holiday eating is not making you fat

In recent years I’ve heard some “experts” on TV say you should eat light on Thanksgiving so you don’t become obese.  First of all, that’s stupid, and second, the research doesn’t support such tomfoolery.  According to a study, the average weight gain for the holiday season (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) is just 0.8 pounds.  That’s not a typo.  For all the hype from the media outlets, you’d think people were becoming instantly obese from a couple of big meals.  0.8 pounds is nothing — you can gain that just from eating normal, or if your regularity is not as regular.  I figured the number would be higher, given the big holiday meals, the extra cookies, and the parties.

Obviously some Thanksgiving meals are more fattening than others, but a traditional feast shouldn’t be that bad.  I figure a normal Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be more unhealthy than some of the things you can get at restaurants, particularly all-you-can-eat buffets.  Plus you might be eating less processed food, which could make it healthier.

To diet on Thanksgiving day and Christmas day is foolish, if you want my opinion.  It’s hard enough to diet and eat right, particularly if you enjoy eating.  To miss out on the most special meals of the year would be depressing.  If you’re seriously trying to lose weight, one way to approach it is to eat healthier in the days leading up to the big meals, to rationalize eating a lot at the family get-togethers and parties.

Of course, common sense disclaimers apply.  For example, if you’re on the verge of a heart attack or some other severe health problem, maybe you shouldn’t eat a huge meal, but in that case, you should do something about it NOW.

Let’s get back to the study, if I may rant for a minute.  The health “experts” shouldn’t try to make people feel bad during the holidays if the research shows that the holiday eating isn’t the problem.  Here’s what irked me most about the article:

In the study, 14% of overweight and obese individuals gained more than five pounds during the holiday. In the abstract, the researchers wrote, “holiday weight gain may be an important contributor to the rising prevalence of obesity, even though absolute values for weight gain in this study were less than anticipated.”

Okay, so obese people gained more weight than average.  That’s not exactly breaking news, since they’ve obviously been gaining weight before then, so they’re just continuing the trend.  But notice the quote from the researchers, which basically says they’re still sticking to their hypothesis even though the statistics don’t support it.  Hopefully some people were reprimanded over that kind of junk.

So in conclusion, don’t feel bad about eating a few big meals during holiday feasts and parties.  The obesity problem isn’t caused by a couple of big meals here and there.  (Shouldn’t that be common sense?)  And the next time a news person on TV says to cut back during the holidays, eat another piece of pecan pie… or pumpkin pie… or cookies… you get the idea.  🙂  Eat, drink, and be merry.

combining Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas

This year, it seems people got into decorating for Halloween a lot more than normal.  And as you’ve probably noticed, retail department stores are pushing the Christmas decor on us before Thanksgiving.  It’s getting crazy.  I like to keep the holidays separate — my rule is no Christmas music or Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.  But stores seem to not be informed of my rule.

Before long, these holidays will all become merged by the unstoppable commercialization process.  Figuring out how to market the holidays together might seem difficult, but fortunately someone has already figured all this out.  In the article I’m about to link to, Chris Carlisle combines Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  For a mascot / symbol, he creates a “ninja robot Mecha Santa Claus”.  If that’s not enough to get you to read the article, I don’t know what is…   Plus it’s funny, and he has a good way of explaining all this.

Holiday Ninja Action Force Unite!  [link broken]

videos of deep-fried turkey disasters

Baking a turkey has long been part of most Americans’ Thanksgiving tradition.  But let’s face it — it’s kinda boring to watch a turkey bake. Plus turkey is healthy and not very fattening, which doesn’t fit in with our modern culture.  So now more and more people are deep-frying their turkey, which makes it more unhealthy (along with more flavorful), and there’s also the danger of deep-frying it improperly, which is exciting for some people.

I’ve heard so many reports of deep-fried turkey disasters in recent years that it seems like it’s becoming a sport.  There are probably countless videos on YouTube of this, but here’s a few highlights I’ve come across.

In the following video, note the lack of protective gear, and also notice the child in the background covering his eyes.  Somehow he knew something was going to go wrong.  And somehow this accident even inspired a dance from the man responsible for it.

This next video features firefighters showing the right and wrong way to deep-fry a turkey.  First, they do it correctly, with it fully thawed and dry.  Next they drop a partially thawed turkey in the deep-fryer.  Then they put a mostly frozen turkey in the deep-fryer.  Lastly, they show you what happens if you pour water on an oil fire.  (The last part is quite impressive, because it’s not near my house.)

This next one is great.  This “chef” uses the Archimedes Principle to properly deep-fry a turkey.  (That’s a great line.  I had never heard it used like that, and there may be a reason why.)  Then at the end, he says, calmly, “We are now frying a turkey.”  Perhaps, but he’s also burning a turkey… and his deep-fryer… and the house…

In this next video, we start with the fire already burning.  Several people are yelling, “Use a fire extinguisher!”  At least one person has the knowledge to say it should be one made for oil fires.  (There are different kinds of fire extinguishers, if you didn’t know.)  You might be able to guess whether this was the right kind or not.  I like how at the end one guy says, “It’s fine”, after it’s been on-fire over a minute and they’ve sprayed it down with a fire extinguisher (which might not be good for food).

Think you’ve seen everything there is to see regarding turkey frying accidents?  In the next video, some morning show radio DJs simulate the dangers of deep-frying a turkey (improperly) inside your living room.  Somewhere, Fire Marshall Bill is smiling…

BTW, this may look cool, but you shouldn’t try this at home.

near-tragedy at Thanksgiving feast

pecan-pieThe first place I went for my annual Thanksgiving feast was great, except that no one brought a pecan pie.   I’m sure this was just an oversight, but it sure is a big one!   Having pecan pie on Thanksgiving Day is more American than apple pie!  Fortunately, the second place I went for Thanksgiving had a freshly-made pecan pie.  Mmm…

The day… was saved…

For those of you wondering, yes, I do have two annual Thanksgiving feasts per year.  🙂  It seemed like a good idea when this holiday tradition started, and I really enjoy it, so I see no reason to stop it.  Besides, since diets don’t apply on holidays, who’s counting calories?