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How to Eat Paleo on Thanksgiving Day

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Though this past Thursday was technically my second Paleo “Thanksgiving” since my Omaha friends and I celebrated Friendsgiving a few weeks back, I still consider November 26, 2015 to be my first true Thanksgiving meal since adopting a Paleo lifestyle.  I guess to me it is just not quite Thanksgiving unless it is being celebrated with my family and fiance surrounded by a table of the cutest doodle dogs.  Yes, doodle dogs = Thanksgiving.

My Thanksgiving meal has changed in drastic ways over the past three or four years.  Throughout high school and college, I just ate whatever my family  members ate without giving it a second thought.  Then my Thanksgivings were made up of things like lentil loaf and vegan Shepherd’s Pie during my years of vegetarianism.  And now, we are back to the turkey, but without gluten, grains, dairy, soy, legumes, nightshades, nuts, and eggs.  Holy restricting, right?  But actually, preparing a meal that was completely Paleo was surprisingly easy.  Today I am recapping last Thursday and letting you in on how to eat Paleo on Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving_turkey_dry_brinedAfter Ben told me all of his turkey cooking tricks during Friendsgiving, I was convinced that my dad and I could work together to make a killer turkey this year.  Since I was not in town at the time, I convinced him to dry brine the turkey on Tuesday evening with salt, coconut sugar, dried sage, thyme, and rosemary.

Thanksgiving_turkeyOn Thursday morning, we lined the baking dish with celery stalks and whole carrots in place of a rack.  We also stuffed the turkey with celery, carrots, garlic, onions, and apples.  I coated our bird with avocado oil, fresh thyme, and rosemary, and we baked ‘er up in just a few hours.

Thanksgiving_turkey 2

Thanksgiving_turkey_3Gorgeous, right?

The dry brine totally did the trick and we ended up with a moist and flavorful turkey with perfectly crispy skin.Thanksgiving_2015We let the turkey sit covered for about an hour while we prepared the side dishes.  And then, dinner was served!

Thanksgiving_turkey 4As we cut the turkey, it literally fell right off of the bones.  It was that good.  My dad and Jeremy called dibs on the turkey legs, but I was more than satisfied with a little bit of both white and dark meat on my plate.


Thanksgiving_mashed_cauiflower_potatoesI made slow cooker applesauce, Paleo roasted brussels sprouts, and my mashed cauliflower, while my mom whipped up cheesy potatoes and warmed up dinner rolls baked by Jeremy’s mom.

Thanksgiving_dinner_plateI filled my plate with half of a baked sweet potato (since I could not partake in the cheesy potatoes), applesauce, sprouts, turkey, and mashed cauliflower.  Of course I went back for seconds, too!

Lola_and_SadieMy sweet babies laid by my chair.  See, it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving dinner without them!

Pumpkin_Pie_Squares_PaleoA few hours after the meal, I enjoyed a big slice of the pumpkin pie squares I made earlier in the day topped off with homemade whipped coconut topping.  When I first thought about a Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, my soul was super sad.  But after doing plenty of research, I thought these pumpkin pie squares would be the perfect stand in.  I was right.  They satisfied every single pumpkin pie craving that I had.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the whipped coconut topping (just coconut cream and coconut sugar), and loved that I could pronounce every single ingredient that went into both.  I will definitely be making them again.

Thanksgiving_leftoversOf course one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is all of the leftovers.  I whipped up a turkey “bowl” on Thursday night with a few of the best leftovers.  A second pumpkin pie square definitely happened, too.

See?  Eating Paleo during the holidays is actually a lot easier than one might think.  It is also just as delicious.  I should mention that this entire meal was not only Paleo, but AIP Paleo.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

How to Eat Paleo on Thanksgiving #glutenfree #Paleo #Thanksgiving Click To Tweet

I hope your Thanksgiving was just as wonderful as mine.  Now… on to Christmas!

What did you eat on Thanksgiving day?
Are you a pumpkin pie person?

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood November 30, 2015, 8:30 am
    Such great tips! I'm not paleo, but I may be going gluten free (and then maybe sugar free... and then dairy free after my son is born ahhaha) so tips on how to survive family eating events are always helpful! When I couldn't eat soy or dairy after my first son, I found that bringing "safe" versions of my favorites were definitely a must-do since that way I was guaranteed food if there was nothing else to eat. Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted...Best of the Weekend: Cinnamon Rolls and Stop GrowingMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 30, 2015, 10:20 am
      Yes! I am SO used to packing and bringing my own food along to just about every event that I go to. It makes things so much less stressful for me!
  • Dani @ Dani California Cooks November 30, 2015, 9:49 am
    I went the opposite route this thanksgiving and totally indulged in EVERYTHING. it was oddly liberating!! But I'm glad to see you were able to enjoy the holiday sans any stress :) Dani @ Dani California Cooks recently posted...Chocolate Mint Chip Truffles (vegan, paleo)My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 30, 2015, 10:47 am
      There is no better time to indulge, right? ;)
  • Ashley November 30, 2015, 3:07 pm
    It sounds like you had an absolutely delicious thanksgiving! I definitely ate wayyy too much over the long weekend :) Ashley recently posted...Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tortilla SoupMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 30, 2015, 5:12 pm
      That is what Thanksgiving is for, right? It's not right if you aren't a little stuffed!
  • Sana December 1, 2015, 2:40 pm
    I loved reliving Thanksgiving through all of your beautiful and yummy pictures! I am already pumped for next year!!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 1, 2015, 2:43 pm
      You and me both! It is one of the best times of the year :)
  • Alli O December 1, 2015, 8:04 pm
    Glad you were able to make some delicious food to enjoy for the holiday! How have you been feeling? Are the changes in diet and supplements helping?
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 2, 2015, 11:41 am
      Unfortunately I have not noticed any differences yet... which is just a bit frustrating! I am also realizing (through lots of research) that it is not just all about diet, though. There are a lot of other factors (stress, chemicals in beauty products, etc.) that I need to work, on too!
  • Cailee December 1, 2015, 11:17 pm
    This is so great! Thanks for all the healthy tips! Even though Thanksgiving is over I feel like this applies to all the feasts that follow in the holiday season! I'm pretty sure my meal was Paleo as well. I'm gluten, dairy and soy free and I loaded up healthy veggies and turkey! YUM! Cailee recently posted...Hello Healthy Holidays- How to Stay Active!My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 2, 2015, 11:42 am
      I'm so glad to hear you had a delicious Thanksgiving meal, too. When veggies are involved, it's hard not to! ;)
  • Jen@jpabstfitness December 2, 2015, 12:55 pm
    That turkey- looks SO delicious!!! Jen@jpabstfitness recently posted...What I Ate WednesdayMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 2, 2015, 2:17 pm
      It. Was. Good. End of story!
  • Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl December 3, 2015, 3:10 pm
    I'm really impressed at the way you handled the holiday - and it looks delicious! As I transition to a grain free rather than just gluten free diet (and add in my nut allergy, and instructions to cut back on sugar, soy, and dairy to a minimum) all of your recipes have been really inspiring! Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl recently posted...One Year of BloggingMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl December 4, 2015, 7:16 am
      Thanks so much, Alyssa. I am sorry to hear you are dealing with food eliminations, but I am so happy to hear that my recipes are helping! We CAN still eat delicious food!

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