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Happy Paleo Thanksgiving!

The mainstay foods of the paleolithic diet, also called the cave man diet, are primarily meats and vegetables. You can easily replace dairy products and sugars to create delicious paleo holiday meals that will wow your family and friends. 

The traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean and sweet potato casseroles, cornbread and other familiar holiday comfort foods can be revamped for  a completely paleolithic feast that everyone will enjoy and give thanks for. 

Since the turkey is the main course, paleo dieters already have the upper hand when it comes to this holiday. Before oven roasting your bird, brine the turkey overnight in the refrigerator to make it exceptionally moist. 

You can do this by heating a gallon of vegetable or chicken broth with a cup of sea salt and dried herbs of your choosing – sage, thyme, rosemary, savory – until the liquid comes to a boil and the sea salt is completely dissolved. Let the brine cool, then add it to a gallon of ice water in a large pot or container so that the brine will cover the cleaned, washed turkey. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours and rinse before placing in the oven. Use lard instead of butter to rub over the turkey and baste it with its own drippings several times while roasting. 

Instead of mashed potatoes, boil and mash cauliflower seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Plain, unflavored almond milk, chicken or vegetable stock can be used instead of cream and butter to create a smoother texture.

Boil the giblets – the neck and internal organs you remove from the turkey before preparing – as you would for a regular gravy. Finely dice the cooked giblets and sauté them with the seasonings and small amount of stock of your choice (you can always add liquid later). Instead of flour, use turkey drippings or other fat mixed with arrowroot powder to make a rue that will thicken your paleo gravy.

Lightly coating zucchini, squash, onions, peppers and other vegetables with olive oil and roasting them in the oven will add more color and fresh flavor to the meal. Steam fresh green beans and serve them tossed with sliced almonds.

Leaving out grains, dairy and sugar is surprisingly simple when you have the right paleo recipes to follow. Think outside the box to create new traditions for your holiday meals. Here are a few paleo Thanksgiving recipes to help get you started – Paleo Pumpkin Cornbread, Paleo Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole and a sugar free Perfect Paleo Citrus Cranberry Sauce.