Thanksgiving dinner is good for you. Really? Turkey ideas.

Healthy by Nature radio show this week: If only everyone in the country could hear this Saturday’s show (November 26)! I know it has a powerful message because I pre-recorded the interview with investigative journalist/reporter, Barry Estabrook about his book Tomatoland. He investigated the tomato industry and you will be shocked at what he learned. We discuss why the flavor is so often zero and what you can’t see-the dramatic decline in nutrition. Most alarming was what has been happening to the agricultural workers, especially in Florida. The scandal goes beyond horrific working conditions into actual slavery. If you will be unavailable (hopefully not due to a door-buster sale stampede injury) check it out in the archives. LINK to the introduction to the book (scroll down a bit past the promotion). Here is to the site where the workers have joined together to fight back and where you can learn how to persuade your grocery store to apply the right pressure. LINK Buy the book: LINK  To find pod-casts, show archives and ways to listen nationwide click here .
It is no small thing that there are a couple of days to get caught up. And isn’t it less stressful to have a holiday where no political correctness tap dancing is expected? You can just wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. (If you are talking to Canadian resident, you’ll just be a little late because they celebrate the second Monday of October. Hmm…how do they deal with gift shopping if there is no Black Friday?)

Turkey. Several TV sitcoms over the years have joked about a tofu turkey. With a tofu turkey you’d miss half the appeal of the meal-the wonderful aroma that welcomes you at the door. They are also kind of ugly (Norman Rockwell would never have included one at his idyllic table), Besides, real turkey is a fine source of lean protein.  Also, I see clients who have developed problems from consuming too much soy. To maximize the healthfulness of the turkey, buy a range-fed (or organic) and humanely raised one. It may be too late for this year, but next year, consider ordering one from Natural Grocers.

New thought on thawing the bird: I’m sure you know never to thaw a turkey at room temperature because it can develop harmful levels of bacteria. These are the official USDA instructions. The conventional wisdom (also according to Butterball who should know) is that refrigerator thawing is best. Do it breast side up, in unopened wrapper, on a tray in the refrigerator, allowing at least 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey. Oops, for my 20 pound turkey, that’s 5 days. Not going to happen. The cold water thaw is done by having the bird in the unopened wrapper, breast side down, in enough cold water to cover it completely and to change the water frequently to keep the turkey chilled. This would take about 30 minutes per pound for a whole turkey. So, in my case, that’s 10 hours, which I can manage. However, I’ve tried this in the sink, but that’s not enough water for a large bird and in the bath tub which is too much water. Today I dreamed up what I thought was an original idea until I Googled it. Here is a link to instructions for thawing a turkey in an Igloo insulated container. LINK  I have mine outside so that I can use the hose for filling and then to drain the container into the flower bed. I also have a refrigerator thermometer in the cooler to monitor the temperature. The weather is cool and the water temp seems to be staying the same without changing it. It is important to cook the turkey right after thawing this way-e.g. don’t put it back in the refrigerator.

Turkey recipe: Follow this link to a simple way to roast a turkey that gives you a very moist, fall-off-the-bone bird. (Not Norman Rockwell beautiful mind you, but tender and tasty.) This is a recipe that I adapted years ago from one I learned from radio personality Alex Burton. As the recipe suggests, plan way ahead because this method is slow, 1 hour per pound.

Cranberries. These are one of the super fruits. Cranberries are not only full of phytonutrients, they are also known for their ability to slow down the attachment of bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.

Green beans are by definition green and therefore good. (Exceptions to the “green rule” include green jelly beans, green Jell-O and anything that only became green after some time in the refrigerator.) Green beans are filling, low in calories and easy on the blood sugar. They also provide protein, vitamins and minerals. By adding mushroom soup you do pick up zinc from the mushrooms but also MSG from the soup. I prefer green beans Almandine because you get nutritional benefit from the almonds. Frozen beans are a much healthier choice than canned not only because they retain more nutrients, but they are also much lower in sodium.

Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are much more nutritious than their white cousins. Of course, by adding a lot of brown sugar or marshmallows, we offset the benefits. Cinnamon does help keep the blood sugar from going wild.

Pumpkin pie:  Pumpkin is highly anti-inflammatory, low in calories and very nutritious. The pie part is the issue because of the added sugar and the crust’s white flour and trans fats (in the partially hydrogenated fats of shortening). Still, pumpkin pie has more nutrition, less sugar and calories than apple pie and a whole lot less than pecan pie.

Quantity: The meal is bound to be a mixture of healthful and decadent foods. You will probably enjoy the meal just as much and hate yourself less later if you scoop up a little less of the bad stuff and more of the good. Also, slowing down to chew thoroughly will help you fill up and digest the meal better.

The best parts: The social support of the family is good for our health as is the mere act of giving thanks. I’m grateful for you. Thanks for reading, listening to the show and helping to spread the good word of health empowerment.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please help spread the good word-forward this newsletter to friends and family.
My first book : Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec & Other Acid Blockers. Subtitle: What to Use to Relieve Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and Gastric Ailments.

My latest book: Aloe Vera-Modern Science Sheds Light on an Ancient Herbal Remedy

The information contained in this newsletter has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The contents are for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Copyright 2011 Martie Whittekin, CCN

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