For Americans, Thanksgiving, is the “opening act” of the holiday season! Like any opening act, it sets the tone for what's ahead, and is an opportunity to check in with yourself and make sure you've got what you need to go the distance.
Your ability to fully enjoy Thanksgiving comes down to how you manage your energy. And according to Ayurveda, this comes down to how well you manage your digestion.
Start with the End in Mind
If you're planning to kick off Thanksgiving day with a breakfast feast just to get into the spirit, hold up and consider that breakfast sets the tone for how you think, feel and move during the day.
What and how much you consume during Kapha time (6–10 a.m.) when the digestive fire is at its lowest can make the difference between feeling light, energized, and engaged, or slow, heavy, and dull. So it's important to start your day, as well as the holiday season, with the end in mind.
Start light and sattvic (something that has pure ingredients and is easy to digest), especially if you want to strike a healthy balance between consumption and connection, make the most of your time with family and friends, and be perfectly present for that “Twilight Zone” marathon.
Make friends with your digestion (you're in this together!), and take steps to support it so that it can support you. Ditch the big breakfast and go with something light, warm, and nourishing, and keep the digestive fires burning through the day by sipping digestive tea.
The Breakfast of Yogis
This is one of my absolute favorite recipes for a light, nourishing, and delicious breakfast made with spices like ginger and cinnamon that boost the digestive fire. It's also sattvic, making it especially good for yogis, or anyone looking for a little support in the peace of mind department.
I've also thrown in the option to add a little ghee to “lubricate the pipes” and keep things moving. The recipe is below, and you can watch this video for more instructions.
- 5-8 almonds (soaked, skins removed)
- 1 cup milk (cows, soy, almond or rice)
- 1 tsp honey
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A pinch of cinnamon
- A pinch of ginger powder (or a slice of fresh ginger)
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- A pinch of cardamom powder (optional)
- 1 tsp ghee (optional)
Gently warm the almonds in a small saucepan or pot. Add the milk and simmer on low until the milk is warm (but not boiling). Using a whisk, add the spices (including the ghee if you're going with it). Remove from heat and pour in a mug, and allow to cool slightly before adding honey. Enjoy!
Your Belly's Little Helper
Sipping digestive tea throughout the day and in between meals is a good idea. It'll keep you hydrated and balance your digestion. It's also soothing for the mind (bonus!), to help you keep your calm topped up all day and well into overtime. Even better than that, it's super easy! Here's the recipe.
Ayurvedic Digestive Tea
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 small cinnamon stick (optional)
- 1 thin slice fresh ginger (optional; consider this if your digestion is especially sluggish)
Gently crush the seeds using mortar and pestle then add to a small pot along with water along with any optional herbs or spices. Steep for 5-10 minutes. You can add a little honey to this too—just let the tea cool a bit before adding it. Enjoy!
As much as Thanksgiving these days is often associated with football and food comas, it's steeped in the tradition and practice of gratitude. So take the day as an opportunity to kick off the season of excess with a little love for your body-mind. It'll thank YOU later!