Culinary no-no #755


Come Thanksgiving there are distinct possibilities:

1) You will eat too much

2) You will get stressed


Guaranteed. You will stuff yourself.

Then you will get tired. Downright sleepy.

It’s a given. Like death and taxes.


Is it because there are 27 sides on the dinner table?

Well, no.

The answer is a word I know you’re very familiar with and use frequently: tryptophan.

That’s a vital amino acid inside turkey. As you keep gorging on white meat later this week keep telling yourself the pigginess is absolutely worth it because your body doesn’t make tryptophan.

So there you have it. Tryptophan is making you feel like a nap. But there’s more. It’s the tryptophan inside the turkey and the serotonin and melatonin the tryptophan they produce. Put the two hormones together and what have you got? One tired puppy.

Of course how many logs you want to saw depends on how much turkey you eat. Cut back on the turkey and your troubles are over, right? No.

You’ve got your ham. And chicken. Red meat. Pork. Substitute any or add on your feast and you know what? They all have Tryptophan.

Oh, forget that annual ritual of not eating breakfast or lunch on Thanksgiving? Big time no-no. Now you have a quick huge rise in the amount of food at dinner, an average of 3,000 calories. The nasty tryptophan works best when your stomach is empty. You’re inviting a classic turkey coma.

Jared Miller writes on WebMD:

You shouldn’t let the risk of falling off the wagon ruin your holiday fun. Here are a few suggestions on how you can forgive yourself for indulging in the delicacies of Turkey Day:

But… I’ll undo all of my hard work. Do you worry that if you allow yourself that second serving of turkey or a bigger slice of pumpkin pie, you’ll suddenly put on all the weight you lost since you started making better food choices and exercising more? Dietician and upwave review board member Shoshana Pritzker, RD, CDN, reminds us, “One meal isn’t going to make you fat, or get diabetes or high blood pressure or any of those other illnesses or ailments that come from overeating all the time.”

If you overindulge on Thanksgiving, do your best to stick to your diet for the remainder of the season.

But… it makes me feel like a failure. Thanksgiving is all about spending time with loved ones while sharing a great meal. You don’t want to ruin the fun and spoil the food by worrying about letting yourself down. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” says Pritzker. “So plan to succeed.” She recommends deciding what Thanksgiving foods you enjoy the most and go for those while avoiding other food you might eat just because it’s there. “Have smaller tastes of more of the foods you want, and don’t waste the calories on the other stuff,” she explains.

But… I won’t be able to get back on track. This is only true if you let it be. Having one afternoon where you let yourself enjoy the spirit of Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly enjoy the same spirit everyday after that. It’s a choice, and in order to make the right one, Pritzker says you should reframe how you look at it: “That was one night, and I enjoyed myself. Tomorrow I’m going to get right back on track.” It’s all about maintaining a positive attitude.

But… I’ll feel gross. Eating a bunch of carbohydrates, fatty foods and sugary desserts can make the best of us avoid the mirror the next morning.

“Avoid feeling gross by coming up with something positive to do to get back to feeling good about yourself,” says Pritzker. Make this part of your plan to succeed. Tell yourself the day after Turkey Day will be about healthy choices. Go for a run in the morning and plan a few healthy meals for the day. Before you know it, you’ll be in front of the mirror patting yourself on the back.

What about stress?

And in case you didn’t hear…


ICYMI, Culinary no-no #754: food porn

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