Dr. Ellen's Way

Header Logo

November 2023 Newsletter

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving!

Hello, this is Dr. Ellen. In this month’s ‘Real Common Sense’ newsletter, I want to write about some of the virtues of a vegan Thanksgiving Day dinner, as well as how a vegan might approach a more traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner. Generally speaking, the eating pattern with the greatest benefits to one’s health is seen in those eating a whole food, plant-based diet, and without any animal sourced products, i.e., vegan. Of course, Thanksgiving Day is only one day each year, but for those on or especially for those starting to venture toward a whole food, plant-based diet, it can be a challenging day, or it can be a day to be happily surprised, depending on the choices available for the dinner.

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to see my previous newsletters, you can find them on my website, www.drellencutler.com under ‘Media’. 

Why Vegan?

I discussed the advantages of a whole food, plant-based vegan diet in a previous newsletter.(1) The human digestive tract appears to have evolved to accommodate a predominantly vegan diet, and the health of our gut microbiome is best supported by a plant-based diet. The more plant-based and less processed our food, the better it is for our health. There are also health advantages for vegetarians who include some animal products (dairy and/or eggs) when compared to the standard American diet (SAD).

There is a large body of information demonstrating that a vegan whole food plant-based diet is the optimal choice for health promotion and disease prevention. Many of the biologically active compounds and high dietary fiber content naturally occurring in plant foods can help regulate, prevent, or even diminish several chronic disorders, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases, as well as benefiting brain health, gut health, and lipid profile. A healthy vegan diet also promotes lower amounts of subcutaneous and visceral fat, sports performance, and has anti-aging properties, and may decrease your risk of certain cancers.(1,2)

Interestingly, there is even evidence that a ‘flexitarian’ or semi-vegetarian diet can confer health benefits as well. A ‘flexitarian’ is primarily a vegetarian with the occasional inclusion of meat or fish. They usually do not have the meat or fish as a large piece of it prepared by itself, but rather contained within a preparation including vegetables, pulses, and/or whole grains, such as a hearty soup, chili, or curry. Compared to the SAD, the evidence suggests that the health benefits include improved body weight, blood pressure, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and help for those with inflammatory bowel disease.(2,3) However, the benefits of being vegetarian are greater, and even more benefit is gained from whole food plant-based veganism.

Thanksgiving Dinner for Vegans

Being a whole food plant-based vegan (or vegetarian) at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be a bit challenging. If those preparing the meal know ahead of time, they can usually be accommodating to their vegan/vegetarian guests. One or more side dishes can be made without using animal products. Or instead of that, a portion of the side dish(es) can be made in a traditional manner and the other(s) without animal products. A higher protein amount can be provided in one or more of the side dishes or even a vegan/vegetarian main course. This can be provided by using, for example, lentils or tofu. In my experience, when the host makes some dishes that are vegan friendly, many of the guests end up enjoying those more so than the traditionally prepared ones!

Fortunately, there are many different websites offering recipes for Thanksgiving Day dinner. You can find recipes for appetizers, side dishes, main courses, and even desserts using whole food plant-based ingredients that are minimally processed. Of course, you can choose between a sweet potato pie (requiring more significant preparation time and preferably using mostly or solely whole food ingredients) and baked sweet potatoes (only requiring being baked in order to be ready to serve). A great place to start to look for ideas and recipes include those offered by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies,(4,5) the Simply Plant Based Kitchen,(6) and the Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Show.(7)

On the other hand, a flexitarian can consider this meal to be one of those in which they eat some meat. It is still important for them to use the meat more as a condiment for their dinner rather than gorge themselves on a large portion of that meat. They can also choose to eat the vegetarian dishes and avoid the meat all together (which is my usual recommendation).

Whether you be a flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan, you should include some raw fruits and/or vegetables. This is the easiest way to get active enzymes in the foods you are eating. I recommend including in your dinner a healthy, colorful salad (which for me is often the main course) and one or more pieces of fruit for dessert. Bon appétit!

Ellen Cutler Method (ECM)

I have occasionally used ECM energetic testing and desensitization to help some people through the Thanksgiving Day dinner. This has been for individuals who have had unpleasant experiences with previous dinners and feel pressured into eating the traditional fare (and the traditional ‘amount’). ECM allows me to identify for each individual any problematic sensitivities/resistances that may be associated with their upcoming dinner, and to then energetically clear the reactivities found. ECM energetic testing also allows me to determine the optimal supplementation in general and specifically for the special dinner. I invariably recommend having a full-spectrum digestive enzyme blend (e.g., ‘Digest Supreme’ or ‘G.I. Calm’ from Dr. Ellen’s Way) just before the meal.

Please be well, be healthy, and remember…

“Turkeys enjoy hearing music, and sometimes they’ll chirp along…

“Highly social and very affectionate, turkeys create lasting friendships with each other…

“Turkeys have unique voices, which is how they recognize each other.”


“All beings tremble before violence [including turkeys]. All love life. All fear death. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?”

―  Buddha

Dr. Ellen


  1. “Why Vegan?” at https://drellencutler.com/june-2022-newsletter/
  2. “9 Scientific Benefits of Following a Plant-Based Diet” at https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/scientific-benefits-following-plant-based-diet/
  3.  “Flexitarian Diets and Health: A Review of the Evidence-Based Literature” at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2016.00055/full?ref=splendidspoon.com
  4. “Whole Food, Plant-Based Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas with Full Menu” at https://nutritionstudies.org/whole-food-plant-based-thanksgiving-recipe-ideas-with-full-menu/
  5. “Whole Food, Plant-Based Thanksgiving Menu Ideas Plus Tips & Tricks” at https://nutritionstudies.org/whole-food-plant-based-thanksgiving-menu-ideas-plus-tips-tricks/
  6. “Easy Whole Food Plant Based Thanksgiving Recipes” at https://simplyplantbasedkitchen.com/easy-whole-food-plant-based-thanksgiving-recipes/
  7. “Thanksgiving Recipes” at https://plantbasedcookingshow.com/2018/11/11/thanksgiving-recipes/

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!