for our health.

Some healthy eating tips for Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Be happy with one plate of food, or two small plates, the second with more veggies rather than a replay of the first.

  • Having all the food out in the centre of the table stimulates us to keep eating.  Keep the turkey and big bowl of potatoes on a table/ counter away from the place you eat.

  • Take the skin off the turkey you eat and limit the total amount of the poultry serving to about 1/4 of the plate or less.

  • Home made cranberry sauce can be about half the calories per cup than gravy, but sugar laden commercially prepared cranberry sauce can have 3-4 times the calories as gravy.  The remedy?  Use enough gravy and cranberry sauce to provide flavour, but avoid making lake out of it.

  • Make healthy veggie based dishes.  Google pumpkin recipes and other healthy veg dishes, make these the centre piece.  We need more veggies than we do meat or poultry so make a family tradition of a great tasting veggie plate to accompany the old stand by turkey.

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