15 Wellness Experts On Their Thanksgiving Morning Rituals

Contributing Wellness & Beauty Editor By Lindsay Kellner
Contributing Wellness & Beauty Editor
Lindsay is a freelance writer and certified yoga instructor based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a journalism and psychology degree from New York University. Kellner is the co-author of “The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self Care,” with mbg Sustainability Editor Emma Loewe.

Photo by @thebalancedblonde

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On Thanksgiving, it can sometimes feel like the gravy gets more attention than gratitude. If your holiday ritual needs a realignment, you're in luck. We've asked our wellness family what they do first thing on Thanksgiving morning before the eating begins.

1. Fill the morning with food for the soul.

"Thanksgiving for us means appreciation—we use this day as a reminder to lean into the places we wish to reconcile within ourselves and acknowledge in the other. Our routine doesn’t change much from other days, but our attention is directed toward gratefulness (and grace-fullness!).

We wake up, spend some moments in bed connecting. Then one of us makes us coffee, warm water and lemon, and a shot of grapefruit juice with a heaping tablespoon of phytoplankton.

We laugh a lot in the morning (usually involves a happy dance) and work out together to a yoga video or aerobic workout, or one of us spins while the other does sun salutations. After working out we meditate together and listen to an audio Satsang by Mooji or watch an online video by Byron Katie. And from there, we go on with our day, keeping the inner eye on the gift of life and on all ways we are able to give and receive more deeply on this day."

—Paul Hawken, environmentalist, and Jasmine Scalesciani-Hawken, founder of Hairprint

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2. Serve food at a soup kitchen.

"Since boyhood my family always taught me and my brother to take the word Thanksgiving literally. So, now as an adult with my own family, we continue this tradition and begin our holiday with a prayer giving thanks and then we go serve others at a soup kitchen, food bank, or local church. I love Thanksgiving; it is truly my favorite holiday of the year."

Hill Harper, actor, author, and philanthropist

3. Run the 5k Turkey Trot.

"On holidays, it's always best to lock in one really healthy meal, and if you can, just focus on making just one-third of the day healthy! On Thanksgiving, my clan runs a Turkey Trot 5k, and we follow it up with a big green #fab4smoothie. Then, I am in the kitchen with the host of the year, whipping up a feast, and whatever happens from there happens, guilt-free."

Kelly Leveque, mbg class instructor, holistic nutritionist, author, and celebrity health coach

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4. Start with a collagen coffee.

"Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. That Thursday morning I start it off like I do every morning, with a cup of something warm, typically a collagen coffee, matcha, or yerba matte. We normally have everyone over to our home, so we go all-out on the healthy stuff. I practice what I teach to my patients at my functional medicine center. Everything you would have on a traditional Thanksgiving, only an organic, low-sugar, gluten-free version. Probably sounds super-lame to some, but I love it."

Will Cole, mbg class instructor and functional medicine expert

5. Check-in and appreciate the last year.

"My Thanksgiving morning is generally a time for me to rest, restore, and reflect!!! I usually teach a yoga class at Sky Ting midday on Thanksgiving, so it's a wonderful (and rare) opportunity for me to have a free morning, when I can consider and appreciate where I am and how I came to this place, followed up by doing what I love."

Chloe Kernaghan, co-founder of Sky Ting Yoga

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6. Have coffee in pajamas and take a walk on the beach.

"Usually on Thanksgiving morning I’m at my childhood home in Indiana. I normally love to sleep in, have coffee with my mom in my pajamas, and take a long walk on the beach with my family (we live near Lake Michigan in the sand dunes). I love being able to slow down and connect with my family when I can. I spend less time on my regular home yoga practice and rituals when I’m visiting, which is totally fine with me! This year is different—my little brother is in high school, and his marching band got selected to perform in the Disney Thanksgiving Parade in Orlando. So I’ll be at Disney World riding roller coasters and being with princesses this year!"

Krissy Jones, co-founder of Sky Ting Yoga

7. Visit with lots of family—grandmas, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

"We'll be on the farm in Illinois with the whole family. We usually start the day with both grandmas for dinner and visiting (dinner is our word for a big lunch, and grandmas live near each other), then make our way to each aunt, uncle, and cousin's house for a pie and cookie tour. I'm excited for Daisy to be in on the action this year."

Tara Stiles, mbg class instructor and founder of Strala Yoga

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8. Take a dose of digestive herbal bitters.

"My Thanksgiving morning rituals always revolve around preparing my body for all of the deliciousness and nutrition that is about to come! I’m from Philadelphia, and we have the best woods and trails right in the city (a secret not enough people know about), and my family and I go for a hike together. My other priority in the morning is to find my bitters (bitter herbs steeped in alcohol) and have them nearby. I’ll take some bitters directly on my tongue 15 minutes before I eat to help support my digestion and help me feel my best, in case I overeat some during our meal."

Jessa Blades, natural beauty expert and herbalist

9. Enjoy a long walk.

"Every year, we go on a long walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park before having lunch with family. This year, we are excited to bring Ellie to her first Thanksgiving lunch."

Jason and Colleen Wachob, founder and founding partner of mindbodygreen (respectively)

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10. Get a head start on cooking the pasture-raised turkey.

"This year we are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in New York! This means we will start the day with cooking—I don't eat turkey, but most of our family does, so we will be roasting a pasture-raised turkey from Marlow & Daughters, and I will be making gluten-free vegan stuffing and my favorite cranberry-orange relish. The main challenge will be figuring out who watches the baby and who cooks. I also plan to change up the background soundtrack—growing up it was the Macy's parade and the Westminster Dog Show. Now that it's at our place, I think we will try to cook to reggae and the Hamilton soundtrack :-)."

Dr. Robin Berzin, mbg class instructor and founder of Parsley Health

11. Make a fun breakfast with the kids at home.

"We love to wake up and stay in our PJs drinking coffee and making a fun, yummy breakfast with our kids at home. We’ll then always make some time for movement, either yoga or a beautiful long walk outside to just receive the day and begin with loads of gratitude and quiet moments. I also always make everyone write down what they’re grateful for at some point in the day so we can share it with each other at dinner."

Kelsey Patel, mbg class instructor, spiritual empowerment coach, and Reiki master

12. Go for a bike ride.

"I seem to always be in the city for Thanksgiving, and because it feels so quiet in the city, it always feels like I have the whole place to myself. I love to get up and get outside, go for a bike ride, and enjoy the end of fall foliage before coming home and cooking. I love to cook a big midafternoon meal and then go to a movie."

Seamus Mullen, award-winning chef, restaurateur, author, and health and wellness expert

13. Hit up a sweaty vinyasa yoga class.

"On Thanksgiving morning I always like to do a workout of some kind. When I was a kid, I always ran the Thanksgiving 5k for charity in my hometown (Sacramento!). These days, I either go on a walk with my dad or hit up a sweaty vinyasa yoga class. I do the same thing on Christmas morning too!"

Jordan Younger, podcast host, blogger behind The Balanced Blonde, and yoga teacher

14. Meditate on the beach.

"Since moving to California last year, I have a new holiday ritual. I use the extra time to take my morning meditation to the beach. Even if it's a bit chilly, the waves have a unique way of calming my nervous system. Then after indulging in a holiday feast with family and friends, I enjoy going on a hike with everyone sans cellphones. Not only do we blunt our insulin spike after that pumpkin pie, but we are able to reconnect with ourselves and nature."

Dr. Tiffany Lester, medical director, Parsley Health, San Francisco

15. Go for a run—solo.

"I always get out on the road early for a run before the festivities beginI know later I most likely won’t have the time or energy... My family always loves to go to the high school football game before dinner, too, and being Italian, it’s rude not to have seconds at dinner. So running offsets my increased caloric intake as well as being my MUCH-NEEDED 'me' time! You know that feeling: I love my family, but it’s good to have a breather! On a day of giving thanks, it’s important to thank yourself for all we do! Having the ability to move, breathe, and share life with others makes me feel even more grateful! The crisp fall air and smell of fallen leaves doesn’t hurt in setting the mood either."

Rebecca Kennedy, celebrity personal trainer and group class instructor

And are you ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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