Healing Mind, Body & Spirit

It’s almost Thanksgiving and, if you’re like most people, you’re getting ready for one of the largest and most festive meals of the year. Whether you plan to eat with family and friends or volunteer at a local shelter, you’ll soon be sitting at a table filled with the culinary delights of the season.

If you’re usually careful about your diet, you may be wondering if you should allow yourself the pleasure of indulging in foods you normally wouldn’t eat, or anticipating the pangs of guilt you’ll experience Friday morning.

So before things go any farther, let’s talk turkey! I say follow your heart – I definitely recommend that you enjoy the foods you love this Thanksgiving. However, as a doctor, I also recommend that if you do indulge, do so in moderation and don’t overstuff yourself.



Our well-being depends on the food we eat and the air we breathe, as well as our inner peace and state of mind. When we consume traditional holiday foods, we receive nourishment that goes beyond what normal nutrients can supply. We relive wonderful moments with special people in special places. We strengthen bonds of loving and caring between ourselves and those who prepare the holiday food. We savor continuity from year to year and generation to generation — something often lost in these times of rapid change.

Thanksgiving invites us to notice and be grateful for our many blessings. It is a time to remind ourselves to slow down, to relax and enjoy the precious time spent with our friends and family, and to give thanks for the gift of life. By fully experiencing our appreciation, we open our minds, bodies, and spirits to love and healing.



This is an invitation, an invitation to have health and pleasure spring from the same well. You have all made a significant commitment to yourself and your health. You have worked hard and accomplished much. I’ve included some tips below to help you navigate through the season with Joy and Ease.


Tips to Thrive This Holiday Season

Plan Ahead

  • Never skip a meal
  • Have healthy foods and shakes readily available
  • Keep trigger foods out of the house as much as possible
  • Don’t overbook

Record Keeping (Food Journal)

  • People who keep records lose weight, people who keep better records lose even more weight
  • People who keep records between Nov 15 and Jan 15 lose an average of 4-5 pounds
  • People who don’t, gain an average of 3 pounds


  • Start a dialogue creating holiday traditions that are satisfying and healthy
  • Take everything out for review. What still has meaning? What have you outgrown?
  • What can be improved and reimagined?


  • Use alternative ingredients to cut down on calories and fat without compromising pleasure
  • Leave out the worst
  • Try Christmas Crafting instead of making cookies and sweets

Parties and Family Gatherings

  • Don’t forget to let your family and friends support you
  • Most people feel sick after overindulging
  • Everyone appreciates healthier food

Knowledge, Attitude, Skills, Habits

  • Practice, practice, and practice. It takes a long time for these skills to become automatic.
  • Be gentle and enjoy yourself


  • Exchange phone numbers or emails
  • Set up walks, shopping, or calls
  • Build a network of people who share your goals and preferences


  • I can be happy and healthy
  • I can trust myself
  • I can respond to my own needs and wants
  • I can care for myself
  • I can discover the best way for me to eat

Remember to party like a person who weighs what you want to weigh.


Special times require special skills:

  • Family visits present special challenges
  • Cruises
  • Reverting to childhood and the old ways
  • Family stress
  • And the opportunity to indulge in old favorites and long standing routines.


Most of the skills mentioned in this article apply. For me, being prepared mentally and physically seems to be the most helpful. When I imagine a great vacation full of love and relaxed laughter, I usually get blindsided. When I recognize there will be fulfilling parts along with the challenges, I’m likely to have a much better time and definitely take better care of myself.


These additional ideas and activities help, too.

  • Take a walk. Remember to include time for yourself or with a favorite friend or relative. It helps not to be swept up in the general activities.
  • Be gentle with yourself.


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”


Cruises present a particular kind of challenge and they seem to be more popular every year. At the same time, they present an opportunity to care for yourself and have a great time, too. For some reason, they have become associated with massive, constant supplies of food. How do you prepare for that? Here are some suggestions that have helped many people who, like you, want to maintain a sense of control and good health: If there are 2 seatings, ask for the early seating (this is from several cruise goers and it does seem to make a difference). Stay on track with regular protein, even having a small snack before a meal. Choose the meals that are special to indulge in and eat modestly during the other meals.


Walk a lot, laugh a lot, relax a lot. Look for more ways to be happy and healthy.


You can be Happy and Healthy,

Dr. Gail Alschuler

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