Thanksgiving – Don’t be a Food Hangover Victim!!

The day has arrived.  The hour is approaching.  The table is set and look out – we’re HUNGRY!  It’s been a whole year since we’ve sat down to a feast of this caliber and damn if we’re not going to take FULL advantage of it.  Am I right??  Okay, now I know that is the attitude that some take – and hey, more power to you!  It is just one meal – but I want to be sure you all understand what you’re signing up for here.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, bread, pie…  All the deliciousness lined up and waiting.  For many of us it’s been a LONG time since we’ve completely ‘went off’ the clean eating paleo gig.  I mean sure, maybe once and a while some ice cream, a beer, or some pizza – but nothing like the smorgasbord we’re going to encounter later today.  The ultimate result of going “hog wild” today is going to be one heck of a “food hangover” tomorrow.  So think about what you REALLY want to eat today – you know the GOOD stuff, not the semi-par jello or from a bag dinner rolls – but the special, once a year stuff, pumpkin pie, homemade stuffing, etc.  Your body and the local sewer system will be ‘thankful’ you kept your Thanksgiving under control.

Here’s a few feast facts for you to digest:

The average Thanksgiving meal (see below and add in a couple glasses of wine/appetizers/’tastes’, etc.) delivers roughly 3000 calories.   

Item Calories Sugar
6 oz. Turkey (white & dark meat) 284 0g
3/4 cup Stuffing 320 4g
3/4 cup Mashed Potatoes 310 6g
3/4 cup Sweet Potato Casserole 520 65g
1/2 cup Gravy 50 2g
3/4 cup Green Beans 60 4g
1/4 cup Cranberry Sauce (canned) 110 21g
2 Dinner Rolls 220 8g
1 T Butter 100 0g
Pumpkin Pie  w/ Whipped Cream 340 31g
Totals 2314 141g  

AND – 564 of those calories are from SUGAR alone!!!

Putting that into perspective it would take a 160 pound person 4 hours of running, 5 hours of swimming, or a 30 mile walk to undo 3000 calories**!  Considering that watching football and/or taking a nap post meal is much more the reality, it’s unlikely that the excess will be ‘burned off’.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast, but choose wisely!  Don’t waste time with the ‘not so great’ stuff and indulge in a moderate amount of your favorites.  There is no need to leave the table feeling stuffed and suffer from a 3 day ‘food hangover’ after one meal.  Play it smart.  You’ll be thankful you did!!


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  1. bigbeck89 says

    well, having celiacs I don’t have to worry about bread and pies, so I guess that could significantly cut my kcal load, but giving the numbers needed to “undo 3000 calories” is pretty much a useless metric.

    Assuming you don’t really eat much leading up to the feast, 2800 of those calories are going to be used by bmr. So this one day splurge hardly does any damage at all.

    Again, this is how I personally experience thanksgiving. I can agree that someone who didnt have celiacs, ate regular breakfasts and lunch leading up to the meal, and wasn’t an active 22 y/o male could get into more trouble…

    • Amy Kubal says

      The sad reality is that most people aren’t eating as well or being as active as you! You’re right on all counts – but, it’s still a good reminder for a majority of the population! :) Have a great Thanksgiving!

  2. says

    Amy! First, any Thanksgiving meal that only has one tablespoon of butter is a failure on someone’s part! :)

    As we’ve done the last two years, this will be a grain-free Thanksgiving, and I minimize the damage by making it the biggest PWO meal of the year! Here’s how we do it:

    First, do an intense workout. Last year my son and I competed in 50 kb swings, 30 handstand pushups, 1200M run. He beat me by 5 seconds. Grrr. Then stagger up to the table, say grace, and dig in.

    We don’t do anything sweet except dessert (dontcha know sweet potatos are best with garlic and salt?) so it’s protein and some carbs until the French Silk Pie with hazelnut crust delivers the sugary carbs.

    A pound of turkey, some sweet potato/sausage “stuffing” and up to half of a pie. Ah, if only every PWO meal could be so delicious.

    A hard workout right before the Thanksgiving meal rocks.

    • Amy Kubal says

      GREAT advice Bill!!! And I agree – total fail on the butter!! :) As far as the sweet potatoes, I remember some that you made that involved bacon and they were pretty damn good!! I’ll take some of those for sure! Have an AWESOME workout an AWESOME day and tell the whole family I said hello and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! :)

  3. Peggy Holloway says

    No worries for me. I am cooking and our dinner will be completely low-carb, sugar-free, and mostly paleo: turkey poached in wine, spaghetti squash with pecans, celery, butter, and a sprinkling of cheese, mashed cauliflower, green beans in my own homemade/no flour mushroom sauce, whole cranberry sauce sweetened with stevia, my daughter’s almond flour muffins (she is also a low-carb cook) and all organic pumpkin bars also sweetened with stevia with squares of dark chocolate for dessert.
    I wonder what the total sugar count is for this meal? I expect considerably lower than the meal analyzed in this article.
    It was refreshing to see a Thanksgiving meal analysis that focused on sugar instead of fat like everything that has been in our local paper this past week.

  4. nancy el says

    bring something you know you can eat if you are worried.. i worked out Tues.& Wed..thanks to crossfit Rockwall. brought naked green beans & made a dessert to die for.. enjoyed making it, didn’t eat it, left it for those who could eat it. turkey, au jus gravy, my splurge, corn pudding, really good. a taste of homemade pickled zuccinni. so all in all a very Thankful Day..

  5. says

    I realized that my Thanksgiving plate doesn’t look that different than my plate usually does for dinner: Good portion of lean meat, pile of steamed vegetables, and a side like real mashed potatoes or baked sweet potatoes… It just makes me more anxious because it has the title “Thanksgiving”. I didn’t even get any pie this year! Bummer!

  6. Lisa says

    I also have Celiac Disease. I have been Paleo since August. Quite simply, my Thanksgiving consisted of: salad, turkey, homemade stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, homemade gravy and homemade pumpkin pie (with a nut-based crust). I had a tiny sampling of gluten free green bean casserole. I had reasonable portions of each and will appreciate left-overs for lunch while at work today! I don’t feel full or bloated, guilty or sick. The best I both worlds, I say! :)

  7. Sandy says

    I don’t eat gluten so most of the traditional foods was not served at our table. We had lovely duck, brussels sprouts, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie without the crust and yes vanilla ice cream:) we round it all off with wine and brandy. I still ate half of what most people would have eaten that day.

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