The Brain Warrior Holiday Meal Plan

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The Brain Warrior Holiday Meal Plan

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My family and I simply refuse to feel deprived because we make the choice to feel energetic instead of overweight and foggy during any holiday. We want our focus to be where it’s supposed to be: on gratitude and helping others during the holiday.

We feel blessed and we want you to join us. You can enjoy your holiday with your loved ones more than ever with these simple, brain-healthy swaps.

Tana’s Marinated Turkey

If you’re serious about having the moistest turkey anyone has ever tasted, try soaking it in a wet brine for 18 hours before moving to the preparation step below. But beware! You will become the designated turkey maker in the family forever!


  • 1 12-pound free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free turkey


  • 1/2 cup macadamia nut or avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (or according to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon Pepper (or according to taste)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup ghee or grass fed butter for basting
  • Optional: cheesecloth to wrap turkey

Preparation to be done the day before cooking:

  1. Start with a fully thawed turkey. Remove innards from cavity (set aside for stuffing if you choose) and rinse turkey well. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. “Deglove” the skin from the turkey, being careful not to remove the skin from the turkey. You just want to separate the skin from the meat. Try not to puncture the skin. The skin will remain attached at the leg attachment points.
  3. Mix all ingredients for the marinade with a whisk prior to marinating the turkey.
  4. Evenly apply the marinade around the turkey meat, under the skin with clean hands (always being careful to handle ALL meat with clean hands and not touch anything else prior to washing). Be sure to apply a thick coat of marinade.
  5. Apply a final, thin coat of marinade to the inside cavity of the turkey and the outer skin. If you don’t have enough left, you may choose to use sea salt with a little olive oil.
  6. Cover turkey and refrigerate overnight.

Day of cooking:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If desired, wrap turkey in cheesecloth to hold juices in during basting phase.
  2. Place turkey, breast down (for the most moist breast meat) in a roasting pan or directly on the lower rack above a roasting pan.
  3. Cooking time varies, but a general rule is about 15 minutes for every pound.
  4. After 30 minutes, reduce the cooking temperature to 350 degrees for the next two hours, and then reduce it again to 250 degrees for the remaining time.
  5. Use a baster to retrieve juices from the bottom of the pan and baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so. Add ghee to roasting pan and add a bit of chicken stock if desired.
  6. Use a meat thermometer to insure the meat is fully cooked. The white meat should have a temperature of about 165 degrees.
  7. For the last 20 minutes of cooking time turn the turkey over and turn the temperature up to 300 degrees. This will brown the skin of the breast.

The turkey recipe can be adapted to roasted chicken. Cut ingredients in half and marinate according to same instructions. Preheat oven to 425 and roast for an hour and a half. Keep chicken breast side down for the first hour and turn over for the final 30 minutes. This recipe requires marinating the turkey for 6- 24 hours prior to cooking.

Amen Holiday Stuffing

Note: You can make this a vegan stuffing by increasing the amount of squash, apple and nuts and eliminating the meat.


  • 4 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey or bison
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or grass fed butter
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (about ½- 1 teaspoon each)
  • optional: 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • For richer stuffing add:
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup chicken stock


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt the ghee or butter in a large skillet placed over a medium high heat. Sauté the butternut squash, onion, apple, celery, and garlic for about 10 minutes, and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. In same pan, add celery for a minute, then add turkey. Saute for about 2 minutes. Add a bit more ghee if necessary.
  4. Stir in diced apple and onion and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add herbs herbs, garlic, walnuts and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Remove meat from heat. The meat should still be somewhat pink. The meat will finish cooking in the oven.
  6. In a large bowl, combine squash and meat mixtures together and add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  7. Put the mixture in a baking dish and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes in the preheated oven or until squash is tender.
  8. Serve with Amen Guiltless Gravy.

Amen Guiltless Gravy


  • 2 tablespoons of grass fed butter or ghee or drippings from any meat or poultry you are cooking
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons arrowroot depending on desired thickness
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • Optional: ¼ cup precooked meat of your choice, finely chopped (uncured ham works well- when heated in a pan it tastes like bacon. Or use chicken, ground turkey etc.)
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut cream or full fat coconut milk
  • Optional: Add spices and herbs as desired. Here are my go-to favorites:
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped


  1. In a medium size pot melt butter over medium heat and add onions. Allow onions to caramelize, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until onions are a light brown/opaque color. Be sure onions are not burning. Turn down heat if necessary.
  2. After about 5 minutes add garlic cloves in with onions. Add a bit more butter or ghee if necessary.
  3. Add broth and turn up heat until mixture comes to a boil. Slowly add the arrowroot, stirring constantly to avoid clumping.
  4. Add desired spices and herbs. Reduce heat, add meat or poultry for flavor if desired and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove half of the mixture from heat and transfer mixture to a high-speed blender.
  6. Add coconut cream and blend on medium high setting until gravy is smooth. Return smooth gravy mixture back to the remaining chunky mixture. Ladle over turkey or other favorite dish.

Clever Kale Slaw


  • 1/2 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • Optional: use 1 cup prepackaged coleslaw mix instead of cabbage
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup veganaise
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: 1/2 pkt. Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped (or ½ tsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried)
  • 1/3 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. Combine kale, cabbage, carrot, and nuts
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine veganaise, vinegar, stevia, spices, oregano and thyme. Whisk until mixture is blended well.
  3. Toss with salad mix.
  4. Allow salad to refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving if possible so flavors can “marry”.

Tip: Try combining above for dressing ingredients, from vinegar down (except vegannaise) in a blender or food processor with ¼ cup sesame oil and ½ cup raw almonds. Puree and pour over salad blend. Toss well. Top with sunflower seeds and a few dried cranberries.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1/4 cup soy milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoon water
  • Real salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 2 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds


  1. Pour vegetable broth into a medium pot. Put cauliflower florets in pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
    • If you prefer using water, then steam cauliflower in a steamer basket being sure not to allow the water to bathe the cauliflower. If steaming, cook until fork tender, about 8 minutes.
  1. While cauliflower is cooking, combine soy or almond milk, Earth Balance, garlic, Italian seasoning, and rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it reaches a boil add the cornstarch/ water mixture, STIRRING CONSTANTLY until it is thickened and smooth.   Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Drain as much liquid from cauliflower as possible and place florets in a food processor or blender, blending on high for about a minute. Add sauce and blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spice with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add sunflower seeds and chives if desired
  5. Serve hot over a bed of spinach and serve with grilled vegetables.

Smooth Sweet Potato Soup


  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • ⅓ cup celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons leeks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6-7 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon real salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ cup almond milk or coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • Optional: ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • Optional: ⅛ cup cranberries (3-5 cranberries for garnish, for each bowl)
  • Cinnamon, sprinkled for garnish


  1. Heat ¼ cup of vegetable broth in large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté onions, celery, and leeks for 2 minutes. Then add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  2. Add 4 cups of remaining vegetable broth, sweet potatoes, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove cinnamon stick.
  4. Use immersion blender or pour contents into a blender in batches. Blend until smooth.
  5. Pour soup back into pot (if using a blender). Add almond milk. Then slowly add remaining broth according to preferred consistency.
  6. Add salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle sunflower seeds, sage, and cranberries in each bowl and serve.

Apple Cinnamon Crisp


  • Filling
  • 7 apples, peeled and chopped (Try using the slicer attachment on a food processor as a shortcut.)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ginger
  • Optional: 1⁄2 cup erythritol
  • Coconut oil spray for pan

Crumble Topping:

  • 1⁄4 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1⁄4 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond butter
  • 6 dates

Filling Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Place apples in medium pan over medium heat. Apples will release fluid and begin to dehydrate after a couple of minutes. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and erythritol, if desired. Cook until apples are hot and soft, about 15 minutes. Don’t allow apples to dry out and burn.
  3. Remove apples from heat and pour into a 9 x 9-inch greased baking dish.
  4. Mix all topping ingredients in food processor until well blended and chunky.
  5. Remove crumble topping from food processor and sprinkle on top of the apples in baking dish. Bake the apple crisp for 15 minutes.
  6. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon small portions into dessert bowls. Serve warm or cold
  7. Top with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream.

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