Thanksgiving is about as traditional as you can get. The holiday has been around for centuries, and the celebration of it really hasn’t changed much. Essentially, you gather family and friends around a table, eat some turkey and slip in to a food-fueled haze. Frankly, it can be a little stale (much like the leftovers).
In an effort to shake up the holiday, we’re taking on some of the most persistent myths about Thanksgiving. From sleep-inducing turkey to a show-down of the spuds, here are some holiday “facts” that you may want to get checked.
Myth 1: Turkey makes you sleepy
Want to take a nap after ingesting an enormous Thanksgiving dinner? It must be the tryptophan in the turkey! However, that’s not the case. While turkey does contain tryptophan, and tryptophan does make people sleepy, there’s not enough of it in your turkey dinner to have any effect. More likely you’re sleepy because of holiday stress, alcohol or the giant meal you just ate.
Myth 2: White meat is better than dark
Dark turkey meat has more calories and fat than white meat. It also has more vitamins and minerals per serving. Not only that, but because of the higher fat content, it has a juicier flavor which makes for better-tasting leftovers.
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Sponsorships are generally beneficial and non-controversial. They’re a way to keep doing business without having to worry about funds. But what happens when those sponsorships are in direct conflict with the mission of the sponsored?
When this happens in the field of dietetics, advocacy groups like Dietitians for Professional Integrity (DFPI) are formed. Founded in February by a group of citizens and 14 dietitians, they were primarily a Facebook group discussing concerns like the connection between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and Big Food.
Last month AND held their annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. DFPI attended the event, commonly referred to as FNCE, and have now released a report entitled “The Food Ties that Bind,” summarizing and detailing the message Big Food shared with the attendees.
According to the report, the Expo hall was liberally peppered with information from AND’s various partners and sponsors, including but not limited to: Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo and the National Dairy Council. Corporate sponsors of FNCE had the opportunity to include “educational materials” in the tote bag provided to each attendee.
One handout, “Aspartame: One of the Most Studied Ingredients in the World,” was provided by Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. It detailed how long aspartame has existed and stated that it is used in 100+ countries around the world. It failed to include information from a recent study that found artificial sweeteners can alter the food reward-system response in the brain. This after Coca-Cola got blasted for being the health and wellness sponsor at BlogHer by the social media community.
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1. a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
2. a severe lack of food
3. a strong desire or craving
Those are the dictionary definitions of hunger. But what does hunger really mean? If you break hunger down to the most basic definition, what is it?
A medical definition states that hunger is “an uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach.”
We’ve determined hunger is the contraction and churning of an empty stomach. Now when was the last time your stomach was truly empty? Claims vary on just how long a healthy, well-nourished person can survive without food; usually it’s somewhere in the area of three to ten weeks. However, the feeling of hunger usually happens after just a few hours of not eating.
Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, R.D., recommends using the Hunger-Fullness scale to determine how hungry you are. The scale goes from one to ten, with one being extremely hungry and ten being extremely full. “It’s best to train yourself to eat at 2.5-3.0 and stop at 7.5-8.0, and then get hungry again in 4-5 hours.”
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On Tuesday, November 19, use your tweets for more than just a way to share your daily witticisms. On that day from 1-2 p.m., ET, ABC is holding a Tweet-a-thon to benefit Feeding America. Dr. Richard Besser, ABC’s chief medical editor, hosts the event where the network will donate $1.00 to Feeding America, up to $10,000, for every tweet that goes out during the hour-long ABC Health Tweet chat. By simply joining the conversation and using the hashtag #abcDRBchat, you can help fight hunger in America.
Feeding America is an organization committed to hunger relief in our country. According to their website, the national food insecurity rate is 19.5 percent. That means almost 20 percent of people don’t have consistent access to adequate food. For children the statistic is even worse. Nearly 30 percent of kids are hungry or are facing the risk of hunger.
A network of food banks is Feeding America’s primary tool in the fight to end hunger. Every state, in addition to Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, has at least one food bank that is a part of that network. In addition to food banks, Feeding America coordinates volunteers, enables activists against hunger, and directs those who are hungry to the resources they need including the food banks and assistance programs.
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No, we’re not talking a long-awaited sequel to the film that introduced us all to Heath Ledger. Instead, we’re confronting some of the biggest issues we all have with ourselves. Body image is an issue that many people face. “Body image, the way you feel about your personal appearance, is linked to self-esteem,” said Mary Hartley, R.D. “The satisfaction you have with your body is based on the satisfaction you have with yourself.”
We want everyone to feel satisfied with themselves, so it’s time to quit the hate-speech and make peace with our bodies. Sure, you may not love everything about yourself, but that doesn’t have to prevent you from doing something about it. Here are our top ten beefs with our bodies and what we can do about them.
Jiggly Arms – If your arms make you self-conscious, you aren’t alone. To make your arms less jiggly, add triceps dips to your daily routine. By doing a few reps every day, your flapping arms will soon be nothing but a not-so-fond memory.
Lack of Energy – At one time or another, all of us feel completely devoid of energy. Combat this by making sure you are getting enough restful sleep. It may seem impossible to fit sleep into your busy schedule, but doing so impacts your overall energy levels and your ability to accomplish everything in your day.
Dull Skin – Do you feel like your skin is beginning to look a little zombie like? If so, make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Staying hydrated does wonders for the complexion. Add some of the best foods for healthy skin to your diet, too, like fresh fruit, Brazil nuts, tuna, and avocados.
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