9 ridiculously delicious Thanksgiving dishes you can eat without food shame.

Thanksgiving is a big ol' feast. And for lots of people, that comes with a big side-helping of food guilt.

Not so much for these guys, though. Photo by Underwood and Underwood/War Department.


Calories. Fat. Carbs. Oh my!

More importantly: What will Aunt Marjorie think of me? WHAT WILL SHE THINK??

But fear not!

It turns out, there's a whole smorgasbord of delicious Thanksgiving foods you can eat without feeling guilty. Yes, you read that right. Open your eyes. Un-faint.

Here are a few of my favorite, sin-free, no-regrets suggestions. Because you should never feel guilty about what you eat.

1. Pumpkin pie.

Photo by Ann Larie Valentine/Flickr.

There are approximately 323 calories in a single slice of pumpkin pie, and you should feel guilty about consuming exactly none of them. Because it's Thanksgiving, and eating delicious, rich, gleefully over-the-top foods is the whole point of Thanksgiving.

The decision to eat more (or less) isn't a moral choice. Whether you decide to eat something tasty isn't an ethical dilemma. Anyone who tries to shame you is not your friend. So tell them to, respectfully, eff off.

Come to think of it, you should probably eat two slices.

2. Gravy.

Photo by Miia Sample/Flickr.

One way to absolutely, positively feel good about yourself at Thanksgiving dinner is to take about a gallon of liquified meat fat with some flour in it and pour it on everything, rendering your meal 1,000% more delicious and putting a huge smile on your face.

The act of eating gravy — like the act of eating any food ever — is inherently guilt-free, at all times.

3. Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows.

Photo by Lori Bee/Flickr.

This no-shame treat is made by taking an already-starchy vegetable, dumping sugar all over it, and putting candy on top.

Shame is something you feel when you accidentally call your fourth-grade teacher "mom," not when enjoying a lovingly prepared, unbelievably gratifying side dish. So enjoy.

4. Cornbread.

Photo by Southern Foodways Alliance/Flickr.

It's dessert bread — that you eat for dinner. It has approximately 1 million carbs, and not a single one of them should make you feel bad for even one-half of an instant, as it is impossible to impose a normative judgment on cornbread.

5. Stuffing waffles.

Photo by Barnaby Dorfman/Flickr.

Waffles made out of stuffing are a ridiculous food, and not only should you be completely unashamed to eat four or five of them, you should brag about it on social media for days afterward.

Doing so might annoy all your friends. It's OK to feel guilty about that! But not for eating a stuffing waffle. Never for eating a stuffing waffle.

6. Tiny fried apple pies a la mode.

Photo by stu_spivak/Flickr.

Where to even start with these things?

7. Nine-cheese macaroni and cheese.

Photo by Dave Walker/Flickr.

Don't let anyone sell you on eight-cheese macaroni and cheese. It's Thanksgiving Day. Go big or go home. You'll feel great. Like you really accomplished something big.

"Maybe I should sub out the smoked gouda for some low-fat cottage cheese," you might be thinking to yourself. And if you want to, go right ahead, as long as you realize both of those cheeses carry equal ethical weight. Guilt is never a good reason to substitute one cheese for another.

8. Creamy mushroom sauce and fried onions with a few green beans in it.

Photo by willie/Flickr.

This classic Thanksgiving "twist" on a modest green vegetable involves dumping it straight out of a can, slathering it in a salty milk bath and covering it with crispy snack chips until the vegetable is completely unrecognizable and any nutritional value it previously had has been eliminated.

Eating at least two pounds of this stuff is not only not sinful — as would be, say, stealing a child's soccer ball or intentionally running your car into a pedestrian — it is your civic duty as an American.

9. An entire turkey wrapped in bacon.

Photo by Scalhotrod/Wikimedia Commons.

There is not a single, scientifically valid way to regret eating this. Here is the recipe, and you should take a good, long look at it. Note the bacon-infused butter. It will brighten your day.

This is perhaps the single most decadent foodstuff on theme for Thanksgiving, and you should not feel the least built guilty about putting it in your mouth. In fact, if you're not making this for your Thanksgiving, please take several weeks to backpack through Patagonia and re-evaluate everything about your life.

Bottom line?

Food is great. You should eat as much or as little of it as you want. But no matter what Aunt Marjorie thinks, you should never feel guilty about it.

Not just on Thanksgiving. But especially on Thanksgiving.

You've earned that nap. Photo via iStock.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."