Let’s be candid shall we? During any holiday—especially Thanksgiving—people have a lot of food put in front of them. Many times over, it is way too much food for even the best of metabolisms to handle without putting on a few. So wouldn’t it be amazing if you could still enjoy the holidays and yet never gain a pound? Of course it would, so read on.
Do you realize there are many healthy alternatives to a regular Thanksgiving meal? Even better, you can take advantage of those healthy alternatives, without having to give up taste! In this article, I’m going to lend you a helping hand, by introducing you to better food choices you can turn to during Thanksgiving or any other holiday. Aside from this, I’m going to show you a little trick that I use for indulging in the not-so-good- for-your-fat-cells foods without allowing those goodies to go to your waist.
If you absolutely have to have stuffing during Thanksgiving dinner—and who doesn’t, make it wholesome stuffing. Instead of regular crusty white or whole wheat bread, try using organic wild rice and walnuts. Take a red onion and sauté it with grass-fed sausages and celery. In the end, add some chopped fresh sage, cilantro and savory. When it comes to sautéing the onion and English sausages, make sure to use low heat along with grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee or organic virgin olive oil. By using grass-fed meats, you will be consuming an omega-6 fat called Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA, which is important to both immunity and your metabolism.1 Studies indicate that along with its cancer fighting properties, CLA from grass-fed meat and dairy also has the ability to help us shed pounds while holding onto our valuable muscle.2
Yes, we all get the fact that mashed potatoes are yummy and for many, they are a “must have” at the Thanksgiving table. However, unfortunately, along with stuffing, they are powerful promoters of the fat-storage hormone insulin. Instead of mashed potatoes, go for yams, sweet potatoes or even cauliflower (I know… sounds crazy, but there are some wickedly good mashed cauliflower recipes out there!). Yes, you will be surprised at how delicious these healthier alternatives are. For yams and sweet potatoes you can mash them up and serve them just as you serve mashed potatoes, but for cauliflower, you’ll want to use your blender.
Even though the American Diabetes Association recommends that you consume between 45–60 grams of carbs during each meal,3 I find this way too high for the average person who is already suffering from high-blood sugar levels that puts them at risk for type 2 diabetes as well as continual fat cell expansion. This is why I would steer clear of regular mashed potatoes, bread and everything else that can spike your blood sugar through the roof. Having said this, there is one way to limit the damage from these foods, but you’ll have to block the enzyme alpha-amylase first.
Block the Starch and Control the Sugar
Alpha-amylase is the enzyme your body uses to break apart dietary starch (i.e. stuffing and mashed potatoes).4 Starches consist of long chains of sugar. Your body breaks down those long chains of sugar into smaller ones in order to use the individual pieces of sugar for energy. The good news is, there are natural substances that are able to bind to and successfully block the activity of alpha-amylase, which in turn inhibits the complete breakdown of starches to sugar, thereby lowering the amount of sugar that gets into the body to create fat storage.5 The even better news is one of these natural substances can be found in white kidney beans and goes by the name of phaseolamin.6 According to Dr. Oz, White Kidney Bean Extract should be consumed before meals that contain carbs or starch. You can also eat pure white kidney beans, but you’ll have to consume a large amount of them to get the same effect as from a supplement with high concentrations of white kidney bean extracts.
You see you really can save Thanksgiving without gaining weight and compromising the taste of food. Go ahead, look up some healthy alternative recipes for the holidays and see what you find. Many times, the alternatives are just as good, if not better than the originals. And don’t forget to take your starch blockers!
- Cannella C and Giusti AM (2000) “Conjugated linoleic acid: a natural anticarcinogenic substance from animal food.” Ital. J Food Sc, 12:123–7.
- Sugano M, et al. “Conjugated linoleic acid modulates tissue levels of chemical mediators and immunoglobulins in rats.” Lipids 1998;33:521–7.
- American Diabetes Association Website. “Diabetes Myths.” http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/myths/
- Fantini N, et al. “Reducing effect of a Phaseolus vulgaris dry extract on food intake, body weight, and glycemia in rats.” J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Oct 14;57(19):9316–23.
- Carai MA, et al. “Multiple cycles of repeated treatments with a Phaseolus vulgaris dry extract reduce food intake and body weight in obese rats.” Br J Nutr. 2011 Sep;106(5):762–8.
- Mosca M, et al. “Determination of alpha-amylase inhibitor activity of phaseolamin from kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) in dietary supplements by HPAEC-PAD.” Anal Chim Acta. 2008 Jun 9;617(1–2):192–5.