Our dedicated reader and Facebook Community Moderator, Gary M. (you may remember him from his inspiring Reader Story), breaks down how he makes Thanksgiving work for his family, including a healthy and conscious dose of Phase 3. Use his suggestions to see what a conscious Phase 3 Road Trip might look like for you in your own life, including on that all-important day: Thanksgiving!

Phase 3 – The Forgotten Phase

“We have a tendency not to speak about Phase 3 very often so I’d like to touch on it today. Phases 1 and 2 are very well defined with lists of acceptable food items, food items to avoid, and recommended ratios of macro nutrients. It’s up to each of us to decide where we want to live on the spectrum between P1 and P2, but the limits are well defined and it’s easy to point out deviations.

P3, on the other hand, is a more nebulous animal. It can be vastly different for each one of us, and it’s up to each of us to use the skills that we developed in P1/P2 to figure out what that is.

The Basic Principles of Phase 3

1) Don’t abandon all the things that made P1/P2 work for you.

2) Continue to avoid/minimize highly processed foods, especially those with processed sugar and starches.

3) Eat P1/P2 food a LARGE percentage of the time … and stick to the P1/P2 ratios most of the time.

4) Deviate from #3 mindfully … and PAY ATTENTION to how your body reacts to the deviation.

Which brings me to Thanksgiving…

In the past, almost EVERY dish on our traditional Thanksgiving table, other than the turkey, was a carb-bomb of mostly unhealthy carbs – with ingredients that I’d still like to avoid or minimize in P3.

Also, my first Thanksgiving plate (mid-afternoon) with turkey, stuffing, mashed taters and gravy, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce (followed by a huge piece of pumpkin pie) contained enough carbs for an entire week. And then, I would have another plateful at dinner time.

Thanksgiving is going to be a P3 day at our house this year. It’s just me and Nancy this year (the kids/grandkids will be at the in-laws and we’ll get them for Christmas). So, how can one be mindful of ingredients AND serving size and still have a “Thanksgiving Dinner that can’t be beat” to paraphrase Arlo Guthrie?

My Plan For A Great Phase 3 Thanksgiving

1) Make AH friendly dishes. A ton of (recipes) have been Chef Dawn’s Blog.

2) Make more of the side dishes than you’ll eat for Thanksgiving and the next few days – and freeze a bunch for a couple of weeks later.

3) Don’t be overly concerned about ratios; put away your calculator and nutrition app for just one day. But, serve up small portions (like ¼ of a standard serving) of all those delicious carb-heavy side dishes.

4) AND/OR don’t have EVERY carby side dish with every meal. Maybe Chef Dawn’s delicious cranberry sauce along with the Cauli/bean mash (from the Shepherd’s Pie topping from Always Hungry? p. 238) with gravy for the first meal. And then, a cup of pumpkin soup, stuffing and a pumpkin pie tartlet with the second meal.

I plan to make the side dishes a few days before Thanksgiving since many of them improve with a couple of days in the fridge – and just warm them on Thursday. I’ll post the results in the Facebook Group if they turn out well. That will leave just the turkey to cook on Thanksgiving.

BTW, my P3 AH-adapted stuffing is going to use Jimmy Dean Pork and Sage breakfast sausage which contains a tiny bit of refined sugar (corn syrup and dextrose … less than 1 g) – because THANKSGIVING!!! This is not a recommendation – just an acknowledgement that we each need to manage our deviations from P1/P2 and this one works for me.

Final Thoughts on the Holiday!

As much as I’m looking forward to a very traditional meal, there’s one tradition that I won’t miss. After polishing off several platefuls of old-school Thanksgiving food, I would push back from the table, rub my swollen belly and proclaim: “I’m never eating again!”. Everyone expected it and we all laughed. Good times.

Final recommendation: listen to “Alice’s Restaurant” turned up real loud while you cook the turkey and heat up the side dishes. If you don’t own a copy, it’s easy to find with Google! Puppy Arlo and I have made it an annual tradition to listen to our favorite Thanksgiving song.”

Thank you, Gary, for sharing your tips!