Upgrade your holiday table with fresh, healthy recipes that put creative twists on classic dishes.

* First stop! I'm filling my Thanksgiving Pinterest board with tons of my last minute favorite recipes -- including veggie/vegan, gluten-free, turkey options, desserts, sides, and more. And don't miss my food coma Pinterest board for all kinds of great detoxifying dishes.
* Amie Valpone's new e-cookbook, 
The Healthy Apple Holiday Cooking, is packed with 80 gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free holiday-worthy recipes.
* Vegetarian or vegan? Don't miss these 50 recipes from Oh My Veggies. I also love this plant-based Thanksgiving recipe collection from the NYT.
* Oh She Glows has a
luscious dessert recipe: baked, stuffed apples. It's also an indulgent yet healthy breakfast option!
* Are you gluten free? Check out this
healthy Thanksgiving menu from Bon Appetit 
* Gone Paleo? Elana's Pantry is a great resource for good-for-you Thanksgiving recipes, from spaghetti squash to chocolate pecan pie.

* How are you celebrating Thanksgivukkah? I love this dessert sampler from Mouth: pumpkin pie marshmallows, dark chocolate Menorah pops, and more.


* I filled in Racked on my health and beauty routines -- and shared photos of everything from my favorite green smoothie to my handstand practice!
* I talked to Women's Health about how new moms (like Jessica Simpson) can lose baby weight.
* Another 
Women's Health piece: this time on how to combat late-afternoon cravings.
* I advised 
Seventeen on fun, light Thanksgiving desserts.

Join Me!
Healthy Holidays Kickoff
Mon., Dec. 9, 7-9 p.m.
Join Amie Valpone (the guru behind The Healthy Apple) and me for a hands-on workshop with cooking, demos, Q&A, holiday recipes you can make in less than 20 minutes, and more. (Plus wine and gift bags packed with our favorite healthy treats!) Space is limited, so reserve your spot now.
R.S.V.P. to

Wake up from your food coma with a simple detox.

Green smoothie
Lunch: Avocado, artichoke, and arugula salad (you can add chicken or a hard-boiled egg)
Snack: 1 oz. raw, unsalted nuts
Wild salmon with pesto
Quinoa porridge
Lunch: Organic Avenue's kale salad
Snack: Lemon-avocado dippers
Dinner: Maple roasted chicken with asparagus

November can mean only one thing: Thanksgiving! Yes, it's a special occasion worthy of some fun and indulgence. But if you don't want to roll around like a Butterball turkey throughout the long weekend, read on for a foolproof plan to recover from a food coma. Gobble, gobble!  --Stephanie

The 411 on How to Recover from a Food Coma
Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday: There is so much hype and anticipation for overeating at this meal that inevitably we all, well, end up overeating. It's delicious -- but afterward you need to unbutton your pants, walk with a little bit of a food waddle, and feel bloated and uncomfortable the next day. Despite our good intentions, it just kind of happens. And then we feel guilty and lousy and swear we are going to start researching juice cleanses for December before all the major holiday stuff happens. But if you fall into that trap, you'll only set off on a yo-yoing path for the next few months (eat, cleanse, eat, cleanse...).

Want to ward off a truly harsh food coma altogether? Check out my 2012 Thanksgiving newsletter on how to deal with food pushers and 7 steps to a healthier Turkey Day. Also, consider replacing a couple carb-heavy dishes (the real culprit behind sleepiness) with fresh, delicious Thanksgiving salads.

What causes a food coma?

First, an explanation: A food coma is the sensation that sets in after a day or night of overeating -- it's not too different from a hangover, actually. If you're in the throes of a food coma, you likely have a headache, bloated belly, and dry mouth; feel lethargic, guilty, and foggy; and your clothes are feeling much tighter than usual.

Why it happens: Turkey gets a bad rap because of the chemical tryptophan, but that's not entirely right. The phenomenon is a bit of a two-headed beast.

After eating a big meal, our glucose levels spike -- and research shows that glucose can "turn off" the parts of our brain that keep us awake and alert. 
The other element at play is a function called "rest and digest" (the opposite of "fight or flight"). Post-turkey binge, your body diverts energy to help digest food. It keeps your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing lower as it focuses on your digestive system. (Oh, and alcohol slows digestion even further.)

How do you recover?
Follow this 10-point plan to feel like yourself again (and fast).
1. Plan a series of recovery meals. Most of us crave structure and a plan to follow. After a big Thanksgiving dinner, you probably don't want to think about food -- but you need to. Check out a sample week of recovery meals from Bon Appetit. Literally go through your calendar and plan out your meals and snacks. If it is planned and the food is in front of you, chances are you will have a healthier week. 
2. Hydrate! It's the number-one way to clean out your body. Aim for 3 liters -- and at least 1 liter by noon. If you need a little help drinking a lot of water, I'm all for adding tart cranberry/cherry juice; slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber; or even an Eboost to your water. End your day with warm water + lemon + ginger + turmeric (optional). I also love my Yogi digestion tea as it comes with an inspiring note, too. 
3. Eat breakfast. Choose one of the options from my Pinterest collection of detox breakfasts, lunches, and dinners -- or make yourself this post-food-coma smoothie: 1 cup almond/coconut/rice milk + 3/4 cup berries + 1-2 scoops protein powder (Epic, Sunwarrior, or Tera's Whey) + 2 tbsp. chia + 1-2 handfuls spinach or kale, and BLEND! I know it's tempting to skip breakfast or just graze, but we need to be structured for the next few days and not get caught up in a restrict/overeat cycle.
4. Practice portion control. Shrink back your portions to shrink back your appetite. Start leaving at least 1/4 of your food on your plate. Let yourself be hungry for your meals. 
5. Sweat. Go for a run, take a spin or yoga class -- just get moving: If you're pressed for time, do this always-great 20-minute DVD workout from Jillian Michaels. (You need a pair of weights, but that's it.) Or this genius 7-minute workout. And yes, there is an app for that. 
6. Keep yourself regular. Add 2 tbsp. chia to your diet each day and stay hydrated. Or add a probiotic
7. Record your food. It doesn't matter how you do it. Keep a photo food journal, Instagram your meals (yes, be that person), or just create a list of all the foods you're eating throughout the day. Record them as you eat them, not at the end of the day.
8. Eat clean, whole, plant-based foods. Go simple with your snacks: they should look this this:

 And fill half your lunch and dinner plates with veggies.
9. Commit to two goals.
     * The kitchen is closed after 9 p.m.

     * Cut out a trigger food. You know those foods you simply cannot eat a little bit of? The candy at the office, the extra spoonful of peanut butter, or the added cheese when at a restaurant? Take a break. Pick one and cut it out for two weeks.  

10. Lay off the booze. Limit yourself to 3 drinks a week after Thanksgiving. 
© Middleberg Nutrition 2013
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