Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

By Samantha Gilbert, BA, CHNP

  1. Know true hunger. Teach your body the difference between physical hunger and social or psychological hunger. This takes some time to master, especially when your brother keeps bringing up your old high school boyfriend who wore sweatbands all the time and thought he was Eddie Van Halen in front of your new boyfriend, whom you’ve only been dating for a few months. Meditation and Clearing are amazing tools to have at your disposal during these times. Simply slip away to the bathroom or take a walk outside and ask yourself “what are the feelings that are provoking my anxiety and frustration?” Then clear them or meditate for a moment to see if you are truly physically hungry, or just full of anxiety that is triggering your desire to eat. The answer may surprise you. Trust me, this works.
  2. Eat slowly. Practice keeping your fork down until you have finished your last bite of food and take at least 15 minutes to finish your meal. Many digestive problems can be eliminated by slowing down because your brain needs time to tell your body you are, in fact, full. If you eat slowly and mindfully, conscious of every bite, you’ll probably eat less but enjoy your food more. Think the French Paradox is a load of crap? Think again. Every time I am in France I always lose weight, and I attribute this to the greater positive energy generated in the kitchen and at the dinner table with people I love. Savor what you are eating. Make love to it, and enjoy the process.
  3. Eat to 80% fullness. What does this mean? It means eat until you are just satisfied. Remember points #1 and #2 above and you’ll master this one in no time.
  4. Get active. Just because it’s the holidays and your gym suddenly becomes a ghost town or you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can’t work up a sweat. Staying active will help keep your mind clear and your metabolism up. It can also help you cope with Aunt Martha’s annoying comments about your new hairdo. Besides, who doesn’t love a nice, long walk after dinner snuggled next to your sweetheart?
  5. Get plenty of sleep. Yes, I know you are in charge of your family’s dessert committee (heck, you probably are the committee), plus you’re not thrilled about seeing your in-laws, but trust me, adequate sleep will do you wonders. Not only does sleep change your hormone balance and ability to recover from stress, but the more sleep you get the leaner you are. The less sleep you get, the fatter, weaker and sicker you’re likely to be. And you definitely don’t need to be dealing with that. Quick tip, turn off your computer and TV at least two hours before hitting the sheets.
  6. Ditch the white stuff. You can still make wonderful desserts without the use of refined sugar. Coconut palm sugar is a great 1 to 1 replacement to white sugar and is loaded with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Other great options include date sugar, maple syrup (grade B and organic), molasses and raw honey (not for infants). Keep in mind that these sweeteners are still sugar and regardless of marketing tactics, are still highly glycemic. Therefore, I recommend keeping them to a minimum.
  7. Enjoy proteins and fats first. I know Aunt Martha will have platefuls of sugary finger foods, and little crystal bowls from the 1960’s scattered throughout the house full of peanut M & M’s to entice you, but trust me, you’ll enjoy Thanksgiving dinner so much more if your blood sugar is on even keel. Instead, go check out the deviled eggs, or better yet, eat a healthy snack before leaving the house such as an apple with a handful of sprouted almonds or a protein shake with coconut oil. Your adrenal glands will thank you.
  8. Eliminate vegetable oils. This really is a biggie. All vegetable oils (canola, soy, corn, safflower, etc.) use solvents, usually hexane, during the extraction process that still remain in the finished product. No amount of refining will remove these harmful substances. So called “heart healthy” canola oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which easily become rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids by turning them into trans fatty acids. Don’t buy into industry marketing tactics. These oils are very toxic. Think nut and seeds oils are better? Nope. These oils are so delicate they go rancid very quickly, long before they hit the shelf. Instead, opt for raw coconut oil and raw or organic butter for cooking and baking. Use olive oil sparingly and only after cooking. Click here to read my complete article about oil processing.
  9. Replace white flour with sprouted options. The abuse of grains through today’s present processing methods renders them devoid of nutrients. Sprouting breaks down hard to digest starches and anti-nutrients leaving you with healthier (and tastier) pies, cakes and breads. Check out To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company for more information.
  10. Support your local farmer. In 1992, the USDA approved a rule to permit irradiation of raw, fresh or frozen packaged poultry and produce. Irradiation depletes foods of their valuable vitamin and mineral content. Conventional animals are also subjected to deplorable living conditions, and injected with a wide variety of hormones, antibiotics, and flavor enhancers. In other words, you are throwing your health and money down the toilet. Buying from your local farmer supports healthier animals, a better environment, and better health for you and your family. And I almost forgot, your food will taste better too! How’s that for a Rock Star Thanksgiving? Check out the Organic Consumers Association for more details.

Recently, James Arthur Ray, a famous self-help guru and spiritual leader, was convicted of negligent homicide in the deaths of three people during a sweat lodge ceremony. Click here for the Dateline special.

Is he a real guru who was being blamed for an unfortunate accident like he claims?

I am personally very uncomfortable with him. He says many things that I say as a UTUE Teacher, but there is a MAJOR difference. He talks about energy and we talk about energy. He talks about the great potential within a human being and so do we. He talks about the power of our thoughts and we talk about the power of our thoughts and beliefs.

So what is the difference?

The problem is James Arthur Ray connected with his audience at the level of their ego NOT their authentic self.

Your ego is not the source of inner knowing or what we call a Green Personality. Activities and behaviors that build your ego are not sustainable or lasting. Symbolic gestures where you “act” like you are facing your fears do not really overcome those fears. It is a false belief that when you push yourself and drive yourself you become better. This will give you a temporary high, but it ALWAYS wears off. This is not real change. Developing a Green Personality is the only way to embody real change.

Your ego tricks and lies to you, and covers information from your authentic self about what is in your best interest.  James Arthur Ray pandered to people’s ego. He would ask people to push their limits by having them cut off their hair, walk on hot coals, and ultimately do a sweat lodge ceremony to the max.  Three people died listening to James Arthur Ray, a self professed guru and their own ego.

What is the answer?

When you work with your authentic self and remove the energy of those fears over time it is lasting and sustainable. It is not a quick fix, but has amazing power and clarity because not only do you remove your fears you see yourself more clearly.

Do you need a guru to make change on the inside?  How do you know the real gurus from the phonies? 

At UTUE we say “Be Your Own Guru.” The best guru you could ever have is your own authentic self that comes from having a Green Personality. However, your ego competes with that authentic part of you and the ego voice is typically louder. The ego looks outside itself for validation and is attracted to gurus with a public reputation. UTUE Teachers guide you to that natural place that is the best guru you could ever have. We don’t become the gurus for you, we teach you to let your inner knowing be the guru that is unique to you and knows what is best for you.

UTUE is a non-profit dedicated to helping our students become their own gurus. Not with showy symbolic exercises or dangerous stunts, but by creating lasting, sustainable change.

What Japan needs right now!

The news is full of images of the devastation in Japan.  Destruction for miles and miles, boats on top of buildings, pictures of emotional people in sheer terror; then in stark contrast, we see workers at the nuclear reactors who are risking their lives to save the millions that live close by!  It is easy to be concerned and wonder “what does this mean for the world and for me? How can I go about my daily activities while this is going on?”

At UTUE, we see a cloud that no one is referring to, the energy cloud of emotion (emotions are energies).  Unlike a radiation cloud that is restricted by time and space, energy clouds of emotions can travel across the globe in an instant.  We have seen heightened emotional responses in many people, including our students.

There is a stark contrast of positive and negative energy circling the globe right now.  In the negative realm there are waves of hopelessness, fear, doom and anger.  At the same time there is courage, hope and determination to help others.   We can see the fabric of humanity at its best where there are those who acknowledge that we are all in this together; then we can watch the actions of many that are heroic and inspiring.

What can I do for others?

Although money and supplies are critical in Japan right now, there is something that we can also do that is even more critical – positive emotions!  There is nothing more toxic than fear, panic, hopelessness and doom.  What is the antidote? Activating Creator Energy! When you see images of people in Japan, send individuals or groups Creator Energy by filling them up.  When the Prime Minister is on TV, fill him up with Creator Energy.  Of course, don’t forget to do it for yourself first.

What can I do for myself?

Use the UTUE Clearing Process to remove the fears, anxieties, panic, hopelessness and doom and whatever else you are feeling.  Visit  “How to Clear”, to familiarize yourself with the basics of clearing if you need help.  There is a false belief that the emotion of fear will keep you safe, but that is not true.  The emotions of fear and hopelessness can be more toxic than the radiation and other negative effects of the earthquake.  When you clear these negative emotions, you will have greater objectivity and be able to act in your own best interest. Also, when the negative emotions seem overwhelming, remember to activate Creator Energy for yourself.

If you are really suffering, schedule a session with a UTUE Teacher!

Does the Earthquake have some meaning of things to come?

Many people have asked me this lately and the truth is I don’t know.  If anyone says they do know I would not trust them as a source of  information.  But I do know that it is easy to see this situation out of proportion and with a  heightened sense of fear and doom.  What disturbs me the most is when I see us hurting each other in war and ethnic cleansing and that we have been doing this for too many years now.  Do what you can for the people of Japan and then live your life!!!

Because we are all human, we are susceptible to the energies around us. When we are not focusing on taking care of ourselves, but trying to take care of everyone else, often times this leaves us vulnerable to the illnesses of the seasons. When we find ourselves being vulnerable, the basic advice is to rest and drink lots of liquids. The basic spiritual advice is to ask ourselves what our opportunity is to learn from this downtime that our physical body is demanding of us.

Next time you find yourself feeling ill, the silver lining can be found by practicing self care, connecting with creator energy, and clearing when you have the energy back.

Anybody have instances to share?

Emotional exhaustion is created when emotional energies build up and overwhelm us. There are two ways we can work with emotional exhaustion. One way is to clear on a regular basis so the negative emotions do not build up. Don’t just clear when you feel bad but clear all the time. Another important way to work with emotional exhaustion is to activate Creator Energy. If you need relief “right now” activate Creator Energy and take an energetic break.