By: Corbin Williams, NPTI-CPT
Personal Trainer/Nutrition Coach
What will you do? This question will pop back into your head by the end of this month. With the Halloween candy still in the house at the beginning of the month, you already have a struggle to be good with your eating habits. Then, as we say goodbye to October and say hello to the holiday of much food, aka Thanksgiving, you need to ask yourself this question. “What will I do?”
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of family and food. We celebrate the first harvest when our forefathers made it through their first year in this country. That being said, take a close look at what was on the table then and now.
Think about how ingredients make a big difference in food being healthy and unhealthy.
Let’s take a look at the first Pilgrims table spread and compare the difference of then and now.
Starting with the main dish, the Turkey:
In those days the only turkeys they had were wild and had full run of eating anything they wanted. Today we call this “free range”but most turkeys of today’s market are raised in mass houses, and eat nothing but corn meal or corn based food. Then are processed with chemicals to “preserve freshness” But these chemicals are not natural to your body. Think about it. If it is use to PRESERVE what will eating it over and over again do to you? Best choice is to go to your local butcher and buy a fresh “free range”turkey and taste the difference.
Next we have potatoes:
Potatoes are not a very good source of nutrition. They are very starchy and don’t provide a lot. Yes they are good. So we tend to keep the big bowl of mashed ones of the table. A better alternative to the white potato is the sweet potato. It is full of more nutritional value than the white potato. Bake them or mash them. They are yummy.
As we continue, we now need to look at corn:
At the time of the pilgrims corn was a new product that was introduced by the Indians. They grew their corn among other vegetables and used a fish in each hole when planting. This made the corn very nutrient rich and good for you.
But today corn is the number one product and is used in almost every product we consume. High-Fructose corn syrup is one of these byproducts of corn that we find in almost everything. You will find a corn product in your stove top stuffing, the cranberry jelly, the pies, the bread, and even the turkey was raised on a corn diet. So setting the table with a side of corn is not really needed. Try the other vegetables like beets, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and peppers. Make salad your friend!! Just don’t overdo the dressing. It most likely has corn in it too.
Finally we get to deserts and sweets:
Think about this, we have access to TONS of sugar these days. The average individual in the 30’s and 40’s only consumed about 200 pounds of sugar a year. Today we are up to an average of about 800 pounds of sugar per person per year. WOW!! Yes that is a lot. The pilgrims had even less than the 200 pounds, if they had any at all. Their jams were made with the sugars found in the fruit they used and then it was “made to order”. They only made what they could use in a short time. Remember, they didn’t have refrigerators or any way to keep perishable food for a long time.
Well, now that we have looked at some of the differences between then and now, make your own choice. Will you try to eat healthier this Thanksgiving, or will you resort to all the preserved items in the center of the store? I want you to really look at the labels this year and remember if it looks like a science project then leave it on the shelf. My suggestion is eat fresh. Choose the local farm market and stay away from the boxed and packaged stuff. Keep it simple. Make things from scratch like “they” did way back then!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Keep active!!
Corbin Williams, NPTI-CPT
Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach
Certified Nutrition Coach
Graduated from the National Personal Training Institute
Owner of GetReal Training, LLC
GetReal, Get Results