Here comes Thanksgiving! Did you know that June is ‘National Turkey Lovers’ month? Of course, by November not many people are concerned with turkey love and our interest turns to turkey legs and where to get the best deal or recipe for a turkey.
Did you know that according to the National Turkey Federation
(Are you just a little amazed that turkeys have their own federation?) that:
1. Minnesota leads the nation in raising turkey for the country and in fact the world.
2. In 2013, 240 million turkeys were raised and over 200 million were consumed in the U.S.?
3. An estimated 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanks giving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter! At an average of 16 pounds per turkey, this translates to 736 million pounds of turkey consumed on Thanks Giving in America.
4. Turkey is one of the top ten foods for eyes because it is so high in zinc and b-vitamins (niacin) and these are essential for the body’s energy production as well.
5. Turkey meat is a source of iron, potassium and phosphorus.
Now here are some interesting claims made on the internet that I for one am sure I don’t believe. “Regular turkey consumption can help lower cholesterol levels.” (Body and Soul) A recent study from Johns Hopkins University explains why I, for one, can not believe that! “Because meat is a major source of dietary fat and cholesterol, investigators have studied the impact of meat consumption on CHD [Coronary Heart Disease or Heart disease] risk. Data regarding meat consumption per se and CHD risk are limited, however, and it is difficult to differentiate the impact of meat consumption from that of cholesterol and fat. Nevertheless, current recommendations by the American Heart Association emphasize greater consumption of fruits and vegetables, and reduced consumption of meats, especially red meats or non-lean meats. These recommendations are based chiefly on findings from studies conducted over the last several decades”.
It’s interesting that some articles found on the internet are claiming that by eating turkey, we can lower our cholesterol when it is a fact that ‘bad cholesterol’ (because our body does produce good cholesterol which we need) is produced only by meat, poultry (chicken and turkey) eggs and dairy products. Turkey is said to be a better cholesterol source because it tends to be a lean cut of meat. It is not able to lower your cholesterol. It does not raise your cholesterol as much as other meat or dairy products may, although in the movie, Forks over knives, poultry is said to have just as much cholesterol as red meat. Additionally, the movie states that shrimp, scallops, clams and other un-clean ‘meats’ have five times more cholesterol than steak! I find this an interesting fact in light of old testament ‘dietary recommendations’ from the God who never changes! (Malachi 3:6)
“Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan [also found in milk and used as a natural remedy for sleep disorders], which produces serotonin and plays an important role in strengthening the immune system. [This may explain why people tend to be sleepy after a meal that includes turkey. The idea that turkey strengthens our immune system sounds like fiction to me!] It is also a source of selenium, which is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism. It also boosts immunity and acts as an antioxidant.” (Body and Soul)
Boosts the immunity and acts as an antioxidant? I wonder how much the turkey farmers paid for this article. The National Turkey Federation must have got together, put on their uniform or at least their John Deer caps, and discussed ways to increase the sale of turkey this holiday season with such an article including such outrageous claims! Increased immunity? Antioxidant? Lowers cholesterol? The last I checked, the consumption of animal products have nothing to do with any of these claims. Blueberries? Yes! Goji berries? Yes! Turkey? No!
These are some pretty lofty claims for the turkey. Like most people, it’s a joy to see a wild turkey in nature and even more fun to see a flock ‘strutting’ by. But there are limits to my turkey love! I remember watching the movie, 1776, when Ben Franklin is campaigning for the turkey to be the national bird and John Adams staunchly and adamantly declared, ‘the eagle will be the National bird!’ (Thank you, God! Americans would have ever been called ‘a bunch of Turkeys!’)
On a brighter note, did you know that Abe Lincoln was the president that declared Thanks Giving to be a National Holiday? Here’s the story and the proclamation:
“Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”
Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln’s.
The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity . . .It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Oh, how I just love Abe Lincoln, Lord. This is one man I would really like to meet and even spend a few years getting to know. Father, I am inspired by this man’s integrity and drive to make a difference in these United States. And as this holiday draws near, may we be mindful of our many blessings. May we embrace the spirit of this holiday and with the economic struggles of those around us, may we do our small part to lighten the load of those who are cold, hungry or in need of a tender word reminding them of who YOU are. May we, each one of us, be the blessing and not just say a blessing! Lead us, this season, to give those in need a reason to join in ‘the Thanksgiving’, with a full heart!