Hacking the Holiday – Dr. J Podcast #160
Dr. Justin Marchegiani discusses different options, substitutions and modifications that can be made during the holiday season. Learn about what ingredients to use in some of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes including the turkey, stuffing and gravy that can help to still improve your health.
Gain insight on the different modifications and options that you can use for some of your desserts so you can still indulge without having to feel guilty afterwards. Also, learn about some other cool options including meal timing, fasting, exercise and alcohol intake for a healthier you during this holiday season.
In this episode, we cover:
01:49 Grain-free holiday meal
03:01 Enzyme Support
05:55 Desserts Options
10:36 Timing Recommendations and Alcohol
Evan Brand: I am and I’ve got blue skies here which is very unusual for this time of year. We’ve got sunny every single day this week. So I’m super grateful for that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. Yeah, it’s a great time of the year. It’s uh— important year, time of the year to be really grateful and to be extra uh— particular in all the things that we have to be thankful for. Coz there’s a lot of things but it’s easy to be so focused on everything it’s not there. So we got to really focus on all the things that are there. So couple that is just how about, just some really good Intel that we can use to hack our holidays. Meaning we can still indulge in feel good and connect with our family members but not go into a food coma and feel like absolute crap. What do you think about that?
Evan Brand: Agreed. Yeah. A lot of our clients recommend we do this subject because they feel deprived if they’re doing AIP or some type of dietary approach. They feel like that we’re the bad guys and we’re making their holidays not as fun. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. So, couple of things if you look at Thanksgiving, it can totally be Paleo, right? We have like basically the centerpiece in the Thanksgiving Day meal is the turkey, right? Awesome. Especially if we can go after the darker meat. That’s gonna be excellent. Good fats, right? Try to buy an organic or at least a Pasteur-fed turkey. It costs a little bit more but the nutrients are to be much higher, right? So you get good fats and proteins there. That’s the kind of a starting point. And then after that, you control your sides. So most people want mashed potatoes and maybe squash which you know, I’m okay doing a little bit more starch in the holidays. I’m okay with that. It’s better than doing, let’s say a grain-based stuffing, that’s number one. Number two, we try to substitute for the things that we typically have grains. What’s gonna have grains? Well, typically, your gravy is gonna be thickened with flour so we do a gravy that’s gonna be a carrot and celery based and we thicken it with coconut flour if we do it. And we use the actual uhm— turkey stock from the actual turkeys. That’s a huge way to get to the stuffing, I mean the gravy going. And then the stuffing there’s typically some good stuffing recipes out there where we do a celery and carrot-based stuffing and it’s totally grain-free and it taste phenomenal. So, off the bat, you can have your starches. I’m okay with that. Number two, you have the gravy. Because the gravy kinda goes on everything. So if your gravy isn’t too good, you can really mess everything up coz you just basically coating everything with thickened uh—turkey giblets and flour. And then uhm—then after that, you have I mentioned your starches and then after that you can do cranberry sauce, really, you know, super Paleo. You can do like, I’ll do green beans and I’ll cut up some bacon, I’ll layer that on there, too. Uhm—those are kinda my big things off the bat and of course, a really good turkey. We’re gonna smoke our turkey this year. We typically use our smoker this time of the year. Any other thoughts, Evan, off the bat for your? Just with the Thanksgiving Day meal?
Evan Brand: Well, my thoughts are you got me hungry but besides that—<laughs>
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: <laughs>
Evan Brand: But besides that, the enzyme piece.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: You and want to talk about enzyme.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: So let’s go into that. So one’s that you and I were talking about off-air was one from designs for health. It’s called allerGzyme. And this is more specific to people that if they’re just going to go off the rails, they are going to do or get it possibly get exposed maybe a cross-reactive issue with dairy or egg or soy or gluten or casein peanuts, things like that. You can take the specific enzymes. They’ve got like a patented version they call it what, Glutalytic in there.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: It is supposed to be pretty helpful. And they’ve got bromelain. Way but it’s a very, very super high dose bromelain which is a pineapple enzyme. It’s a really good enzyme. So there’s that. And then you and I both have our own custom digestive enzyme formulas that I say those are the best nutritional insurance policies that you can bring with you like a little glass jar or something.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Especially the fact that people forget that I uhm— having a meal like that is gonna be stressful not necessarily because it’s bad because obviously we’re gonna try to make the substitutes. We’re not gonna focus on eliminating. We’re gonna focus on substituting. So we have the most healthiest options possible but because we’re probably gonna eat such a ton of food, it’s going to be a lot for our digestive system to handle. So we’re gonna really utilize more enzymes and more HCl and maybe even some bile salts to really optimize our ability to actually break it down.
Evan Brand: Yeah. I love it. I’ve got a small little old honey jar that my wife just keeps in her personnel and so if we go out to restaurant or if we got to family member, I’m just gonna pull out those enzymes and popp them down. So that’s can be my strategy and I think everybody who is dealing with bloating, gas, indigestion, a lot of these common symptoms heartburn, you’ve got that excessive heaviness feeling.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If you already got those symptoms and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, then you’re a person who needs extra care when it comes to using enzymes.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. So we talked about the meal. We talked about maybe the potatoes and/or the sweet potatoes or the squash. I’ll typically put some extra cinnamon on my squash, too, which is great for blood sugar. And the blood sugar and the insulin kina receptor sites that which is good. I talked about the green beans. I talked about how to maximize the gravy because the gravy is one of those things that’s gonna be layered on everything. So if you can fix the gravy component— and we’ll have in the show notes some Paleo uhm— gravy recipes so we’ll make sure we get some Paleo recipes in the notes. Uh—we’ll make sure we get some stuffing recipes. Coz those are gonna be the the big— the big things—the gravy and the stuffing. Almost everything else, you can dial it in. The turkey’s pretty good. You can do really good cranberry sauce, you can do uhm— squash, you can do sweet potatoes, you can do regular potatoes or any other sides that we’re missing.
Evan Brand: Yeah. You hit the green beans.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: Sometimes peas, sometimes carrots you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.
Evan Brand: I think honestly, if you’re eating real food and you just always think, “Am I eating real food?” you’re gonna be just fine.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Then a couple of things—let’s go to desserts pretty fast. So we’re just kinda laying out the meal options or the meal substitutes, I should say, and then we’ll talk about little hacks that you can incorporate, too. So, off the, my Paleo Apple Crisp is something that I utilize a lot. I actually have it made once a week and it’s basically just a combination of the crust, which is gonna be coconut shreds, pecans and walnuts, kinda crushed up. And it’s gonna be kinda layered over some Granny Smith apples that are cut up. And the Granny Smith apples are basically mixed with butter. And they’re also gonna have a little bit of cinnamon on them and then we also have a little bit—
Evan Brand: I need this.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: .. a little bit of organic palm cane sugar. And we like the organic palm cane coconut sugar because it’s got a glycemic index of 15. So it goes into your bloodstream a little bit slower and we try to use the least amount possible. So what I recommend is put the smallest amount whether it’s like uhm an eight of a cup or something in there. And just kinda glaze it and then mix it up. And then try a couple before you know, layer all the nuts and cook it. And then just see if it’s at the sweetness you want. So I don’t need a lot. I just put a very, very small amount. Once I have it, you know, typically, an eighth of the cup or sixteenth of a cup, a very—typically, I just glaze it. I don’t even h measure it. I just gently glaze it over so very small amount. And then once I have it to taste, then I pretty much put uhm—then it’s mixed with butter, of course, right? And then I put that topping right on top and there and then 350 for 30 to 45 minutes till the apples are nice and soft. And then you’re pretty much good to go.
Evan Brand: That sounds delicious. Did you invent that recipe or is that something you found?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No, I invented that one. That’s a good one. And then if you want mix it up, too, you want to make it more like a cake, you can do uhm—a tapioca and arrowroot flower and then typically you just add the arrowroot flour in with the apples, typically, half a cup to cup each. And then that kind of gives that more of a thickened flavor. And then you can just bake it not use the nuts. And then it comes more like a cake. And that’s a really good option. We have that Apple cake option on there, too. So, apple cake and/or uhm— the Paleo Apple Crisp. Apple crisp I think is a little bit more healthy coz you don’t’ have any flours in there. They’re all just a good healthy nuts and fats.
Evan Brand: Right. Yeah. I have a female client last week. She said she’s going to make a like a pumpkin pie but she’s going to do coconut flour and I think she said coconut flour and Coke and cashews maybe. So I know that there’s options out there. I just don’t eat too much dessert anyway, you know, besides a good piece of chocolate. But if you’re somebody who you’re going to go to one of these events and you think, “You know what I don’t want to miss out” Well then you just make it. You know, let everybody else bring the meat and veggies. You just bring a healthy dessert. That way, you know that you’re gonna be safe and you’re not gonna cause yourself a flare-up or new problems.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. For the most part, your turkey’s gonna be good, right? If you’re gonna do your mashed potatoes, fine. If you do cranberry sauce, if you’re gonna do squash, if you’re gonna do green beans or will do like uhm— Brussels sprouts with bacon, that’s typically gonna be good. You’re gonna mess it up with the excess uhm—gravy. So do the gravy right way and you do a healthy stuffing options. So I recommend is if you’re going somewhere, maybe you bring some gravy, or if you don’t bring the gravy, maybe you just uhm— bring the stuffing. And people won’t even know. We bring some of these healthy Paleo options we go places to get invited. People wouldn’t even know the difference a lot of times.
Evan Brand: Exactly.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The big thing is for me it’s about, it’s not about, “Oh, Dr. J, you’re being, you know, such uh—so tight about this. You know, why can’t you roll?” Well, the reason why is I wanna feel freaking good afterwards.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I wanna eat a lot and I want to feel good. And there are great options and I don’t notice a difference in flavor. I can make my option and it will taste just as good. So those are some good options. Anything else you want—Oh, also dessert. Just, you know, if you’re doing a pumpkin pie, you can just leave out the crust are there some really good gluten-free, crust options or you can do coconut uhm— crust option. That’s fine. And you can just do your pumpkin pie without you know, just the lower amount of sugar. That’s totally good right there. Uhm— is or anything else you want to mention for desserts outside of the Apple Crisp?
Evan Brand: I think you covered it. I mean you could bring along a piece of dark chocolate if you’re just super scared and you don’t want to go for any of the more processed things. Bring a cup— bring a bar of dark chocolate with there on the fridge when you get to your family’s house.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And again, you could do Pecan Pie a little bit higher in sugar. You just have to make sure the crust is gluten-free. That’s totally fine, too. And obviously, just some really good maybe some coconut ice cream, coconut vanilla ice cream’s totally cool. And then what about supplement options? So we talked about, number one, the enzymes, HCL and digestive support. Number two, you could always add in some activated charcoal.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Activated charcoal. Number three, you could always throw in some probiotics later just to kinda help soothe and relax the tummy. Number four, well how about the approach like when do we eat the meals? So, number one, I recommend intermittent fasting and adding in some exercise in the morning. Even if it’s just a quick Tabata, or just a quick little weightlifting circuit where you kinda do upper-lower, upper-lower and just kind of a simple circuit for 15-20 minutes. Just something in the morning to really get the metabolism revved up. You may fast a little bit more. You may hold that fast a little bit longer than normal because you know that your gonna feast at the end of the day and all those calories will be coming in there to make up for that deficiency. Most aren’t gonna be working out on Thanksgiving. They’re gonna be relaxing and so it’s not as big of a deal.
Evan Brand: How about alcohol? You mentioned that off-air. You said we need to make sure we talk about that. So you’re recommending after meals instead of before meals saving?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, yeah, I recommend just have a little bit. Well, number one, there’s a couple of strategy. So I may do one glass just to kinda get that buzz in my system fast. It’s like, “Ooh, I could feel it.” And then I’ll throw maybe a couple of things, a charcoal in, and then maybe there will be like a shrimp cocktail out and have a couple of little shrimps just to kinda get the protein, fat in there which kinda stabilizes my blood sugar level a little bit more so I’m not gonna go wonky. And then I typically just go with like a dry champagne or a dry Prosseco. So it’s very dry kind of a demi-sack, not a lot of sugar white and I like the sparkling. The sparkling has been shown to increase alcohol absorption. There was a—one study out of a bunch of college students. Can you imagine that? I would love to have been in the study in college where they gave them shots of vodka and then the other group got shots of vodka with carbonated water or like soda water. And they measured their blood-alcohol content and they found that the group that had the bubbles with their vodka had a much higher blood alcohol content for the same amount of alcohol. So, go figure. So what’s the moral of the story? You get— your alcohol goes for little bit longer of array when there’s little bit of carbonation or, bubbles in there. And James is saying, “What about Cheetos?” Yeah. So I would do Cheetos with my ginger Kombucha and a little bit of lime. The lime provides extra vitamin C, which is great for glutathione. The Kombucha has extra B vitamins and antioxidants and EGCG in there and uhm—probiotics. So it actually helps detoxify and help your gut microbes while you get a little tipsy.
Evan Brand: See that almost makes me wanna drink alcohol but every time I drink alcohol, I feel like I can’t comprehend simple things, like I like to I like to always have my brain going going going.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.
Evan Brand: And for me to shut off with the alcohol, it’s almost stressful. It’s almost like, “Nope, my brain is slowing down.” I don’t like this.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, we should make sure the demand on our brain is less.
Evan Brand: Right.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: When the time—we’re not gonna be like opening up the champagne bottles when we’re seeing patients, right?
Evan Brand: Right.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We wanna make sure our patients get a 100% of our brain capacity. But when it’s the holidays and we’re just watching some football, and our brain is like 80% off, maybe it’s not that big of a deal.
Evan Brand: <laughs> For sure.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. But, yeah, we have the activated charcoal. We just have really good quality alcohol. Uhm— again, why does it matter? Coz I don’t want a headache. I don’t wanna feel crappy. I don’t want a ton of breakouts the next day. So we’ll choose uh—and typically, I’ll just get $15 bottle of really good dry Prosseco from Whole Foods. And I try to, you know, if I can go organic or you know, typically, the dryer ones are not gonna have as much sugar. It’s the sugar that’s gonna really throw you off. Uhm—you can also do the dry Creek wines. They have some decent stuff. Again, they don’t have a lot of bubbles like a lot of spike, Prosecco, I do that because number one, it helps with alcohol absorption. Number two, I just like the bubbles. They don’t have a lot of options with that. So I will check out some of the whole foods or local stores, they have a very low sugar like as for a brewed or a Demi-Sec uhm—Prosecco option.
Evan Brand: The holidays are fun.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They are. Absolutely!
Evan Brand: I think our next month of episodes is probably be silly. It’s coz that’s the that the holiday vibe. It’s relaxing. It’s like, you know what, the summer time things have cooled off. It’s time to relax, time to rekindle, time to cuddle up, snuggle under your wool blanket next to a fireplace. This is a good time of the year.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I got a fireplace in my office so it’s actually nice coz I actually get to use it this time of the year, so—
Evan Brand: That’s awesome.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So my dog just like—it’s basically a magnet for my dog. She just kinda—next to it all day. But, yeah, totally. And then uhm—you mentioned a couple things there. We talked about the alco—so yeah, really getting the exercise component going. Coz that really is gonna wring out a lot of the glycogen in your muscles. So think of glycogen as stored carbohydrate in your muscles and imagine you wringing that muscle out. You’re wringing that sponge out so all of that water in the sponge, all that glucose stored in the muscle now gets used up doing the exercise. Now what does that do? It’s like, well, it’s the equivalent of going and having a nice dry sponge to sop up a whole bunch of liquid drink that your kid knocked over, right? So you can just— that sponge is gonna work a lot better and be more absorbent. Think of your muscles as being more absorbent. So when you get extra carbohydrates into your uhm— body from your meal in your celebration that you’ll have a bigger sponge to soak it up.
Evan Brand: That’s a good idea. I don’t know if many people act on it but if they do, they’re gonna see a really good result. Here’s a question for Mike. He says, “It’s crazy. My Oura ring consistently shows my sleeping heart rate 5 to 15 bpm higher even after having just two drinks like red wine. I feel it the next morning. Any suggestions?” Justin, I know what you’re gonna say. Go ahead.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, alcohol can drop blood pressure. So it could be your blood pressure is lower than your heart has to be a little bit faster the compensate for that drop in blood pressure. That’s probably what it is.
Evan Brand: So you’re thinking maybe you don’t need suggestions. So I thought you might say, “Oh, just are you doing charcoal? Make sure you do charcoal.”
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course, right? Like of course, extra charcoal. We can always throw some vitamin C in there, add in L cysteine. And we could even throw in, yeah like in our lines, we can throw in some detox aminos which is kind like your sulfur base, kinda NAC with a whole bunch of other sulfur amino acid in there. That— that’d be fine. I mean, I would do that. You can also throw a little bit of magnesium in there to uhm— to help with the with that component. But uhm—yeah, I would just look at potentially that just being the alcohol and just do all the things that help detoxify.
Evan Brand: Okay. Cool. Awesome. I think that’s everything we’ve hit. I don’t know if there’s any other piece to the holidays you wanted to go over.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I would try to time off like for me, I notice if I have felt any alcohol in my system when I go to sleep, I do not sleep nearly as good so I tried to give myself like a good three-hour washout period before bed. So I don’t have you know a lot of alcohol in my system. I just don’t sleep as good. I literally have more nightmares, I’m more active, I move around the bed a lot more. I had a glass of champagne before bed like a week or two ago and I like literally woke up at a right angle. So I was like laying across the whole head. I’m just way more active. Normally, I don’t move much at all. So again, if I I had that like at seven and I went to bed at like 10, it wouldn’t be a problem. But if I’m having it right up against bedtime, sometimes it could be the__ plus you know, I’m— I don’t know what the alcohol is when I go out if I order it. I try to order, you know, a nice low sugar kind but you have the bottle in front you look at it, so you just try to go off the waiter’s suggestions.
Evan Brand: Exactly. Yeah. I think it’s all good advice the liver-gallbladder support. I mean, that’s always helpful, too. So if it’s milk thistle or if it’s your Cordyceps mushroom. I mean there’s a lot of different products we use for for liver gallbladder support. One of the thing I was gonna mention, too, make sure that you check in with your practitioner if it’s Justin or myself. If you’re taking anti-parasitic herbs, some of these herbs can get intensified with alcohol. So one glass of wine may feel like four. You may not be able to make it home. See—take a look and see what you’re actually using. I know some of these can create that sensitivity up.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Any other suggestions just like meal wise or anything that you guys are doing with your family for the holidays?
Evan Brand: I’m gonna bring some snacks just in case. I mean we don’t know the full spread coz we’re gonna go to like three or four different events.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s tough.
Evan Brand: ..this week and we don’t know exactly what people are cooking, what people are bringing. So just in case, I’m just gonna go ahead and bring uh—I’ve got a couple of some jerky like some jerky strips like some grass-fed steak strips that I’ve got and then I’ve also got a handful of macadamia’s of customer cons would also have coconut chips so I’m just gonna bring some snacks just have that in my wife’s purse just in case just in case we get somewhere and it’s just— I have been to a couple events where it was literally like a casserole, it was covered in cheese and that was the only—that was like the main entrée. There’s no way I could do this.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.
Evan Brand: Like you know, with enzymes, I’d be destroyed so uh—that’s— that’s about it. Just be prepared boy scout. Act like I was going to place that had no food.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. And again, there are some people out there where they may be really happy with her health right now. They’re just like, “Hey, this is a once a year thing and I’m just gonna cheat and really enjoy it. And that’s fine, too. But you know, still you can utilize some of the supplements and strategies we recommended so you at least doesn’t hit you as hard. And if you want to wreck if you want to apply some of the substitutes that Evan and I apply, and I’ve done it for years that in my opinion allow me to continue to feel good. I just— for me, it’s not just feeling good that day. I got four days off work. I don’t take a lot of time off. I wanna feel good for those four days and I also don’t want to get sick either.
Evan Brand: Yup. Exactly.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, any other thoughts, Evan?
Evan Brand: I think that’s it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So any other plans for you this week? Are you taking some time off from patients or—?
Evan Brand: Yeah. So Thursday, Thursday- Friday I’ll be taking some time off. My wife she’s can go out and participate in the consumer holiday on Friday. And I think that’s about it. I’m gonna try to spend some time out in the woods. I may— I may go out and and go for a deer hunt again. I want to get my own dear this year. 99% of it is just sitting out in nature listening to the birds but may be .01% of the time an animal walks by.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.
Evan Brand: Really, it’s just my excuse to go do some forest bathing. I may try to do that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What’s the Japanese term for that?
Evan Brand: Shinrin Yoku.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Shinrin Yoku. I love that, man. That is crazy. Cool. And we also add another herb to our parasite killing line, too. The mimosa Pudica. So I know will be adding that to our stores in the next week or two. It’s one of those things that we are kind of experimenting with. We’re helping to kill bugs and some of the wormies. So it’s something out there that if your patient and you want to inquire about that, we can chat about that very soon.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Stay tuned. I’ve gotten many, many pictures in my inbox of worms that people are pooping out from using this Mimosa Pudica. I was just a guest on the parasite summit, which is how I learned about this formula. And tons of people are taking it now and everybody’s saying, “Oh my God! My stool test showed up negative but I took this stuff anyway. And here’s what I pooped out. Surprise!” And it’s pretty nasty stuff. So Justin and I are talking off like, “Are you going to try some of the stuff?” I’m guessing we’re gonna have to because we’ve been guinea pigs for everything else. So, who knows if we’ve got some hidden—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. Well, what a great call today here, Evan. Happy holidays and Happy Thanksgiving for you and your family. And we’ll talk next week.
Evan Brand: Take care.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You, too.
Evan Brand: Likewise. Bye.